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Forever Summer

Forever Summer – Nigella Lawson
Chatto & Windus – 2002
Photography: Petrina Tinslay

I’ll start talking about Forever Summer by saying that one of the recipes I used from this I have already made 10-15 times and is a fail-safe lunch for me. However that recipe is one of only a handful that I have wanted to try from the book.
The introduction is very brusque but sets up the idea of prolonging summer and tweaking recipes so that they suit individual families or tastes. I’ve had the same problem with a lot of Lawson’s cookery writing in that I find her language quite hard to stomach. Each recipe has an introductory note before the ingredients but I ended up skipping most of these, the writing is very heavy-handed and I felt like I had been hit over the head with a thesaurus.
The fish and seafood is probably the best section in the book. Strangely for me there wasn’t one salad or soup that I was interested in while I was reading through. The vegetable section was also a highlight for me, it’s great to have a good balance of meat and veggie recipes in a book. The recipes are not all cold or overly light as one might expect from a ‘summer’ cook book and there are some lovely, quick supper recipes in there. Some of the recipes are so basic that they barely qualify as recipes, it’s nice having new ideas but it does make it difficult to see what occasion they would be used for, a lot seem like too much work for an everyday meal but not really enough of a dish for entertaining. The puddings were a real mixture – there were a couple I really liked the sound of but it’s a rather messy section.
The pictures are generally very good but can sometimes err on the side of being a bit too chefy. The font is easy to read although a little on the small side for my taste, having the ingredients in bold makes them easy to pick out and it nicely breaks the introduction from the recipe itself. The index is also well organised and makes the book easy to use.
Overall it’s not a bad book but there are not that many recipes that I would make and it’s really quite boring. Nothing to get overly excited about but a few great recipes dotted around the book made it worth the read through. My favourites were the Lomo de Orza, the Braised Little Gems and the Risi e Bisi. I did enjoy reading this, although it’s not my favourite book I always seem to get something out of Nigella Lawson’s ideas and will keep picking up her books.

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