The first time I came across Valentine Warner was in early 2010 when watching his incredible BBC TV series ‘What to Eat Now‘ and wrote a little gushy review here. If you totally missed the series and are not 100% sure who Valentine is, you can do a bit of catch up by watching this YouTube clip, where he makes a delicious sticky bun recipe that will have you licking your lips for more. The TV serious took you on a mouth watering adventure through the best in seasonal British produce.
What I like the most about Valentine before I met him was that he seems like a really down to earth kind of guy. Clearly talented and articulate, he has made it to prime time food television but hasn’t seem to have lost himself in the process.
In ‘The Good Table’– Valentines third cookbook, he takes you on another journey where so much attention to detail is given to the origin of the food. He shoots, fishes or forages a lot of it with funny and insightful anecdotes along the way. It really feels like each recipe has a story.
I took the book to bed with me (as I do) and spent a very long, lazy Sunday morning reading it. I couldn’t put it down. Its a cookbook for cooks and simply a delight and joy to read.
The first chapter is on meat, and here Valentine creates delectable dishes out of some of the lesser used and less expensive cuts. There is a chapter on fish and shellfish (sustainable of course), vegetable and foraged foods. He bakes fabulous breads and turns eggs into treats. He writes a short chapter dedicated to toast – ‘toast as a vehicle’. Seriously what’s not to love about this man? Here you will find recipes such as: pigeon with blackcurrants & bacon on toast and one of my favourites in the book, tomatoes with Dijon mustard & cream on toast. There is also a pudding s and drinks chapter to satisfy the sweet-toothed hedonist amongst us.
What I like the most about Valentine after meeting him yesterday at his book signing and media lunch, is that he is exactly as I had imagined he would be. He speaks strongly about food provenenace and his concerns over how people eat and buy food. You can catch him at this week ends Good Food & Wine show at the CTICC.
This is a robust book, full of flavour and full of wonderful ideas. It celebrates the finest in British ingredients and lets “the rythms of nature dictate the menu”. Its one of the best cookbooks I’ve read in a long time and can see it being used and referred to for many years to come.