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Do-ahead Dinners: how to feed friends and family without the frenzy [Hardcover]

James Ramsden
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
RRP: 20.00
Price: 13.60 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

8 Aug 2013
Cooking for groups can be a stressful operation, yet at his supper club, The Secret Larder, James Ramsden has built a reputation for creating exciting, trendy, tasty food without the gaga gourmet, whilst being able to maintain a relaxed and sociable presence amongst the guests. This is because he prepares the majority of his food ahead. In this book, James offers an exciting array of inexpensive recipes, that can be prepared ahead and served up without a fuss so that the cook can be with their guests, not stuck in the kitchen.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Pavilion Books (8 Aug 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1862059977
  • ISBN-13: 978-1862059979
  • Product Dimensions: 25 x 19.2 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 119,081 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

James Ramsden is a 28-year-old food writer and apron for hire. He is a regular contributor to Delicious Magazine and the Guardian, and has written about food and cookery for the Times, the FT, Sainsbury's Magazine, the London Evening Standard, the Independent, and many others. His supper club, the Secret Larder, is one of the longest running in London. He lives in North London with his wife Rosie and dog Hilda.

Product Description

Review

This is a book you really want. No fifteen minute magic or culinary sorcery, just practical staged cooking of the most sumptuous dishes.
Yotam Ottolenghi

It’s fantastic. I want to cook every single thing in it.
India Knight

James Ramsden’s writing is so compelling and his recipes so accessible that Do-Ahead Dinners made me want to run straight into the kitchen and start cooking.
Russell Norman of Polpo

About the Author

James Ramsden is a 27-year-old food writer and broadcaster. He has written about food and cookery for the Guardian, the Times, the FT, delicious, Sainsbury s Magazine, London Evening Standard and many others, and presents the Lad that Lunches on BBC Radio 1. His supper club, the Secret Larder, is one of the most popular in London and was described by one journalist as harder to get into than the Ivy. He has built a reputation for creating exciting, trendy, tasty food without the gaga gourmet, and yet he is also known for his relaxed and sociable presence amongst the guests. He is the author of Small Adventures in Cooking.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a smashing book. It is perfect for anyone who wants to entertain friends with delicious food but WITHOUT any of the attendant stress that often goes with cooking.

The emphasis is - and the title might be a bit of a giveaway here - on food you can prepare mostly ahead of time. Meaning that you can neck a couple of cocktails with your guests and, dare I say it, enjoy your friends' company, rather than sweat over a pan on your own in the kitchen.

To help with the "Do-Ahead" aim, recipes are formatted a little differently. Instead of a sequential list of "do this, then do that, then move on to..." the author breaks each recipes up into "between 1 and 2 days beforehand; 2 hours beforehand; immediately before serving". For the novice cook this is a godsend that makes things super-easy and confidence inspiring; for the experienced cook it is just another bonus that makes life simpler.

The recipes in the book aren't about complicated cookery. They are more a question of taking ingredients (often robust ones, and economical cuts), treating them well and putting them with other ingredients to make them taste even better. I'd call it honest, delicious cooking. The recipes read as if the author has a knack for combining flavours really well. And my take is that this is pretty easy cookery; it requires a little work and planning (well d'uh, if you are going to do something ahead of time that's going to be the case, isn't it?), but nothing looks particularly difficult, tedious or onerous.

Sure, there are other prepare-ahead dinner party cookbooks out there - but this one has food that I'd actually want to eat.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
By TM
Format:Hardcover
On first flicking through Do-ahead Dinners there were loads of recipes I wanted to try. Not only did they look tasty, they were also different and seemed impressive. And after all who throws a dinner party if not to show-off just a little bit.

Now that I've had a chance to try a few of recipes, I'm still very keen - what was once a good-looking cookbook is now a good-looking cookbook covered in grease spots and gravy. The results were great and this has rather less to do with my cooking abilities than it does with this excellent book.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Properly useful and lovely book 11 Sep 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Really enjoyed this read - James has a really 'likeable' tone and the recipes are inspiring and gorgeous. The idea of cook ahead is ace and has already helped me pull of one supper for ten!
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book will make you hungry 8 Aug 2013
Format:Hardcover
Gorgeous recipes and gorgeous photography, this book is fun to read as well as to cook from. Taking the frazzled panic out of cooking, Do-Ahead Dinners is a must for anyone who plans to feed the masses. The dishes are modern and fresh, but comforting and there's a very appealing section of boozy cocktails at the back to get your shaker out for. This will certainly remain a very constant fixture in my kitchen.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fab fab fab 27 Nov 2013
By Tommi
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
you all need one of these. Best christmas present for all family and friends. inspiring and delicious....fab fab fab fab
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By RCSL
Format:Hardcover
I have shelves groaning with cookbooks - can't get enough of them - but have to say that not all of them find their way into the kitchen for use. This isn't one of those. Of all my recent additions, this is easily the most used. There are lots of classics and also lots of lovely original twists. It's robust food, which I like, and it is eminently suitable for entertaining. I've found it just as useful for creating family meals - indeed this is where my most need of 'do-ahead' food comes in. It's nice to find out just how long you can keep things for and also surprising what you can make so far in advance. The kids adore the jambalaya and I love the butternut squash with labneh. I'm also particularly fond of the chorizo twists - simple, but they go down a storm when you have friends for drinks. Love it.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nom nom nom 8 Aug 2013
Format:Hardcover
I've eaten at James' Supper Club and this book is just like that - welcoming, beautifully presented and full
of wonderful food. In a world of pretentious, know-it-all chefs who seem to want to show off with obscure ingredients and abstruse techniques, this is really refreshingly straightforward - and he's not too didactic about ingredients, which makes the whole cooking experience a lot less of a faff!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A perfect sized hardback book with stunning illustrations and a varied array of on trend recipes that can be put together at your own pace, in pockets of time running up to the meal. I love this attitude to cooking; it's so liberating and relaxing. As well as the staged preparation there are loads of tips for putting a twist on the dishes and using up leftovers. An inspiration!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars oh!
oh dear. i had high hopes for this book. i have hundreds of foody books and thought the reviews for this one was enough to make me buy it, seemingly it was but i disagree with the... Read more
Published 2 months ago by VenusSpecimen
4.0 out of 5 stars Quality.
I was hesitant to buy this initially for my Kindle Fire HD because I thought that the sale price was still a bit too pricy (Times are hard for most at the moment). Read more
Published 2 months ago by ReshmiZulphay
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Original recipes, easy to execute. made the kahlua, hazelnut and fennel seed ice cream last night....what a great and unexpected idea.
Published 4 months ago by Andrew Muscat
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning book, delicious recipes
I have been to the Secret Larder Supper Club and seen how James creates delicious, amazing meals whilst still being able to chat to his guests, have time to sit with us and... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Olive Jones
1.0 out of 5 stars Very disappointed
I was very disappointed when I received this book. Totally unoriginal recipes and very difficult to follow. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Mrs E M Turner
5.0 out of 5 stars Extremely useful & a pleasure to read - what more can you ask for in a...
There are cookbooks that find themselves on a bookshelf or even worse on a coffee table, but Do Ahead Dinners is one of those books that constantly gets relocated from the kitchen... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Ji-Woon Kim
5.0 out of 5 stars Two words; Life Saving
Have eaten at James's supper club a few times so couldn't wait to get my hands on his book. The secret to an amazing dinner party is a stressfree host, delicious delicious... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Florinda
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant read, brilliant recipes
Its not every day that a cookbook makes you laugh out loud but Do Ahead Dinners made me more than once. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Mark Woodhouse
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