Sunday, November 1, 2015

The Free Range Cook Simple Pleasures, a must have book!

Annabel Langbein may not be a name with which you are readily familiar unless you happen to live in New Zealand where she is a celebrity chef and author of 21 cookbooks. Pay attention here, because you are going to want to add her latest success to your library. The Free Range Cook Simple Pleasures, is a beautiful, inspiring volume, literally from end-to-end. I have to share with you the inside cover that pictures just a segment of her lush garden, and breathtaking view. I was hooked before even turning a page and wanted to immediately dig up my entire yard and start planting.
This book is about life, and food, and the pleasures that both can bring.  According to Langbein, it teaches you to create a good life that doesn't rely upon spending money. Who among us cannot stand behind that?
A companion to her popular television show of the same name, here you will find not only recipes using fresh, seasonal ingredients, but specialized menus that take all of the guesswork out of what to fix for your next meal. Simple and doable, her menus range from a winter dinner, to a make ahead meal, to Tex-Mex, to a dinner that can be prepared in minutes. Whatever your event, there is a menu, recipes, and helpful tips to guide you.
Two colorful ribbon bookmarks help mark your place as you travel from one beautifully photographed chapter to another. If you read my reviews with any regularity, you'll know that pictures are a big issue with me. Food is sensual and should be displayed beautifully, colorfully, and make our mouths water as we say to ourselves, I'm going to make that.” You are going to want to make every recipe in this book. In addition to the food, many processes are also photographed providing a visual representation of the recipes, as well as charming table settings, serving tips, and pleasant scenes that cause you to relax by just looking at them.

As if the lovely pictures, taste-tempting recipes, and gorgeous food is not enough, there is a comprehensive section at the back full of tips, tricks, and terminology, conversion charts (including a built-in ruler!), and a comprehensive index both alphabetical and by type of food, e.g. Main Courses, Desserts, and Baking, etc.
There is something here for everybody to enjoy. I plan to start with the Chicken and Leek Gratin, and end with a sampler of butter cookies, from which I can make 8 varieties from one single dough.
This book gives off a cozy vibe that is hard to articulate; it really needs to be experienced first-hand. I strongly suggest that you do.

Disclaimer: Grateful thanks to Avalon Communications and Annabel Langbein Media Ltd. for giving me a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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