Monday, July 23, 2012

Cookbook: Around Peter’s kitchen table

Cookbook ISBN 978-2-7466-4958

I’ve been a guest at Peter’s table for about six years, with fate making us near neighbours twice in two different countries: first at his home in London’s Chiswick, and once more when we arrived in France two years ago.

Even though he’s now in his eighties, he keeps the kind of busy schedule that would shame many people less than half his age. His dining table is always surrounded by those who  share his passions for good food, gardening, fine music and leaves from each other’s lives, well told.

Although he kept a small house in this area for many years, it wasn’t until quite recently that he made his main home in Condom close to the town’s central cathedral, and now, with typical energy has put together this cookery book. He writes about it:

It is an idiosyncratic collection of recipes tried and tested over the years. This is the pays of the duck, rabbit, walnuts, melons, figs, apricots and peaches not to mention tomatoes, peppers, and courgettes all bursting with flavour.

One cooks in my experience, not for oneself but to give pleasure to others. These recipes, which have all done that, are intended as guidelines only ... They have been garnered from many sources and some are my own invention.

Interspersed through the book are vignettes from the lives of the people who brought him to these recipes, and a potted history of his own fascinating life, having worked on several continents. From these life experiences and exposure to various cuisines over six decades has come this collection of 101 recipes.

I bought a copy yesterday and have just read through the biographical sections, and skimmed through many of the recipes, making mental notes of the local ingredients I will now know how to muster towards a respectable meal. The ratatouille he served me two years ago has become a staple in my household, and I look forward to multiplying that with other favourites such as his duck with ginger and pink grapefruit, or clafoutis.

Peter Brown’s Cookbook is handsomely laid out, with chapters covering everything from soups to desserts, by way of salads, poultry and seafood dishes, meat and preserves. I’m sure if food writer Elizabeth David knew what industry and taste has been inspired by her books in the 1950s she would be justifiably proud.

The book is available directly from Peter @ 18 € + postage. Contact him via email: petermarin2 @

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