Miss Dahl’s Voluptuous Delights

Miss Dahl

Miss Dahl’s Voluptuous Delights – Sophie Dahl
Harper Collins – 2009
Photographer – Jan Baldwin

The real pull of Sophie Dahl’s cookery for me is the stories that you get with them. I read her cookbooks in the wrong order – starting with Season-to-Season and I am quite glad I did because I much preferred that one to this.
The written, story sections are wonderful and she is clearly a very good story-teller but they do run long in places and it would be nice to have them broken up a bit more and distributed throughout the recipes (exactly what they do in her second book). As with her other book this is broken into seasons, something that is definitely the fashion these days and I quite like it – it makes choosing a full menu from the book easier as you are likely to want three from a season rather than from all over the book.
The brief notes about the origins and details of each recipe are great to have in there and I liked reading them before getting to each new piece.
One of the nicest things for me is that Dahl uses spelt flour. I am not coeliac but I don’t like gluten very much and using spelt is fantastic, she also uses agave and oats so people watching carbs and trying to stop nasty sugar spikes will also find lots of tips here. Having said that she doesn’t use too many hard to find ingredients – there are a few you might have to ask for in the supermarket but most are either going to be in the pantry or easy to find.
The photography is beautiful but a lot of the pictures show the ingredients rather than the final dish which seems like a waste to me when it would be lovely to know what the plate is supposed to look like in the end. However – the pictures that you do get certainly work on the imagination. It’s a lovely high quality book although the font is a bit tiring on the eyes after a while – not such a big thing for a cookbook when you’re only reading a bit at a time but the biographical sections are harder.
I think the only real let-down with this is the lack of originality, there are a lot of old favourites in here which are nice to see from Dahl’s way of cooking but most people will already have a tried-and-tested version themselves. It’s a good book but I definitely got more out of her second and I preferred the personal-life sections to a lot of the recipes.
My favourite recipes from the book include the Peasant Soup, the Pear and Ginger Muffins, the Courgette and Watercress Soup and the Ginger Parkin.

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