A catchy title and cheerful busy cover with smiling animals – a hen, cat, wolf and hedgehog – who are surrounded by vegetables and fruit, instantly attract the eye. Not only that, the cover is laminated pvc – eminently practical for kitchen use. The presentation inside is as attractive – well spaced text with a pleasant sans-serif font broken into easily digested chunks make the recipes easy to assimilate. The illustrations add to the child-friendly impression. And these recipes are certainly designed to be used with the active involvement of children – though some would need a great deal of adult supervision – the Zucchini Beignets for one. Originally published in France, the selection of recipes is also bright, cheerful and unusual. Out go Chocolate Brownies and sausages, in come Cherry Clafoutis (delicious – compliments all round!) and Duck Tenderloins with grapes. There are some quite surprising – and possibly challenging ideas – Orange Soup which involves prawns might be one. However, they also encourage an adventurous attitude to food. The organisation of the recipes breaks away from a systematic categorisation as Starters, Meat or Dessert to take a seasonal approach, concentrating on particular ingredients, mainly the fruit or vegetables that would be available at that time.
A couple of caveats: I do not think asparagus tips need to be steamed for 40 minutes. Perhaps, it should be 4? In describing the making of a pate brisee for the raspberry pie , the pate – pastry – is described as a “batter” – a misleading description for a British audience. Finally, in the recipe for Iced Pea Soup, it is left to the reader to realise that all the ingredients should be added to the boiling stock. Cooking is a social activity and should be enjoyed – as should the results of the cooking. This is a recipe book to encourage both those goals; a delicious addition to the kitchen shelf.