Simon Pratt is the Kandinsky of cookery. Better than anyone else, as his new book, A Year At Avoca reveals, he understands colour.
Of course, we know this from the Avoca shops – this is a man who poured a pink concrete floor at their Rathcoole store, for example – but the joyful abandonment to colour in the new book is positively gleeful. Even when the seasonally arranged recipes delve into autumn and winter, there is still a strong burnish of deep colour to everything – the green casserole holding the spiced lamb pie, the warm tan hue of Ger’s pork meatballs; the gratinated topping of the Avoca fish pie. It’s delirious stuff, and beautifully presented in a book by the team from The Gloss.
If the book is warm with colour, it is also warm with appreciation and thanks. Many chefs and other Avoca crew are namechecked, and the book has a relish for living that makes it even more valuable at this point in our national life. Just picking the book up and opening its pages makes you feel good, and it’s feel-good food, too, the sort of stuff that has made Avoca our leading luxury brand. The great Leylie Hayes masterminded the grub with the sort of good taste that is her trademark, and many happy Xmas stockings will be bulging with this beautiful, life-enhancing cookery book.