Breakfast Lunch Tea Hardcover – Dec 1 2005
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Bolstered with striking images of a day in the life of her namesake Paris bakery, self-made chef Carrarini's fine compilation of rustic French foods skillfully echoes her restaurant's mission, "to dissolve the distinction between home and restaurant cooking." Focusing on simple foods and emphasizing fresh, high-quality ingredients, Carranini's classic recipes for pancakes, scones and tarts-"the culmination of years of our taking out what is not necessary"-allow the ingredients to shine through. Favoring baked goods, Carrarini offers a generous selection of cakes, including Lemon Cake, Fruit Cake and Ricotta Cheesecake; cookies, such as Gingerbread, Regelach and Almond Cinnamon Meringue; and bars like Coconut Custard, Date and Oat. Also included are more rarified baked goods such as bread-like Fresh Ginger Cake ("wonderful toasted and eaten warm with butter") and gluten-free Orange Almond Cakes. Heartier fare, such as Braised Lamb Shanks with Cumin, Aubergines and Chickpeas is also included, but the focus remains on lighter dishes. Fans of the Barefoot Contessa cookbook series will find this a fitting (and perhaps superior) companion to Barefoot in Paris.
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'A perfect marriage between French style and sensible English cooking.' The Independent 'manages to convey the sense that baking a good cake and placing it on a counter, still warm, is a wonderful way to show love and make people happy.' The Guardian 'there's so much here you actually want to cook. Which is what food writing is all about.' Evening Standard 'so evocatively written and beautifully shot, you can almost sniff the delicious scent of baking as you leaf through the pages.' The Sunday Tribune (Ireland) '...fine compilation of rustic French foods...' Publishers weeklySee all Product Description
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I love this book!
Then there is the author's story, a tale of a woman who loves food and people. With no formal training and a belief in natural, fresh and unpretentious dishes, Rose Carranini built the wildly successful business. Her sense of purpose and commitment to quality and sustainability is impressive and her affection for her patrons is palpable.
Finally, the recipes themselves are superb. Basically, there are two types of people: those who follow recipes to a tee and those who view recipes as a guide or starting point for their own creativity. The author advocates the flexible approach. She encourages the cooks to use their favorite ingredients and substitutions, cautioning that it is the method as opposed to the ingredients that is crucial to the ultimate success of the recipe. She correctly points out that cookie cutter results are impossible when using natural ingredients...the juiciness of a piece of fruit, the humidity,the weather, the rainfall or lack thereof, the temperature of the room all impact the final result. The amateur cook should not be deterred. While some of the recipes are a bit labor intensive, they all are fairly easy. Additionally there are plenty for vegans and vegetarians.
The author embodies the joy of cooking. Food should be fun not fake. Her secrets are all revealed...always buy fresh, seasonal and local; use organic and sustainable when possible and remember the most important ingredient is love.
It's my favorite restaurant in Paris --- and I've never been there.
But I have Rose Carrarini's book, and it conveys so much of the spirit of her establishment that I know I'd love to be at Rose Bakery --- not just for her food, but for the ambiance, the people who work there, the regular customers and, above all, the idea that drives it.
An unreal idea, huh? But there it is. "My intention was always to dissolve the distinction between home and restaurant cooking," Rose says. And so she works from a Bible with just three commandments: "simple" and "natural" and "homemade."
The restaurant --- a one-time storage room for fruit carts --- is just as elemental. Concrete-and-metal tables on a bare concrete floor. White walls. No display window. Open kitchen. Staff in white aprons. And a single splash of color: a large abstract painting on a back wall.
Rose's Bakery is also a shop. The packaging is plain. There's not even a web site.
And yet, I'm told, this total anomaly --- an English bakery in the capital of France --- is beloved by foodies and cool kids alike. "Le meilleur brunch de France," says Le Figaro.
What makes it great?
Rose tells a story that says a lot. It's about a meal she had at the Hyakumizon restaurant in Tokyo. She was served a dish of carrots. "No sauce," she recalls. "No garnish...The taste was intense and exquisite, and was mostly of the carrot itself. Possibly blanched, cooked, cooked again in a dashi and flashed under a grill, this was one of the most humble yet delicious dishes we have ever had the privilege of tasting. Whatever the technique the chef had used, I was convinced that you don't need any fuss or flourish, as it's the flavour of the dish that counts."
She learned that lesson well. Rose Bakery now produces 90 per cent of the food and products it sells. And the proprietors are sticklers for freshness --- today's leftovers will never be tomorrow's special. As her husband and partner, Jean-Charles, explains, "At nine-thirty we start cooking until midday, when we open. We don't have any storage fridges, so everything has to be eaten that day. We normally sell everything, which often means that we sell out by 2.30."
This oversized hard cover cookbook is equally fresh. There are full-page photographs of the bakery's butchers and apple suppliers and even a regular customer, who looks to be one very happy nine-year-old schoolgirl. To flip through the book is, I suspect, very much like a visit to the Bakery.
The recipes? Traditional. And that's the point. Rose is big on breakfast --- "my favorite meal" --- so she starts with recipes for fruit salad, rhubarb and orange, scones, muesli and pancakes (classic or with ricotta). Lunch starts with soup (green bean and almond, spiced chickpea and lemon, celeriac and porcini), moves through salads and tarts and risotto, and closes with just a few animal-based entrees, like braised lamb shanks with cumin, eggplant and chickpeas. And then it's on to cakes and pastries, the stuff of afternoon tea.
There's nothing here that's esoteric. The hardest part of duplicating these recipes is in the shopping --- finding organic produce that can stand up to simple preparation.
I've made it 10 times in the last year--every party we serve it at people love it and ask for the recipe.
I'm sure there will be other recipes just as good--if I can only get past the carrot salad...