My new fave book

Irish author and celebrity chef Darina Allen is a woman after my own heart… and not just because she has, shall we say, a fairly flexible approach to meeting deadlines. (In her credits for her latest book, Forgotten Skills of Cooking, she admits: “I once heard my publisher introducing me as, ‘my author who doesn’t start to write the book in earnest until the deadline has passed’. “)

Darina is the founder of the famous Ballymaloe Cookery School in Ireland and has spent her life promoting her passion for honest, seasonal, organic food. I interviewed her earlier this year, when she was holidaying in New Zealand, and she was charming. Charming and so full of enthusiasm for all those old culinary skills like smoking, bottling, brewing and butchering the odd animal.  (I wrote about this book in my Down Country column in the Sunday magazine last month. Click here to read it.)

With more than 700 recipes, Forgotten Skills of Cooking is worth every cent of its $79.95 cover price (it’s published by Kyle Cathie and distributed in New Zealand by New Holland) I think it’s even better than Nigel Slater’s Tender Volume I (Vegetables) and Tender Vol. II (Fruit). And I think Nigel Slater is the thinking gardener’s crumpet (so to speak), so that’s saying something.