What’s on our book shelf this month?

‘Out of the Frying Pan into the Fire’. An Autobiography by Keith Floyd. Harper Collins.

Out of the frying pan into the fire by Keith Floyd

Second time around this number one of two Floyd autobiographies was even more engrossing. Rather than the Bon Viveur caricature often depicted by the press he reveals himself as incredibly hardworking, lion hearted, mercurial, unreasonable, naïve and streets ahead of his time.

Floyd acknowledges what a temperamental diva he was capable of being and he also comes across as incredibly humble and appreciative, ‘I would like to go back fifty years and travel round the world again without a film crew and thank everyone I have ever met.’

By launching a French style Bistro in Bristol in the late sixties Floyd was flying in the face of grand country hotels offering elaborate, formal food. A recurring theme is Floyd’s utter respect for proper food simply made with the freshest ingredients. He acknowledges the influence of Elizabeth David and his mother and her deep knowledge of ingredients and rustic dishes.

Rather than the affable bar fly media impression I originally had I’m inspired by just how flipping talented he was and how willing he was to take a risk, get stuck in and give things a go.

“Food For Free” by Richard Mabey. Collins gem

“I discovered this recently on our Bee Shack Cafe book shelf. Being a tiny little book it had become hidden in amongst the cook books.

It’s a pocket sized treasury of identification tips and culinary uses for anything you might find whilst out foraging. From Bog Myrtle to Shaggy Cap it’s all here for the picking.I’ve been inspired to take it for a weekend of family hedgerow harvesting this November.

Second hand copies easily available on Ebay or Amazon.

“Elizabeth David on Vegetables”. Quadrille 2013.

I have learnt so much not only of food but of culinary history, art, literature, people and places thanks to the lyrical, narrative of the great Elizabeth David.

The documentary about her, presented by Chris Patten, is excellent too- you can track it down in the used section of Amazon, (DVD).

This book is a lovely mix from the simplest of side dishes to hearty mains, including the pumpkin & tomato gratin. Although this particular recipe calls for breadcrumbs you can easily substitute gluten free oats, oat flour & olive oil to create a crumble.

There are many naturally free from dishes here and where just a little flour is used; more often than not, you can substitute a blend of sorghum, tapioca & maize flour.

Please note this is not a specific gluten free title.