Newest Cookery Reviews

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Cookery

Fairytale Food by Lucie Cash

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Are you looking for a gift for someone who enjoys cooking and who has an interest in fairy tales? If so, this book could well be your perfect answer. It has over sixty recipes - none of them at all complex - and they're all associated with favourite fairy tales. Instead of the usual carefully-primped pictures of the finished dishes there are lavish illustrations by Yelena Bryksenkova of scenes from the tales and I didn't find a double page spread which didn't have some entertaining embellishment. It's also a bonus that there's a gentle humour in the illustrations, as in this note from Goldilocks: Full review...

Saved by Cake: Over 80 Ways to Bake Yourself Happy by Marian Keyes

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Right now you are probably thinking 'Marian Keyes? She writes chick-lit doesn't she? What's she doing writing a cookbook?' You'll quite probably also be looking at her and thinking that she doesn't look as though she eats a lot of the output either. Well, there's a bit of a story behind this book... Full review...

Jamie's Great Britain by Jamie Oliver

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The Royal Wedding in 2011 and 2012's Diamond Jubilee and Olympic Games mean that anything which can be adorned with a Union Jack will be. Barbour do waxed Union Jack dog coats, so it should come as no surprise that Jamie Oliver is here with a large plate of good old roast beef in front of said flag. It's a splendidly chunky book and beautifully presented. Flick the book open at any page and you're likely to find a double-page spread of pictures (shooting on the country estate, making traditional cakes, foraging for food... you get the picture) or a recipe accompanied by a full-page photograph of the end product. Full review...

Kitchen: Recipes from the Heart of the Home by Nigella Lawson

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Nigella Lawson's latest offering is subtitled 'recipes from the heart of home', which is a very vague title whose significance (undoubtedly clear to those who watch the TV versions) I fail to decode. All cooking is done in the kitchen after all. But I suppose coming up with interesting titles for general collections of recipes is not that easy, so I'll leave it at that. Full review...

A History of English Food by Clarissa Dickson Wright

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Writing a history of English food, and to some extent drink, must be a daunting task, but as an experienced TV presenter (as one of the Two Fat Ladies with the late Jennifer Paterson) and as one who was born in the post-war rationing world in 1947, Clarissa Dickson Wright is well placed to do so. Full review...

River Cottage Veg Every Day! by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

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Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall wants to make it clear that River Cottage: Veg Every Day! is a vegetable cookbook and that it's up to the reader to determine whether or not it's a vegetarian cookbook. He makes it quite clear that he's not a vegetarian and has no intention of becoming one, but for the four months which it took to film the series of which this is the book he didn't touch a scrap of meat or fish. It's a new Hugh, but the slimmed-down version is the result of a conscious decision before filming began rather than the consequences of the change of diet. The new hairstyle has yet to be explained… Full review...

On A Stick! by Matt Armendariz

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There's something rather fun about eating your food off a stick. The first thing that springs to my mind is candy floss (I never buy it when it's in a bag...sacrilegious!) but if you think about it there are lots of things you can eat off a stick, both savoury and sweet. And the author of this cookery book would have you believe that everything tastes better when it's eaten off a stick! Full review...

East End Paradise: Kitchen Garden Cooking In The City by Jojo Tulloh

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It's easy to think that growing your own fruit and vegetables is only possible if you live in the country and have a large garden, but Jojo Tulloh prove that you can live in a city, have an allotment – in her case a patch of East London waste ground – and put good food on the family's table. Even if you don't have the luxury of an allotment (and in some areas the waiting list is longer than most people can contemplate) there are still ways that almost everyone can produce some of their own food. You might wonder why this matters, but anything you grow yourself is going to be fresher when you eat it and taste far better than anything you pick up at the supermarket. Full review...

Great Food: A Dissertation Upon Roast Pig and Other Essays by Charles Lamb

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A Dissertation Upon Roast Pig is a collection of food-related essays from the early 19th century, with a humorous bent. They're but a few pages each - a light read to bring a smile to your face, then on to the next little foodie treat. Full review...

Great Food: Buffalo Cake and Indian Pudding by Dr A W Chase

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Think of a slim, American Mrs Beeton (her cookbook, not her) and you've got a rough idea of the premise of Buffalo Cake and Indian Pudding. It includes recipes for such treats as Minnesota corn bread, popcorn pudding, pumpkin pie and pork cake. The recipes aren't the whole picture, though. Dr Alvin Wood Chase was a travelling salesman as well as an author, so being blessed with the gift of the gab, he peppers his recipes with anecdotes and comments to amuse and entertain the reader. Full review...

Great Food: A Taste of the Sun by Elizabeth David

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There are three people to whom I owe my ability to put imaginative and tasty food on the table: Nigel Slater for taking away the mystique, Jane Grigson for teaching me that food was deeply interesting and Elizabeth David just for being who she was. Initially I found her a little daunting but once I realised that cookery books were about far more than recipes I appreciated her true worth. In the wonderful Great Food series Penguin have given us a selection of her writing and a demonstration of how she changed the way that post-war Britain thought about food. Full review...

Leith's Meat Bible by Max Clark and Susan Spaull

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I've been cooking beef for almost half a century and I thought that I was making a pretty good job of it, but last weekend I cooked the best beef I have ever done and it was down to 'Leith's Meat Bible'. It wasn't because I had suddenly found a recipe to top all the others – it was because this book doesn't just tell you what to do; it tells you why. Because of this I made some fairly minor adjustments to how I cooked the beef – and the results were amazing. It's the ultimate meat cookbook and unless you're vegetarian or vegan you should have one. Full review...

Gregg's Favourite Puddings by Gregg Wallace

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Anyone who has watched Gregg Wallace on MasterChef will be aware of his passion (and that is not putting it too strongly) for puddings. He's never lost his sweet tooth and, unlike many men, is not afraid to admit it. He takes a child-like delight in the final course and has been known to go against the professional judge if something particularly appeals to him: he's salvaged the pride of many a contestant with his yummy. Full review...

Risotto with Nettles by Anna Del Conte

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People who are serious about food will know the name of Anna Del Conte. She's a serious writer about Italian food but not someone who has courted fame via the television screen. You'll have met her in places like 'Sainsbury's Magazine' or read some of her brilliant writing about the food of her native Italy. Full review...

Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi

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I'm sure that there are many good reasons for buying the Guardian of a Saturday but I always enjoy Yotam Ottolenghi's New Vegetarian column. I'm not a vegetarian (nor, indeed, is Ottolenghi) but he has a way with vegetables whether they're to be served on their own or as an accompaniment which is fresh, full of flavour and exciting. The background to the food is in Israel and Palestine with the region's rich supply of vegetables, pulses and grains. Full review...

Sushi and Beyond: What the Japanese Know About Cooking by Michael Booth

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Japanese food has a tendency to sound a bit freakish or even controversial. Raw fish? Octopus ice cream? Whale meat? Yet it is slowly infiltrating the UK with sushi conveyor belt restaurants popping up everywhere and noodle bars offering Westernised bowls of steaming noodles. In this book Michael Booth takes his wife and two young children to experience the real thing, travelling across the whole of Japan tasting an enormous range of foods and learning about their history, how the foods have been produced and are cooked and eaten. Full review...

Canteen: Great British Food by Cass Titcombe, Patrick Clayton-Malone and Dominic Lake

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I love food and I can happily read a recipe book for fun and for inspiration. It's always good to see what cookery books spawned by restaurants offer. Just occasionally you spot a combination of foods which you would never have thought of, but which works brilliantly, but more often I've found myself wondering two things. Who, in their own home, would go to the trouble of creating these dishes and, more importantly, who would want to eat them? At the other end of the scale you find 'Canteen: Great British Food' and you heave a sigh of relief. Full review...

The Lazy Cook's Family Favourites by Mo Smith

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These days I get very nervous when I hear about books for 'lazy' cooks, or how to cheat when preparing meals. There's a very simple reason for this: good food, prepared using seasonal ingredients which don't break the budget needs skill and knowledge and neither are the prerogative of the lazy. Mo Smith might like us to think that she's lazy, but take my word for it – she isn't. She might have learned a few tricks for making good food quickly, but she's a woman who knows her onions and all sorts of other food. Full review...

My Bread: the Revolutionary No-work, No-knead Method by Jim Lahey

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It's a long time since I did Home Economics at school, but a major part of it was learning methods, which, I was assured would stand me in good stead for the rest of my life. A Victoria sponge was a careful progression of creaming and gently adding flour and eggs. A white sauce had a couple of these methods, but essentially it meant working through a series of instructions until they became second nature. Bread was the worst requiring fermenting, kneading, proving and then more kneading and rising. Full review...

Mma Ramotswe's Cookbook by Stuart Brown

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I expect there will be a few people who spot this book on the shelves and wonder who Mma Ramotswe is, but Alexander McCall Smith's legion of fans certainly won't be amongst them. This cookbook is a nice tie-in to the books, written with a foreword from AMS himself, and full of flavoursome recipes that are spoken of in his series of books about Mma Ramotswe and her Number One Ladies Detective Agency. Illustrated with beautiful photography, lots of quotes from the books, and lots of information about Botswana's rich variety of food it's a wonderful mix of being both a cookery book, a reference book and a companion work to the Mma Ramostwe books. Full review...

Ani's Raw Food Desserts by Ani Phyo

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I'm always keen to try new desserts. I'm also - in a low-key kind of way - quite a fan of raw-food eating. I read a couple of books on the topic some years ago, and was inspired by the medical anecdotes, and also the 'green' aspects of eating primarily raw food. But most of the raw food recipes I've come across are over complex. So most of the time I made raw juices and smoothies, and eat some salad and fresh fruit and nuts, but my diet is mainly non-raw. Full review...

Stirred But Not Shaken: The Autobiography by Keith Floyd

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I grew up with television cookery programmes and still have some recipes in my childish handwriting, which begin 4oz SR fl 2oz marg 2oz C sug… as I battled to copy what was on the screen before we retuned to the presenter. Programmes stagnated as the cook spoke to camera and lectured the viewer on how to make sponge cake or a fish dish. Then we were shocked awake. There was a man, quite good-looking in a raffish, slightly dangerous sort of way, who cooked on the deck of a trawler or wherever the whim took him, always glass in hand and who was quite capable of berating the cameraman about how he was doing his job. Like him, or hate him – you could not help but know that he was Keith Floyd, or Floydy to millions. Full review...

The 30-Minute Vegan: 150 Simple and Delectable Recipes for Optimal Health by Mark Reinfeld and Jennifer Murray

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I am a committed vegetarian, who strongly believes in the health benefits of a meat free diet. I have in the past been tempted to go completely vegan, but the lure of chocolate and cheese proved too strong. I have no will power. Full review...

Phil Vickery's Puddings by Phil Vickery

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I have a weakness for puddings and whilst I wouldn't consider buying a ready meal I will happily trawl the aisles for a good desert when I haven't the time to spend in the kitchen. So, the opportunity to read a book with the sub-title every pudding you have ever wanted to make was simply too good to pass up. I have two favourites when I think of puddings – Tarte Tatin and Crème Brulee – so I was keen to see Phil Vickery's recipes for these classics. Full review...

Vegan Lunch Box Around the World by Jennifer McCann

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I am a long-time Vegetarian but sometimes flex up (or down, depending on how you look at it) to Vegan since I don't like eggs unless cleverly disguised as a cake, and don't drink milk. Not having either in the house most of the time means cooking some recipes can be a pain, so I was keen to have a look at this book for ideas of what I could use as substitutes. Full review...

Soup For All Occasions by New Covent Garden Food Co

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I love soup. It's more filling than a drink and less time-consuming than a meal but with all the flavour you could ask for. I don't mind good quality canned soup such as Baxter's or New Covent Garden, but I do prefer to make my own, so what could be better than a recipe book from New Covent Garden Food Co? It's not a book of recipes for the soups they sell, but a series of recipes from their staff which will take you, as the title says, through all occasions. Full review...

Wild Cooking by Richard Mabey

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It's become fashionable now to make do, to cut back - even for those who have no need to do so. Conspicuous consumption is frowned upon and thriftiness is the new black, so Wild Cooking, previously published in hardback as The New English Cassoulet is going to appeal to the mood of the moment with its approach of 'busking in the kitchen' and making do. Some of it might seem a little extreme – I really can't imagine that I will ever slow cook a Peking Duck in front of a fan heater simply because it might as well cook the food whilst it's heating the room – but I love the idea of using a glut to make broad bean hummus, or even of gathering up vegetables which have been left when the field has been harvested. Full review...

Fish Pies and French Fries, Vegetables, Meat and Something Sweet...Affordable, Everyday Food and Family-friendly Recipes Made Easy by Gill Holcombe

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Following on from her success with the book with the atrociously long title Gill Holcombe has given us another long title and more easy recipes aimed at busy people who live real lives. The principle is the same – few people have unlimited time and/or money and these recipe books go some way towards proving that it is possible to prepare food simply and quickly without breaking the Bank. She promises 'simple, wholesome and nutritious recipes' – does she deliver? Full review...

How to Drink by Victoria Moore

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A friend who saw me reading this book was moved to ask if I really needed the advice and was quite surprised when I explained that it was about the whole range of liquid intake from the humble glass of warm water (try it – it's wonderful first thing in the morning) to rare spirits costing hundreds of pounds a bottle. It's completely unpreachy with not a word about how much liquid you should be taking in each day to how few units you should be consuming each week. It's about getting the best (which isn't always the most expensive) and enjoying it – and most importantly, enjoying a drink when that's the drink you want. Full review...

Delia's Complete How To Cook by Delia Smith

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At the end of the last century Delia Smith produced her How to Cook series – three volumes which gave the inexperienced cook the grounding that they would need to put good food on the table for any occasion. Produced in three volumes (volumes 1, 2 and 3) it always seemed to me to be a reworking of her Complete Cookery Course which began life in a similar manner. There were some new recipes, some reworkings of old favourites and some that were well known. The books were directed at the novice rather than the experienced cook, but found favour with both as this was a time when Delia could do no wrong. Full review...

The Thrifty Cookbook by Kate Colquhoun

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Using left-over food can, as Kate Colquhoun says, become something of an obsession. I've done it for years and I do occasionally wonder if I ever eat a meal which doesn't owe something to the day before – or even the day before that. Tonight we're having chicken (from yesterday's roast) and roast vegetables (the last of the selection in the vegetable rack) followed by queen of puddings (the end of the loaf which made chicken sandwiches for lunchboxes, the last of a pot of jam and a couple of eggs). The carcass of the chicken made stock and whilst that was simmering I used the steam to make the custard for ice cream with the last of this week's eggs, the end of the weekend's cream and some milk. It's all good food, but you do need to know what you're doing and how you can make best use of what's in the kitchen. That's where The Thrifty Cookbook comes in. Full review...

Shooting the Cook by David Pritchard

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David Pritchard would have you believe that he was a bumbling TV producer and that he, almost by accident, discovered two men who would go on to become celebrity chefs. The first, Keith Floyd, was a revelation to viewers as he slurped a glass (or two) of wine, said exactly what you thought he shouldn't have said and cooked amazing food in one exotic location after another. After the stultifying programmes made by the likes Fanny Craddock he was a breath of fresh air and like or loathe him there was no way that you could be ambivalent. The second man, Rick Stein, was an entirely different, er, kettle of fish. Quiet, thoughtful and decidedly more erudite – it was difficult to imagine two more diverse personalities, but he brought out the best of both and made programmes which stay in the mind years later. Full review...

Bread: River Cottage Handbook No 3 by Daniel Stevens

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Have you ever been tempted by a bread recipe in a magazine and thought that it looked so easy you really ought to give it a go? Have you followed the instructions to the letter – or so you thought – only to find that you produced a solid mass fit only for the birds and even they took it as an insult? Me too. 'Bread: River Cottage Handbook No 3' was to be my final attempt at bread making and if that failed then I would have to make the regular trip to the local artisan baker. Full review...

Delia's Frugal Food by Delia Smith

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Following a lamentable lack of ability to predict the way that public opinion was heading when she published How to Cheat at Cooking it's good to see that Delia's returned to form with an updating and reissue of her original classic bestseller, Frugal Food. Frugal Food was first published in the nineteen seventies when we were having a little local financial difficulty and it caught the mood of the times with its preference for spending time in the kitchen to produce economical meals rather than spending money to buy time. Full review...

Coast to Coast by Rick Stein

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You know what you're going to get with Rick Stein. There's a good reason why he's a television chef, successful restaurateur and author – he delivers, on the table, on the screen and on the page, the sort of food which people want to eat. In his early days it was all about fish but in his latest book he gives recipes for food from land and sea inspired by his travels across the world. Full review...

How to Feed Your Whole Family a Healthy Balanced Diet, with Very Little Money and Hardly Any Time, Even If You Have a Tiny Kitchen, Only Three Saucepans ... - Unless You Count the Garlic Crusher... by Gill Holcombe

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These days few people have the luxury of unlimited time in which to prepare meals. Jobs, children, families and life all seem to get in the way. The same is true of money and when you put the two factors together it's easy to see why people are tempted to buy cheap convenience food. It's on the table without much effort, requires little in the way of equipment and superficially it looks a lot cheaper than buying all the ingredients to make a family meal. In How to Feed Your Whole Family a Healthy, Balanced Diet… gill Holcombe sets out to prove that it's possible to put good food on the table without breaking the Bank. Full review...