How to Eat a Peach by Diana Henry [Book Summary – Review]

Did you ever become uneasy, and hoped you can enlarge your culinary horizons? Also, do you hope you can wine and dine intricate dinners for friends, yet have a feeling that you don’t have the competency? 

If that is the case, the chapters to How to Eat a Peach would help you. You are going to learn about how good chef Diana Henry makes delicious menus for every event, it can be a sleepy lunch but it can also be a jolly summer banquet. Yet, even more, you are going to learn about how she looks at the world from a perspective of food. Henry’s been going around the world from the moment she became a teenager, and the way she is cooking is shaped by the communities she’s seen and lived in. Her wide range of menus catches the thrill of being in Mexico City at night, the happiness of being on vacation on the Normandy coast, and the sensuous disturbance of coming in the bustle of Madrid.

The notion of giving a dinner party may be scary since it seems so formal, consisting of pictures of starched white clothes and kind dialogues. With that summary, you are going to learn the best dinner events indeed occur in chaotic kitchens with a bunch of cocktails. Fine food doesn’t need to be confiscated or elaborate; it’s solely about picking quality food and making them with carefulness.

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Chapter 1 – Journeys molded Henry’s DNA as a chef.

Most 16-year-olds spend their time scribbling angry love notes in their diaries. Yet Diana Henry did something different. As long as a curious friend had a look into her writings at the time, they would find recipes after recipes. Henry was eagerly accustomed to food from childhood. She neatly noticed all the food her mother made and spent hours looking over Cordon Bleu magazines about cooking. 

In the opinion of Henry, cooking was the way to get to grasp the world before even she could travel. She has raised in Northern Ireland a place that was separated from the rest of Europe; and to travel was unwieldy and over-priced. By learning exotic dishes in the places that were in the remaining part of the world, Henry didn’t only learn about food. She was also learning about other ways of living.

When she became fifteen, she had the possibility to see France as an Erasmus student. Hopefully, she could infiltrate herself in the country she had had dreams about so much. French people’s dedication to food was enlightenment for her. She saw the families with meager incomes spending the large parts of their payments to buy the best cheese, or spending a full afternoon making their own bread. Henry’s dedication to preparing foods by using the very best ingredients can be traced back to those times when she was an exchange student. 

Be that as it may, her movements didn’t end in France. Henry is as much a voyager as she is a cook, and the manner in which she investigates is through food. Her plans are encounters transmuted into dinners. The delicate richness of an Italian summer night is reconfigured into a bubbly raspberry champagne cocktail with a melon and goat cheese with mixed greens. The erotic stun of Madrid runs its course in her formula for pure black pulpo rice with crimson romesco sauce. The elation of an excursion to Mexico City while nursing a messed up heart can be tasted in each zingy significant piece of ocean bass ceviche and ginger-lime mango cut. 

Food is exotic and enthusiastic. But on the other hand, it’s everything about stories. Furthermore, there’s no better method to recount to a story than through a set menu: a progression of dishes intended to be eaten together. In her high school note pad, Henry didn’t just gather plans. She additionally spent ages arranging uncommon dinners that she would plan for her distracted companions, who couldn’t comprehend why they were eating, or what pineapple water ices were actually. 

Today, Henry is still generally famous for her painstakingly structured set menus, and her coffee shops are currently much more grateful than those high school companions were.

Chapter 2 – Dinner parties must be about nothing but having fun.

The moment when you consider serving an intricate full menu, you may envision a gathering of individuals gravely assembled around a white decorative liner, sniffing their wine before they drink it and eating humble pieces off china plates. 

In any way, this is not what Henry thinks about when she’s arranging a supper. She experienced childhood in an Irish family that adored food, yet never facilitated what they called supper gatherings. Or maybe, they hosted gatherings that included loads of food, just as uproarious jabber and great bourbon, and moving around the lounge room to Frank Sinatra. 

Henry’s conviction that eating should be a happy event clarifies why every one of her menus starts – and frequently end – with a bubbly mixed beverage. Going with her suppers with a handcrafted mixed drink is one of her trademarks. 

Furthermore, her conviction that food is intended to be appreciated in a likewise advises how she cooks. For instance, she has a brilliant guideline that closes to two courses of any feast that are set up to a minute ago. There’s nothing more disappointing than being stuck in the kitchen trying hard to mix the sauces while your visitors sit tight for you at the table. 

She additionally attempts to guarantee that her food creates discussion, rather than intruding on it. Funnily though, that doesn’t imply making food that is excessively complex or clearly tremendous. Being showered with praises as a gourmet expert is satisfying, but it emphasizes individuals are focused on the dishes and aren’t simply caring about being together. 

Her southern Italian dinner menu is a phenomenal case of this low-complain, high-scrumptiousness sort of supper. It contains just one dish that ought to be arranged a minute ago: the spaghetti with mussels, shrimps, and pureed tomatoes is cooked in little paper packages in the broiler and should be served to steaming hot. In any case, the various courses can be made ahead of time. 

The fennel taralli – tied bread rolls – can be made as long as seven days prior. The starter of velvety burrata cheddar with broil pepper and anchovies can be set up ahead of time and served a minute ago. Plus, the rich handcrafted frozen yogurt of the candy-coated lemon strip, ricotta and pistachio just should be taken out the cooler.

Through neatly choosing most ingredients beforehand, Henry has the potential to serve a delicious meal and still be alive at the party. 

Chapter 3 – Menus should make a balance between the heavy and creamy dishes and fresh flavors.

Maybe the first menu which Henry made as a promising young chef composed of buckwheat blinis in butter, cream, and smoked salmon; guinea fowl breasts topped with a creamy red wine sauce, lastly a soufflé for the ending. It was a heavy and creamy meal from start to end without a light flavor from beginning till the end!

Today, her choices are prone to the lighter final of the scale. Most of her dishes include one-course with cream, also she always makes it certain to have her food fresh with sharp aromas, citrus fruits, and herbs. Almost all meals would have a fresh green salad with them.

The times she was staying in France, Henry started to understand the importance of the bowl of mixed greens served after the main dish. Although it seems like there’s not anything in it, a green salad requires to be made with great attention. You must always get the heads of lettuce when they’re fresher, and be certain to wash the lettuce and drain your lettuce leaves completely – if not, the salad sauce, vinaigrette, for example, is not going to adhere to the leaves. The best sauce is a basic blend of oil and vinegar, yet here again – it takes attention to make the right balance between the acid and the oil. You should taste it as you prepare it!

A couple of her salads are way more complicated than these, mixing fruit and different kinds of vegetables. In an Italian-like menu, Henry starts the dinner by fennel, celery, and apple salad with pomegranates topped with toasted hazelnuts and a lemony vinaigrette. The sharp and clean options are the perfect mix for the rich and creamy wild mushroom vincisgrassi – something like a lasagne to follow. In a midsummer dinner, Henry mixes crusty matchsticks of beetroot and carrots with fresh yogurt with garlic. 

Even though she’s been known for going for a dense chocolatey end to a meal, usually Henry goes for fresh and fruity desserts to make a light ending. For instance, she finalizes a late summer menu by a compote of raspberries, blackberries, and figs served in a thick late-harvest riesling. The citrusy flavor of the pink grapefruit and basil ice-cream brings a sugary acidity to a menu with spinach gnocchi and roast lamb as the main dish.

To come up with an excellent menu is about nothing but balance and that is the thing Henry knows very well. Creamy satisfaction feels way better combined with sharp and fresh flavors.

Chapter 4 – Eating the foods on their season is not solely more ethical, yet makes meals better, as well.

The goods for eating seasonally are accepted widely nowadays. Not merely is locally obtained food more ethical if we think about its environmental impact, yet it tastes better, too.

Henry has known and followed those things way before they were mainstream, ye she also has other reasons to eat seasonally. To her, meals are not solely regarded as food yet they’re events, as well. Seasonal elements such as the weather and the fragrances coming from the garden will have an impact on these dinners since they affect the thing people feel like they are eating.

In a way to celebrate the beginning of a season, Henry picks a couple of her favorite grocery which is available only for a specific time of the calendar. For instance, for a spring dinner, she prepared an appetizer of green asparagus with homestyle pesto made out of pistachio, newly harvested radish, and green peas. Tasting that, you could basically feel the freshness of spring unwinding.

Also, no summer meal is going to be finished without the acidic sugary taste of apricots. For celebrating the beginning of the hot times, Henry made a meal about the glories belonging to an apricot and almond tart. The meal starts with two appetizers: moreish zucchini, ricotta, and pecorino fritters and a great greens made with sea bass Crudo with radishes and nasturtium flowers. 

For the main dish, Henry roasts a chicken with lemons. Having bashed the lemons with a rolling pin to make them softer, after that, prick them all over, they’re pressed whole inside the chicken. Add a pinch of salt and pepper and done! It’s ready to go. As it gets cooked, the lemon makes mouthwatering juices mingling with the fat of the chicken itself to make a delicious sauce. 

After that, without a doubt, there should be an apricot and almond tart for the desert. Apricots have a tanginess that balances sugary tastes, that’s why cooking them fetches the best out of them. It can even be the most undesirable apricots, they still acquire a rich honey taste when they are baked. The dessert is the best way to end a meal in the mid-summer.

The season doesn’t only dictate what products are available; it informs how we feel and what we want to eat. Meals planned around fresh local products can help to fulfill these seasonal cravings.

Chapter 5 – The greatest dishes are quite simple.

At her first arrival to Italy, Henry was having dinner out in summer evening the moment she realized a waitress walking with a bowl of peaches on her hands over to the diners at a table next to her. Everyone sitting at the table took the peaches and after that cut them up, they put the slices to a glass of cold Moscato wine. They let them stay in the wine for a period of time, after that, they ate the slices and drank the wine infused with peach.

Henry was captivated; the dessert had been relished as though it was the most confiscated piece of patisserie, yet that one had not needed any cooking or even chopping. In the meantime, it was given the greatest care and concentration on the details. Every single thing was flawless, from the greatness of the peaches to the choice of glasses in which they were served. 

This experience started to shape Henry’s way of thinking good foods are made with basic ingredients served with the observation of the details. It was a way thinking that Henry always turned back to as she herself being briefly swung by food trends like nouvelle cuisine that is including chefs making finicky gels and creating plates of microscopic food with a pair of tweezers. 

As praise for the peach dessert, Henry has combined a special menu. It’s an ideal summer supper which explains her strategy for making meals using the greatest ingredients with least effort. 

To establish the mood, Henry decided to serve a Summer Sandal – a fizzy cocktail with fruity flavor made with raspberry puree. After that, she serves crisped sourdough bread with a paste of green fava beans, garlic, lemon, and mint on top. 

As an appetizer, she serves a moist wedge of cantaloupe melon with creamy goat cheese and a lavender red wine sauce on top. The main dish is made up of a whole fish baked in the oven with fennel and served with garlicky anise aioli and roasted tomatoes. 

And after, lastly, here is the famous dessert which was the ode of the menu: white peaches served whole next to a bottle of delicious chilled dessert wine like Moscato. 

This is not a dish, yet it is a neat one. Every piece belongs to the plate, and every meal is prepared with the utmost care.

To check this out for yourself, have a look at our extra chapter on the last part for a more comprehensive explanation of the menu.

Chapter 6 – Henry’s menus demonstrate how diverse French cookery can be.  

As we think about the French menu we might think about a couple of finest specialties, such as snails in garlic or boeuf bourguignon. Yet there’s a lot more than that in terms of French cuisine. Each part of France has its own delicious specialties, concentrated on local goods and cooking traditions. Henry has seen every place in France, her intention was to discover the flavors of every part in France. Her combinations have been affected by those particular experiences and have a precise regional particularity.

For instance, a menu dedicated to relaxing holidays at the coast in Brittany gives ode to her experiences of tasting oysters along with sourdough bread from a street vendor in the wild breeze, together with the bite of the sea in the air. 

She begins the dinner with a cleverly easy starter: leeks steamed till they are correctly tender after that drizzled with a Breton vinaigrette of white wine vinegar, olive oil, capers together with herbs. After the leeks, there comes the rich homemade pork rillettes and a large dish of mussels together with cream, garlic, parsley, and white wine. For the final, she gives a thin crepe, topped with caramelized apple and dense cream. The joy of a summer holiday is captivated in this one dessert.

Even though not all of us could have holidays in the French countryside like this, those dishes might make us feel like we are there.

Chapter 7 – Henry’s Spanish dinner menu is rich and dense just as the country’s own self. 

Henry’s first arrival in Spain was a sensorial excess; the smell of leather and garlic, loud chats, and bars crowded with people. She read the bittersweet explanations of the country written down by Lorca and seen the dull and dark paintings by El Greco, also being there felt like moodily high-pitched in the way the art of them proposes. 

Spain has amazed and fascinated her ever since. The undesirable political history of Franco makes her remember the issues with which she was raised in Northern Ireland. Henry at the capability in which people looked like they have to embrace dullness and melancholy yet for living life so thoroughly, as well. There is something like an energetic feeling in Spain which makes people dancing and drinking and chatting and singing till the morning!

In what way do you convey so sensual an intensity in only one dish? Henry went for a menu that centered the richest dish she’d ever eaten: Arroz negro. Arroz negro is a delicious risotto made in Catalonia and it is colored black with the ink of squid or cuttlefish. It tastes like what Henry narrates just like “darkness and the sea.” To go next to it, she made a romesco sauce made with tomatoes, red peppers, and garlic toasted on the grill and after that blended in a food processor along with ground almonds and hazelnuts. The sauce is rich and sharp, its depth is given by the nuts and the dense caramelized taste of the peppers. How the plate of food looks is also visually capturing: a splash of red sauce in a sea of black. 

To go with the rice,  Henry gives a salad of fennel tacked in a dressing of orange zest and sherry. The more it gets cooked, the fennel gets gold and caramelized. It’s plated with goat cheese, hazelnuts, olive oil on top. 

Lastly for dessert, she produces the densest available ice cream made from the dark chocolate, Pedro Ximenez sherry. It’s such a succulent taste that it could only be had slowly, spoon by spoon. The finest way to finish a meal aimed at capturing the rich pleasures of Spain.

Chapter 8 – Hot food and a lot of mezcal might be working for heartbreak. 

When her plane arrived in Mexico in the middle of the night, Henry felt thrilled. The arrival had been planned for distracting herself from a broken heart; Her boyfriend just cheated on her. The moment she came into her hotel at one o’clock at night she found a band singing La Bamba in a loud bar giving shots of mezcal, and she realized that it would help her to distract herself.

Mexico welcomed her with its vivid colors and its delicious tastes. Mexican dishes turned out to be a lot more than the guacamole together with tacos served in Europe. It was exquisite, wealthy, and intriguing. Nowadays, as she wishes a snip of the exuberant heat which aided to better her heart, Henry combines a menu of the foods she fell in love so much during the period she was there.

She begins with a ceviche that is done with the freshest white fish it might be made from sea bass or mackerel they are sliced in thing pieces and relished on the plate in lime juice. The fish is covered with avocado slices, pomegranate seeds, chili peppers, and cilantro as a light starter. To come after that, she makes a tinga poblana a deep, slowly cooked stew put together with pork that is prepared with chilies and toasted tomatoes adding a toasty note. It’s plated with avocados, sour cream crumbles goat cheese. As a side dish, she plates Arroz Verde or green rice, additionally, a toasted pumpkin and cauliflower meal with black beans and also more chilis. 

She combines together the acidic flavors of the dish with a basic dessert of “mango cheeks” – the plump round parts of a mango. The mangos are plated in a bowl, topped with the scorching lime-ginger syrup.

When Henry is looking for more heat even to lift the souls, she looks forward to Asian cookery. Southeast Asian food professionally mixes hot, acidic, salty, and sugary tastes together. To praise this habit-forming amalgamation, Henry made a pan-Asian smorgasbord of dishes. To begin, she serves the Thai snack “galloping horses” sugary and salty chicken-shrimp puree topped on pineapple pieces. After it, she serves a piquant stir-fry of shrimps with basil and lime together with Korean pickled cucumber greens and braised pork baked over three hours with an adhesive glaze of the Indonesian dressing kecap manis with ginger, chilies, star anise. To end, she gives a sweet-scented sago pudding prepared with coconut milk and pandan leaflets.

Those dishes are assured to have you feel electrical, however dark the weather or the state of your heart is. 

Chapter 9 – Dishes can give you ease, and make you remember your home. 

Food is about the experience, yet at the same time, it’s about relaxation. Additionally, there’s nothing more easing than the home itself. In the eyes of Henry, the most nostalgic dish will consistently be the sort of admission she gobbled when she was experiencing childhood in Northern Ireland. Such as things like Guinness bread, made with molasses and buttermilk, or fish like smoked eel, cockles, or mussels. The food makes her think about her dad, and youth occasions, and the extravagance of where she was conceived. 

The solid and deep affiliations we have with food disclose why migrants to new nations are so determined to carrying their culinary customs with them; it’s a method of tasting home. To go out to eat in a city like New York is to test the “edible history” of its occupants from China, Italy, Germany, West India, and Eastern Europe–the food made by workers and displaced people who attempted to make another home by making the dinners they adored best. 

Now and again, a hankering for the solace of the home is significantly more exacting: we simply need to remain inside and sleep. Or on the other hand, simply have a couple of friends and family over to share a comfortable supper. Obviously, that inclination turns out to be significantly more extreme as the winter months move around bringing cool, stormy days. 

While a great number of Henry’s menus are intended to bring out the happy and fascinating, she likewise realizes how to take into account comfort. For instance, her menu “I Can Never Resist Pumpkins” is an assortment of all the most flavorful, warm flavors. 

To start with, she goes with serving vegetables like simmered Jerusalem artichokes and broccolini close by a hazelnut and meal pepper relish. To follow, there’s a warming pumpkin soup, made with rich chicken stock and presented with sage spread and newly heated Tuscan grape bread. New bread not just tastes scrumptious, the glow of the stove and smell of it preparing makes a comfortable cover on dim days when the rain is dripping outside. 

At this point, to polish off the dinner, Henry plates a delicious Turinese hot chocolate, arranged with dark chocolate, espresso, milk, and full cream. Furthermore, she suggests including some grappa or brandy for even more of a greater strike. 

After a dinner like that there’s nothing for it except to twist up before the fire with a great book, or enjoy a drowsy fiesta. 

Chapter 10 – You could make the plan of your own menu influenced by Henry’s tactics.

Until now you’ve maybe become very influenced by Henry’s festive dinners. Yet what about when you want to plan your own meal from the beginning without the influence of Henry? Making the perfect menu of yours is simple as long as you can pursue a couple of Henry’s key ideas.

The main inquiry you can propose to yourself is, what meanings are you attempting to convey with the dishes? Henry has said that her dishes are like stories they show something, maybe it can be a happy event or a memory of a place, or an ode to a specific season. What could it be that you might want your visitors to see through your food? 

At this point, think about the season and setting for the menu. Is it correct that you are plating the lunch next to the fire, or a summer supper in the midst of the trees? The occasional setting won’t just impact the sort of products available, it will be likely to inspire what kind of food you feel like. 

When you have those components unmistakably at the top of the priority list, you can begin pondering the fixings you’d prefer to work with. Do you have a desire for beetroots, and want to serve a supper around their sweet, natural flavors? Are mussels in season? When you’ve decided on some key points or even a most loved dish, it will be anything but difficult to construct a supper around that. Like we’ve seen, Henry frequently starts with a most loved starter or even treat and works advances (or in reverse) from that point. 

When making your menu, don’t forget to remember Henry’s standards of equalization and agreement. Consider how to combine colors, textures, and the temperatures, making a point to stir up soft heats with crunchy servings of mixed greens and hot mains with cooler sides. Assortment causes dinners to feel increasingly adjusted, and the individual components become progressively unmistakable. 

What’s more, last, yet certainly not least, ensure that whatever you serve is of the most ideal quality, a decent bit of bread can make a supper great or a bad one can break it.

Chapter 11 – Have a try on Henry’s iconic menu!

Do you want to have a try on the menu which influenced the name of Henry’s book — and her whole cooking ideas?

We’ve put together some hints here so that you could create your version of “How to Eat a Peach”.

This menu was designed especially for the balmy summer nights as you’re having dinner in the garden with a bunch of friends, having fun of a long leisurely meal. 

To set the tone, Henry gives a fruit containing a cocktail whose name is Summer Sandal. To make it, you need to mix half a cup of sugar with a pound of raspberries together with the juice of a lemon. Place these ingredients in a blender and combine. After that, strain the blended thing with a mesh strainer to take the seeds out. Add three-quarters of a cup of just squeezed orange juice. Allocate the blended mix into six glasses and after put one tablespoon of Cointreau and one tablespoon of vodka to the glasses. Lastly, finish up with the coldest possible sparkling wine just before you give them to the guests!

To come after, she serves two appetizers. The first is toasted sourdough bread finished off with a fava bean, mint, and lemon crush. To make it, cook 2 and a half cups of fava beans in bubbling water until delicate. Wash in cool water, and afterward sneak off the skins. The beans are then mixed with a garlic clove, lemon juice, white balsamic vinegar, mint, and olive oil. Season to taste salt and pepper. At that point toast six cuts of sourdough bread in the stove until brilliant earthy colored. Rub garlic and olive oil over each cut, and top with a liberal scoop of the fava bean blend. You can include a couple of pieces of ‘nduja – fiery spreadable chorizo. 

The following appetizer is a simple serving of mixed greens made with a succulent wedge of melon with smooth goat cheddar and a lavender – red wine dressing. To make the sauce, heat a cup of red wine with three tablespoons of honey and a tablespoon of white or red wine vinegar. When the honey has melted, empty the blend into a heatproof container with 2 lavender twigs. Season with a pinch of sea salt and black pepper. 

Organize cuts of the melon on plates with lumps of the goat cheddar, and afterward spoon the dressing over. 

For the main dish, Henry plates an entire heated ocean bass with fennel and aioli. To begin, she cuts two enormous fennel bulbs into wedges and throws them with lemon juice, toasted fennel seeds, orange zing, and olive oil. In the wake of preparing, she cooks the wedges in the broiler for twenty minutes in a foil-shrouded dish. She at that point stuffs the fish with new dill and lays it on the cooked fennel, sprinkling with toasted fennel seeds and olive oil. After the dish has been in the stove for around 30 minutes, she sprinkles 33% of some new squeezed orange and some progressively new dill over the fennel. Prepare for a further five minutes and afterward remove from the stove. 

For the time the fish is in the on the oven, you could make the new aioli by squashing two garlic cloves with salt. Mix the garlic with two egg yolks and a teaspoon of Dijon mustard. At that point put a cup of olive oil drop by drop while blending constantly with a wooden spoon or blender. The moment when all the oil has been consolidated, include some finely cleaved fennel, fennel fronds, toasted fennel seeds, and a large portion of a teaspoon of Pernod. Season with salt, pepper, and lemon squeeze and serve with the fish. 

To carry the summer supper to a sweet end is the well-known pastry that motivated the feast: white peaches served entire close by a container of flavorful chilled dessert wine like Moscato.

Good appetite! 

How to Eat a Peach: Menus, Stories, and Places by Diana Henry Book Review

A fine meal is about quite much more than only nourishment. It can bring different places to us, supply an emotional connection to exceptional people or recalls, and provide comfort in dull times. The main focus of dinner must be to have fun and take delight in each other’s presence. 

Exercise the art of restraint. 

As you are planning a menu it may be very interesting to stuff in just one more interesting dish. Yet not solely can this throw off your planning by making you busy in the kitchen, but it might indeed take away from the delightfulness of the meal, as well. The best menus are careful mixes of select dishes. Stuffing in an extra taste might throw off all the balance of the dinner. 

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