S I M P L E C O O K I N G - M O S T L Y P L A N T S. A collection of recipes for Autumn and Winter presented in a similar spirit to the best-selling Eat. The 100 recipes are plant-based and bring together ideas for straightforward, modern cooking using vegetables, fruit, grains and pasta. Neither strictly vegetarian nor vegan the collection nevertheless contains no meat or fish. The recipes are simple and concise. This is contemporary cooking for every day.
The book is cloth-bound in jewel coloured linen with every recipe beautifully illustrated. The books are tactile, user-friendly and in a more compact format than the usual cookery manual. Like Eat, GreenFeast is designed to open flat with regular use.
The recipes are Nigel's characateristic simple home cooking, developed with James Thompson and photographed by Jonathan Lovekin. The book is illustrated by Tom Kemp and published by Fourth Estate.
From the introduction:
Dinner is different in winter. The change starts late on a summer’s evening, when you first notice the soft, familiar scent of distant woodsmoke in the sudden chill of the evening air. Then, a day or two later, a damp, mushroomy mist hovers over the gardens and parks. Later, you notice the leaves have turned silently from yellow ochre to the walnut hue of tobacco. Autumn is here once again. You may sigh, rejoice or open a bottle. For many, this is the end of their year. For me, this is when it starts, when warmth, and bonhomie come to the fore. Energy returns.
With the change of weather, supper takes on a more significant role. We are suddenly hungry. Once the nights draw in, I am no longer satisfied by plates of milky burrata and slices of sweet, apricot-fleshed melon. No more am I content with a bowl of couscous with peaches, soft cheese and herbs for dinner. What I crave now is food that is both cosseting and warming, substantial and deeply satisfying. Food that nourishes but also sets me up for going back out in the cold and wet. And yet, I still find my diet is heavily plant based with less emphasis on meat. It is simply the way it has progressed over the years and shows little sign of abating.
At the start of the longest half of the year, our appetite is pricked by the sudden drop in temperature, and as evenings get longer, we have the opportunity to spend a little more time in the kitchen. To mash beans into buttery clouds. Simmer vegetable stews to serve with bowls of couscous. To bring dishes of sweet potato to melting tenderness in spiced cream. And of course, the pasta jar comes out again.
My cold weather eating is more substantial than the food I eat for the rest of the year. Dinner becomes about one main dish rather than several lighter ones, and the focus shifts towards keeping warm. On returning home I will now happily spend an hour cooking. Maybe a little longer.
The oven gets more use at this time of year, the grill and griddle probably less. More food will come to the table in deep casseroles and pie dishes. I dig out my capacious ladle for a creamed celeriac soup as soft as velvet. The temperature of the plates and bowls will change. We want to hold things that warm our hands, a sign of the happiness to come.