305 of 309 people found the following review helpful
This is a great book, I now have three of Rachel's books and this is by far my favourite. In response to the previous review, this book does have some casseroles (lemon and garlic chicken), maybe not all in the traditional slow cooked meat and veg sense but there are other great baked meals such as sausage and bean bake, cottage pie, lasagne and mediterranean pasta bake. I think it was a bit unfair to give the book 1 star based on the fact that it has no casseroles, especially as quite obviously that is not what the book is solely about. For casseroles and stews I would recommend Sophie Conran's Soups and Stews
There are a wide variety of baked goodies in this book; tarts, pies, quiches, breads, cakes, biscuits and also jams. There is also a glossary and a bit at the back giving you a step by step guide (with pictures) to making different types of pastry, bread, a sponge and meringue. There are also several ideas for icing (cream cheese, butter, vanilla buttercream, american frosting & glace) and sauces (bechamel, toffee, coffee, raspberry, blueberry & apple) as well as how to make your own crystallised flowers, marzipan, chocolate curls and candied peel.
I have cooked many recipes from this book already (I've only had it a few weeks!), the carrot cake is by far the best I have ever tasted. The only fault that I can give for this book is that there are too many yummy recipes and I don't have enough time to make them all! I can't recommend this book enough!
93 of 94 people found the following review helpful
on 25 October 2008
If you only buy one baking book this winter - buy this one!
The book includes cakes, bread and oven-cooked dinners - frankly, it has everything you need regarding baking, and is very useful whether you are a keen baker or a debutante.
It has lots of basic recipes and techniques, and tips on which equipment you will need to succeed on baking (and don't worry, RA doesn't try to impose gadgets on you that you don't need!), and helpfully tells you which baking-tin you need in each recipe - unfortunately something not all bakery-writers can be bothered to do, but is rather crucial.
RA writes with a natural authority and humour - she clearly knows what she is doing without being overly strict - tells you how and if you can alter the recipes to suit your needs, but also what you must be aware of.
One minor critisism - pretty as RA is, I would have liked a few more pictures of the dishes/cakes and a fewer of the author. Pictures are very helpful, especially for the less experienced baker, so please consider this in a second edition!
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 26 November 2008
'In this cookbook, to accompany the TV series of the same name, Rachel once again offers the delicious non-patronising and easy-to-follow recipes for which she has become famous.
From the introduction:
'Baking has always been one of my greatest joys. I have such happy memories of my sister and I when we were little standing on kitchen chairs so that we could help Mum make biscuits or buns for the family. Even today, the wonderful warm aromas of baking bread, cakes or cookies always transports me back to those times.......
There is no mystery to baking, baking is a simple science which is precisely why it is so satisfying.......it is really just the right ingredients in the right quantities!
I have chosen my favourite baking recipes in this collection to give you a wide range of delicious treats and meals that can be baked in your oven.....there are also many special recipes for those once-in-a-while occasions and celebrations.
If you can master a set of weighing scales, then you have all the skills you need to bake.......so what are you waiting for?
Get that pinny on and start baking!'
'Bake' encourages just that, with clear and simply laid out recipes with an upper case title, quantity made, a descriptive sentence or two, the list of ingredients and the numbered method and any variations, tips or serving ideas.
Durable board covers open to 288 high quality matt pages, split over main chapters:
1. Sweet mouthfuls
4. Breads and savoury bites
5. Tarts and pies
6. Breakfast and patisserie
7. Baked meals
8. Holiday and celebration
9. Basic recipes and techniques, which includes equipment
sandwiched between an introduction and a glossary.
Completed with a concise index and a pastel blue ribbon to keep the place.
Recipes, which sometimes span more than one page, include:
* Ginger & Honey Snaps
* Bakewell Bars
* Light Sweet Scones
* Eccles Cakes
* Fairy Cakes
* Butter -free Sponge Cake
* Dutch Apple Cake
* Red Velvet Cake
* Swiss Roll
* Chocolate Cake
* Baked Alaska
* Raspberry Jam Steamed Pudding
* Easy Soda Focaccia
* Ballymaloe White Soda Bread
* Cornish Saffron Bread
* Chicken and Leek Pie
* Quiche Lorraine
* Tarte Tatin
* Baked Breakfast Omelette
* Baked Red Lentil Dhal
* Simple Sausage & Bean Bake
* Pork, Spinach & Mushroom Lasagne
* Cottage Pie
* Party Doughnuts
* Darina's Simnel Cake
Also included, and useful with the holiday season just around the corner (at the time of writing), are these handy recipes:
* Christmas Pudding with Boozy Toffee Sauce
* Christmas Cake
* St. Stephen's Day Muffins
My favourites...so.... far include:
* Baked Brown Sugar Custards
'These gorgeous and very simple little desserts are a somewhat like crème caramels or French 'flan'. The brown sugar adds a delicious rich, toffee-ish flavour, and this is further enhanced if you brûlée it with a blow torch'
.....to make it a lovely crunchy top, as advised by Rachel's closing tip.
* Chocolate Lava Cakes
'These gorgeous little puddings should be deliciously spongy on the outside and molten in the centre. Do not overcook them or they will be set all the way through.
They are delicious served with vanilla ice cream.'
....And they certainly are!
This useful book is finished with a very comprehensive 'Basic Recipes and Techniques' section including helpful step-by-step photography, in places.
Basic recipes include pastry, white bread, sponge cake, meringue, crystallised flowers, icings, chocolate curls, sauces, and strawberry jam.
On the slightly negative side:
The opening notes on the recipes are in quite a small typeface and are in pastel shades, so can be a little hard to read in places. Most but not all of the recipes include a full colour photograph, but often an 'on-location' shot rather than one of the completed item, which may prove slightly negative to those of us who like to see what we are aiming for on the plate.
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on 19 March 2009
I picked this up entirely randomly a couple of weeks ago, and I'm so glad I did. I've only tried a few of the recipes so far, but they've all tasted fabulous - the small pecan nut cookie "clouds", the iced orange cake, the lemon and garlic chicken, and the mediterranean pasta bake. The icing and sauces section at the back looks like it will be incredibly useful, and I also appreciate the inclusion of the tin/dish size for each recipe - take note of this, because I used too large a tin for the orange cake and while it still tasted great, it was a little on the flat side... Looking forward to trying plenty more cake recipes, and also making bread for the first time using this book. Highly recommended.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 31 December 2008
I'm an enthusastic baker and collect cookbooks in general and baking books in particular so my mum bought me this for Christmas. In the single week that I've had it I've already made 2 of her recipes - the bacon and blue cheese empanadillas to use up Xmas leftovers and also made the wonderfully crunchy, indulgent, but not too rich chocolate and coconut bars. This is my first Rachel Allen cook book but won't be my last. The recipes are simple, well written and can get anyone baking. If you can read you can bake. The glossary is fabulous and exceptionally useful and her writing style is warm and inviting. I recommend this book to one and all.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 1 November 2014
This would have to be my "desert island" book...if I could only take one with me, then this would be it. With both sweet and savoury recipes, everything is covered and the variety of dishes is very broad, which I really like. There are several "fail safe" recipes that I use frequently, namely the Blueberry Cheesecake and the Meringue Roulade, both of which give amazing results ever time. I live in Italy so making these desserts for Italian friends has been fun as they're quite different from the type of food Italians usually eat and without fail, they have loved them. I have to be honest and admit that I mess about a bit with ingredients - ginger biscuits for the cheesecake, mixed berries instead of blueberries and the first time I made the meringue, I didn't have whipping cream or ingredients for making lemon or lime curd. So I improvised with mascarpone whipped up with some cassis and it was so wonderful that I continued to make it that way until this summer when I decided to make Lemon Curd. And it was superb!
I have made several of the savoury dishes, most of which are more wintery fare but there are also recipes for classic quiche, a Pissaladiere and more lunch type dishes which are very useful. I also own "Cake", which I use alot as well but "Bake" has to be my all-time favourite.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 29 June 2014
I love Rachel's books, even complicated recipes are clear and easy to follow. My only gripe is that I'm someone who loves to see a picture of how my version should look and not all the recipes have a photo (I've had a few 'mine doesn't look like that' moments lol). Apart from that, another great collection of recipes.
16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on 7 December 2008
I was thrilled to hear Rachel had a new cook book out.I have all her other books (signed) and was in Ballymaloe last year for a 2 1/2 day cookery course run by Rachel herself (I would highly recommend this also!!)Bake is a brilliant book for all capabilities. I have tried and tested a few recipes already and they didn't disappoint!!My parents and in laws loved the carrot cake (which was still fresh after over a week!)Enjoy! PS Its a pity there aren't 6 stars to give!!
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 21 August 2009
I bought this book recently at a very good price. This is the first book of Rachel that I buy and I'm really pleased. The recipes are very tempting and I baked 3 times already using them. The Quiche Lorraine was so delicious and I took it for a day out with my friends and everybody loved it. I also cooked the banana bread, which was also delicious. I believe that the directions given to cook are really simple and so far they have given the best results. It has something for everyday, parties, days out, family dinners. It's true that it has more sweet recipies than savory, but that didn't bother me. This is one of those books that you don't feel intimidated by, so you just open it and cook and the result is fantastic. The only part I dindn't like was that not every recipe has a picture. But apart from that this is a superb book.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 30 January 2009
I have made a number of delights from this book - Italian hazelnut cake, Lemon cupcakes, Carrot cake, Dutch Apple Cake, Poppy seed cake, Walnut Cake, Lemon tart, Hazelnut Brownies and the Christmas Cake - to name but a few(!!)and they all came out amazingly well. I watched the Bake! programme on UKTV Food which was lovely and Rachel Allen has such a kind, personable presenting style. The book is very well written - ingredients and methods are explained very clearly and simply. I cannot recommend this book highly enough - everything I've made has turned out impressively well! Definitely worth it!