This is just the book to beat those winter blues. A book full to the rim with mouth-watering, tummy warming dishes, from snacks and drinks, homely breakfasts and slow cooked dishes to the luxurious. Jane Lawson is not as one might think from some chilly European country but is in fact Australian. At an early age she became fascinated with Europe when she learned of her mythological Great Grandfather, a German sea captain (it wasn't until she was 30 that she discovered he never existed and it was a story that her grandfather started and her father continued). This obsession resulted in subsequent travels throughout Northern, Central and Eastern Europe and a passion for these countries and their cuisine. The recipes within this book have an ongoing winter theme with her interpretation and adaption of traditional cold-climate dishes, giving them a compelling modern touch.
This book is separated into four themes. The first Small Bites, Soups and Drinks tempts you with dishes such as Doughnut Balls and Mocha Soup, and of course the ultimate christmas drink Mulled Wine. This is followed by Home Style Food, this chapter has plenty to offer, start a chilly day with Creamed Polenta with Cinnamon and Prunes, then come out of the cold to a Nordic Seafood Hotpot, and then to comfort you to bed an Apple Loganberry Crisps. The third theme is Luxury, those dishes perfect for special dinners and entertaining, including contemporary Beef with Foie Gras, Spiced Cocoa Sauce and Vanilla-Scented Beans, and Molten Black Forest Puddings with Cherry Compote and Kirsch Cream. The final chapter deals with the ultimate of winter feast Christmas, a celebration Australians still try to follow traditionally even with sweltering heat. She intices us with Gingerbread Spice Glazed Ham with Cherry Relish, Roast Turkey with Chestnut Stuffing and Vin Santo Grape Sauce, and of course the French classic Buche de Noel with Chestnut Cream.
As you can see from the above recipe selection there is no end to ideas and styles, there is a dish for every chilly occasion. This book has a lovely feel about it, with easy to follow recipes and plenty of photos. My only criticism is the lack of any introduction to the dishes, it would be nice to have a little background to their origins and ingredients within. This put aside this is a fabulous cookbook and would make an amazing christmas or winter gift to lovers of good food no matter what part of the world you live in.