Marjorie Lang

Chef's Review: 'Food for all Seasons' by Oliver Rowe

by Marjorie Lang The Food 1 Jun 16

A Seasonal Story

We have been looking forward to receiving Oliver Rowe's 'Food for all Seasons' for months and so there was a general air of excitement when the parcel from Faber arrived, I was quick to stake my claim and enjoyed a weekend pouring over the pages of this beautifully considered book, before handing it back to the eager staff at Thyme.

Firstly, Oliver calls himself a 'Cook,' he speaks of 'Food.'  Honest, simple, straightforward … his book is full of this, passionate, descriptive and enthusiastic words.  There are simple, but beautiful illustrations.  So this is a book to be read… savoured, and taken as inspiration. He champions monthly seasonality, with its key ingredients. There are some lovely recipes, there are some pairings, there are simply some nudges in the right direction. Highlighting fine ingredients, natural and instinctive pairings, combinations, written about in a style that is knowledgeable, warm and erudite. You can feel the years that have been invested in putting these recipes together. Secondly, I love that it starts in October, for me a favourite food month. Oliver writes that this is when the bounty of the year, the plentiful harvest is in, and therefore it is the beginning...

In an effort to get fully up to speed with Oliver’s book and to try something seasonal within it, I decided to delve into the chapter where we are now, namely June.

The chapter starts with onions – I am immediately seduced. The smell of onions cooking always delights me. The knowledge that something delicious to eat is just beginning, and that the sweet, savoury, silky wonder that is the basis of so much in the kitchen will surely start this process.  However, I read on and abandoned my first choice ... I went for ‘Cherries Poached in Pernod.’  I love cherries … and I love Pernod!   Although truth be told, I hadn't tried them together before.  It turned out to be the perfect pairing, and I used it as the base for a floppy, soft trifle!! Cream, custard, nuts … the works. It was declared delicious by my happy family, dining crew ! So thank you Oliver for tempting me away from the onions.

At Thyme we approach our food in very much the same way. We look to the land, the hedgerows, our productive vegetable gardens and our fabulous local suppliers.  We then think for a bit ... and naturally the answers come. What will eat well together; what we are excited about; what we cannot wait to be cooking. In July we will be welcoming Oliver to join that process and find inspiration at Thyme and add a little Cotswold magic to the recipes in his truly delicious cook book. We can't wait ...

We are very grateful to Faber & Faber for providing the extract of Oliver's Recipe below 

Marjorie Lang is former BBC Masterchef winner & House Chef at Thyme