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Time Out reviews the best recipe books for simple, satisfying meals

The Vicar's Wife Cook Book

Elisa Beynon, Fourth Estate, £18.99

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Author Elisa Beynon was the winner of a competition run by book publisher Fourth Estate and Waitrose Food Illustrated to find a ‘new voice in food writing’. The winner would (and duly did) have their book published – and this impressively hefty volume is the result. With its cover depicting wholesome brown bread being torn by hand and its mildly religious-sounding title, the book has a homely, somewhat nostalgic, old-fashioned feel to it, the sort of thing that has you reaching for your pinny and dusting muffin trays with organic flour.

Chapters entitled ‘Sunday Lunch’, ‘Dinner for Friends’ and cost-conscious ‘Weekday Suppers’ make it plain that this book is about no-nonsense home cooking. There are plenty of stews and slow braises, a fair few roasts and some indulgent, classic English puddings – the sort of dinners you might just rustle up if you were inviting Nigel Slater round (Slater, incidentally, was one of the competition’s judges).

Beynon’s voice comes through as that of a pragmatic, accomplished cook with an obvious love of feeding people. Her recipes have very clear instructions, making them suitable for beginner cooks who need some practical advice in the kitchen. And, thanks to the sanity-checking of a couple of first-rate home economists who collaborated with her on this book, you can rest assured that the recipes work.

Susan Low, Time Out London Issue 2018: April 23-29 2009

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