Wild Cooking, By Richard Mabey

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The Independent Culture

Thirty-five years after his Food for Free, Mabey has produced an accompanying cookbook. The wait was worth it for such a literate and imaginative work.

As well as urging us to make the most of summer gluts ("Reinvent the recurring vegetables with a knife"), he urges us to snaffle the waste caused by mechanised harvesting: "vegetable road kill". Mabey's English cassoulet, with Cumberland sausage and neck of lamb fillets, sounds a tempting possibility, as does his Peking Duck made with "an old fan heater".

With "as large morels as you can buy or find", a recipe for stuffed morels demands either a fat wallet or Mabey's knowledge of the countryside. A jelly, allegedly invented by Benjamin Britten, flavoured with black treacle, lemon juice and sherry, is more practicable, if a bit odd: "an almost meaty savour".

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