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Leiths Cookery Bible Hardcover – 20 Oct 2003


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 880 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC; 3rd Revised edition edition (20 Oct 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 074756602X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747566021
  • Product Dimensions: 18.9 x 5.7 x 24.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 9,040 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon Review

Leiths Cookery Bible is an old-fashioned cook book in the best possible sense. It's not that the recipes are out of date--though the traditional favourites such as roast beef and Yorkshire pudding are present and correct--but that this isn't a volume written around gorgeous colour photographs so perfect they actually put the average home chef off even attempting the dishes for fear of failure. That said, there are 64 pages of very nice pictures.

Leiths concentrates on information: a 100-page primer covering conversion tables, cookery terms, menu planning, calculating quantities, presentation, serving, healthy eating, nutrition, food safety, storage, leftovers, freezing food, equipment and wine, and a further 740 large pages of very detailed recipes that are unambiguous, precise and easy to follow. Especially helpful is the fact that all measurements are given in imperial and metric, and all temperatures in Fahrenheit as well as Celsius.

Written in a practical, straightforward style, Leiths doesn't try to entertain and the recipes are as free from gimmicks and pretension as the prose: you won't learn here how to prepare anything which looks more suited to a contemporary art gallery than a dining table. Instead there are hundreds of recipes for every occasion from a quick and easy family meal to an upscale dinner party, all of which have been tested repeatedly during 27 years of the Leiths School of Food and Wine.

The result in this third edition is the inclusion of dozens of "new classics"--the fresh, imaginative cooking that has been such an inspiration for today's chefs. It has meant that Oriental, Indian, South American and vegetarian dishes have come into their own. It has meant due regard for healthy eating, alongside the "haute cuisine" of rich butter sauces and high-cholesterol puddings and the hearty, homely cooking of the modern brasserie.

Also included are useful sections on the preparation of all the main types of meat and fish, though for more detailed coverage of kitchen craft Leiths Techniques Bible is the place to go. Otherwise, this is the perfect one-stop shop for anyone wanting a practical, functional guide on how to cook just about anything. --Gary S Dalkin

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 30 people found the following review helpful By "neller78" on 28 Dec 2005
Format: Hardcover
As a self taught cook, I have often found myself wishing I had a recipe for the most basic of things (ie pastry or gravy) without having to use the trial and error method. I was given this book as a Christmas present and I love it, it has not left my side in the last 5 days. Yes some of the recipes are good old favourites but there are some great inspirational ones too plus the recipes are written in such a way that as a confident cook I can add my own twists and mix and match. A fantastic cookbook for all levels.
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67 of 69 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 23 Oct 2002
Format: Hardcover
"The only cookbook you'll ever need" says the cover, and it's a fair claim. OK, so there's not much in the way of photographs. This is not one of those Delia Smith volumes churned out annually. What you get is several hundred pages of detailed recipes on just about anything. Whether you're boiling an egg or stuffing a wild duck with pistachios, everything is here. That is not to say that this is some pretentious tome for dinner party catering. Those recipes are here, but where the Leith Bibles (there are three others in the series, including the faultless Fish Bible) score is in their everyday recipes: fish pie, roast gammon, tomato soup. Everything's been rigorously tested, and the results (at least for everything I've tried) are infallible. At home this book has had almost daily usage for the two years since I got hold of a copy. It cannot be recommended enough.
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46 of 48 people found the following review helpful By C W. Raper on 13 July 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Ignore the cavilling comments of some of the earlier reviewers. This is, as it claims, the Bible of English-language cook-books. No, it doesn't have lots of chit-chat about food and how it reminds the author of summer evenings in Spain, and so on. There are plenty of other books to provide that sort of thing, if that is what one wants. This is a no-nonsense, easy to follow guide to how to cook most dishes in the common repertoire of English/French cooking. So what if it sounds a bit school-marmish at times? Prue Leith and Caroline Waldegrave were principals of a cookery school, so it really is no great surprise. Nor is it a problem in terms of using the book to learn how to cook.... The wine suggestions are not patronising in the least. One can ignore them if one chooses (I always do), but for those wishing to learn, they can, presumably, be useful.
As for the suggestion that some of the receipts are archaic - most normal people would call them classics because they have stood the test of time. No, the book isn't cutting edge, but it doesn't pretend or seek to be so. It gives the user the ability to produce the standard, classic repertoire, with a few new things thrown in. Some receipts are complex, some are easy.
There are occasional infelicities, especially in terms of cross-references, and I wish that the receipts were not always in quantities for 4 people, but those are very minor quibbles. The best thing about the book is that it gives the user the scope and the wherewithal to experiment and develop.
I cook and entertain a lot, and this book is my constant companion.
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75 of 79 people found the following review helpful By Arty on 6 Jan 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Of all the cookery books i have, this is one the one most often out on the table. It contains all the basics (e.g white sauce and , say, two types of tomato sauce) plus obvious staples which have just that little bit more flair e.g. a passable Beef Bourgignon. I agree with another reviewer that some of the recipes are old fashioned - except they are few and far between and it is easy to ignore those ones. I do not agree that it is patronising or school-mamish. The recipes are simply laid out and very easy to follow - especially if, like me, you often modify or combine recipe ideas depending on what ingredients you have. Incidentally, i have tried several rotten meat-ball recipes - most of which fail because the meatballs disintegrate in the pan. This book contains two very good (and easy) meatball recipes. Also some good (very easy, not as fiddly as Rick Stein) fish recipes (try the white fish with green herbs en papillote) - though if you happen to buy the Leiths Fish Bible there is quite a lot of double-up. The baked cod is pretty damned too. If you need a book which is stuffed full of recipes of all kinds...then this is the book for you.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 2 Dec 1999
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a great aid in the kitchen and is good for simple dishes, classic English dishes such as Steak and Kidney Pudding as well as more modern recipes. The text is thoughtfully written and each stage easy to follow. The only doubt I have is that once or twice the quantities seem a little suspect, such as "a teaspoon of chopped onion" when I'm sure it must mean a tablespoon! Overall though, it's good and very handy to have in the kitchen.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Jeni on 4 Dec 2005
Format: Hardcover
Echoing what has been said before, this is the best all round cookbook you'll ever find. Truly comprehensive and easy to use, it contains everything from comfort food to special occasion dishes. The primer at the beginning is fascinating, giving all the info you'll need on meats and veg, and preparation, and throwing dinner parties for the masses!
I stole my Mum's copy of this a few years ago, and refer back to it all the time, and will be buying her a new edition to replace the one I took! No kitchen is complete without it. It may not have fancy, obscure recipes, or little notes from the writers, but it's a no-nonsense compendium of tried and tested lovely lovely food!
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