Book Review: Diana Henry: Food From Plenty (Mitchell Beazley)

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  • Diana Henry Food From Plenty

This is Diana Henry's best book since her ground-breaking debut, Crazy Water, Pickled Lemons. Those who know and cherish that first book will know just what weight that statement carries, because CW, PL is one of the best books of the last decade.

Ms Henry is a sensualist, and writes and cooks at her best when she is working out dishes that are soulful, plentiful, lush and generous. Those sort of dishes also bring out her best prose, and she is a fine prose stylist: “There's no grand plan: you just go where serendipity and improvisation take you”. How many other practising cookery writers would have the nous to write a sentence like that?

But serendipity and improvisation have lad Ms Henry to create a masterly book, and she ends each dish with a eries of suggestions about what to do with the left-overs from the main event – the cauliflower, bacon and Cashel Blue gratin makes a wonderful soup; the braised lamb shanks with gremolata can morph into Vietnamese lamb shanks with sweet potato, and she is truly fearless in including a recipe for Irish Stew completely unlike any I have ever seen. Jonathan Lovekin's photography is excellent, and if you don't tweet all your mates to tell them how fabulous Turkish carrots with lentils and herbs is the moment you have had a taste, then you ain't got no soul.