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Planet Cake
Planet Cake
by Paris Cutler
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best cupcake recipe ever!, 23 Sep 2012
This review is from: Planet Cake (Paperback)
I love cake and the vanilla cupcakes recipe at the start of this book is the best I have ever come across furthermore it has been consistently good everytime I have made them. I am not an artist and struggle to decorate cakes this book is a fantastic beginners guide.

The book includes very clear instructions, detailed information about equiptment and cake decorating skills. The book is written for beginners and covers every step, I cannot fault it.

My first attempt was the bow cupcakes and I was really pleased with the results, using the pasta maker to ensure the icing was thin really makes a diffrence to the taste.
The dragonfly cupcakes are very simple but impressive
Wow your friends with the honeybee and ladybird cupcakes and kids will love the green monster and pirate cupcakes

I was pleased with the present box cake when I made it for a friends birthday.

The only problem is I want to make them all and you only get better with practice but they are not too good for the waistline.

This book has transformed my understanding of baking cakes for the better. A great gift for wannabe cake decorators.

Home Cooking Made Easy
Home Cooking Made Easy
by Lorraine Pascale
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £13.60

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Impressive Baking, 23 Sep 2012
This review is from: Home Cooking Made Easy (Hardcover)
A well laid out cookbook with short introductions to each recipe followed by the number of servings and a list of ingrediants. The book includes full page bright photos of the recipes which are not only inspiring but helpful too.

I bought this book after watching Lorraine Pascale on TV and was delighted with the range of very quick and easy recipes and beautiful baking inspiration.

The book is split into the following chapters: starters, soups, canapes and snaclks; breads; mains; vegetables and vegetarian; desserts; cakes and cookies; sweets, jams and other good stuff.

The goats cheese truffles were so simple to make but look stunning and are very impressive for a dinner party.

As they were a childhood favourite I had to try the peppermint creams sugar rush, the were lovely.

The book has some fantastic statement cakes great for impressing guests, I made the chocolate digestive cheesecake with white icing - it was absolutly delicious, I was so impressed with the presentation too one of my friends refused to believe that I made it as she was convinced it was from the supermarket and another tells everyone it was the best cheesecake he had ever eaten.

Some fantastic recipes in a lovely book.

The Hairy Dieters: How to Love Food and Lose Weight
The Hairy Dieters: How to Love Food and Lose Weight
by Dave Myers
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic!, 23 Sep 2012
I was really excited when I found out that the Hairy Bikers were doing a diet cookbook, I have over 100 cookbooks and love the Hairy Bikers although I spend more time drooling over their cookbooks than making the dishes as I pile on the pounds very easily. It certainly isn't the best slimmers cookbook I have they still use too much oil, having said that the book is the best I have seen for taking on the challenge of traditionally fatty foods and making them more healthy.

The book is split into the following chapters: how to love food and lose weight, breakfast and brunch, one-pan dishes, grills and roasts, pies, stews, vegetables and salads, fakeaways, pasta and rice, puddings and snacks, menus for your first week.

Inspired by the TV show I tried the skinny beef lasagne, a real revolution using leeks instead of pasta. I also tried the low-fat minced beef and potato pie, I love pies and in particular pastry as I am struggling to keep my weight down I generally avoid them so the idea of a low-fat pie really does appeal. This was a great recipe, a little salty but a real beef pie taste, the pastry using pizza base mix really worked so I was very impressed. The rich and meaty bolognese was delicious and a fantastic recipe that delivered a beautiful dessert is the sparkling lemonade and lime jelly.

I can't wait to try the chilli salad bowls, my friend tried them and said they were fab.

The Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days
The Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days
by Tarek Malouf
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £5.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Bakers Delight, 23 Sep 2012
A mouthwatering selection of cupcakes, whoopie pies, bakes, cheesecakes, pies and cookies with some great flavour ideas. A beautiful book with great pictures and layout, the recipes are well displayed with the ingredients and equiptment needed set out clearly.

The book is split into the following chapters - valentines day, spring weekend bakes, mother's and father's day, easter, summer afternoon tea, birthday's and celebrations, rainy day treats, halloween and bonfire night, christmas. A nice idea but it's not the easiest book to navigate.

My favourite recipe is the blueberry crumble loaf - the crumble topping added a great texture to a light berry sponge
I have also tried -
Rose cupcakes - this was the first time I had used rosewater and it was a bit perfume like for me but my mum loved them
Lemon and poppy seed loaf - not the most beautiful of the recipes but it tastes delicious
Raspberry trifle cupcakes -lovely and very fruity
Red velvet cupcakes - I was a little dissapointed with the result, I have had the red velvet cupcakes from the hummingbird bakery and I struggled to get the right colour with mine and they didn't taste as good.

There is some helpful information at the back of the book including frosting cakes, I really enjoy this book but think that some of the recipes assume a level of baking skill and would benefit from clearer incstructions.

I am looking forward to making the mini mojito, strawberry daiquiri and pina colada cupcakes for the next girls night in!

A great gift for bakers.

Wagamama Cookbook and DVD
Wagamama Cookbook and DVD
by Hugo Arnold
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.19

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fresh flavours and surprisingly simple, 23 Sep 2012
I love wagamama food and this book helped me realise how easy it is to create quick delicious meals everyday!

I am lucky enough to have a nearby chinese supermarket that stocks the ingredients I couldn't find in the supermarket, it is well worth finding out where your local chinese supermarket is.

There are several ingredients that I had not used before so the glossary at the front was really helpful. Also at the start of the book is stocks and preparations - full of basic pastes, oils and stocks which is followed by sauces, dips and dressings with some delightful recipes that transform basic dishes such as the chilli and coriander dressing, gyoza sauce (which I am now addicted to) and the wagamama salad dressing which is delightful.

The rest of the book is split by sides and other small dishes, chicken, fish, meat, vegetable main dishes, salads, desserts, juices and drinks.

My recommendations from the book are:
Chicken gyoza - I love eating gyoza at Wagamamas and decided to have a go, I was really impressed at how easy they were to make and they tasted soo good I next made the Yasai gyoza which was just as good
Chicken ramen - another favourite for me when I go to the restaurant and again I was surprised that I was able to recreate the dish so easily at home
Yasi itameru - this was the first dish I ever cooked with tofu it was very good, a light veggie meal
Rice noodle salad - again simple and tasty
Warm stir fried chicken salad - surprisingly delicious a firm favourite in our household
Raw Salad - a really basic recipe that is worth trying (you'll be surprise how great it is)
Make sure you try the juices they are so fresh

I reccomend this book to anyone who loves wagamama but more importantly if your a bit daunted by Japanese / Asian cooking this is a great book to start with. Great flavours and healthy too!

Love Good Food: Easy to Cook Stylish Recipes
Love Good Food: Easy to Cook Stylish Recipes
by Sophie Michell
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £11.76

4.0 out of 5 stars Great for Dinner Parties!, 23 Sep 2012
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A beautifully presented cookbook filled with full page pictures my only criticism is that there is not a picture of every recipe. Sophie Mitchells food tastes as good as it looks and the book is full of interesting ingredients and flavours.

The book is simply structured with the following chapters: Light Meals, Main Meals, Desserts, Baking and Basics at the end.
The recipes I have tried incude:
Chicken and Lemongrass Skewers with Carrot and Cucumber Salad - looks and tastes great, a good option if you want to impress your guests
Spring Minestrone - lovely fresh soup although I would probably class it as spring vegetable rather than a minestrone
Halloumi, Quinoa, Pomegranate and Mint Salad - a great lunch box filler, the pomegranate makes a nice touch
The best for me is the Beef Rendang it is delicious with the Pineapple Sambal - I was transported straight back to Bali as I ate it!

The style of food is consistent with her other books so if you are a Sophie Mitchell fan you won't be dissapointed. I would recommend this book to stylish cooks who like having dinner parties.

I can't wait to try the Iced Fancies.

Gizzi's Kitchen Magic
Gizzi's Kitchen Magic
by Gizzi Erskine
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.00

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ten out of Ten, 25 Sep 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Gizzi's Kitchen Magic (Hardcover)
A follower of the cook yourself thin ladies I bought this book and Gizzi quickly became my favourite. The best thing about this beautiful book is it teaches you everything including all the basics - how to cook rice, poach and egg etc, if your a beginner or seasoned cook this book has something for everyone. Great layout, clear instructions, timings and tips, beautiful full page photos - although I wish there were more at least one per recipe.

This is a cookbook you can sit down and read as well as use it to create beautiful tasty food. The recipies are healthy but don't focus on being skinny so don't expect to lose weight with this one. I have a lot of cookbooks and this one is definetly in my top three favourites (along with the first cook yourself thin book).

The best recipies in my opinion:
Mexican Chicken Tortilla Soup - love it!
Sticky Thai Chicken & Mango Salad - if you buy this book cook this first, it is my absolute favourite, I can't fault it.
Afghan yoghurt chicken - don't be put off if it's not the most beautiful dish but its one of the tastest.
Pan-fried Scallops with Chorizo, apples and mashed potatoes - a match made in heaven

Learn the skills with this one, I used this book to make gnocchi and was amazed how easy it was and Gizzi's recipie for fried gnocchi with tomato and goats cheese sauce made the experience fantastic. This book also includes the best (and easiest) recipe for flaky pastry I have ever come across a perfect topping for the Chicken, leek and ham pies!

If you love beautiful food and want to understand the basics buy this one now.

Jamie's 30-Minute Meals: A Revolutionary Approach to Cooking Good Food Fast
Jamie's 30-Minute Meals: A Revolutionary Approach to Cooking Good Food Fast
by Jamie Oliver
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £8.00

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Concept, 25 Sep 2011
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Right first things first - the only way any of these meals are going to take 30 minutes is if you are a chef or you have a helper, Jamie also fails to mention that each meal takes at least 30 minutes of washing up too. That said I love the book and if theres two of you it is much easier. I did find it easier to make the meals that I had watched on the TV series as you knew exactly what your doing, before you start make sure you take a leaf out of Jamie's book and relax, if you try and keep to his timings you'll get very stressed out.

I love the concept of a recipe for a whole meal with instructions in time order,the only downside is if you want to omit an element or use just one of the dishes it is a bit of a pain. The meals are generous and great for big groups.

My favourite meals:
Curry Rogan Josh, fluffy rice, carrot salad, poppadoms, flatbread, beer - real winner with the lads, personally I think the carrot salad is the star of this one.
Killer Jerk Chicken, rice & beans, refreshing chopped salad, chargrilled corn - I particularly love the rice and beans in this one.
Chicken Skewers, amazing satay sauce, firey noodle salad, fruit and mit sugar - packed with flavour a real taste tingler.
Piri Piri Chicken, Dressed Potatoes, Rocket Salad, Quick Portuguese Tarts - great mid-week meal
Sticky Pan-Fried Scallops, Sweet Chilli Rice, Dressed Greens, Quick Brownies - the Brownies are great and really quick
Roast Beef, Baby Yorkies, Little Carrots, Crispy Potatoes, Super Quick Gravy - this is a great recipie for those who love roast dinner but can't be bothered with hours in the kitchen on a Sunday morning, even includes easy yorkshires.
Tapas Feast, Tortilla, Glazed Chorizo, Manchego Cheese, Cured Meats & Honey, Stuffed Peppers, Rolled Anchovies - real winner if your havinng a summer garden party.

The book is well laid out with lot's of pictures of all the food, just make sure you read the recipie first and know what equiptment you'll need. The food tastes amazing just make sure whoever your cooking for agrees to do the washing up!

Stuffed Vine Leaves Saved My Life
Stuffed Vine Leaves Saved My Life
by Nadia Sawalha
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £20.00

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mixed Bag, 25 Sep 2011
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This is a lovely book, with lots of stories about Nadia Sawalha and her family, however I am not convinced it is a great cookbook, good just not great. The first recipe I tried was the stuffed vine leaves, now I had never eaten vine leaves before let alone cooked with them and I did struggle. I was dissapointed with the result and I knew I had made a mistake but couldn't see what as I had followed the instructions to the letter. Now in contrast the Mussakhan was one of the best dishes I have ever eaten, a roasted chicken on a Magical Carpet of bread, Onions and Sumac, really delicious, this was my first experience of Sumac and it was a good one.

It's a lovely book I would recommend to fans of Nadia Sawalha but if your looking for a great cookbook this might not be it, the book is full of Nadia's family favourites and is very charming with a few gems.

Fabulous Food: Sexy Recipes for Healthy Living
Fabulous Food: Sexy Recipes for Healthy Living
by Sophie Michell
Edition: Hardcover

4.0 out of 5 stars Ambitious, 25 Sep 2011
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I bought this book as I am such a fan of the cook yourself thin books, I wasn't disapointed. The recipes are a little more ambitious and expect a basic level of competence and confidence, so I wouldn't recommend it for a total beginner. There are plenty of inspiring recipes and you may be introduced to a few new ingredients. There is a great selection of styles in the diffrent chapters including - Social Butterfly, Home Time and The Glamorous Gormet Tricks of the Trade.

There are some great pack lunches that will make your collegues jelous - Roast Squash, Dolcelatte and rocket wraps; Poached Salmon and Ravigote Potatoes!! My favourite chapter from the book is: One Week Countdown till that Special Occasion, it includes the beautiful Miso Salmon with black-sesame pickled vegetables and steamed rice and the delicious Quinoa (I didn't know what it was, glad I tried it) with Tandoori Chicken. There is also a very helpful chapter - Too Much Partying Detox Food.

The style of the book is great, a real page turner, lovely full page photos with clear instructions and timings, great tips too.

If your interested in cooking and want to learn a few things whilst eating well I would recommend this book with one word of warning the focus is not on cooking thin in the same way as the cook yourself thin range, it is full of healthy rather than slimming recipes.

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