Five Ways to Cook Asparagus (and Other Recipes): the Art and Practice of Making Dinner by Peter Miller

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Five Ways to Cook Asparagus (and Other Recipes): the Art and Practice of Making Dinner by Peter Miller

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Buy Five Ways to Cook Asparagus (and Other Recipes): the Art and Practice of Making Dinner by Peter Miller at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: Cookery
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: Good food cooked as imply and deliciously as possible. An excellent cookery book with good instructions. Highly recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 256 Date: April 2017
Publisher: Abrams Books
ISBN: 978-1419723933

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When you've been producing meals for around about half a century the chances are that, like me, you have a fairly regular set of menus which you produce. Hopefully it's not quite in the 'fishcakes! Goodness is it Friday already?' realm but you probably have something in your culinary locker for every occasion. It takes a very good book to make you settle down and actually read what it has to offer and it's an exceptional one where you end up with lots of dog-eared pages for recipes which you're going to try. The inspiration to read Five Ways to Cook Asparagus was simple and serendipitous - I'd just come home with the first of the season's English asparagus when the book arrived in the post. I couldn't not have a look, now could I?

The trick with asparagus is to allow it to shine through and not try to do too much to it, but writers of cookery books often feel that they have to come up with something no one else has thought of trying, but Peter Miller is far better than that. His recipes for asparagus are gloriously simple: we can have it grilled, with parmesan and rocket (only he calls it argula), with tomatoes and hot pepper, with ham, peas and penne pasta or with risotto. He understand the balance of the meal, explaining that risotto is about a process whilst asparagus represents a moment and that the trick is to accommodate both. That's so true, but the main point about this is that there are five meals there, all of which I would be delighted to eat. I'm certainly going to try asparagus with hot pepper and tomatoes - there's a small amount of chilli in the recipe - but the next asparagus which comes home is going to be a quick pasta meal. In terms of success rate that's two meals out of five which are minor variations on what I already make and a further two which I'm going to use. That's when you know that a book is really worth delving into! This man cooks and thinks the way that I do. (I've since cooked the asparagus with pasta and my husband would have it every night if I let him get away with it. We've just had the asparagus with hot pepper and tomatoes for lunch and it was glorious.)

So, with a success rate like that the rest of the book was simply too good to miss. And the premise of the book is simple too: based around the hypothetical five day working week, we look at an ingredient and take five ways of cooking it, from the very basic to something rather more nuanced. Your mind is opened to other ways of using these ingredients. The book concentrates on vegetables, grains and legumes: they're the healthy foods which can be quickly made into delicious, sustaining meals.

I liked that there were no long lists of requirements, of impossible-to-find ingredients which are key to the dish's success. There's a chatty tone to the narrative too. You get some tuition - how to cook beans, rice, lentils, couscous and quinoa, for instance and there's recognition that you'll have time to do a little more at the weekend - whenever your weekend might be. It's a book which is in tune with the way modern life is lived without giving up on the idea of always eating good healthy, delicious food. It's a book to treasure.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

Shelve the book alongside Appetite by Nigel Slater and anything by Jane Grigson - and I don't often give that sort of praise!

Buy Five Ways to Cook Asparagus (and Other Recipes): the Art and Practice of Making Dinner by Peter Miller at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Five Ways to Cook Asparagus (and Other Recipes): the Art and Practice of Making Dinner by Peter Miller at Amazon.co.uk


Buy Five Ways to Cook Asparagus (and Other Recipes): the Art and Practice of Making Dinner by Peter Miller at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Five Ways to Cook Asparagus (and Other Recipes): the Art and Practice of Making Dinner by Peter Miller at Amazon.com.

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