A favourite pastime of the English -- whenever the sky is grey -- is to thumb lovingly through sumptuous recipe books such as Rick Stein's Mediterranean Escapes and be transported to sunnier climes while (simultaneously) being inspired to tackle these delicious-sounding recipes. To read this book is very much like entering the exotic world the author unfolds for us, and Stein's culinary journey takes us through all the islands and along the coast of this exquisite region. For Stein, this is as much a book about the striking personalities he met along the route as he located the region's finest cuisine. And as the people he met reminded him over and over again, culinary trends are simply not considered in this region: the crucial thing is the quality of the ingredients and who are the best producers of such essential commodities as olive oil.
All of this, of course, chimes perfectly with Stein's own views on such issues, and he commendably ignores the various trends currently driving much cookery, presenting to us here a hundred recipes, including Feta and Mint Pastries, Corsican Oysters with a Pernod and tarragon dressing, along with many others that will inspire and delight. Its a battered cliché to say how essential impressive photography in a cookery book such as this is, but Earl Carter deserves particular commendation here for showcasing Steins creations. --Barry Forshaw