Winter on the Farm
Matthew Evans – Book Review by Franz Scheurer
With his last book, The Real Food Companion, Matthew showed us that he is capable of not only writing a serious book, but also one that should stay in use in all kitchens for a very long time. His latest book, Winter on the Farm is less of a reference book and more of a storybook with recipes of life on a farm in the cold winter of Tasmania.
Visually the book follows a recent trend to ‘less glossy more feel’ and it’s a book that is just as at home on the coffee table as it is in the kitchen. The recipes remind me of my childhood upbringing in Switzerland where the weather does dictate the food people eat. Most of the recipes in Matthew’s book would work just as well feeding the inhabitants of Norway as they work here (in winter).
Alan Benson is definitely one of the most gifted photographers out there and he not only captures the food he also stimulates the imagination with his interpretation of farm life and cold temperatures outside.
The book is divided into:
Pudding and things to eat while drinking tea
And finally Hot drinks and nibble
I’m no friend of sweet porridge so I am not going to try his ‘The Perfect Date and Banana Porridge’ however good it sounds, but his ‘Corned Beef Hash’ makes me want to go into the kitchen and cook breakfast. In the soup section his ‘Sausage and White Bean Soup’ makes me salivate and I love his interpretation of ‘Semolina Gnocchi’, it’s so rich it’s perfect.
I did have a good chuckle at the pic on pages 68/69 where Matthew pushes a wheelbarrow of pristine straw though some really deep mud wearing appropriate gumboots and a designer jacket…
His ‘Cabbage and Speck Risotto’ speaks to the Swiss in me as does the ‘Taragna’ a buckwheat polenta that you find in Ticino. Mush more ‘Aussie’ would be the ‘Cottage Pie with Mustard Cheese Topping’ or the excellent ‘Stout, Beef Shin and Mushroom Pie’. I commend Matthew for including a vegetable chapter as they are still often neglected in our diet. You don’t have to make the ‘Jannson’s Temptation’ a rich, Swedish inspired potato and cream dish, but you absolutely must try his ‘Caramelised Brussels Sprout Colcannon’.
If you’re into sweet things, try the ‘Kentish Cherry and Elderflower Fruit Pudding’ or bake some of the finger-lickingly scrumptious ‘Brown Sugar Hazelnut Biscuits’.
This is a really lovely book, perfectly timed and please do have a look at it.