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Danny Marbella (Abu Dhabi)

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great product as always from Sergio Tacchini, 17 Feb. 2012
As always a fantastic product been buying Tacchini tracksuit tops since the early 80's and have never been unhappy with their products....30 years of great products and I still owe a huge thanks to John MacEnroe for the style..

Cooking for Friends
Cooking for Friends
by Raymond Blanc
Edition: Hardcover

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a gem of a book so simple so user friendly..., 14 Feb. 2012
This review is from: Cooking for Friends (Hardcover)
In Cooking For Friends, Raymond Blanc demystifies his cuisine, showing how anyone can make simple and delicious food in a relatively short time without resorting to modern-day conveniences. He demonstrates that you do not need to spend hours to produce a superb family meal or a complete dinner party for friends.

The book imparts a sense of adventure, giving confidence to anyone wishing to experiment. It is perhaps both the most exciting and the most practical book for the home cook ever written.

In the introductory chapters Raymond describes the intense satisfaction of using your creativity to give to your family and friends something that nature has provided; he expounds the principles of cooking, the equipment needed, and helps you to recognise quality - so enabling you to demand it from your butcher, fishmonger and green grocer.

The heart of the book consists of a multitude of mouthwatering but easily prepared recipes, arranged around the preparation of a dinner party or simple meal - soups, hors-d'oeuvres, fish, meat course and a range of delicious desserts. He also writes on making your own bread, petits fours, liqueurs, preserves and jam and gives wine suggestions - everything for an enjoyable meal in a warm, relaxed atmosphere.

Le Manoir Aux Quat' Saisons
Le Manoir Aux Quat' Saisons
by Raymond Blanc
Edition: Hardcover

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great book that has stood the test of time..., 14 Feb. 2012
In keeping with Raymond Blanc's insistence on fresh produce, the emphasis in this book is:

Divided by seasons, this book, has a short introduction and menu suggestions followed by 30 to 40 recipes, categorized into soups, cold hors d'oeuvres, fish, poultry, game, meat and desserts. There are also basic recipes for vegetables, sauces and jellies, a list of specialist food and wine stockists. Raymond Blanc is the restaurateur of "Le Manoir aux 'Quat Saisons" which was awarded two Michelin stars before it had even opened.

Along with the recipes are wine recommendations and chef's notes that not only give advice on achieving the best results but explain some of the scientific aspects of cooking as well. Invaluable introductory chapters cover basic techniques and recipes, with advice on buying ingredients, while a general introduction gives a fascinating insight into Raymond Blanc and his gastronomic philosophy. Whilst all being divided into the changing seasons.

With glorious photography by top food photographer Michael Boys, a preface by Egon Ronay and a foreword by Hugh Johnson, Le Manoir aux Quat' Saisons conveys a little of Raymond Blanc's acknowledged genius and reflects the quality, simplicity and sophistication that are his hallmark.

AS a friend added: "Let's get one thing straight! This isn't Delia! Part of the joy of this book is the sheer escapism, and the insight it gives into the extraordinarily detailed and complex world of a world-class kitchen, and the borderline-obsessive that runs it. However, there are some recipes that a reasonably competent cook can accomplish, and Blanc makes sure that each dish is graded accordingly. Some are just to salivate over, and wonder at, others are really achievable. I have often cooked the magnificent, and surprisingly straightforward hot caramel souffle, for example, but wouldn't attempt the complex bouillabaise terrine! The best thing is to give in, go to the restaurant and eat the food! But, great book for anyone remotely interested in the best cooking of the last 27 years or so, and in the personal philosophy of one of our greatest French (honorary British!) chefs."

The Roux Brothers On Patisserie
The Roux Brothers On Patisserie
by Albert Roux
Edition: Hardcover

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's certainly not a book for someone seeking inspiration for family meals, 14 Feb. 2012
Back in the late 1980s one of the highlights of Sunday afternoons was a television programme called "At Home with the Roux Brothers". Both brothers had three Michelin stars (the highest accolade which a restaurant can earn), Albert at Le Gavroche in central London and Michel at The Waterside Inn at Bray. The food they produced was superb - in a completely different class to the usual food that you see on television cookery programmes. So as a "spin off" a collection of books were published and here is my review of their Patisserie offering:

The book is based on the exercise books which the Roux brothers kept when they were apprentices and later in the grand private houses and restaurants where they worked. There are all those hints and tips which make the difference when you're preparing these classical dishes. I'll mention at this point one of the quibbles which I have with this book. The titles of the dishes are all in French, followed by an English translation. In a book written entirely in English this seems to me to be an unnecessary affectation.

This is not a book for the slap-dash. It's a book for people who follow recipes precisely - you're even instructed exactly how much butter you should use when you grease a baking sheet, although you are allowed to use a copper-bottom stainless steel pan if you don't have a copper pan! When salt is used you might not be told how many grains to use, but you will certainly be told how many grams.

The recipes begin with the basics which will form the foundation of recipes later in the book. I'd never realised how many different types of pastry there are - but that's not surprising when you're lazy like me and buy it from the freezer cabinet at the supermarket. As well as a list of ingredients for each recipe you will also be told what special equipment you will need. Anyone who has ever got most of the way through a recipe to find words such as "place custard in ice cream machine... " will appreciate the benefits of this!

Periodically I make up stocks of the pastries and put them in the freezer. Well, it usually means that butter is on special offer at the supermarket. It is useful, I find, to have a supply of sweet short pastry and ordinary short pastry although I'm not quite so pernickety that I distinguish between ordinary short pastry and flan pastry when it comes to making a tart! For the purists there's less butter in the flan pastry. There are also some superb recipes for sponge and meringue bases for puddings.

You might think you're on your way now, but I'm afraid you've got to master the making of creams (such as confectioners' custard), sauces (the custard requires 12 egg yolks!), coulis (a fruity sauce) and jellies (no, not the ones by Chivers... ). Now you're allowed to try the recipes.

Tarts can be served warm or cold, but never chilled! There are fruit tarts of every description and they all look delightful. These are not the standard apple tart that you buy in Asda and pop in the oven to cook through. Most recipes consist of a bottom crust covered with confectioners' custard and the fruit artistically arranged on top. I've made the lemon tart on several occasions and it's stunning although I always end up with more filling than the pastry case will take!

If you don't fancy a tart you can make what are described as 'cold deserts or sweets'. I think most people would describe these as the sort of cakes you get in high class cafes and from sweet trolleys in good restaurants. I am tempted by the Pear and Wild Strawberry Charlotte, but the recipe feeds ten! Wild strawberries are best eaten, by the way, with pink champagne. Talking of champagne, could you fancy peaches poached in champagne? It's one of the few recipes to serve as few as four people.

The first of the hot puddings is our old friend Christmas Pudding. The recipe makes four puddings each of which will serve ten people, but the pudding can be stored for up to five years. Apparently the taste of a three or four year old pudding is 'indescribable'. My raspberry soufflé is in this section too along with quite a few other soufflés and pancake-based recipes.

In 'Ice Creams and Sorbets' we indulge ourselves in a champagne sorbet, which, as you might imagine, is best served with wild strawberries in season. I'm tempted by the hazelnut praline ice cream with chocolate sauce if only because one of the ingredients is as mundane as instant coffee powder.

In the chapter on tea and picnic cakes there is some rather more homely food. I can recommend the lemon cake, although the recipe is a little pernickety in demanding two size 1 eggs and three size 5. The cake is made in a loaf tin (precise dimensions given) and there's rum included in the cake before baking and more is sprinkled over it when it comes out of the oven.

The final chapter in the book covers decoration and presentation. This, I must admit, is where I fall down. When presenting food I aspire to 'tidy' and I'm not even too worried if I fall short of that, just so long as I avoid 'messy'. I cannot imagine myself spending the time to make sugar-work flowers or delicate marzipan animals, but for those who can there are excellent instructions and I must confess that I've just considered making a pink cat!

This isn't really a book for the home unless you regularly cater for large dinner parties and have almost unlimited time to invest in preparation of the food. If you have a restaurant I would imagine that you probably already own the book or something similar. It's certainly not a book for someone seeking inspiration for family meals. As you would expect, though, the book is beautifully presented and the photography is superb.

My Gastronomy
My Gastronomy
by Nico Ladenis
Edition: Hardcover

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My First real Cookbook still amazing after 25years...., 13 Feb. 2012
This review is from: My Gastronomy (Hardcover)
My Gastronomy, by Nico Ladenis, is special to me on several counts. When I left college in 1987 this book had just been released and so I had purchased my first "Real Cookbook".

More importantly, this book was probably the catalyst for me buying my first restaurant. Many chefs like to dream, and talk, about opening their own restaurants, but beware: reading this book could actually tip you over the edge, like me, into making that dream a reality.

My Gastronomy was first published in 1987. Reading it filled me with confidence that what I was planning career wise was the right thing to do.

Although there are plenty of menus, pictures and recipes - some of which are now accepted classics - for me, the most important part of the volume is the enthusiasm, knowledge and understanding of both restaurants and food construction it contains.

The book includes Nico's account of starting out as a chef-restaurateur and details his reactions to successes through the years, including the quest for three Michelin stars. What is always present is his single-minded determination to reach the top of his profession.

The book's format is recipes, menu examples and pictures punctuated by Nico's own experiences, recollections and instructions.

Maybe not everyone at the time subscribed to Nico's perfectionist views - which by current standards were quite moderate - but I'm sure most would now agree that he was a man ahead of his time and a true gastronome. You only have to consider the number of talented chefs who went through his kitchens - Jeff Galvin,André Garrett and Steve Drake among them, who are now Michelin star holders in their own right - to appreciate his influence on the kitchens of today.

The book is a reminder of why he was so successful and influential.

Classic Bull: An Accidental Restaurateur's Cookbook
Classic Bull: An Accidental Restaurateur's Cookbook
by Stephen Bull
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The God father of "Modern British" Cuisine and a lot more!, 30 Jan. 2012
STEPHEN BULL has been in the restaurant business for nearly 40 years, during which time he has set up restaurants in North Wales (where the wind blew the carpet off the floor), Richmond (a Michelin star), Marylebone (just a couple of crossed knives and forks), Clerkenwell (he got there first), Chelsea (another Michelin star) and Covent Garden (a mistake). He also set up the restaurant at the Wallace Collection in Manchester Square.
Now he has left London behind and moved to a remote spot near Ross-on-Wye in Herefordshire to run a pub, the Lough Pool Inn. So the title of his new book, Classic Bull: An Accidental Restaurateur's Cookbook, does not refer to the hand of fate, but to Bull's status as a phenomenally gifted amateur who made an unusual landing. In his mid-twenties, he was a disgruntled advertising account manager who had never given food a thought. But one of his clients was Olivetti, and Bull discovered on his visits to Italy that he was far more interested in the food than in the information technology.
So he gave up his secure job for the putative "freedom" of working in restaurants, landing a job as a commis waiter for Peter Langan, where he learnt precious little about waiting, nothing about cooking and a lot about how to be a bonkers chef-proprietor. Bull doesn't hang around agonising: "After six months making Melba toast, clearing tables and pouring wine, I thought I knew enough to embark on my voyage to fulfilment."
Off he went to North Wales. He taught himself to cook by ploughing through Mastering the Art of French Cooking. He mastered the abundant local produce: teal, wigeon, wild salmon, scallops, lobster, marvellous cream and sweet local lamb and beef. He studied Elizabeth David and Jane Grigson. Did he but know it, he was inventing modern British cooking.
The book, his first, contains a mixture of his favourite dishes. "Flavor's the thing with me - whatever whacks the taste buds." It has an unmistakable restauranty feel: the recipes sound alarming - beetroot bavarois, venison with star anise sauce and cornmeal orange dumplings, smoked haddock with curried lentils, and chocolate mousse tart in hazelnut orange pastry, for example - but are sensible when you need them. Also He features a Juniper Cured Salmon Dish created by a fantastically gifted young Head Chef by the name of Danny Lewis "Excellent Fellow" as Stephan put it....hahahaha
But far more fascinating than the recipes are the hilarious accounts of dramas and disasters. Floods, power failures, customers with anaphylactic shock, psychotic cooks, suicidal mice, Elizabeth David sending back her duck, restaurant rage - not forgetting the necessary terrifying brushes with money-lenders, fraudsters, lawyers, surveyors, accountants and plumbers.
"Pessimistic restaurateur" might be a better title. "The whole thing's a pantomime," he wails. What is his advice to anyone considering the restaurant business? "Buy a good set of drain rods." (Bull's Marylebone restaurant was formerly a kosher Chinese, owned by a man who had been crippled by polio. He had never set foot in the basement of his restaurant because he couldn't manage the stairs. So he had no idea that the drains were lined with five inches of fat . . .)
Written by a fantastic Restaurateur and just one of the best in the business I highly recommend this stunning publication

by Neil Perry
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars one of those books that you will keep going back to for inspiration, 26 Jan. 2012
This review is from: Rockpool (Hardcover)
I have had this book for nearly 14 years now and I have just picked it up to get some more Australasia inspiration again and as ever never lets me down...
A significant part of the book is devoted to explaining the produce and products that are important to the flavours and textures Perry is devoted to. In the mid-nineties when this book was released, many of these ingredients were unfamiliar to Australia's amateur cooks.
The book is then mainly divided into a section devoted to Asian cooking and another section devoted to traditional western cooking.
The Asian section starts with a dish of steamed whole fish that is steamed until nearly cooked and then finished off with hot oil poured over it to add crispness to the skin.
He then moves through recipes devoted to roasting, to a discussion of poaching. Here he gives his recipe for master stock chicken - a great dish that is simple to prepare and can be used to start a perpetual master stock that can be kept for years and years getting more complex as it gets older. He also gives a recipe for a dish that we love in Chinese restaurants - cold chicken and jellyfish salad.
He also delves into the techniques of Thai and Vietnamese cooking with a lovely recipe for nuoc cham - the popular dipping sauce from Vietnam which he uses in a tripe and chilli salad.
When he reaches the Western section you will find recipes for roast chicken, roast lamb, roasted blue-eye cod with sea urchin butter, his famous spanner crab ravioli with oxtail and rosemary jus and then his frozen espresso cake.
This is one of those books that you will keep going back to for inspiration. The recipes are clearly explained and the techniques are not daunting.

Le Gavroche Cookbook
Le Gavroche Cookbook
by Michel Roux Jr.
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £25.00

15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is a slice of culinary history, 24 Jan. 2012
This review is from: Le Gavroche Cookbook (Hardcover)
Having aquired this book over 9 years ago it still stands the test of time..
And there are recipes that have been "tweaked" that are over 40 years old amazing!
Here are some reasons why..
The creation of Albert and Michel Roux, Le Gavroche opened in 1967. At the time, it was the only restaurant of its kind in London, serving classical French food with the highest standards of cooking and service. As the River Cafe has set the standard by which Italian cooking is appreciated in Britain, so Le Gavroche represents the finest classical French cooking. Now run by Michel Roux Jr., it retains its two Michelin stars, and continues those high standards for which it has always been famous. Michel Roux Jr's style is 'modern French' - classical French cooking with a lighter and less rich approach, and subtly influenced by Mediterranean and Asian flavours and ingredients. This book is a slice of culinary history - a selection of the best of Le Gavroche's cooking over the last thirty years with 200 seasonal recipes carefully chosen for cooking at home.
It will be very accessible for a decent standard home cook and the end results is just to die for..

Made in Sicily
Made in Sicily
by Giorgio Locatelli
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £20.40

6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Its hard to beat Made in Italy, but this comes reasonably close, 21 Jan. 2012
This review is from: Made in Sicily (Hardcover)
Giorgio Locatelli, executive chef at Locanda Locatelli in London, is author of the fat tome, which has not only lots of recipes that are absolutely intriguing, but also beautiful photos (by Lisa Linder) of the dishes and of Sicily. I've spent some time flipping through, stopping to read Locatelli's wonderful stories about the food and the island.

Here's one I loved from the headnote for pasta con le sarde (pasta with sardines):

"There is another version of the dish that is typical of another aspect of Sicilian cooking, which is all about making do with what you have . . . pasta con le sarde a mare means 'pasta with sardines that are in the sea' -- in other words, they had the pine nuts and the raisins and the bread crumbs and all the other ingredients to make the dish, but they didn't have any sardines, so they made it anyway, just without the fish!"

I've already bookmarked about a dozen recipes that I want to make right away: one salad of crushed green olives with celery and mint and other with cauliflower, anchovies, hard-boiled eggs and black olives; "Christmas caponata" with almonds, celery, green olives, raisins and pomegranate seeds; casarecce with broccoli, anchovies and pine nuts; spaghetti with shrimp and pistachios; tuna with peas; Messina-style lamb chops; and a simple orange cake. The pasta con le sarde recipe looks wonderful.

And I can't wait to try my hand at polpette al limone. The recipe is designed as pork meatballs baked with lemon leaves, but Locatelli writes that you can substitute fresh bay leaves -- which sounds fantastic. I love pork meatballs that are cooked without being browned. This one combines 12 ounces ground pork, a finely chopped onion, a cup of grated pecorino, a cup of bread crumbs, the grated zest of a lemon, parsley, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper. Then you mix in two beaten eggs, form the mixture into golf ball-sized balls, flatten them a little and lay them on an oiled baking sheet with a bay leaf (or lemon leaf) between each two. Drizzle them with a little olive oil and bake them at 350 degrees until they're cooked through. I'm guessing that the meatballs should be touching the bay leaves -- the recipe says to "lay the meatballs in lines on the tray, with a lemon leaf or bay leaf in between each two." It doesn't say how long the baking is expected to take -- not necessary a wonderful sign for those who need very specific directions.

Bread crumbs figure prominently in the book, but I'm also a little worried about a recipe for pasta with bread crumbs and anchovies that calls for 4 1/2 cups of bread crumbs and a pound of spaghetti; the recipe serves four. Hmm. That's just how an Italian likes it....

Made in Italy: Food and Stories
Made in Italy: Food and Stories
by Giorgio Locatelli
Edition: Paperback
Price: £20.67

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A true masterclass....Amazing, 21 Jan. 2012
Calling all Locatelli fans and I have been one for many years now - this is the book you've been waiting for. It's taken five years to put together, which is evident by its 600 plus pages, powerful biographical excerpts, and scores of beautiful Italian recipes.
In keeping with a traditional Italian menu, the book is divided up into antipasti, soup, pasta, risotto, fish, meat, and dessert. The recipes span the family food of Locatelli's childhood in Lombardy, all the way to the present day contemporary dishes available in his London restaurant, Locanda Locatelli.

Delicious winter warmers include Borlotti Bean Soup with Spelt, Classic Risotto with Grana Cheese, and Chargrilled Lamb with Peppers and Aubergine Purée. But there's also a fair share of impressive dinner party dishes, such as Swiss Chard Envelopes with Fontina, and Poached Peaches with Fresh Mint Nougat Glace and Amaretto Jelly.

At the beginning of each section, Locatelli gives us something close to an essay on how to choose and use the ingredients featured. For example, in the antipasti section he devotes two pages to vinegar. These pages are peppered with quirky facts, like that true balsamic vinegar is made not from wine but the must of the Trebbiano grape, then blended with aged wine vinegar and matured for at least twelve years.

True to Italian nature, Locatelli invites us into his home and opens up his life. He maps his love of food, revealing childhood memories of watching warm panettone hang in his uncle's pastry shop, to his pride in his first chef's jackets aged nine, and onto how he still puts into practice the cooking tips of his grandmother.

This is a rare insight into the techniques, ideas, and opinions of one of Britain's most respected chefs. It's a treasure you won't want to put it down, and believe me it's heavy!

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