Thursday, October 7, 2010

Nigel Slater: Tender Volume 2, A cook's guide to the fruit garden

My good friend Ian from London sent me a copy of Volume 2 of Nigel Slater's brilliant cook book series Tender.  The first volume of Tender was about vegetables, Volume 2 is about fruit.

Neil rang me up when I was in San Francisco and said there was a package for me (notice how already I'm writing with a British accent?) and whether I was expecting something.  I wasn't and asked him to open it for me.

I wrote Ian to thank him for this wonderful gift, this is what he wrote back:

"...it's simply the best cook book I've ever read. I baked my first cake from it on Sunday, it was an elderflower and honey polenta cake with almonds, it was meant to be served with stewed gooseberries and greek yoghurt but had to do plums. Not doing the diet any good but it was good for the soul"

Immediately I went to the book to look up the recipe he mentions.  The picture in the book is beautiful; the cake is very artfully decorated with elderflowers, which apparently are the perfect foil for gooseberries.  My first thought was:  How British.

Gooseberries are a favorite of Neil's family and it was because of them that I first tried Gooseberries.  It was love at first bite.  I love sour fruit:  cranberries, apricots, sour cherries... add some sugar and put them in a pie or crumble and it's the best.  In the end, however, I think Ian was spot on to go with plums,  especially at this point in the season.  I'm pretty sure I've seen elderberries for sale at a very few stalls in the Union Square market usually sold by the same farmers who are selling currants and gooseberries.  Certainly an elderflower in this country would be a rare and precious thing that one would have to procure from a friend with a garden or grow themselves!  Then it got me to wondering if elderflowers and gooseberries are even in season together here?  For now as Autumn rapidly approaches I think we should just follow Ian's lead and buy some plums and cook them as instructed in the recipe.

And speaking of Plums, here's Nigel speaking about Plums.

Oh one more thing before we get to Nigel, both Tender Volume 1 and 2 are available on my Amazon StoreThese books are amazingly beautiful and the perfect gift for anyone who loves to cook or who just loves food.  They're the perfect Christmas/Hanukkah gift:  not only for your friends and loved ones, but for me, as I make a small amount of money off of every purchase made from my little Amazon store.  So I encourage you all to spread the love this giving season.  OK, enough of my sales pitch. Here's Nigel (it amazes me he can stay so thin...)




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