The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Indulgence -

THE best Proven­cal cook­ery books are well il­lus­trated be­cause food in Provence is an art and the way it looks, driz­zled with oil on the plate or gleam­ing in the sun at a mar­ket, is part of its ap­peal. ProvenceCook­eryS­chool:Shop, CookandEatLikeaLo­cal by Gui Gedda and Marie-Pierre Moine (Dor­ling Kindersley, $49.95) fits the bill. More than 100 re­gional recipes are or­gan­ised ac­cord­ing to the days, re­flect­ing the progress of a sin­gle week at the cook­ery school. Moine runs the school and Gedda, a ven­er­a­blelook­ing man with a neat grey mous­tache and usu­ally, here, with a bunch of herbs pressed to his nose or a spoon at his lips, is the chef.

Tues­day be­gins with a visit to an out­door food mar­ket. There are tips on how to spot the best lo­cally grown pro­duce: look­ing, smelling, touch­ing. But first: ‘‘ Get up early.’’

In­gre­di­ents and prepa­ra­tion are ex­plained step by step and pic­tured clearly: in­fus­ing rose­mary for a lamb stew (with honey and rose wine in this recipe), pre­par­ing ar­ti­chokes, stuff­ing chicken legs.

This is the rus­tic food of the re­gion: pissal­adiere (onion and olive tart), fresh broad bean soup, daube de boeuf (cooked for at least three hours and left overnight), pork with sage, peach cake; and ne­ces­si­ties such as rouille (saf­fron may­on­naise stirred into bouil­l­abaisse or spread on crou­tons), tape­nade and fougasse.

BeyondNose­toTail:AKind­ofBri­tishCook­ing PartII by Fer­gus Henderson and Justin Piers Gel­latly (Blooms­bury, dis­trib­uted by Allen & Un­win, $45) pro­vides a sur­real, cold-cli­mate con­trast to Provence.

Henderson is the cultish chef at St John restau­rant in Lon­don and this is the se­quel to his ear­lier book, Nose­toTailEat­ing. In small-for­mat hard­back, it is an arty pro­duc­tion for a very earthy, work­ers’ cui­sine of Eng­land past. Henderson is part of the move­ment to res­ur­rect this style of food and to bring back eat­ing the whole an­i­mal.

There are many in­trigu­ing recipes and the book is a plea­sure in it­self, but I’m afraid snail, trot­ter, sausage and chick­peas won’t ‘‘ bring com­fort’’ to me on a cold day, as the chef be­lieves. I’m sorry to say, there is even a recipe for braised squir­rel.

But Gel­latly, head baker and pas­try chef at St John and its sis­ter restau­rant St John Bread and Wine, who has joined Henderson in his new book, adds his sweeter skills with breads, twists on tra­di­tional pud­dings, ice creams and cakes, in­clud­ing brown bread and ar­magnac ice cream.

There is an ex­cel­lent clutch of pages on sour­dough bread recipes, and their ‘‘ mother’’ and how to make it. (The mother is used in sour­dough breads in place of com­mer­cial yeasts, and here is made from a mix of flours, wa­ter, yo­ghurt and a stick of rhubarb.)

It is an ec­cen­tric book and the de­sign is very tongue-in-cheek (though I hes­i­tate to use ei­ther of those de­scrip­tions); one of the pho­to­graphs is of a chef with a meringue crown on her head, next to the recipe for the clas­sic queen of pud­dings. Ju­dith Elen

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