Cookbook of the Week Cooking From Lake House Organic Farm By Trudie Styler & Joseph Sponzo, Ebury Press, pounds 25, 224pp

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The Independent Culture
I HAVE to admit that I try to avoid celebrity cookbooks. Call me a culinary snob, but I cannot understand the appeal of cooking someone else's food just because they are famous. However, Trudie Styler (wife of Sting) has cleverly used her passion for living off her homegrown organic food as the raison d'etre for her book, thereby ensuring that foodies will take it seriously.

Lake House is the Tudor house which, Ms Styler tells us, she fell in love with at first sight in 1991. Something to do with the house's spirit being "warm and welcoming" and "its history positive and life-affirming". The first part of the book seems to my jaded eyes to be designed for Hello! magazine readers, with its twee photographs and "isn't life wonderful" prose about how the family live.

Why Go Organic? follows, and deals with the main issues in a serious and straightforward way. Sadly, the practicalities of running an organic kitchen garden and small farm are dealt with all too briefly. To produce everything from vegetables to trout, to butter, milk and honey surely requires a great deal of hard work and planning.

Finally, you come to the recipes, with Joe Sponzo's Kitchen. He is her American chef and joint author. Initially, you might feel tempted to make his pea soup or crab-stuffed courgette flowers, but when you read the recipes you quickly realise that he makes everything in the most complicated way imaginable.

You will need time (or help) and lots of special equipment such as juicers and Japanese vegetable-cutters.

In other words, if you are a Martha Stewart wannabe and like making black cat-shaped chocolate shortbread cookies, or baby pumpkins filled with black spaghetti and meatballs, then you will love this book. But if you are after inspiration about organic husbandry and cooking, look elsewhere.

Sybil Kapoor

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