Last year I reviewed Yvette Van Boven's first cookbook Home Made. In my review I said, "Home Made is the kind of book that makes you long for languid afternoons under the Provençal sun, brisk mornings shopping the markets of a cobblestoned street or strong coffee and pastries at a sidewalk café." I loved Home Made and have used it often in the past year. When Home Made Winter landed on my doorstep, my first thought, was "why?" Were the recipes so winter-specific they needed their own book? I turned on my light therapy box and aimed to find out.
The layout of both Home Made and Home Made Winter are striking enough to deserve mention. Full-page photographs take up some pages, while a dozen recipes take up two pages. Recipes overlay photos and step-by-step process photos guide you through other recipes. The photographs in Home Made Winter evoke wintry weather and winter tableaus. There's a black and white full-page photograph of a barren tree with the recipe for a cranberry and ice cream cocktail printed alongside. There are bowls of soup set out on a table next to a candle and a crusty loaf of bread. I was starting to warm to Home Made Winter.
There are chapters for breakfast, brunch & lunch, teatime, drinks, starters, main courses, and dessert, but within each chapter are also wintertime holidays such as Epiphany, New Year's Eve, St. Patrick's Day, and Halloween, along with a few holiday-specific recipes. Recipes in each chapter range from simple to more complex. There are scones, pizza, and various soups and stews, but also duck and sage terrine, cured beef sausage and the showstopper poached pear baked in a cardamom cake from the cover photograph. Many recipes are European classics such as colcannon, croquettes, porchetta, and banoffee pie. And there are lots of recipes for items that would make great gifts: flavored butters, caramel corn, apple cider, and Irish cream liqueur.
Some recipes are illustrated with photographs, while others are indeed illustrated. Whimsical drawings show you each step of the process for making dishes such as grapefruit and lime curd, frittatas, pulled pork, and a quinoa and apple cake. Most recipes include make-ahead or freezing tips, and while the author is Dutch, ingredients are pretty easily found in most supermarkets.
Flipping through this cookbook makes me feel optimistic about cooking this winter. There's no need to boost readers' moods about cooking in summer (although Home Made Summer is scheduled for release in 2013), since gardens, supermarkets, and farm stands overflow with sweet and colorful produce in the summertime. In the dark days ahead this winter, just when you think you'll only be eating potatoes and apples for months on end, this book has recipes for butternut squash soup topped with goat cheese crème, duck breast with raisins and dried apricots, oxtail stew with beluga lentils, beet blinis with cured salmon, and banana beignets. There are even salads, like the one with wild mushrooms, peppery mustard greens and goat cheese. Wintertime cooking just got a whole more inspired.