Riverford Farm produce organic produce boxes and so the month by month organisation with key vegetables listed in the contents page is a brilliant approach to year-around cooking. Being so close to the ingredients gives Guy Watson and Jane Baxter a fantastic insight into the ideas behind the recipes. Each month then sub-divides into three sections; a quick list of basic ideas, a selection of 'everyday' and then a part for 'Sunday' recipes.
This has one of the best lists for store-cupboard basics that I've seen recently, there are few unnecessary extravagances and Baxter seems to have covered most of the things you need for a kitchen, not just this cookbook.
The notes at the start of each recipe are informative without being preachy and the writing that opens each new section is interesting and not overly personal fitting in nicely with the overall philosophy of cooking. I loved the quick ideas section and tried a few out straight away - each month this section focuses on one specific ingredient, and they are not all the usual suspects. These mini-recipes are very useful and quickly became a staple in my kitchen (the Kale and Potato is a real winner). Not all of the everyday recipes in the book would be easy to manage on a weekday with a lot more prep than you'd want to do after work but generally they were simpler than the Sunday ones.
Most of the recipes have a lot of ingredients in them, I think this is the main reason that some of the meals listed as 'everyday' would be a push to make and seeing a long list is a bit off-putting. Overall I definitely preferred the everyday to the Sunday recipes. One problem for me was the lack of desserts - it is definitely savoury heavy and I would have liked to have seen more sweets that I wanted to try out. The puddings seemed to be tacked on as an afterthought a lot of the time.
The layout and styling of the book is great, the font is easy to read and recipes are broken neatly into sections that make reading them a breeze. The pictures by Ed Bark are very homely and fit into the style perfectly, making you crave the food and want to head straight to the kitchen. There really could do with being more photographs though, not nearly enough in here.
There is a heavy concentration on vegetables but there is still plenty of meat and the veggie recipes are so inventive that I didn't mind at all. This would be a great book to have so that you can fully take advantage of all of the seasonal British produce wherever you buy your groceries. There are a lot of quite simple recipes but they are well executed and balanced by the numerous innovative methods and ideas.
The book is packed with great recipes, I could list dozens of favourites but some of them were the Roasted Cauliflower Cheese, the Kale and Potato Cakes, the Swiss Chard, Squash and Blue Cheese Torte and the Lamb Cooked in Milk with Fennel. I loved this book both for reference and recipes, it really manages to have something for everyone.
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