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Death Comes to Pemberley
Death Comes to Pemberley
Price: 1.59

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars so disappointing, 3 Jan 2014
I watched the TV adaptation over Christmas, and was delighted by it. Grabbed the kindle version of the original book, but oh dear. How disappointing. It was like reading a synopsis, no feeling, no atmosphere, no colour at all to the writing. I would say to anyone who wants to enjoy a sequel to Pride and Prejudice, buy the DVD, but don't bother with the book.

Delia's Cakes
Delia's Cakes
by Delia Smith
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 5.00

53 of 62 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Delia's Cakes... a beautiful book but..., 2 Mar 2013
This review is from: Delia's Cakes (Hardcover)
I have had a copy of Delia's Cakes since it came out in paperback in the 1970s, and my original copy is falling apart now, I have used it to much over the years. So I was delighted that the new version would be coming out in hardback, which should make it much more robust for kitchen use.

And beautiful it is, with a very attractive wipeclean cover, no dust sleeve (which is much more practical for a cookery book I think. I have lots of lovely books with very tatty dust jackets) the pictures are perfect, not over styled, but look as though they would be easily achievable by a normal home cook. And many of my old favourites are included along with new recipes, including muffins that weren't in the 1970s version.

And yet I am rather irritated. Delia has made it very clear that she doesn't want to produce books or television programmes that are only for entertainment. She wants to teach people how to cook. So why in this book that is designed to work alongside her new online cookery school are certain important sections in pale sage green - oh so stylish, oh so hard to read when working from a book stand in the kitchen? And why are the ingredients in little pale green blocks?

There is a reason why ingredients are given in a list form, each item on its own line. It is so that it is easy to check that you have included everything. This book has ingredients in a little paragraph, with up to three ingredients on each line. And in the pale sage green typeface, that is impossible to read from a distance I feel sure that it will be easy to miss things.

To me, that makes this a coffee table book format, not a practical work book. So disappointing. I shall have to search out a second hand copy of my original paperback to use as a workbook, and keep this for enjoying for the entertainment. But I doubt that Delia would be happy with me doing that.

(review copy received from Hodder & Staughton. This review also appears on A Greedy Piglet blog)
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 15, 2013 8:54 PM GMT

The Pressure Cooker Cookbook
The Pressure Cooker Cookbook
by Catherine Phipps
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 12.72

21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I love my pressure cooker, 25 Sep 2012
I have always had a pressure cooker, and always a Prestige HiDome old fashioned one with weights. I had one with my mum at home, I had another as my own as a wedding present some 30 years ago, and I replaced that last year as the handle had fallen apart. But always the same one. Now I am wishing that I had read Catherine's book first before buying that last one, I would have got a nice shallow wide one, which would have made a lot of her recipes easier to do.

And there are a LOT of recipes and tips that I want to try in this book. I was amazed at the things I would never have thought of cooking in a pressure cooker - vegetables, fruit for cakes, fruit for marmalade (I admit I do that, but didn't realise that I was cooking the fruit for too long, now I have cut the time back) in addition to the steamed puddings, soups and casseroles I have always made. Now that the price of gas and electricity is on the up and up again, it is even more important to save fuel, and this book will make that enjoyable as well as necessary.

Production also is nice. I like that the book doesn't have a jacket. I seem to spend a lot of my life taping torn jackets together, so this wipe clean board cover is much more convenient.

A recommended buy.

The Gentle Art of Cookery (Classic Voices in Food)
The Gentle Art of Cookery (Classic Voices in Food)
by Mrs C.F. Leyel
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 11.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely period feel to this pretty book, 23 April 2012
This is one of the Classic Voices in Food series re-issued by Quadrille in wonderful tactile cloth bindings that make you appreciate that these are books as much for reading as for cooking from.

Having said that, there is much of practical note to relish here. The chapters are grouped roughly by food group, and seem to be practical and easy to follow. They assume a knowledge of cookery that some modern cookbooks may not, so you will be told to "make a white roux" and add to milk to make a sauce. No detailed quantities of butter and flour are given, so it is obvious that the cook is supposed to be experienced enough to know how much he or she might need for the amount of liquid given.

But this is typical of cookbooks of this period (The Gentle Art of Cookery was first published in 1925) when most households with an income sufficient to merit an interest in their food, would have had a cook. It strikes me that this book is aimed at the genteel lady of the house who may want to dabble a little when cook had her day off. This isn't a criticism by the way, I love cookery books like this that evoke the time and feeling of an age now gone and unlikely ever to return. You just need a little more thought and understanding of your craft than you will find in a modern step-by-step recipe book.

Hilda Leyel was unusual in her time for her use of flowers, spices and herbs, and the chapter on the use of flowers in cookery is fascinating.

A useful and interesting book.

British Seasonal Food
British Seasonal Food
by Mark Hix
Edition: Paperback
Price: 11.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Easy and delicious, 26 Jun 2011
This review is from: British Seasonal Food (Paperback)
I've had this book since early Spring, and have cooked from it a few times, so I am happy to report that things have worked really well. I made the Gamekeepers pie - cottage pie using venison - quite delicious and tasting resolutely of venison,the flavours not at all muddied - with Mark Hix's take on red cabbage, a lovely simple recipe, not as complex as my usual recipe, but that means the cabbage flavour stands out rather than the flavourings. I am cooking Ham Hock and Pea Salad today as it is warm (finally - I am writing this end June 2011, after a miserable early summer) and have high hopes that this will be as easy to accomplish and as delicious.

Although there are some rather arcane ingredients in here, things that you are never going to see on a supermarket shelf, there are also excellent simple recipes that allow straightforward ingredients to sing for their supper, as is right if you are eating seasonally. I like to cook uncomplicated food, but don't like it to be boring, and these recipes fit nicely into that niche. The recipes, although I am sure are of modern English restaurant standard in a lot of cases, are not at all difficult to produce for any normal domestic cook.

I will carry on through the seasons and look forward to rediscovering some more foods I haven't eaten for a while.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 26, 2011 10:55 PM BST

Cook's Journal
Cook's Journal
by Quadrille Publishing Ltd
Edition: Spiral-bound

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lovely way to pass recipes on through the family, 4 Jan 2011
This review is from: Cook's Journal (Spiral-bound)
I love this book. I had been trying to think of a neat and tidy way to pass on my tried and trusted recipes to my granddaughter who has set up home herself recently, and is starting to cook for herself. She rings me up and asks me for "how do YOU make this..". So this Journal will be ideal. It has lots of ideas for her, basic advice and conversion charts, neat pockets for clippings, a handy shopping list pad at the front, all good things for her to use herself so it will be a useful tool for her. But all through there are pages where I can add my own recipes for her to try for herself, and she can scribble her own notes next to them, so that my recipes become hers.

The categories are standard ones, the only extra one that I really think would be useful in a book like this is for preserves. I have nowhere to put my best marmalades and chutneys, so I suppose I will put them in with the Puds and Cakes, but it isn't ideal. But that is really the only downside I can see, the cover is wipe clean, the ring binding means it sits flat on the worksurface without closing in on itself (a real bugbear of mine with recipe books) and the pages have lovely smooth paper that is pleasant to write on. Useful and attractive.

How I Cook
How I Cook
by Skye Gyngell
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 17.50

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Cookbook, 6 Nov 2010
This review is from: How I Cook (Hardcover)
I have made recipes by Skye from magazines before, but this is the first cookbook I have owned by her, and I am very pleased.

I have slowly come to realise that whilst I love to eat complex, intricate meals at a restaurant, when I am cooking at home I want simplicity and flavour. I find that I regularly hone recipes to their bare bones, I don't want anything fussy or tricksy. So it was a delight to find that Skye Gyngell has already done this for me in her latest cookbook. The book follows a format of meal types - breakfast, lunch, special dinners - rather than Soup, Chicken, Meat etc. which I like - if I want something for lunch it is good to find a variety of inspirations all in one section rather than having to work through the entire book.

The production is also a joy, it seems to me that this has been designed by someone who actually cooks and has thought about what is needed in a good cookbook. Firstly, this is a great practical workbook, not just a coffee table book. The paper is nice and thick, so shouldn't crumple too quickly in the damp of a working kitchen. The recipes are nicely set out, and well illustrated. The size of the book is good, not too big, and it fits really well on my kitchen book stand. The pages all open nice and flat, and it has three silk ribbon markers - one for starter, main and pudding I reckon.

All in all, a book to be used for inspiration and for good solid instruction. A surefire winner.

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