Never having watched Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's TV series, I suppose I had preconceived judgements about this book regarding his style and personality.
But as soon as I got to the contents page of The River Cottage Year
I was enthralled; and what really interested me was that this guy has produced a book about the months and seasons of the year - what a good idea! More importantly, this is essentially - through seasonality - how every kitchen should approach each month.
I couldn't agree more with Fearnley-Whittingstall when he says that "those who cook in harmony with the seasons will get more pleasure and satisfaction from their food than those who don't". And that's just on the first page.
Moving on to the recipes: it's lovely to see purple-sprouting broccoli and rhubarb given so much respect (funnily enough, I'm into both of these vegetables). Without doubt, these recipes are for the very enthusiastic cook and are thoughtfully put together, obviously by someone who knows their onions but who can make recipes easy to follow, too.
For me, the photographs don't always hit the mark. I'm not sure if I need to see a box of pumpkins in a car, or a goose being carried over the shoulder, or even a stick of Brussels sprouts. But that's only my opinion.
I think this book will do very well. It's extremely well written and full of seasonal information, and the recipes are very simple, which means it has huge appeal, particularly for amateur cooks. If you need to know what's in season throughout the year, then this book is perfect.Galton Blackiston, chef-proprietor, Morston Hall, Blakeney, Norfolk
The River Cottage Year
Hodder & Stoughton, £17.99