Books I've just read

Read More Yes Chef, Marcus Samuelsson

Posted on Thu, 06/09/2018

I spend far too much time at my computor these days, reading the various political American websites, obsessed as I am with the journey and ramifications of Donald Trump. Have forced myself away from the latest daily roundup...>>>

Read More Cork Dork, Bianca Bosker

Posted on Thu, 09/08/2018

When we opened Somerset back in '86 we were completely BYO. The Liquor Licensing laws didn't change until 1989 I think it was, and back in those days you were either licensed or you were BYO. We remained BYO only,...>>>

Read More Shadows in the Vineyard

Posted on Tue, 02/01/2018

Most of the books I read these days are  health focused in orientation. I actually can't remember the last novel I picked up which is a shame.  Rather it tends to be books on brain development and on how our...>>>

Read More Marlborough Man, Allan Scott

Posted on Wed, 05/04/2017

The NZ wine industry is now entering a time frame, where the generation responsible for the dramatic increase in plantings and production in the late seventies and early eighties, are  getting to the age where they're...>>>

Read More Cooked - Michael Pollan

Posted on Thu, 05/09/2013

Every so often I am struck by a sense of serendipity,  a feeling of the right things happening at the right time, for no other reason than it is simply right, for me, now. And so it was with this book. It arrived at...>>>

Read More The Winemaker, George Fistonich and the Villa Maria Story

Posted on Fri, 28/06/2013

While we are priviledged to have had the opportunity to meet and get to know some of the varied and interesting personalities in the NZ wine industry,  we have never encountered George Fistonich of Villa Maria, but...>>>

Read More Bouchon Bakery - Thomas Keller

Posted on Thu, 06/12/2012

I am in heaven! And I shouldn't be - we have a busy day on today, and there is stuff I should be attending too, but a phone call came thru from Books a Plenty yesterday that one of the books I'd ordered had arrived, so because...>>>

Read More Taste, what you're missing - Barb Stuckey

Posted on Thu, 07/06/2012

A confession. I've actually just curled up on the chair in the lounge that's catching some of the afternoon sun's rays, to start rereading this book. It is so loaded with information that I've decided my initial read was...>>>

Read More Lucky Peach

Posted on Sat, 05/05/2012

I am due shortly to head over to the restaurant for evening service. We are in for a full night tonight, which I am pleased about, becos the rest of the week hasn't been that busy. Maybe the sudden drop in temperature in...>>>

Read More Fleur

Posted on Fri, 20/04/2012

I walk every Wednesday morning with a very  wise woman, who's company and counsel I thoroughly enjoy, meaning I usually end up coming home more invigorated from the conversation than I do from any form of aerobic workout! By...>>>

Read More The Table Comes First - Adam Gopnik

Posted on Tue, 10/04/2012

The blurb on the inside of the cover of this book states: 'Never before have we cared so much about food. It preoccupies our popular culture, our fantasies, and even our moralizing - "you still eat meat?". With our top chefs...>>>

Read More Born to Run - Christopher Mc Dougall

Posted on Sat, 03/03/2012

This would have to simply be one of the most inspirational books I have ever read, and I don't say that lightly even though I approached reading it, with a reasonable modicum of scepticism on the back of a  recent conversation...>>>

Read More The Art of Travel - Alain de Botton

Posted on Sun, 26/02/2012

Why do we travel? Why do we go to all the expense and angst of removing ourselves from our comfortable everyday life, to travel to the other side of the world, via ridiculously cramped ( for those of us who fly cattle class!)...>>>

Read More La Bella Lingua - Dianne Hales

Posted on Sat, 18/02/2012

I have just finished reading 'La Bella Lingua', sitting out the back on our rickardy old deck, enjoying the slow haze of a summers afternoon, with a  cresendo of cicadas in the background. We have just about finalised...>>>

Read More The Widow Cliquot - Tilar J. Mazzeo

Posted on Sun, 16/10/2011

I am about to head over to the restaurant to retrieve some notes I left over there last nite. I had come home a little early becos I wasn't feeling so hot, and curled up on the couch to watch the France/Wales game, but retreated...>>>

Read More Blood, Bones and Butter - Gabrielle Hamilton

Posted on Tue, 28/06/2011

I had ordered this book a few weeks ago via Amazon, and in the intervening time happened upon a number of reviews of it, in the types of lifestyle magazines that made me a little apprehensive about what to expect. My decision...>>>

Read More The Hundred-Foot Journey, Richard C. Morais

Posted on Sun, 08/05/2011

I've done very little reading of books over the last few months, becos my focus has been on plowing thru all my diaries and doing that effectively cancelled out any spare time to delve into books. Brenda lent me this one...>>>

Read More Plenty

Posted on Sat, 02/04/2011

Good customers of ours came in for lunch yesterday and brought us a cookbook, one they'd told me about when they'd been at a cookschool the previous week. And as is typical of a small community, Gillian relayed who various...>>>

Read More 52 Loaves - William Alexander

Posted on Mon, 24/01/2011

Went  over to the Mount this morning, for our Monday habitual, and the waves crashing in were spectacular. Wouldn't have liked to be heading around the base track at high tide, which I believe was due in a few hours...>>>

Read More Ferran - The inside story of el bulli and the man who reinvented food -Colman Andrews

Posted on Tue, 28/12/2010

A pile of books from Amazon arrived just prior to our Christmas break, which I took to be very fortuitous timing, since one of my favourite things to do in down time is curl up with a book. And so it has been...most of...>>>

Read More Dining Out A History of the Restaurant in New Zealand - Perrin Rowland

Posted on Tue, 28/09/2010

I met Rick when I got a job at The Coachman Restaurant in Courtenay Pl, Wellington, back in what would have '82 or '83. He was Des Brittans sous chef by the time I started there, and I was parttime, working nites, while I...>>>

Read More Liquid Memory - Jonathon Nossiter

Posted on Tue, 17/08/2010

Rick is out on his bike ( again!), and I have a half hour or so to fill in before I take the dogs down below for their predinner exercise, so thought I'd write about this book, having just finally finished it. It took...>>>

Read More Medium Raw - Anthony Bourdain

Posted on Wed, 07/07/2010

I ordered this book thru Amazon a couple of weeks back, and while I waited for the parcel to duly arrive on my doorstep, I happened to read a number of reviews of it, in the various magazines that I get. Most of which were...>>>

Read More Life is a Menu - Michel Roux; and , A life in the kitchen - Michel Roux Jr

Posted on Sat, 10/04/2010

It was interesting to read these books one after the other to get a feeling for the similarities and then the distinctions between two generations of restaurant royalty in England.   Michel Roux snr opened La Gavroche...>>>

Read More Lunch in Paris - Elizabeth Bard

Posted on Sat, 20/03/2010

I have half an hour before Holly arrives to accompany me to The Elms, where we'll by setting up champagne to serve to guests after a wedding ceremony. From there I shoot up to Ambiance, up Pyes Pa Rd, where all the other...>>>

Read More The Kitchen, and Cookbook - Nicolas Freeling

Posted on Sat, 06/03/2010

Larry left these books for me when he was in NZ last year, and I've just finished the second one today. The author wasn't someone I was familiar with, but apparently he was wellknown in the States as a novelist. Before...>>>

Read More Au Revoir to all that - Michael Steinberger

Posted on Fri, 05/03/2010

Sat down to write this blog last nite when I'd come back over from the restaurant - but have just reread what I wrote then, and decided that I was much too grumpy - thrown off kilter by a table who refused to be satisfied...>>>

Read More The Fat Duck Cookbook - Heston Blumenthal

Posted on Sun, 24/01/2010

Well, well, well. I dipped into this book almost reluctantly, becos I've never been taken by Heston Blumenthal when I've happened to catch him on TV. But John, one of our sous chefs,  had brought the book in to show...>>>

Read More Eat me - The food and philosophy of Kenny Shopsin

Posted on Wed, 20/01/2010

The arrival of this book was impeccably timed, becos it made perfect reading for my here and now. Kenny Shopsin and his wife Eve started out with a corner grocery store in New York over 35 years ago, and when the landlord...>>>

Read More Nigel Slaters pick of top cookbooks

Posted on Sat, 26/12/2009

One of the long standing jokes in the cookschools are the slight tweaks and modifications that  Rick suggests people make to his recipes. Becos we repeat the classes a number of times, Rick sometimes evolves a slightly...>>>

Read More Julie and Julia - Julie Powell

Posted on Sat, 21/11/2009

In this current cookschool series, the various dishes that Rick is doing, include a reasonable quotient of butter. Thats not deliberate - he didn't set out to come up with a menu that incorporated lots of butter - but when...>>>

Read More Born Round - Frank Bruni

Posted on Sat, 07/11/2009

I'm waiting for the vege bed I've just dug over to get a solid 2 hour drenching, before I take down the tomato plants we bought at the market this morning on our way to the Mount, and plant them.  Getting the watering...>>>

Read More The Auberge of the Flowering Hearth - Roy Andries de Groot

Posted on Sun, 27/09/2009

I am not quite sure how I got to read about this book, but one of the food writers that I refer too would have recommended it, and as a result motivated me to buy it thru Amazon. The only problem with buying books that way,...>>>

Read More My Fathers Shadow - A Portrait of Justice Peter Mahon - Sam Mahon

Posted on Sun, 16/08/2009

I'm not quite sure what prompted me to buy this book, but I do distinctly remember reading a Sunday paper review of it, a year or so ago,  and thinking that it was one I'd like to read, and the next time I was in Books...>>>

Read More Farm City - Novella Carpenter

Posted on Sun, 28/06/2009

I'm not sure what the acreage of the land we have here is - but by  comparison to what the lady who wrote this book lives in, in inner city Oakland, USA, it is substantial. Which makes me now feel incredibly lazy, becos...>>>

Read More Hungry for Paris - Alexander Lobrano

Posted on Fri, 26/06/2009

I've been working my way thru this book for over a year, its been over at the restaurant in amongst the stack of books in the bar, and is what I dip into, either early in the nite when we're waiting for customers, or, on...>>>

Read More The School of Essential Ingredients - Erica Baumeister

Posted on Fri, 19/06/2009

This book arrived from Amazon yest morning, and by 6.30pm when I headed over to the restaurant I'd devoured it, while perched in an armchair nursing a snoozing puppy, with the afternoon sun streaming in on us both. All very...>>>

Read More Serious Pig - John Thorne

Posted on Sat, 06/06/2009

Reading is something that I simply have to do. I pick up a book most nites before I sleep becos I must. And I've never really considered why that should be, but am just very thankful that access to a constant pile of books...>>>

Read More The Sweet Life in Paris - David Lebovitz

Posted on Tue, 26/05/2009

My brain is currently full of mundane matters, so to cheer myself up I've been sitting at the computor getting up to date on some of the food blogs that I most enjoy. Not at all surprised to see that Dorie Greenspans latest...>>>

Read More The Discovery of France - Graham Robb

Posted on Sun, 03/05/2009

We head up to Auckland shortly to pick up Courteney from the airport. She doesn't get in until close to 11pm, so we'll use the time to have a catch up dinner with Hannah - Tabou I think. I've just taken a couple of sultana...>>>

Read More Olives - The Life and Lore of a Noble Fruit - Mort Rosenblum

Posted on Sat, 18/04/2009

Yet another single subject book that is truly fascinating in its scope and the degree  of detail that it covers, while written in an engaging and easy to read style. As I understand it, Mort Rosenblum is an American...>>>

Read More The Secret Life of the Seine - Mort Rosenblum

Posted on Tue, 07/04/2009

We have had the good fortune to do 2 major trips to Europe in the last few years - each based around 2 weeks of cookschools. The first was in rural Tuscany at a gorgeous Podere outside the small village of Asciano. The second...>>>

Read More A Goose in Toulouse - Mort Rosenblum

Posted on Thu, 26/03/2009

I've just finished compiling a stack of newsletters. We have some friends coming to help with the ' fold/put in envelopes/affix stamp' stage in the morning, so wanted to be organised. We have a large outcatering wedding...>>>

Read More Chocolate - Mort Rosemblum

Posted on Fri, 06/03/2009

A book about the chocolate trail - from where it is grown and harvested, in a band of countries around the equator, to the history of how the first cacao beans were taken back to Europe and its subsequent evolution to the...>>>

Read More Yquem - Richard Olney

Posted on Mon, 26/01/2009

Richard Olney was an American who spent most of his life living in France, and who became a reknown expert on both cooking and French wine. His autobiography, ' Reflexions', which I've written about previously, was a fascinating...>>>

Read More Paris to the Moon - Adam Gopnik

Posted on Sat, 24/01/2009

Have woken to intense blue skies,  much to my considerable relief. We are catering a large wedding in a marquee tonite, and as organised as you can aim to be, everything, but everything in these marquee weddings centers...>>>

Read More Wild Garlic Gooseberries..and me - Denis Cotter

Posted on Wed, 21/01/2009

Denis Cotter owns a vegetarian restaurant in the city of Cork in Southern Ireland called, Cafe Paradiso. We have met him and his ex wife on a number of occasions when they were back in Tauranga visiting Bridgets relatives....>>>

Read More Romanee-Conti - Richard Olney

Posted on Wed, 07/01/2009

Richard Olney is one of my foodwriting heros. I read his autobiography last year with a sense of umtrammeled delight, and in  response to that, tracked down the 2 books he'd written on 2 of the worlds greatest wines...>>>

Read More Ma Gastronomie - Fernand Point

Posted on Tue, 06/01/2009

This is an old cookbook by a classicist French chef who died in the 1950's which has been republished, becos I suspect, some of the more reknown chefs in these current times, claim it as a seminal book in their...>>>

Read More Amarcord - Marcella Hazan

Posted on Sat, 03/01/2009

Marcella Hazan was the first Italian food writer whose cookbooks we used back in the mid 80's when we started here at Somerset, and although our library has extended considerably since those days, it is still her...>>>

Read More On The Line - Eric Ripert

Posted on Tue, 30/12/2008

I always find books like this somewhat fascinating, becos even though I think I am reasonably savy about the restaurant world, I have to concede there are a lot of fundamental differences between what we do here in Tauranga,...>>>

Read More Like Water for Chocolate - Laura Esquivel

Posted on Tue, 02/12/2008

A book I've meant to read for years, having heard so much about it. Based in Mexico is tells the story of one womans life as woven around her ability to cook. Mystical and magical, but with the very modern thread of people...>>>

Read More Reflexions - Richard Olney

Posted on Thu, 06/11/2008

An extraordinary book. I've just finished it, reluctantly - becos I didn't want it to come to an end. But Rick and Courteney were out on their bikes; we'd done a cookschool today, and my head wasn't really in the right space...>>>

Read More elBulli

Posted on Fri, 24/10/2008

An insight into the ideas, methods and creativity of Ferran Adria, who is the chef at elBulli, a restaurant that is constantly touted as THE BEST RESTAURANT IN THE WORLD. This is my third attempt to get the blog about...>>>

Read More Cod Mark Kurlansky

Posted on Tue, 21/10/2008

This is described on the cover blurb as a 'biography about the fish that changed the world', which sounds somewhat grandiose, especially to us in NZ for whom cod has never featured as part of our diet; but it makes for fascinating...>>>

Read More Mouth Wide Open John Thorne

Posted on Sat, 04/10/2008

I have found a new food writing lodestar - and I'm not even sure who lead me to this book. I ordered it thru Amazon, which means I will have read a review somewhere - possibly in the latest edition of Art of Eating( the best...>>>

Read More La Grenouille

Posted on Mon, 18/08/2008

This is an article, not a book, in the latest Vanity Fair, a magazine I love for its pastiche of articles on all sorts of subjects. Quite often I get to read fascinating detail about one of the great restaurants somewhere...>>>

Read More The House of Mondavi Julia Flynn Siler

Posted on Wed, 25/06/2008

Have just come back over to the house from a cookschool, and am luxeriating in the warm glow that classes tend to impart. Lots of laughs in this class. A nice mix of some of my favourite long term attendees, together with...>>>

Read More Judgement of Paris George M. Taber

Posted on Tue, 17/06/2008

So far, in my life's work of tasting and learning to understand wines, I have experienced very little of the wines from California - in fact most of my focus on that area revolves more around the hope that Rick and I...>>>

Read More How to Pick a Peach Russ Parsons

Posted on Fri, 30/05/2008

Am going to cheat a little with this post - but have just been following a series of foodblog links and ended up quite by chance on a website with a rave review of this book, which I have quite coincidently finished reading...>>>

Read More Salt a World History Mark Kurlansky

Posted on Wed, 23/01/2008

I remember reading reviews of this book when it first came out in 2003 and  meaning to buy, but somehow never getting quite round to doing so. Was very pleased therefore to discover it in a friends bookcase after yet...>>>

Read More Setting the Table - the transforming power of hospitality in business, Danny Meyer`

Posted on Tue, 08/01/2008

Danny Meyer is a political science graduate who made the decision in his late 20s to follow his heart and open his first restaurant, the Union Square Cafe, which over the last 20 years has become one of the most famous restaurants...>>>

Read More Playing with Fire Gordon Ramsay

Posted on Wed, 05/12/2007

As I believe I've stated elsewhere, I'm a huge fan of Gordon Ramsay -believing that there had to be so much more to him than came accross initially in the early TV shows that he did.  The later ones, 'Kitchen Nightmares"...>>>

Read More The Sharper Your Knive, the Less You Cry

Posted on Wed, 05/12/2007

A description of discovering mid life that you aren't happy in your corporate life ( being made redundant tends to cast a negative pall over things), and seeking to retrain and follow your dreams. I'm lucky. Apart from a...>>>

Read More The Tenth Muse My Life in Food Judith Jones

Posted on Wed, 05/12/2007

I wrote in my diary when I finished this book the other day, that it was a life story that I could strongly identify with, and was a story that I didn't want to end. Judith Jones is the legendary editor who worked with Julia...>>>

Read More At Home in France - Tales of an American and Her House Abroad

Posted on Mon, 03/12/2007

A gentle book - made all the more poignant on discovering a publishing footnote right at the end, to say that the author died before the book was published.  A shock, and reminder that none of us know what the immediate...>>>

Read More Service Included - Four Star Secrets of an Evesdropping Waiter Phoebe Damrosch

Posted on Sat, 24/11/2007

The title is a red herring. This book is not about what the waitress overhears at tables, but more about the process of becoming a professional  waiter at Per Se, the restaurant that Thomas Keller of The French Laundry...>>>

Read More The French Cafe Cookbook

Posted on Mon, 19/11/2007

The French Cafe is one of New Zealands top restaurants, and we've been going for years, thru 3 changes of owners.  We've always liked it - always found that it pushes the barrow just enough to make it interesting and...>>>

Read More From Here, You Can't See Paris

Posted on Tue, 23/10/2007

To be perfectly correct, I've just read this book for the second time. An American friend who has a great love of travel and eating well, regularly updates me on  his experiences, and prompts me in the direction of things...>>>

Read More Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin The Physiology of Taste

Posted on Sat, 04/08/2007

A book that has been sitting beside my bed for months - the pomposity of the title acting as  a disencentive for me to start reading. I'd bought it becos Brillat-Savarin is oft-quoted by food writers, and his pithy and...>>>

Read More Heat - Bill Burford

Posted on Sat, 07/07/2007

The restaurant has been very quiet over the last 2 weeks - to be expected this time of year, but never a fact that I actually embrace, becos the number of bills that require paying never seem to diminish by quite the same...>>>

Read More Gordon Ramsey Humble Pie

Posted on Thu, 05/07/2007

I've long been a fan of Gordon Ramsey - an opinion that seems to run counter to the majority of people whenever he comes up in conversation. Peoples aversion seems to be centered on his expletive driven language, and what...>>>

Read More Chez Panisse

Posted on Tue, 01/05/2007

  Amazon has been a major influence on me. I buy a number of books thru its website every month - partly becos they are books I want and go looking for, and sometimes becos Amazon sends me an alert about a book...>>>

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