There’s not a food writer around worth their salt who doesn’t urge us to cook with what’s in season. But what to do if you’re yearning for your favourite panzanella but it’s the middle of winter with nary a flavourful tomato or musky bunch of basil to be found? Kathryn Pauline would have you diving into a version with rye bread, oranges, roasted sweet potatoes, olives, feta and red onion instead. This book is a clever concept of 25 base recipes – such as frittata, shakshuka, panzanella, grain bowls, pasta with meatballs vege burgers – with four seasonal twists for each to adapt to what’s available and a grid of this-goes-with-that to help you customise. So for an upside-down cake for instance, the confident cook can run with the basic recipe then with a glance at the seasonal grid throw in their own choice of fruit, choose their favourite spice combo and whatever flavours take their fancy – I’m thinking a smidge of rose water and cardamom with rhubarb. Those who prefer to have a full recipe to follow have Kathryn’s seasonal options already laid out; for example her autumn version swirls orange blossom water and honey through a semolina cake topped with figs. The idea works better for some dishes than others: there’s no real base ‘recipe’ that can anchor a chapter on sandwiches and the theme begins to feel a bit forced. However, it unlocks a wide range of options so you don’t need to let a lack of inspiration, knowledge or confidence keep you stuck to one version of a dish – make what you want when you want it with what you have. TRACY WHITMEY