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Dutch Cookbook Review: Home Made Zomer

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Dutch Cookbook Review: Home Made Zomer

Home Made Zomer

Photo © Fontaine
Update: This review was originally written about the Dutch version of the cookbook, which has since been published in English as Home Made Summer and in German as Home Made Sommer.

After her prize-winning cookbook Home Made, which has been translated into English, German and French, and her follow-up Home Made Winter, the talented Dutch-Irish author now completes the trio with her ode to summer in Home Made Zomer.

A Taste of Summertime

While the happy orange color of the cover couldn't feel any more Dutch, the cookbook sadly contains very few summer recipes from the Netherlands. The knowledge that the Dutch-Irish author usually summers in the Provence, helps to explain the heavy focus on French foods in this cookbook. That said, the Dutch have long had a love affair with French food and Van Boven's recipes are sure to inject some sunshine into even the dreariest of Dutch summers.

The cookbook is divided into the following chapters: breakfast, brunch and lunch; cakes and tea-time treats; drinks; starters; mains; and desserts. Of the hundred or so recipes in the book, the ones that appeal to us most are the rhubarb pie with 'amandelspijs', cantaloupe soup with goat's cheese and homemade basil oil, cedar-smoked apple salmon, and white wine sorbet. There are also sub-sections with a few important Dutch and French "summer" holidays, including Easter, Koninginnedag (Queen's Day) and Fête votive de la Saint Eloi/ de la Madeleine. We like Yvette's version of marbled eggs with lavender salt for Easter and her homemade version of 'Oranjebitter' (an orange liqueur traditionally enjoyed during Queen's Day in the Netherlands) so much that we'll happily overlook the triviality that Easter and Queen's Day actually fall in spring.

The author is known for her MacGyver-like approach to kitchen crafts. Van Boven is, above all, a resourceful cook. Homemade Zomer includes how-to's for making flavored oils, quark, preserved lemons and ricotta cheese, among others. And again, she follows up each of these kitchen crafts with recipes putting these ingredients to good use. So, for instance, the preserved lemons are used in a vinaigrette and in a recipe for quinoa salad with fava beans (broad beans) and turnip tops.

Design & Layout

Thousand-Tomato Salad

Photo © Fontaine
Like the previous two, this book is a family effort. Van Boven did all of the recipe development, writing, illustrations, cut-outs, fonts and styling for her third book, while her photographer husband shot all the pictures.

Oof Verschuren serves up verdant veggie patches and blue-skied landscapes, as well as bright summery shots of colorful dishes such as thousand-tomato salad, raspberry macarons and cucumber & pawpaw soup with lobster, but a few indoor photographs are unflatteringly lit against a dark background and some outdoor shots have such harsh shadows that they do the food no favors.

All things considered, however, you'd have to be a summertime-Scrooge to dislike much about Van Boven's celebration of summer. The luminescent cookbook provides plenty to inspire and enjoy - and make us wish for an endless summer.

Try a Recipe from the Book

  • Thousand-Tomato Salad with Homemade Ricotta & Basil Oil
  • Grilled Rib Eye Steak with Garlic & Herbs
  • How to Make Preserved Lemons
  • Puffy Pancakes with Raspberries
  • Publication Details

  • Title: Homemade Zomer
  • By: Yvette van Boven
  • Language: Dutch, English and German
  • Published by: Fontaine Uitgevers BV
  • Publisher's Site
  • Price: € 24,95
  • ISBN: 978 90 5956 420 6
  • Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
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