REAL LIFE COOKING: Traditional European Recipes for Modern Day Life

Trish Deseine, Author, Sylain Thomas, Photographer, Trish Deseine, Manufactured by . Hachette Illustrated $16.95 (192p) ISBN 978-1-84430-072-3

Irish-born Deseine is a popular cookbook author in France (Fêtes Maison ; Cooking with Friends ), where she now lives. Her cooking style and choice of recipes derive from American, Asian, British, French, Italian and other Mediterranean cuisines. Deseine takes slow-cooking methods—simmering, stewing, infusing, caramelizing and preserving—and repurposes them as time-saving techniques that allow busy cooks to prepare meals in advance and serve and eat them later. Deseine suggests buying certain appetizers (marinated or fresh cheeses; Aosta ham, which she serves raw with melon) and presenting them elegantly. Her family dishes—Slow-Braised Oxtail Stew; Roast Belly of Pork—incorporate fresh farmers' markets ingredients. American readers who may be unfamiliar with British cuisine will learn about homey classics such as Guinness Stew (beef braised in stout) and Cottage Pie (mashed potato-topped ground meat), along with traditional holiday cakes and the proper way to make a cup of tea. Informative, sometimes personal headnotes lead into the recipes (e.g., Rabbit in the Dairy, warns the intro, is "a pale, delicate dish that looks scarcely presentable"). Suggestions for transforming leftover chicken, duck and beef include salads, savory baked crumbles and creamy gratins. A section on "friend's favorites" seems like a tacked-on afterthought, though it serves to add an international touch with recipes like Emmanuelle's North African Tajine and Valérie's Baeckeoffe, an Alsatian stew of lamb, beef, pork and potatoes. The section on easy desserts features poached fruits (Figs in Port, Cherries in Kirsch, Peaches Stewed in Wine) as well as Chilled Coffee Gateau, which requires assembly, but no cooking. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 04/12/2004
Release date: 04/01/2004
Genre: Nonfiction
Hardcover - 192 pages - 978-1-84430-033-4
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