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Perfect: 68 Essential Recipes for Every Cook's Repertoire [Hardcover]

Felicity Cloake
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
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Book Description

4 Aug 2011

The Guardian's 'How to Make' food columnist Felicity Cloake is on a mission to find the perfect recipes for staple dishes, from spag bol to apple pie and from brownies to fish pie, in her first cookbook Perfect - 68 essential reciepes for every cook's repertoire.

How can I make deliciously squidgy chocolate brownies? Is there a foolproof way to poach an egg? Does washing mushrooms really spoil them? What's the secret of perfect pastry? Could a glass of milk turn a good Bolognese into a great one?

Perfect will answer all these questions and many, many more. Having rigorously tried and tested recipes from all the greats - from Elizabeth David and Delia Smith to Nigel Slater and Simon Hopkinson - Felicity Cloake has pulled together the best points from each to create the perfect version of 68 classic dishes. Never again will you have to rifle through countless different books to find the your perfect roast chicken recipe, mayonnaise method or that incredible tomato sauce - it's all here in this book, based on Felicity's popular Guardian column, along with dozens of invaluable prepping and cooking tips that no discerning cook should live without.

Whether you're a competent cook or have just caught the bug, Perfect has a place on every kitchen shelf.

'Brilliant. . . finely honed culinary instincts, an open mind and a capacious cookbook collection...Miss Cloake has them all' Evening Standard

Guardian and New Statesman food columnist Felicity Cloake is the winner of the 2011 Guild of Food Writers awards for Food Journalist of the Year and New Media of the Year; follow Felicity on Twitter @FelicityCloake.

Frequently Bought Together

Perfect: 68 Essential Recipes for Every Cook's Repertoire + Perfect Too: 92 More Essential Recipes for Every Cook's Repertoire + Perfect Host: 162 easy recipes for feeding people and having fun
Price For All Three: £39.42

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Fig Tree (4 Aug 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1905490836
  • ISBN-13: 978-1905490837
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 22.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 24,324 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Delightful old-fashioned cover, plus properly practical contents (Rachel Cooke Observer Food Monthly)

Brilliant . . . Finely honed culinary instincts, an open mind and a capacious cookbook collection . . . Miss Cloake has them all (Evening Standard)

Instead of flitting from Nigel to Nigella to Jamie, simplify your culinary life and plump for this invaluable book instead (Bookseller 2011-05-13)

About the Author

Felicity Cloake is a journalist and food writer from London. She writes for the Daily Mail, the Metro and Fire & Knives magazine and has a weekly column in the Guardian. She was named Food Journalist of the Year and won the New Media of the Year Award at the 2011 Guild of Food Writers Awards. Her first book, Perfect, is published by

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
41 of 43 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Must Own Recipe Book 31 July 2011
By Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
OK, I admit it, I love to cook and I love to get my hands on decent recipes to turn the mundane task of making a meal into an extravaganza for the taste buds. Yet the major problem with a lot of the books out there is that there's a large percentage of recipes that you really either won't try and really don't attract your attention enough to make you want to try them.

What this title by Felicity does is trawl through recipes from a multitude of established books and chefs and brings the tastiest to the reader in one easy to access title. Add to this a whole host of everyday recipes and it's a title that will get more than a little use. Recipes include all sorts of dishes that I want to make better and whilst some are simplistic, it's the key to getting them right that has eluded many a home cook. If you want to know how to obtain that top notch crackling on your Pork Joint, that's here, you want great Yorkshire Puds, yep that's there as well. Your Roasties are failing, not any more. There's also a section for desserts, a section on vegetables as well as many other recipes that you really can't afford to turn down.

Finally add to all this glory a wonderful introduction that gives you the basic items required for any kitchen, some that are useful but not essential as well as key ingredients that make sense to have in stock (and we're not talking Nigella's pantry that has about £5K worth of food items in) such as flour, eggs, bread as well as other basics that most people have and the whole thing is a title that you can learn along with as well as pass along to the next generation.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I bought the kindle version simply because the book is out of print, and second hand copies are selling at ridiculous prices. Like any kindle book, it's hard to get a feel for how big a book you're embarked upon. Suffice it to say I read this from 'cover to cover' in less than 3 hours.

Having greatly enjoyed the detailed comparisons Felicity writes in the Guardian each week, taking close note of the chefs and well kent recipe writers she tests and trials, before coming up with her 'perfect' version, I was expecting the same. So it is with some considerable disappointment that I found the book provided a synthesis of those more lavishly descriptive and thorough deconstructions. Also, several of the recipes are for the most basic of items - how to boil an egg, how to emulsify oil and vinegar into a vinegarette. The book's title is at least accurate - you do only get 68 recipes and for £11 for a kindle download this has to be the very worst value for money e-book I've ever bought.

Don't get me wrong, there is value in each of these recipes, but for me without the detailed reasoning of why this approach and not that found in the articles, they are a lot less convincing.

Like another reviewer who pointed out you can read ALL of Felicity's 'Perfect...' articles for free on the internet, my advice is don't buy this.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect 16 May 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Really a book to pull out on a rainy day and plan a campaign to make your perfect favourite. I have followed her series and think this book is magic !
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars unputdownable! 17 Mar 2014
By margins
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I read through the night - not many cookery books can make me do that. Good advice from a charming writer.
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The perfect cookery book - a must have! 8 Aug 2011
By debbie
This book is brilliant and so well written. There is an excellent range of useful and interesting recipes - they are all dishes that you would actually want to make (or make already, but can now improve!). It is a very interesting book to read and the recipes are all clear and easy to follow.

We have made a few of the dishes already and they have been a complete success. The chocolate mousse was absolutely delicious, and the fish pie was really good too. The book has also hugely improved my roast potatoes and yorkshire pudding (which I had thought were pretty good until I used these recipes). It completely solves the dilemma of which recipe to follow when Delia, Jamie and Nigella,etc have a completely different receipe or method for the same dish.

I regularly read Felicity's column in the Guardian and so have been waiting eagerly for this book to come out, especially as I saw on the Guardian website that Felicity recently won The National Guild of Food Writers' award for "Food journalist of the year" - and I have not been disappointed! It really is an excellent cook book - perfect for everyone to use.

It even looks great as well, with lovely old-fashioned illustrations and design on the cover and so it is a great book to have sitting on the kitchen shelf!

All in all, the perfect cookery book!
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
By Agnes
I normally don't buy cookery books unless there a numerous glossy photos to entice me into the kitchen in the first place and to show me the end product that I am aiming for.
Perfect does not need any glossy photographs. The prose is so well written that I could see, taste and smell the recipes coming up off the pages. Having read the book from cover to cover - it is a joy to read as a piece of prose as much as a recipe book - I was in the kitchen, elbow deep in maris pipers and perfect fried eggs.
For what its worth, the recipes are clearly explained and (so far) have all been rip-roaring successes.
Thank you so much Felicity Cloake; move over Nigella, I have a new kitchen heroine!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A great book. I'd not come across Felicity before and ...
A great book. I'd not come across Felicity before and enjoy her dry humour and comparisons with other published cooks. Read more
Published 1 day ago by Mr. J. D. Clegg
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
value for money
Published 22 days ago by john
5.0 out of 5 stars perfect
Very different type of cookbook, will try a lot of the recipes I think.
Published 25 days ago by Fizzer
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect
Perfect is the appropriate word. The fairy cakes and Victoria sponge are to die for. Some things seem time consuming like the roast pork, but well worth the effort. Read more
Published 1 month ago by honey
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect - says it all!
With hundreds of cookery books, gathered from all over the world - I was running out of room until I started buying some books on my Kindle/iPad - and now running out of room there... Read more
Published 4 months ago by JennyB
5.0 out of 5 stars Utterly brilliant
Why did no one have this idea before? I could not stop reading and bookmarking. And she references the sublime Harold McGee too. Heaven.
Published 14 months ago by Helen
5.0 out of 5 stars Not perfect but really very good
An interesting way of showing variety of styles and getting the best of many worlds. An excellent read and resource.
Published 16 months ago by Pricey
5.0 out of 5 stars Felicity Cloake is my cookery guru
I have been following Felicity Cloake in her Guardian cookery column. This book is great - she goes to great lengths to test out various chef's recipes and takes the best of each... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Roy Bennett
4.0 out of 5 stars A convincing book
Not just a collection of recipes (mostly for basic foods), it gives the reasons for using - for instance - dripping rather than butter, or cornflour rather than wheatflour, by... Read more
Published 19 months ago by Peter Hulse
1.0 out of 5 stars Honestly
Unfortunately this cook book is very bland - bland in the choice of recipes and bland in their execution. Read more
Published 24 months ago by MR R A CLARKE
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