Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Cookbook Review - A Year in Lucy's Kitchen

A Year in Lucy's Kitchen, Seasonal Recipes and Memorable Meals

Canadian food writer and Cordon-Bleu trained Lucy Waverman is a national favourite, both for her writing as a food columnist for The Globe and Mail and as the editor of the Liquor Control Board of Ontario's (LCBO) Food and Drink Magazine.

A Year in Lucy's Kitchen is her ninth book, and is considered a natural sequel to 2006's Lucy's Kitchen. Her other books include James Beard–nominated and Cuisine Canada Gold Medal–winner A Matter of Taste (with James Chatto).

A Year in Lucy's Kitchen invites the reader to embrace cooking at home as a pleasure as well as an act of environmentalism. The book is divided by month with an emphasis on cooking with the seasons. Her world travels have given her a sense of adventure and a broad palate, which translate seamlessly to this book which is geared for the everyday cook. Each month comes with theme menus that run from appetizers to desserts, all with wine pairings by her husband Bruce MacDougall, although one feels free to mix and match from different months.

Most of the recipes that I tested for this book review were from the fall and winter months.
A simple and delicious appetizer was this Cannellini and Arugula Crostini. Easy to make, healthy, and totally delicious. My daughter, 20 and semi-vegetarian, especially loved it.

The first main that we tried as the Chicken Curry. Lucy's version is quick and easy to put together and so beautifully spiced without being at all hot. I absolutely loved it.

For dessert that night, I served an Indian Rice Pudding from the same chapter. I was so impressed by how smooth and creamy it was, while it contained little sugar and no cream.

Our Thanksgiving was this week, so I made Lucy's Baked Sweet Potatoes with Maple Glaze, another dish that gives big flavour with simple ingredients.

To complement our holiday meal, I made the Fig Chutney and the Cranberry Pomegranate Relish. I enjoyed the addition of the pomegranate flavour to the cranberry relish, but I might have made the fig chutney a little spicier. I think the chutney would also be excellent for a cheese platter.

The first dessert that I tried was the Apple Strudel, I really appreciated how it was sweetened mostly with dried fruit. This was a favourite with hubby, and one that I will make again soon.

For our Thanksgiving dessert I made Lucy's Pumpkin Squares, which taste much like pumpkin pie but in a much more manageable form. These were perfect for after that rich meal. Although I did have to have ice cream around, as one of my children, who is almost an adult, does not eat pie in any form!

This is an excellent all-around cookbook, with something for everyone. As the chapters focus on the changing seasons, it is especially relevant to those who live in climates that have seasonal changes to their weather and foods.
The emphasis is on family and entertaining without too much fuss, which I think would make the book a wonderful choice for a mom for Christmas or as a hostess gift.