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Steve Manfredi could be excused for sitting back and resting on his substantial laurels if he wanted to. After all, restaurant bel mondo made Stefano Manfredi's name, and then there were a couple of books - Fresh from Italy and Bel Mondo - as well as his recipes and food articles that continue to appear in various publications, and that sensational coffee brand, Espresso di Manfredi by Piazza d'Oro.

But, apparently he has been busier than ever, because just weeks ago another book appeared on the shelves. Simply called Seasonal, if you are like me, you will find that this is one of those volumes that makes you want to take it straight to the kitchen and start cooking.

The pictures are evocative, the recipes achievable, and best of all it follows a current trend of grouping them according to the major ingredient. As so much of Mediterranean food is seasonally inspired, it follows that the foods appear according to the season in which they are at their best. More than this, Steve offers advice on selection, storage and use of this fresh produce, as well as the best accompaniments (other foods and drinks) to even further enhance them.

The best thing about this book is that it is a sort of magnificently edible calendar of all the good things a year can deliver. In that case, I reckon it needs to stay handy in the kitchen all the time.

The Sydney Morning Herald's Seasonal cookbook, rrp $34.95 (Fairfax Books) is available from all good bookstores, or order direct from the Herald on 1300 656 059, or


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