The River Cottage Year is Hugh's passionate plea to his readers to shop and cook in harmony with the seasons. His argument is that locally produced British seasonal produce is by far the best foundation for pleasure and contentment in the kitchen, both because of its unmatched quality, and because of the sense of structure, rhythm and rightness that seasonality will bring to your cooking. The 12 month-by-month chapters describe what Hugh is thinking about and what's happening on his Dorset small-holding at any given time of year, as well as providing a comprehensive shopper's guide to what's in season when. The recipes, in which fruit, vegetables and fish generally predominate over meat, have a fresh and unfussy feel, and take us from outrageously simple spring dishes such as purple sprouting broccoli with anchovy and lemon butter (March), rhubarb and champagne cocktails (April) and new lettuces with soft-hard-boiled eggs and spring onions (May); through summer delights such as mackerel with melted onions (June), French beans with tapenade and chicken (July) and beetroot consomm (August); into mellow autumn concoctions such as cockles and mussels with bacon and chard (September), roast pumpkin soup (October) and Bramley burnt creams (November); and finally into soothing winter comfort food such as roast winter vegetables (December), tipsy fruity roly-poly (January) and steak and kidney pudding (February). The December chapter is a sensational set of recipes for the mother of all Christmas family feasts, based around Hugh's beloved goose.
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall has become widely known as a broadcaster for his uncompromising commitment to real food and honest home cooking. His three series for Channel 4 - most recently River Cottage Forever - have earned Hugh a huge popular following. His most recent book, The River Cottage Cookbook, scooped the top food writing awards in 2002, winning the Glenfiddich Trophy, the Andre Simon Food Book of the Year and the Guild of Food Writers' Michael Smith Award. Hugh lives in Dorset with Marie and their son Oscar.