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80 recipes from one of the world's finest cookery writers

Fun, friendly and practical – this is a cartoon cookbook for everyone who loves to cook or can't cook but wants to know the basics or just likes the idea of cooking but doesn't know where to begin.

It's been a long time brewing. The idea first came to me some thirty years ago, while travelling all over Europe presenting a thirteen-part TV series based on my first cookbook, European Peasant Cookery. Filming in unfamiliar languages in tiny kitchens in out-of-the-way places, often without a shared language, proved a challenge to everyone – cooks, presenter, crew. All, however, became clear when I took to story-boarding each episode while we were filming. My cartoons were livelier and more technicolour than the usual frame-by-frame stick-figures and I was enjoying myself – so, it seemed, was everyone else.

Later, when travelling the world as a journalist writing on food and culture, I filled hundreds of sketchbooks with the visual notes that come to me easily from an earlier career as a botanical and bird artist. A watercolour-box small enough to sit on my fist and a sketchbook the size of a postcard allows me to communicate in kitchens and marketplaces with people who really know their stuff. Many of the dishes I've included will be familiar, others less so, and some are the simple little preparations – omelettes, mayonnaise – that make such a difference to home-cooking. Each storyboard – which is really what these cartoons are – is dictated by my own memories of people and places and each of the introductory images that set the scene for the recipes were first recorded in my sketchbooks. It's been a long time simmering and I'm delighted to have a chance to finally bring this to the table!

Elisabeth Luard is an award-winning food writer who often illustrates her own work. Her latest book is a food-and-travel memoir, Squirrel Pie and Other Stories, a companion volume to Family Life, Still Life and My Life as a Wife (all in print with Bloomsbury). Previous publications include European Peasant Cookery, European Seasonal Dishes, Tapas and Flavours of Andalucia (Grub Street).  Other work includes The Food of Spain and Portugal, The Latin American Kitchen, Sacred Food and Truffles, plus a couple of best-selling doorstopper novels, Emerald and Marguerite. She has lived and worked in Latin America, Spain, Italy and France, brought up her own young family in a remote valley in Andalucia and has just moved from the wilds of Wales to London. She continues to travel widely and contributes to The Oldie, Daily Mail and Country Living, among others. Her 13-part tv series, The Rich Tradition of European Peasant Cookery, made in 1992 for SBS Australia and BBC2, is on re-release at She is Chair of The Oxford Symposium on Food & Cookery and was awarded The Guild of Foodwriters Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016.  Her website is and you’ll find her on Twitter and Facebook.

Ingredients for Lamb with Barley:
Serves 4

1 small shoulder of lamb
150g spelt or barley
1 whole garlic head
2 cans plum tomatoes
100g unsalted butter
Salt and ground white pepper (plenty)

Ingredients for Gujerati Vegetable Curry:
Serves 4-6

500g potatoes
500g aubergines
500g tomatoes
1 small cauliflower
2 medium onions
2-3 tablespoons ghee (or vegetable oil)
1 level tablespoon cumin seeds
1 short stick cassia or cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground turmeric
4-6 whole cloves
1 thick slice fresh ginger-root
1-2 green chillies, de-seeded
Salt and pepper
To serve
250g mung dhal
8-12 flatbreads - roti or chapatis
2-3 tablespoons toasted cashews
about 100g fresh white cheese

Ingredients for Norwegian Gravlax:
Serves 4-6

Ik salmon fillet (skin on)
4 tablespoons sea-salt
1 tablespoon crushed white peppercorns
2 tablespoons sugar
Generous handful dill-fronds
Small glass aquavit or vodka

Mustard sauce
200ml sunflower or seed oil
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon mild mustard
1 tablespoon caster sugar
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon finely-chopped dill


Many thanks to supporters so far!

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

...and please pass on the news to anyone you think might be interested. It's a steep learning curve, crowd-funding. But I like the anarchy of self-publishing - Dickens did it after all, and he was no slouch, sales-wise.  Meanwhile I'll be posting images from my sketchbooks regularly on Instagram (the handle is elisabeth.luard).  The contents of my sketchbooks - I have hundreds from over the years…

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