To me, the idea of Winter meals brings memories of curries, stews and broths, warming and nourishing. With short days and long cold nights, the comfort you get with these humble feasts both warms the tummy and the soul. Somehow, Winter brings the family closer together to enjoy a meal when it is cold outside.
Diana Henry's book, Roast Figs Sugar Snow, is a book that instantly appeals to me, for it captures the treats that the Autumn and Winter seasons bring. There are so many ingredients that are their best, and Diana has captured the spirit of the season in a book that brings them together to create some great dishes.
The book is arranged into twelve chapters, taking a different ingredient in each one and presenting dishes that are based on it. First, we have Ripe and Ready, where cheese is the star. Then there is Gathering In, a chapter devoted to chestnuts, hazelnuts walnuts and pecans. Next there is Earthly Pleasures, about pumpkins, squash, beans and lentils. It is followed by Field Days winter vegetables, Tales Of The Hunt game and wild mushrooms, The Fat Of The Land pork, Of Wood And Smoke smoked food, Apples In The Attic apples, pears and quinces, The Colour Purple plums, damsons and figs, Winter On Your Tongue herbs, spices, and sour cream, From Hedgerow And Bog cranberries, blackberries, sloes and rosehip, and Sugar Snow maple syrup.
Each chapter starts with an introduction to the principle ingredient, what Diana cooks and what to look for in the ingredient. So, in the Ripe and Ready chapter on cheese, we are introduced all the different cheese that she likes to cook with, from Camembert to Gjetost, there are over two dozen listed. As you can guess, Diana like her cheese, and the recipes are a delight. What surprised me about how these dishes make people feel was when my alleged cheese hating daughter told me that the recipes sounded great. To her, uncooked cheese is an abhorrence, where as cooked cheese is a delight. Dishes like Tartiflette, or potato, bacon, crème fraîche and Reblochon.
There are a few more dishes I would like to mention, for I sit here salivating at the meer thought of them. The first is from the chapter Tales from The Hunt, which is Styrian Venison, with Chestnuts, Cranberries and Wild Mushrooms, newxt is West Country Pot-Roast Chicken with Apple and Cider and finally Danish Christmas Kringle, a deightful seasonal bread.
Roast Figs, Sugar Snow is a lovely book that brings the joy of Winter's larder to life. The book has over a hundred recipes that will inspire and tempt you to cook them for your loved ones.