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A. Miles (Al Khor, Qatar)
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Hamlyn All Colour Cookbook: 200 Healthy Curries (Hamlyn All Colour Cookbooks)
Hamlyn All Colour Cookbook: 200 Healthy Curries (Hamlyn All Colour Cookbooks)
by Sunil Vijayakar
Edition: Paperback
Price: £4.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Good value but not rocket science., 27 Feb 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
It would be silly to overly criticise Hamlyns cookbooks in this series. They're extremely good value for money, contain a wide range of recipes, and are well designed for use in the kitchen. As a no-frills collection of practical recipe books for the home cook, they're pretty hard to beat.

On the other hand, one does get the impression that some corners have been cut on the research and development of the books, and so here. a lot of the recipes have simply been made 'healthier' by substituting vegetable oil for ghee, or substituting low-fat coconut milk. Other recipes seem to have been cut-n-pasted from other sources without really considering the availability of ingredients, etc for a less specialist cook: It's not like they've paid some fantastically gifted Indian chef to develop healthy dishes here, rather paid someone to go through some old cookbooks and make a few minor changes to the recipes. There's also no dietary information offered with the recipes, which does seem a glaring oversight.

However, as you get a 250 page, full colour glossy cookbook for about the same price as a pint of Kingfisher, these are minor issues. Recommended.


London Underground By Design
London Underground By Design
by Mark Ovenden
Edition: Paperback
Price: £13.40

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book on LT's design history., 26 Feb 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I don't know if this is common knowledge or not, but the London Underground has been hugely influential in areas of design from architecture and graphics to branding and textiles, and the work of designers like Harry Beck and Charles Holden are back in circulation again in design schools everywhere. Heck, in some people's opinion it was London Underground designers who essentially invented suburbia. Anyone in London with a spare day and enough money for an all travelcard and a packet of sandwiches should spend it on the tube visiting architectural gems as the Art-Deco flying saucer at Southgate or the Roman villa that is Willesden Green station.

So this handsome, well illustrated book is well overdue. Covering everything from advertising posters to seating fabrics, It's an extensively researched work that claims to have unearthed a lot of previously unknown history. I'd feared this would be a rather dry read, (books by transport buffs often being so) but this is fairly light and even occasionally humorous, and can be dipped in and out of rather than read as a complete piece. Thoroughly recommended.


No Title Available

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars 70s Technology., 3 Feb 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I last used an electric shaver when I was 17, doubtless it was some sort of ''Żou're a man now. son' consumer ritual. It didnt work and just attached itself to my adolescent bumfluff and hung off me face, buzzing away to itself. Then I had a wet shave with a disposable.

But it struck me, when this was offered on the Vine program, if in the past 30 years safety razors have gone from the simple Victorian technology they were in the 70s to the futuristic ergonomic 5-bladed vibrating, aloe-squirting ergonomic monstrosities you have now, surely electric shavers will have made the same technological leaps and bounds?

Obviously not. It attached itself to my greying beard and hung off my face, buzzing away to itself.Then I had a wet shave with a disposable.

And it takes 16-24 hours to charge up, which seems almost comical. If I'd bought it off the market for a fiver, I'd have taken it back. At 55 quid, it's extracting the micturation.


I Can Make You Hate
I Can Make You Hate
by Charlie Brooker
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £12.79

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The end of an era., 11 Dec 2012
This review is from: I Can Make You Hate (Hardcover)
Charlie Brooker's apocalyptic misanthropy was something to see, certainly; and this, together with a hugely impressive gift for invective, made him incredibly popular. so much so, of course, that he eventually became part of the establishment he once railed against, making unexceptional sitcoms and gameshows, marrying a fellow celeb, having kids. So he's not as poor and alienated, now, as his public persona decrees.

That's not a criticism, though. It would be far worse if Mr. Brooker continued to live some fake persona, rather than do as he does in this book, and soften up somewhat. Good on him. But it doesn't make for that entertaining a collection of work, this being a collection of sometimes halfhearted odds and ends that will, I imagine, be the last collection of short journalism he does.

As another reviewer has pointed out, this is somewhat reminiscent of mid-period Clive James, when that writer went from angry young man to establishment figure, and like James, Brooker will keep being funny, but in a different way.

So the books OK, but not as essential as his other stuff, I'd say.


Sincerest Form of Parody, The
Sincerest Form of Parody, The
by John Benson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £17.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Digging in the crates, 11 Dec 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
After MAD magazine became a big hit in the 1950s, a lot of other publishers climbed on the bandwagon and released their own parody comics, often employing the same artists and writers.

So these strips, from short-lived titles like 'Whack' and 'Crazy! are full of the same joke-packed artwork and hipster satire of popular culture as MAD, and reward repeated reading. One issue, as the previous reviewer has pointed out, is that a lot of the targets being satirised are fairly obscure to modern readers, me included, so a great many of the jokes go over one's head. Nevertheless, this is a great thing to own, sort of like the music equivalent of buying a compilation of difficult, obscure 70's funk. You might not enjoy all of it, but it's an interesting thing to own and discover.


Stewart Lee - Carpet Remnant World [DVD]
Stewart Lee - Carpet Remnant World [DVD]
Dvd ~ Stewart Lee
Price: £12.87

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Appetite for Deconstruction, 11 Dec 2012
Mr. Lee, with his complex double-bluffs, ongoing deconstruction of the form, and subtle (and not so subtle) cultural referencing is so far ahead of the game technically that no-one comes remotely close, especially these days. But if you're a fan, you know that already.

But it's worth remembering that when he does decide to do some straight observational comedy, he's the boss there, too. The bit 'The Works', here, encapsulates what its like living in the UK in it's entirety in just over two minutes, and made me weep with laughter.

For me, his best work yet. Though, as usual, me Missus wasn't impressed.


Memories of Gascony
Memories of Gascony
by Pierre Koffmann
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £22.60

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nice new edition of a classic., 24 Nov 2012
This review is from: Memories of Gascony (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Papa was a newsagent on Throgmorton Street in Byker, and I still remember coming back to his little shop after delivering the Sunday papers, when my special reward was a cold saveloy and pease pudding on an otherwise unadorned white bun from the butchers next door. Later, for lunch, there might be a Bernard Matthews turkey roast and Auntie Bessies frozen Yorkshire puddings. And so on to the evening meal, where the heavenly aromas of the Orient pervaded the sitting room as the takeaway from the Shields Road Chinese Chippy was unwrapped from it's greased embrace.

Later, of course, as a young man, there was the camaraderie of sausage roll and chips from Carrick's the Baker eaten on a frosty morn with ones friends in a windswept precinct, then of course young love: a tete-a-tete over a Big Bender and frothy coffee at the Wimpy in the Waterloo Centre.

Or if that doesn't tempt you into my food memoir, 'Bygones Of Byker', you could go for this Koffman bloke's 'Memories Of Gascony' a beautifully reprinted love letter to regional French cookery. It's a lovely book, both physically and in it's content, a hymn to how cooks are influenced by their culture, and an unapologetic eulogy to traditional French cuisine.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 3, 2013 8:39 AM GMT


Mark Hix on Baking
Mark Hix on Baking
by Mark Hix
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £13.40

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars What's a cookbook for?, 24 Nov 2012
This review is from: Mark Hix on Baking (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Hmm.

I mainly use cookbooks to develop my cooking knowledge rather than for the recipes per se, and too many of the TV chef cookbooks I own are more collections of random recipes than anything more formal.

'Baking' is a case in point, the author using the term to describe any dish that's made in an oven. (presumably to be followed by 'Grilling'and perhaps 'Hobbing') There are a wide variety of dishes, from breads to casseroles, and many of them have inventive twists. The recipes are clearly laid out and illustrated.

However, a cookbook that runs the gamut from simple scones to Wild Snail Pie or faffing about with wet hay can't really be said to be a vital resource for any particular cook.

I'll keep it on the shelf as there are some nice breads that I'd cook for dinner parties, but it's hardly an essential purchase.


Michel Roux: The Collection
Michel Roux: The Collection
by Michel Roux
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.75

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential knowledge., 24 Nov 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Michel Roux' impeccable food, based on the quality of ingredients and perfect technique, set the standard for modern cuisine, and this book, in easy-to-follow step by step recipes, means that any home cook can at least approach being able to deliver that kind of perfection at the table.

If you're a cook, or you aspire to be one, it's important to know that being able to knock off a perfect poached egg on toast is just as important a skill as making a game terrine, and it's Michel's knowledge of that that makes this an essential for the bookshelf rather than just another collection of fanciful recipes.

This isn't a book of impossible-to-cook-at-home fantasy cuisine, it's a detailed guide to cooking simple or medium-difficulty dishes to a very high level. Brilliant.


Food Lover's Guide to the World: Experience the great global cuisines (Lonely Planet Food and Drink)
Food Lover's Guide to the World: Experience the great global cuisines (Lonely Planet Food and Drink)
by Lonely Planet
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £20.09

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Aspirational coffee table book. ., 24 Nov 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Another of Lonely Planet's forays into the luxury coffee-table book market, as mystifying in it's purpose as the others. At best, they seem to be designed for people who sit around the house fantasising about travel, without ever actually doing so.

What you get is a beautifully presented compendium of photos of the countries, comprehensive information about the various cuisines, a few recipes for each region/country, and a few random restaurant recommendations. It's very nice, but what's it for, exactly?

I imagine a bloke sitting on his sofa with this open on his lap and a notebook, scribbling under the heading "'FRANCE":

1. Go to expensive restaurant in Paris

2. Buy cheese.

3. Apparently, red wine very good.

Which no-one would do anyway, because no matter where you go in the world, there are comprehensive resources to what's best in the locality available at the touch of a mouse, constantly updated.

So what's the book for then? Something expensive to stick on the coffee table to prove what a well-travelled gourmand you are, or more likely aspire to be?. I think so.


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