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Flash Cooking: Fit Fast Flavours for Busy People
Flash Cooking: Fit Fast Flavours for Busy People
by Laura Santtini
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 20.00

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic flavours for healthy eating, 4 Nov 2011
'Flash Cooking', has been written by Laura Santtini (her second book) and the notion behind the book is not what you think from the title. This book advocates a healthy, tasty and nutritious eating style, and provides recipes to support this. It's not about a punishing lack lustre diet, but it is about a sensible eating philosophy based on 'whats on your plate should equal protein the size of an iphone accompanied by leafy vegetables' AND should be full of a delicious mix of flavours.

The key to the book is the range of flavours that can be created to accompany this philosophy of 'iphone size protein + leafy vegetables'. Put together at the start of the book are recipes, mixes and blends for 'flash flavours'; these are, seasonings, glazes, rubinades, pastes, finishing salts, finishing yoghurts, props and dressings that can be used to top/garnish all manner of fish/meat or vegetable dishes.The second part of the book covers a series of 'flash recipes' for everything from fish to breakfasts.

The recipes are easy to follow and some accompanied by photographs, I was surprised that I could quite easily make most of the recipes in this book for the 'flash flavours' from my own store cupboard ingredients, and I don't claim to be anything like an alchemist in the kitchen. 'Flash cooking' claims to be easy and fast, this soup certainly was. The recipes are protein or vegetable based in the main or use wheat free or complex carbs.

If you have a need to look at your diet this book will be invaluable in showing you how to add interest and flavour to your foods. If you are lucky enough not to need to, or want to significantly change what you eat, then this book will give you lots of ideas to add delicious and imaginative flavours to your cooking without a great impact on your time.

Definitely a book for new year (or any time) dieters who get bored of eating the same foods.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 15, 2013 3:39 PM GMT

The Good Table: Adventures in and Around My Kitchen
The Good Table: Adventures in and Around My Kitchen
by Valentine Warner
Edition: Hardcover

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I will cook from this book time and time again, 31 Oct 2011
Valentine Warner is quite well known in food circles, he has made quite a few TV programmes, some scheduled on the satellite food channels as well as writing other books and he has a website (which has other recipes). He is an avid hunter/gatherer/forager type of cook...none of which apply to me I might add, but I could have easily made a lot of the recipes in this book without a hunt around the local woods or needing a trip to the local fishing lake. The notion of this book is very simple in that, what you are served and what you share at Valentine's table is 'good food' and judging by the recipes the title is spot on.

This book has a lot to offer most cooks and lovers of good food, it packs some lovely recipes, most of the recipes are supported by a photograph and the photography in this book is of a really good standard. It is truly crisp and colourful and lends a pleasing detail to all the illustrated recipes. This book describes the kind of food you just want to sit down and enjoy with your family, or curl up on the sofa with (like the 'toast as a vehicle' chapter...which I really loved, being a toast addict myself I never thought a food writer would devote a whole chapter to toast, I love it!). Other chapters include, meat, birds, fish and shellfish, veg and foraged food, bread, cheese and eggs, puddings and drinks. I could easily make most recipes in this book and they would easily suit our tastes here.

Although I have made two recipes from the puddings chapter, the savoury recipes are looking really good too, I have particularly earmarked the 'carne con chile', 'chicken stiffed with pearl barley, livers and walnuts', and 'mushrooms baked with hazelnuts and percorino' for future autumnal suppers.

This is a book I will readily use time and time again, particularly when cooking for others.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 23, 2014 1:20 AM GMT

Love Music Love Food: The Rock Star Cookbook
Love Music Love Food: The Rock Star Cookbook
by Heston Blumenthal
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 24.00

4.0 out of 5 stars This book rocks in size and the quality of the publication!, 10 Oct 2011
Love Music Love Food is a unique combination of brilliant and unique photographic portraits, interviews and recipes with 75 different music artists or bands making what is altogether a very different book.

This is a coffee table size book that will certainly create interest and discussion; on first glance, the temptation is to quickly turn to a favourite artist or band, (I can't say mine really is Sparks but they are in there!) and to then look at what that artist or band like to eat, then you get drawn in by the amazing photography, the detail of the recipe; and then there is the interview which reveals more about each person/band.

Sarah Muir (a tour caterer) has designed the recipes based on information gleaned from the interviews with the various artists. So these are not really each acts most cooked recipes at home, however they are really quite good in a lot of instances. Fair to say not many of us will be sitting down to Oysters and Champagne (Buzzcocks), Lobster Thermodor (Mick Hucknall) or making lots of sushi at home for supper (numerous artists seem to love sushi in this book!). But there are some real (hidden) gems in there like recipes for Swedish Meatballs (Erik Hassle), Paella (Paloma Faith) and Black Pudding and Fig Stuffed Belly of Pork (Kasabian). As well as sushi there are several quite good looking curry recipes!

Some of the recipes are quite simple and would take little effort like, Blueberry Fool (Brett Anderson from Suede); Traditional Roast Rib of Beef and Gravey (Paul Oakonfold), and Jaffa Cake Semifredo (Example).

There are a few drink recipes dotted around as well, such Red Wine Gums Vodka (Kelly Jones/Stereophonics), which had particular appeal for its simplicity if not flavour, Flake Shakes (Hadoukeni) and even Yorkshire Tea (Noel Gallagher).

Yes there is a range of recipes here and yes this book does not take itself 'that' seriously.

But Love Music Love Food has a serious undertone in that it has been put together to help raise finds for the Teenage Cancer Trust, the artists taking part have donated their time and the world renowned photographer Patrice de Villiers has done such a tremendous job.

Buy this book and you will be supporting a truly worthwhile cause as well as making someone's day. Make no mistake this book rocks in size and the quality of the publication!

This book would make a really cool gift for anyone that likes music, photography or cooking as its so unusual. If you have to buy an unusual gift for someone who likes all 3 you are cannot fail to impress by giving them this.

Not your everyday recipe book, but if you know a really cool cook who has the volume turned right up in the kitchen look no further they will love it!

In at the Deep End
In at the Deep End
by Jake Tilson
Edition: Paperback
Price: 20.00

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book took me to places I may never visit, 5 Oct 2011
This review is from: In at the Deep End (Paperback)
In at the deep end by Jake Tilson is so much like reading someone's travel journal that they have added to in scrapbook fashion with memento's/photographs/badges/rubbings/drawings/sketches/prints/tickets/patterns and other embellishments, to bring alive the memories contained within. Its a feast for the eyes and there is an awful lot to take in, so much so that you could almost miss the recipes if you don't pay attention! Its one of those books that you would pick up time and time again and find something you had missed on previous encounters. The background to the book is that Jake is lets say, 'not a fish lover' (he was actually afraid of fish!) and during a fair bit of international travel, across the globe from Venice to Tokyo taking in Sweden, Scotland, New York, Sydney, London and the great barrier reef, he gets to grips with a whole range of fish and develops his knowledge, skills and a fair few recipes along the way.

There is also a series of podcasts that accompany each chapter of this book. These are available to download freely from the 'in at the deep end' website. These podcast chapters are being added to (Venice and Sweden chapters are there now) and it really is a MUST that you listen to these as you read the book, otherwise you miss so much more, particularly about the visuals in the book and how they came to be there. The podcasts also give more clues with background noises and personal narratives of Jake's travel notes, these all help paint the picture of the places, his travels and experiences with his family (there's nothing like the sound of sizzling fish frying in a pan to get you thinking about fish and wanting to eat fish!).

I liked this book, it made me think, it educated me and it literally felt like it took me to places I may never visit. It also took me to my local fishmongers for fresh fish to make a recipe from the book for supper. I tried to follow one of the books mantra's and buy local fish, but on this particular day the closest catch to me was fresh mackerel and smoked mackerel, both from Scotland, which I did buy but I also bought some bass fillets. And with these I made a version of the Baked Striped Caponata (New York) from the book (pictured above with my own bubble and squeak cakes). Other recipes include the likes of; chinese steamed sea bream, fishball stew. fried fish, wilted herbs, noodles, goby rissotto alongside more common fish dishes such as smoked mackerel or kipper pate, gravadlax, soused herrings and fish cakes.

The Birthday Cake Book
The Birthday Cake Book
by Fiona Cairns
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 12.91

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting flavoursome cake recipes for tea and parties, 5 Oct 2011
This review is from: The Birthday Cake Book (Hardcover)
his book is not what you might think and from someone who designed the royal wedding cake you might be expecting a cake mostly about sugarcraft. Actually the clue to the type of cakes contained within lies on the front cover of this book. These recipes are about flavour as much as decorated cakes and this book contains a wealth of recipes that would be suitable for more adult like birthdays or even everyday baked treats. There are quite a few cakes that are sugarcraft modelled, but other recipes concentrate much more on flavour than any fancy or hard to do sugarcrafted designs like very lemony meringue cake; tiramasu cake; liquorice toffee cake to name some.

All the recipes in The Birthday Cake book have a photograph to accompany them, there are a range of recipes following themes for parties (glamping, vampire party, Alice in wonderland, etc) that include small cakes like blueberry yoghurt fairy cakes, earl grey tea fairy cakes and biscuits like chocolate dinosaurs, or pastel ice cream sandwiches through to larger layer or family size cakes and even a recipe for brownies, some other tray bakes and one savoury smoked salmon and cream cheese stacked cake.
The sugarcraft or modelled range of recipes consists of a gingerbread house; russian dolls; a crystal skull; playing dice; robots; crocodile handbag; box of chocolates; erupting volcanoe; football boots; pirate galleon; seaside bucket cake; fresh flower heart; alice's teapot; piggy bank; marzipan fruits hat; bejewlled elephant; a fantasy castle; merry go round; wigwam; and vegetable plot cake. There are templates for some cake designs and written directions (these may be hard to follow if your not too proficient in sugar craft).

This book is a good buy if you have older or grown up children and are looking for inspiration for grown up parties, if you want to follow a theme for a party and are looking for ideas, or if you just want some interesting flavoursome cake recipes for tea.

Comfort & Spice (New Voices in Food)
Comfort & Spice (New Voices in Food)
by Niamh Shields
Edition: Paperback
Price: 11.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Full of 'fleecy blanket comforting' and homely recipes, 5 Oct 2011
Comfort and Spice has been written by someone who is clearly a devoutee of good, home cooked food and with a palate borne from travel and a keen interest in sourcing, making and sharing their food with others. This book covers a wide range of recipes from very simple dishes, to something more challenging and across all eating scenarios, including 'grazing' (of which I am a fan). Its modern food with old fashioned values, by that I mean its very current cooking but not at the cost of wasting food or being too exclusive.

The recipes are clearly written (each recipe is not long enough to become arduous) and I found they were easily followed, with a helpful common sense and 'enabling the cook' style of writing. On average about every 4/5 recipes have a photograph to accompany them. There is a lovely description of where a recipe might have originated from, or where Niamh ate it and in what context, giving an interesting narrative insight into her travels and experiences.

The chapters start at 'how to be a better cook', followed by 'brunch' and goes all the way through to 'sugar and spice' and 'drinks'. I particularly liked the chapter on 'Eight Great Big Dinners'; each dinner is followed with other recipes to use up leftovers from these meals. You might think you already make good use of your leftovers, but this will give you new ideas.The long and slow meat roasts recipes are particularly tempting.

The book is scattered with helpful advice (I'll be trying the pork 'crackling tips' as my own offering last week 'could not be called crackling' at all apparently!) and inspiring 'Passion' recipes (like, homemade ricotta, butter, pizza dough, homemade tomato ketchup and mayonnaise) that will surely become a cooks staple.

This is a lovely book for any cook.

The Real Flavour of Tuscany: Portraits and Recipes from 25 of Tuscany's Culinary Artisans
The Real Flavour of Tuscany: Portraits and Recipes from 25 of Tuscany's Culinary Artisans
by Lori De Mori
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Unique mix of content that captured me, 28 Sep 2011
"The real flavour of Tuscany" by Lori De Mori and Jason Lowe is described as "Portraits and recipes from 25 of Tuscany's culinary artisans" and, although accurate, this description gives no hint of the enthralling stories of enduring traditions, lifestyles and personalities that are pictured and described within.

I found this book to be written and illustrated in such a way that it sparked and maintained my interest and enthusiasm throughout, enabling me to pick it up and read it in a way that no mere 'cookbook' could ever achieve.

Trying to give one or two examples of what the book is about is quite difficult - the subjects are so varied, and all are deserving of their place within this book. For instance, with Famiglia Tistarelli (Aia della Colonna Farm) we meet Roberta and Roberto, sister and brother, running their 240 hectare farm which appears as a "speck on the map in the middle of nowhere". Alongside the auther, we discover a couple of dozen "Cinta Senese" - a variety of pig indigenous to the countryside around Sienna. We learn of their history and strengths and how they fit into the organic and holistic lifestyle of the farm. Going back to the farmhouse for lunch, the significance of the swine is clear when a platter of affetati (sliced cured meats) including several varieties of prosciutto is shared and enjoyed. This is followed by discussion of the local cattle and the preparation and enjoyment of a recipe for maremmana beef. The joys of self sufficiency are discussed and Roberto, who is by nature realistic rather than romantic, sums it all up when he concludes "it works because we like the life". The chapter concludes with the recipes for the boiled maremmana beef in beef broth with egg and parmesan, accompanied by mayonnaise and green sauce. It looks delicious, and is a great way to end the chapter!

I need to mention something which impressed me enormously with this book, and it is the quality of the photography. The emotional feel of 'being there' comes through in droves, and it is a joy just to scan through the book looking at the photographs, which are as much about the people and places as about the dishes. Jason Lowe is clearly an expert at lighting, composition and post-processing, and this really 'makes' the book for me.

In summary, this book by Lori De Mori and Jason Lowe captured my interest, presented a unique mix of content, and showed itself to be well written and illustrated. For me, it succeeds handsomely in its aim of presenting 'The real flavour of Tuscany'. Highly recommended.

Hugh Johnson's Pocket Wine Book 2012
Hugh Johnson's Pocket Wine Book 2012
by Hugh Johnson
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good guide if you are really into wines, 22 Sep 2011
This pocket guide to choosing wines is in its 35th year, that tells you something a) its stood the test of time and b) its portable!

The main part of this book contains chapter after chapter of different wine producing countries and then the regions within these and what follows is a description of each wine from that country/region. The descriptions are quite brief and may only be a sentence in a lot of cases. I'm not sure how helpful this is when trying to choose a wine in a supermarket or restaurant for example? But there are a lot of wines covered in the book in this way (6,000 in fact!).

I liked the section on wine and food and thought this would be most helpful when trying to ensure a good match to particular dishes and I think I would refer to this more than other chapters. I also liked the chapter entitled 'if you like this, try this'. I tend to buy the same type of wines repeatedly and don't want to risk buying a wine I would not enjoy, but this chapter gave me several new wine suggestions which I will be more adventurous with.

The colour section at the end of the book covers the south of France and the pages on rose wines were very interesting.

Choose this book if you already have some wine knowledge, as it will bring you up to date; but if you are very much a wine novice like me then stick with the authors advice at the beginning of this book, 'go with what you like' as any choice of wine is really down to personal preference.

by The Australian Women's Weekly
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.53

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good addition to your recipe book shelf, 19 Sep 2011
This review is from: Chocolate (Paperback)
If you love chocolate in all its many forms then this book will give you lots of ideas for a wide range of delicious sweet and often decadent treats. There are a total of five chapters of recipes starting with cakes, closely followed by biscuits and slices, pastries and tarts, desserts, and ending with after dinner treats.

The cake section covers a lot of bases with a mix of traditional (black forest gateaux, mississippi mud pie) and newer cake recipes, (chocolate mocha terrine, apricot chocolate chip cake). Milk, dark and white chocolate recipes are all included.

The biscuits and slices chapter includes tray bakes and bars, again there is a wide range of temptation, some of these are fridge based recipes and very easy to make at home with younger children.

Pastries and tarts chapter includes some recipes that could be quickly and easily made by any home baker with shop bought puff or shortcrust pastry, like the tempting pear, chocolate and almond gallettes.

Cold desserts (some frozen) and hot desserts are covered. In this section there are some staples like chocolate mousses, brownies and cheesecakes alongside other more unusual puddings like chocolate marquise and chocolate, pear and hazelnut self saucing pudding.

The after dinner treats chapter is really enticing and includes lots of lovely chocolaty delights that would make lovely foodie gifts for Christmas or other special occasions. I have never attempted to make my own chocolates but this book would spur me on to do so. White chocolate and pistachio truffles, snickers rocky road and various truffles are all laid out with photographs of each and a short easy to follow recipe.

There are also a small number of recipes that would appeal to those on low fat or gluten free diets.

As is typical of the Australian women's weekly series; the photography is bright and clear and each recipe is accompanied by a photograph of the finished item or dish. The recipes are concise and easy to follow and a glossary at the back of the book helps with the Australian to English translation that might be needed for some recipes and to help identify some ingredients. The recipes are in cup measurements and have been translated into grams where needed.

This book covers quite a range, but if you want a decent chocolate recipe I bet you'd find it here and you won't find it hard to make it either!

The Biggest Loser: Beach Body Blitz
The Biggest Loser: Beach Body Blitz
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.99

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars May or may not give you the nudge you need?, 14 Sep 2011
This paperback book gives initial detail of what to eat and how to exercise to improve your shape, it follows on from the very popular Biggest Loser TV series.

The first few chapters deal with eating and suggest a diet to follow; while the remainder of the book looks at exercise. Recipes are included with a calorific content (includes snacks). Some of these recipes are very very simple (mushrooms on toast), others would need a little more, but not a huge amount of skill, to make (aubergine curry).

In the exercise chapters some diagrams are included for some of the examples. Tips on how to warm up and cool down are included.

This book gives quite a bit of information on how to exercise and programmes to follow to get you in shape, but I can't help but feel a lot of this would be best demonstrated by a professional, unless you are already familiar with the exercises.

The final chapters of 'looking good on the beach' (includes how to chose the right sunglasses for your look!); 'enjoying your holiday' and 'what to do when back home' had quite a limited content for me.

I'm not sure this is a book for VERY serious dieters and gym lovers, but it may help give you a starting point if you want to shape up, if you can follow the narrative text from a book for exercise?

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