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How to Bake
How to Bake
by Paul Hollywood
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 9.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good for novices and more experienced bakers, 2 Jun 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: How to Bake (Hardcover)
I'm really enjoying this book. I was able to browse through it at a friend's house so I knew what to expect -- I bought it entirely because it has a whole section of sourdough breads, and I only bake sourdough bread, so I'm always looking for new ideas. Be aware that the book is very biased towards bread and yeasted doughs, fine by me!

I tried his basic sourdough as an alternative to my usual recipe. It didn't turn out quite as well as usual, but I think my starter was not in optimum condition, so I wouldn't blame him for that -- the method looks sound (note: if you are a beginner, you don't have to make the *vast* quantity of starter he recommends. I feed mine with 50 g each of flour and water, discarding or using half of it first).

Today I made the pain aux raisins -- superb! I'm finding this book inspiring and am encouraged to try more different types of bread. It's true many recipes are repetitive (first 3 steps are the same in most cases) -- but it saves you flipping back through the book for some "basic" recipe for instructions -- every recipe is complete in itself. This book will suit both novice and experienced bakers I think -- when you know what you're doing you can tweak the recipes to suit yourself. I prefer it to _The Handmade Loaf_ for bread recipes.


Seagate 750GB Momentus XT Serial 2.5 inch 7200 RPM 32MB 6GB/S SATA Solid State Hybrid Hard Drive
Seagate 750GB Momentus XT Serial 2.5 inch 7200 RPM 32MB 6GB/S SATA Solid State Hybrid Hard Drive

5.0 out of 5 stars Result!, 27 Sep 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
My early 2009 white MacBook with 120 GB hard disk (less than 5% free space) was really struggling -- applications took minutes to open, the fan was whirring, and even though I'm not a touch typist, I could often type faster than it could cope with. It already had the maximum memory possible, so I researched hard disks and went for this on the strength of Amazon reviews.

I was a little nervous, but I'm delighted with the result. It's like having a new computer; everything is smoother and faster, and even browsing the web seems faster. The hardware upgrade was really easy, a 10-minute job. Amazon probably won't let me post a link, but go to YouTube and look for a video entitled "MacBook Hard Drive Upgrade" posted by laptopmag -- this is the exact procedure I followed for my model. If you don't have an appropriate Torx screwdriver, the Lindy set sold by Amazon is only a few pounds and has one that fits. Note also that after fitting the disk, you'll need to format it as Mac Extended using Disk Utility -- you'll most likely be prompted to do this.

To transfer the data, I cloned the old disk to a USB drive using SuperDuper! before I started the upgrade, booted from this to format the new drive, and then cloned it back. That took a few hours, but total hands-on time was only about 20 minutes. Very, very happy with my good-as-new computer!


WD My Passport 1TB Portable Hard Drive - Silver
WD My Passport 1TB Portable Hard Drive - Silver
Offered by Value_Deal
Price: 88.52

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Small and functional!, 26 July 2012
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I'm very pleased with this. I bought it because my Macbook's hard disk was filling up rapidly and I wanted more space in an easily transportable form. This fits the bill; I moved my iPhoto library onto it, and it works like a charm. Despite being USB, there's no apparent performance lag when opening images. Mac users: don't bother buying the more expensive "Mac" version. This one works fine -- just let your Mac format it when prompted.

I like the very short USB cable too. It makes it much easier to pop into a handbag without having cables trailing everywhere..


De'Longhi EC820.B Pump Espresso Coffee Machine - Black
De'Longhi EC820.B Pump Espresso Coffee Machine - Black
Offered by CoolSound-Superstore
Price: 185.00

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good machine for the money, 14 July 2012
We bought this after our previous more expensive machine (a Briel) packed up after only 3 years, and after-sales service from the company we bought it from proved non-existent. I was blowed if I was going to spend another 250+ on a machine that could end up costing 2 a week just for sitting on the counter. So I hunted around for something cheaper that would fit my quality criteria. This one seems to fit the bill.

The good:
- the most important: it makes great espresso and frothed milk.
- it heats up really quickly. You can have a good hot cup of espresso within literally a minute of turning it on. Even steam for cappuccino can be produced very rapidly -- the frother is impressive. For best results, the Briel had to heat up for at least 10-15 minutes before use.
- much of the machine looks cheap and plasticy (see below) but the portafilter is reassuringly solid -- heavier than the one on the Briel.
- the price. I'm pleasantly surprised that you can make such good espresso with a machine at this relatively low price. I just hope it lasts!

The bad:
- a certain naffness, unless your kitchen is 1950s-themed -- you may have to tuck it out of sight. Lots of shiny plastic and "chrome". I think it will probably start to look a bit shabby relatively quickly. I'd have preferred a more understated look. But what do you expect at this price point?
- the tank only holds a litre, so frequent refills are required. But the tank does slide out nice and easily and there are no plastic tubes to fiddle with.
- as others have said, the instructions are pretty rubbish, obviously saving on translation costs by eliminating all words. But if you've used an espresso machine more than a couple of times before, you'll be able to figure it out easily enough. I would like to know what the "standby" mode (discovered by experimentation) does, and what the difference is between that and turning the machine off.

Other notes: I think the people who report leaking portafilter or spraying water/coffee grounds are probably using the wrong kind of coffee. We buy Italian espresso-ground -- Illy is a counsel of perfection, but Segafredo is just as good and cheaper, and Lavazza is a reliable alternative. Measure correctly, and tamp it down firmly with the supplied tamper.

I don't see the cooling needed after steaming milk as a problem -- if I want cappuccino I always make the coffee first, and then froth the milk.


Photoshop Elements 10: The Missing Manual (Missing Manuals)
Photoshop Elements 10: The Missing Manual (Missing Manuals)
by Barbara Brundage
Edition: Paperback
Price: 27.34

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very comprehensive, 26 Mar 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I haven't read by any means all of this yet, but it looks excellent. Very comprehensive, clearly explained by someone who obviously know what she's talking about. Much better than trying to fumble around in help files. Expensive, but worth the money!


Hama AHA 130 SLR DSLR Camera Outfit Case - Outline
Hama AHA 130 SLR DSLR Camera Outfit Case - Outline

4.0 out of 5 stars Nice bag, but a bit small, 17 Feb 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought this as a "non-camera" bag to carry my DSLR around. It's a very nice, discreet, well-made bag. Several reviews say that you can fit a DSLR plus spare lens in it -- not in my case! I think this will work if one lens is the standard small kit lens you get with most DSLRs. But I broke mine and replaced it with a larger zoom lens. So once the camera is in, there really isn't room for another lens in its pouch. Not a huge problem though, the lens I have is so versatile that I rarely need another one. I would look elsewhere if you do want to carry one or more spare lenses though.


Bon Courage: A French Renovation in Rural Limousin
Bon Courage: A French Renovation in Rural Limousin
by Richard Wiles
Edition: Paperback

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Tedious and badly written, 12 Dec 2011
I'm not trying to be an old grump, but I really disliked this book from start to finish. After a while I realised what it reminded me of: those round-robin letters that people you haven't seen for years send round at Christmas, detailing their exotic holidays, delightful lifestyle, and the achievements of their amazing children. Maybe if you personally knew Richard Wiles, you would find this book interesting (I'm guessing that's the case for the rave reviewers on Amazon anyway). But I didn't. I didn't want to know about his honeymoon, his new in-laws, or his public digs at his ex-wife about access rights to his children. I didn't want to know exactly how long it took them to drive through France and what route they took, or what they did on their holidays. And so on.

Still, I am not the intended audience; in general I hate this type of book. I am at a loss to understand why British publishers can continue churning out this type of book, basically the same thing over and over again, and people still buy them. "We bought a ruin in France and renovated it!" Thousands of people have done that. Unless your writing talent rivals Peter Mayle's, it's not interesting. Richard Wiles is definitely no threat to Mayle. He's a professional writer entirely ignorant of basic grammar: he writes stuff like "The stove was hauled upstairs on a sturdy barrow given to Al and I by her parents." He does this over and over again.

He's also fallen into the distressingly common trap of considering his neighbours and their behaviour quaint and rather amusing purely because they are a) peasants and b) French. I was not in the least sympathetic to his rage when he discovered, months after buying his ruin, that in France you actually need planning permission to convert an agricultural building into a residence. Who'd have thought it? What dastardly foreigners. And of course when they speak English, they get a funny accent: "I theenk eet's time for ze lunch, non?"

The few good books in this overworked genre are by people who understand that when they move to another country, _they_ are the odd ones out, and it's up to them to adapt. Honourable mentions to Chris Stewart (Driving Over Lemons) and Patricia Atkinson (The Ripening Sun).


Logitech Squeezebox Touch (discontinued by manufacturer)
Logitech Squeezebox Touch (discontinued by manufacturer)

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I love it! Quality at a competitive price, 15 April 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Like many others I've tried several ways of ripping CDs and streaming them to the hifi: the latest being storing them on a PC and hooking a netbook up to the hifi to manage playlists. None was satisfying. Clunky, flaky, poor quality, too much hardware. Enter the Squeezebox Touch. For the price, it's a little gem.

I re-ripped my CDs to FLAC (for quality reasons), and copied them to a USB hard disk. Plug that into the back of the Squeezebox, plug the Squeezebox into the amp, start the built-in server, and start listening! No need to install software or have a computer switched on with this method, and better still no need for iTunes or Windows Media Player (yuk).

As others have said, the quality is great, and it's so compact! I love the fact that with iPeng installed on my iPod (a few euros well spent), I can control it all from the couch without needing to be in line of sight, browsing and listening very comfortably. Another big plus: no radio reception here, and now I can bookmark my favourite stations from all over the world and listen to them too.


The Real Taste of Spain: Recipes Inspired by the Markets of Spain
The Real Taste of Spain: Recipes Inspired by the Markets of Spain
by Jenny Chandler
Edition: Hardcover

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very nice surprise, 10 July 2010
This book was a present, while we were spending three months in Spain, and I was very pleasantly surprised. I've only cooked a few recipes from it, but I was very pleased with the results. At least two recipes (the Catalan chicken with fruit and the gorgeous cherry compote) are already regulars in our house. As another reviewer says, if you are in Spain and shopping in markets, this book is a perfect companion, and the recipes really are authentic. But even if you're not in Spain, Spanish ingredients are getting easier to find elsewhere, or local ingredients can be substituted.


Philips HR1363 Hand Blender with Beaker and Chopper Accessory
Philips HR1363 Hand Blender with Beaker and Chopper Accessory

4.0 out of 5 stars pleasantly surprised, 12 Feb 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
My 8-year old Philips jug blender packed up, so I asked around for advice on a replacement. Someone recommended this, and it was so cheap I decided it was worth a try.

I haven't used it much yet, but I'm very pleasantly surprised. The stick blender part of it works as you would expect, and saves washing up compared to the classic blender, which was a bit of a pain to clean. The chopper attachment and tiny bowl are remarkable. It doesn't look that powerful, and I haven't tried it on raw meat yet, but I have easily minced cooked meat, made breadcrumbs, and chopped nuts. It doesn't take up much space, so it's easy to keep it on the worktop (though a bracket to mount it on the wall would have been nice).

I suppose the one downside is that the stick blender is quite heavy to hold, and you need to grip it firmly -- weak wrists/hands should abstain. But overall I am very pleased for the price, and I hope it lasts as long as my 30-year old Philips hand-held whisk.


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