1) A Table in the Tarn-Living, Eating and Cooking in Rural France, by Orlando Murrin

A detailed account of how the author (ex-editor of BBC Good Food magazine) and his partner decided to leave London and open a boutique guest-house in rural southwest France. I especially enjoyed reading about their quirky neighbours and staff, all the work they did before the guest-house could open for business as well as their daily work schedule.

The book also includes a repertoire of recipes for the food served at their guest-house, Manoir de Raynaudes. Even the writing is delicious, does that make sense? (Think of “chocolate nirvana”, “strawberry surprise birthday bombe”, “lemon pot de creme” and “Sardinian sheet-music bread”… Yum.) The author thoughtfully includes detailed explanations of certain culinary processes and ingredients, like cooking with chocolate, how to make your own foams and stocks and what to take note of when buying dairy products in France.

The only thing I don’t like about the book is the typography and layout (ok make that two). The flowery script used for the recipe titles is too difficult to decipher and the text boxes look like they have been randomly planted.

Unfortunately, I have to return the book before I’ve had time to photocopy the material I want…

2) Ikebukuro West Gate Park 中文譯本, by Ishida Ira (石田衣良)