Finding a new approach for a cookery writer can’t be easy, even if you have a well established repertoire like Antonio Carluccio.
Most of us will have at least one of his books on our kitchen shelves, and he must know that.
However, he has hit home with his latest book, Simple Cooking (Quadrille 2009)
Because he has centred his game on skilfully de-constructing his favourite recipes to make them easy and accessible to cooks of all levels.
I seriously doubt that many full time working parents jauntily grab a cookbook off the shelf on a week night to create a culinary delight for a hungry family.
From experience, evening meals can be frenetic, unmanaged affairs, often with disappointing results.
Carluccio has scored by keeping the recipe methods uncomplicated and his ingredients list brief.
Many of the recipes have a mere half dozen ingredients, many of which will be hiding in the kitchen cupboards.
It is possible to keep a whole recipe in your head whilst whizzing around the supermarket en route to the house and cook up a storm when you get there.
His second salvo is the emphasis on vegetables in the recipes, ensuring the five a day quota has half a chance of being reached
His hints on leftovers, alternatives and making things special are well placed on the page to augment the possibilities the book has to offer.
His final hit is that of thrift.
He advises on the staples for the larder and offers some versatile meals that can be prepared on a budget.
No bad thing these days.
It is difficult to choose my favourites, but if pressed I would go for the Chicken Baked with Rosemary and Garlic, Baked Courgettes with Tomato and Taleggio, Risotto with Mushrooms and the amazing Soup of Spare Ribs and Chickpeas.
As I cook my way through, I am confident that the favourites list will grow ever longer.
Antonio Carluccio’s Simple Cooking