Michael Raffael advocates a creative approach to cooking: don't follow recipes too slavishly, use a little inspiration, improvise. After a successful career writing about and consulting for the food industry in all its branches: restaurants, the retail and manufacturing trades, and kitchen appliance development, the author has returned to his home in Somerset (with sometimes a nod to his wife's country of birth, France), to his allotment, to the woods and fields round about, and to his own kitchen. Here there may be some mess, and there may be a generous and eclectic collection of kitchen gadgets and implements, but there is also real family cooking. In thirty-odd chapters, Michael ranges over dishes and foodstuffs such as meat balls, ratatouille, pesto, fruit tarts, pizza and bread, custard, toasted cheese, artichokes, asparagus, mushrooms (wild and tame), strawberries, apples and pears, bread and butter puddings, cream and potatoes. He muses on washing up, making purees, fats, messy dishes, pastry and French dressing. He includes for good measure three short stories on food and its acolytes. And he illustrates the whole caboodle with his exceedingly attractive, but unstudied, photography. Michael Raffael is an acclaimed freelance food and travel writer. Educated at London University and the Ecole Nationale de Langues Orientales Vivantes in Paris, he has also worked as a chef and judged many national food writing competitions. He has amassed a number of awards, including Glenfiddich Food Writer of the Year, Visit USA Travel Writer of the Year, World Gourmand Cookbook Award and Restaurateurs Association Food Writer of the Year. As part of his work he has been involved in the judging process of national cheese competitions. He has written more than a dozen books.