Very Fond of Food

May 23, 2012 · 9 comments · Print This Post

in Book Reviews, Healthy, Vegetarian

Note: This recipe and accompanying text originally appeared  as a guest post on Eat Boutique.

I’m a bit embarrassed to admit this, but I flipped through Sophie Dahl’s new cookbook, Very Fond of Food, admired the pictures tremendously, and even made a delightful recipe without having a clue as to who she was. After thoroughly stuffing my face, with what just might become my new go-to lunch, I looked her up online and discovered that Sophie is a former fashion model, contributor to British Vogue, cooking show presenter, and is married to Jamie Cullum. A musician whose swoon worthy songs appear on many of my dinner party mixes. The icing on the cake, so to speak, is that Dahl is also the granddaughter of revered children’s book author Roald Dahl and the main character in The BFG is based on Sophie. Her life is really and truly a bit of a fairy tale, which is fitting because her lovely new book transports you to a whimsical and seasonal heaven on Earth.

First of all, I don’t know what type of paper is used by Ten Speed Press but it smells divine. I’ve been on an ebook tear lately so the scents and sight of honest-to-goodness books are becoming slightly alien. Trust me. This is not a book you want to experience on your iPad. Right from the get go, Very Fond of Food literally smells adventurous and Sophie greets you on the first page in artfully tousled hair and cute ballet flats seemingly welcoming you to her home.

Dahl’s theme is clear and precise and revolves around conscious consumerism and seasonality. One line from her introduction particularly resonated with me: “food meets the call of the weather.” How succinctly put and true! Can someone make that into a poster for me?

Sophie is charmingly up front with her audience letting us know that she is first and foremost a storyteller, not a chef, and if you’re seeking “chefly wisdom” look elsewhere. Throughout the cookbook, brightly hued fabrics and laces adorn each of Jan Baldwin’s gorgeously shot meal renditions, and the eclectic patterns found on cups and plates made me instantly wish for a weekend trip to dusty antique stores so that I could emulate this effortlessly elegant aesthetic.

In accordance with the seasonal dining theme, the cookbook is broken into sections for Autumn, Winter, Spring, and Summer. Then each main section is again divided into breakfasts, lunches, and suppers. The recipes are very approachable and homey and include everything from baked pumpkin to beef stroganoff and even the very British fish fingers with tartar sauce and mushy peas.

The recipe notes throughout Very Fond of Food really make Sophie’s personality shine and she comes across as someone whom you’d very much like to have as your best friend. My personal favorite involved a modern day take on The Nutcracker. This tale prefaces a dessert she’s dubbed “Christmas Sugar Plumb Syllabubby Mess,” and tells the story of a very cheeky and boy crazy Clara who is confronted with dancing rats sporting skinny jeans and falls asleep under the Christmas tree listening to Whams greatest hits. I’m almost certain that George Michael’s pop group has never been mentioned within the covers of a cookbook before. Yet another reason I’m completely enamored with this author, and so will you.

This unbelievably simple and seasonal springtime lunch idea was the technicolor bright spot in an otherwise melancholy Monday afternoon. The crisp, grilled asparagus were surprisingly filling when accompanied by bits of fresh organic egg and the lemon, which I feared would be overpowering, was just what the dish needed to feel special. Plus, it made my usual boring sandwich or hastily toasted bagel seem completely gauche. Dear Sophie, I solemnly promise to try harder from now on.

Asparagus with Hard-Boiled Eggs, Parmesan, and Lemon
Originally published in Very Fond of Food by Sophie Dahl
Serves 2

About 12 asparagus spears
2 eggs
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
Juice and zest of 1/2 lemon
Salt and Pepper

Heat a griddle or frying pan over very high heat, Remove the tough ends from the asparagus and cook the spears for about 5 minutes on each side, until browned on the outside and soft within.

While the asparagus is cooking, boil the eggs; about 4 to 5 minutes if you want them still slightly runny inside. Plunge them into cold water, and then peel and chop finely.

Plate the asparagus, pouring over the olive oil and sprinkling with the Parmesan, lemon juice, and zest. Season and sprinkle the hard-boiled eggs on top.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Nicole May 23, 2012 at 12:44 pm

I’ve never tried asparagus with eggs, but that looks really good!


2 Erin May 23, 2012 at 1:52 pm

Thank you Nicole! I’m sure people think I’m exaggerating when I say that I’ve been eating this non-stop but I honestly just polished off another plate moments ago. Unfortunately, even with all of the egg boiling, my peeling ability has not improved. Thankfully the eggs get chopped up though so you can’t see how craggy and ugly they are after I’m done with them 😉


3 Shelby @ Lady Gouda May 23, 2012 at 4:40 pm

Good, I’m glad I’m not the only one who stands there cursing at egg shells as they destroy the pretty, smooth whites of the eggs. Chopping is good. I’ve already said this over on Eat Boutique, but I need this in my life– the dish and the book.


4 LizA May 23, 2012 at 6:03 pm

Oh — I’ve got the ticket to shelling hard cooked eggs, and you aren’t going to believe it…..

Cut those puppies in half and use a teaspoon to scoop the cooked egg out, ala an avocado. Seriously — it works perfectly. Oh, and you know not to use fresh eggs — that pesky membrane inside needs a little time to shrink away from the shell.


5 Erin May 24, 2012 at 1:14 pm

Wow. I feel sort of silly. This is an EXCELLENT point. If I’m just chopping the darn things up why not just slice the shells in half and save my manicure? Thank you Liz!


6 Colleen @ Culinary Colleen May 24, 2012 at 2:18 pm

I love how simple this is, and the colors are gorgeous!!


7 Sues May 31, 2012 at 9:22 am

So simple, but SO incredible looking. And stunning photos! That cookbook looks absolutely beautiful, too!


8 Sarah J. June 5, 2012 at 9:53 am

This looks fantastic! I can’t get enough of asparagus when springtime comes and I’m always looking for new ways to prepare it. Thanks, Erin (and Sophie)!


9 Nori July 25, 2012 at 2:22 pm

I was suggested this blog by my cousin. I am not sure whether this post is written by him as nobody else know such detailed about my
problem. You’re wonderful! Thanks!


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