Well-thumbed cookery books – Mar 2023

Once a month I’m going to write a short piece about one of my favourite cookery books from my extensive collection and why I’ve cooked so many recipes from it. After a quick browse among my many books, I’ve selected John Tovey’s Feast of Vegetables for today.

John Tovey (1933 – 8 2018) was an English restaurateur and one of the first celebrity chefs in Britain in the 1970s. He was known for the Miller Howe hotel and restaurant in Windermere, which he owned from 1971 to 1998. I bought this particular cookery book after my parents had eaten in his restaurant.

Tributes paid to popular restaurateur who was one the first TV celebrity chefs | The Mail

Thanks to Tovey, Miller Howe became a fashionable destination throughout the 70s and 80s, one of the first gastronomic country house hotels in the region. Tovey, who had taught himself to cook, was not celebrated for any particular dish, but for the slightly camp drama experienced by guests at Miller Howe.

Tovey believed that dining at his hotel was a theatrical event. The gong summoned you to dinner and you ambled into the candle-lit dining room where the lights were dimmed to emphasise the weather-dependent Lake Poets’ views from the big windows.

Offers sought for Miller Howe | North West Property News

He served a prix-fixe five-course menu which always started with soup and finished with a choice of puddings. The main dish was always accompanied by six vegetables.

Tovey achieved a degree of national celebrity with five television series, including John Tovey’s Entertaining on a Plate (1991). He was a natural on screen, where his over-the-top enthusiasm served him well. He wrote several books, including five TV spin-offs.

The book covers the cooking of vegetables in alphabetical order giving three to four recipes for each vegetable, one of which was usually a soup. As someone who loves nothing more than a bowl of vegetable soup or indeed a platter of vegetables, this book was manna from heaven.

I’ve probably not used the book for over 30 years but leafing through it I see recipes that I cook time and time again such as carrot and coriander soup, the spiced red cabbage and green tomato chutney. It’s like meeting up with an old friend for a catch up.

13 Comments on “Well-thumbed cookery books – Mar 2023

  1. That book sounds like a treasure. My daughter introduced me to an award-winning cookbook featuring vegetables called “Six Seasons: A New Way with Vegetables” by Joshua McFadden and I have been enjoying it very much. The recipes use North American measurements but otherwise you may like it too.


    Liked by 1 person

  2. I often think you should publish your own Musette cookbook, along with your wonderful stories and photos. It would be a big seller! Alisa

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: ReBlogging ‘Well-thumbed cookery books – Mar 2023’ – Link Below | Relationship Insights by Yernasia Quorelios

  4. I wish I loved veggies as much as you! Although I went through a phase where I ate a big sweet potato and lots of carrots every day for weeks and my hands and toes turned orange.

    Liked by 1 person

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