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VINE VOICEon 22 June 2009
Delightful cookery book which combines beautiful photography, tasty recipe's and a little autobiography and 'how to live life right' thoughts from Miss Dahl.

Miss Dahl has split her book into seasons and meal times, so for each season you have breakfast, lunch and dinner suggestions, all utilising lovely seasonal ingredients, which even include the odd suggested change of ingredient if you find her way less to your taste but the general idea tempting. This is a recipe book with a message, and the message is if you eat regularly, cook your own food and eat in moderation you will lose weight or acheive the right weight for you. It's a nice message and certainly the recipes exude healthy and tasty rather than virtuous and fat free. No calorie counting here, "be sensible" is the message and really it's not a bad message at all.
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This is a great book for those that love home-style cooking.
So far I am impressed with the recipes that I have made which include: beetroot soup, poached eggs on portobello mushrooms with goats cheese, buttermilk chicken with smashed sweet potatoes and the monkfish with saffron sauce. You can tell the recipes are obviously well-worn favourites of hers, cooked - and tested - over and over again, because they were all a resounding success.

I found the recipes to be easy to follow and the ingredients were easy to find in my local supermarket and (small) village grocery shop! This book is particularly ideal if you are just learning to cook as there are no complicated techniques to master, just good simple recipes that really do taste great. There are a few veggie recipes too.

For those that might be worried about the 'model/celebrity factor', this book is as unpretentious as you can get. The book is written as a type of food memoir. Interspersed with the recipes, there are a few stories that Sophie has written about her background and what lead her to write a cookbook. If this puts you off, then please don't let it... her style of writing is warm, witty and self-deprecating.
Although there are no frills, the book is presented beautifully. The book is divided into seasons, plus a chapter at the back for puddings.
It reminds me of 'Jamie at home' in terms of pictures and style. The food photos are lovely but they don't make you think "Mine will never look like that!"
I would definitely give this as a gift and recommend it, as there are so many easy but delicious recipes in it that even someone who 'doesn't do cooking' would use it regularly!
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on 3 April 2010
I found this book truely refreshing. Not only are the recipes easy to make but innovative in idea - the way Sophie writes is truely accessible. It is wonderful to have someone as high profile as her talk frankly about her weight and diet. As a dietitian I often scoff when I read models ideas of a healthy diet, and practically dispair at the strange fad diets alot of people follow. But Sophie's advice is both practical and sensible - after all we all like a little bit of pudding now and again.

I would highly recommend this book to any improving cook. It's maybe not as suitable for a total beginner but as long as you know your way around a kitchen this is definitely an excellent book to add to your repertoire.
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on 21 April 2010
I thought this was a great cook book, the explanations by Sophie Dahl are interesting to read and the recipes themselves are pretty straight forward yet produce great food. You do not have to buy complicated or expensive ingredients to make them and cooking times seem pretty low. I have made the Courgette and Watercress Soup, Aubergine Parmigiana and Rhubarb and Rosewater Eton Mess. I don't even like courgettes, aubergines or rhubarb, that's how good this book is. I also like that many of the recipes are for 2 or 4 people, I often cook just for myself and one other person, and not having to divide all the ingredients down is a real help.

I haven't given it the full 5 stars becuase although it is a beautiful book, I'd actually like a few more pictures of the actual food (so I know what I am doing) and occasionally the instructions are incomplete. Eg, putting something to one side and using later, should you reheat it? Leave to cool down? It would confuse an inexperienced cook.

I have already earmarked the recipes I will be making soon, and have no doubt this book will be a firm staple. I'm only disappointed it's not longer, and hope that there might be a new edition after the TV show.
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on 7 September 2010
Love this book - every recipe I have cooked has been delicious. I thoroughly recommend this book to those who want to cook quick recipes which are relatively healthy and yummy. It is especially good for those who are cooking for one or two (though if you would like to cook for a larger group, you could always multiply the quantities). I would put it amongst my top 2 quick after work cookbooks (the other being Nigella Express)
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on 3 May 2009
Saw Sophie Dahl on Jonathan Ross last night, and I would presume that many people watching would have wondered what a gorgeous ex-model is doing writing a cookbook. Just because Roald Dahl is your granddad doesn't follow that you should inherit his talent with the written word. Well as it happens I have read quite a few of her featured articles in Men's Vogue, and always admire her graceful eloquence and mots d'esprits, so whilst in Waterstones this morning I sought out and browsed through a copy of Voluptuous Delights. First impressions were that it has been produced to a very high standard (on Ross Sophie did say that she was a control freak and I would imagine is an aesthete); the design is sumptuous, the photography wonderful and the paper feels pleasantly touchable. Even the ink smells good. So being an amateur foodie, I bought the book and spent a very pleasant hour or so with it on the train home.

It's not uncommon these days for cookbooks to be more than a collection of recipes, but I really have enjoyed reading this one. Sophie engages you from the first introductory pages, and makes it easy to warm to her with funny anecdotes and self-deprecatory tales, but most importantly the writer creates a mouth watering anticipation for each and every recipe. So many cookbooks are quickly relegated to dust gathering duties on kitchen shelves but I can see this household using these recipes again and again. I JUST CAN'T WAIT to get to the shops tomorrow to sate the epicurean hunger that this book has created.

The proof as always is in the pudding, and these puddings not only sound and look delicious, but they are healthy too!

(and at this price on amazon, Miss Dahl's Voluptuous Delights are more that great value for money.
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on 22 May 2011
This book describes a whole approach to food which is very useful if you, like me, are a food obsessive who loves cooking and eating and is a little prone to excess. I probably spend most of my day dreaming about what I'm going to eat next. Sophie Dahl seems to do the same, and has dealt with the inevitable challenges this presents by cultivating an appreciation of balance and of simple, healthful food, with nothing forbidden and absolutely no guilt.

Since reading this book I have actually lost a little bit of weight as I've absorbed some of her ideas about good food. It's noticeable that certain ingredients do feature less often - in particular, white bread, white rice and potatoes - but there is room at the end for dessert, including the incredible-sounding flourless chocolate cake which I've yet to try. There is a lot of cheese. I love cheese!

Ultimately what I like most about this book is the way the recipes taste. Among my favourites so far are the spinach and watercress salad with goat's cheese; baked eggs with Swiss chard; asparagus soup with Parmesan; and the broad bean salad with pecorino and asparagus that was so simple and so lovely it made me want to cry! Her fish cakes are amazing too. There is nothing obscure or expensive in the recipes - everything is affordable and easily available. The idea of fewer, well-matched ingredients really appeals to me, and so does the notion that food should primarily be delicious, and only incidentally about body weight. Her prose style is very pretty - possibly a bit too pretty for my taste - but it is interesting to hear her talk about her unusual life. I'd recommend this book to anyone who is sick of dieting and just wants to eat good food.
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on 20 June 2009
When I first got this, I thought it was lovely; it would make a great gift as it's very elegantly put together and looks much more expensive than it is. I enjoyed reading Sophie Dahl's potted biography sections, which separate the seasonal chapters, although I'm not sure I'll ever read those bits again, and the pictures are very stylish.

But... when it came down to it, I struggled to find a single recipe I wanted to eat. Maybe if you're used to being a model on a cabbage soup diet, these meals seem 'voluptous' but to a greedyguts like me they seem the opposite to luxurious. They are mainly vegetarian, with lots of omelette type things, as well as mushrooms and brown rice . Even the flapjacks had no sugar in them. Pshaw!

This book is currently paired up with Fay Ripley's cookbook on Amazon, but I would warn you that they are nothing alike. I much prefered Fay's, which is FULL of things I couldn't wait to eat. This book is not a family cook book at all, almost all the recipes are for 2, and not very child friendly.

Sadly I think this is one of those coffee table cookbooks which is for reading and not for cooking.
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on 19 May 2009
I received this book two weeks ago and it has already become a permanent fixture in my cooking repertoire. First, this is not a how-to diet book, this is first and foremost a cooking book. That it is filled with Ms. Dahl's own story about food and weight is simply a bonus, a beautifully written ribbon that laces through the story and ties it all together.

This book is broken down into four sections - Autumn, Winter, Spring and Summer, further divided into Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner, and each section starts with a few pages of Ms. Dahl's lovely stories, starting as a youth in the US and UK, cooking with her mom and grandmother, along through her days modeling, and learning to find balance and harmony in her diet, up until present day. Peppered throughout are Ms. Dahl's sweet line drawings.

The first thing I noticed about this book is the quality. From the heavy paper, to the impeccable photographs, from the seemingly perfumed smell of the book to the careful attention to detail throughout, this book screams quality and care. I normally abuse my cookbooks and after a while they are covered in tomato splatters, greasy fingerprints and folded pages, but this book begs to be treasured. Despite having worked my way through half of the recipes, it remains pristine.

The recipes themselves are wonderful. Looking over my notes from cooking, one word pops up over and over: simple. Ms. Dahl's recipes are simple to cook and wide open to improvisation, should you be lacking in some of the ingredients. Each recipe builds off of the premise of quality ingredients and simple preparation and the reward is a delicious dish that needs no heavy spicing or fat to improve the flavor.

The rhubarb yogurt is mouthwatering: tangy, sour and sweet with a nutty crunch in each bite. The Beetroot soup is earthy and creamy, it fills your mouth with flavor and looks amazing sitting in the bowl. The Quinoa Salad with tahini dressing is one of those recipes that you find yourself craving all the time, with its nutty soy-sweet dressing, fluffy quinoa and a fresh crispness from the raw vegetables. The Fish Cakes forgo the usual breading in favor of a fresh, simple approach that tastes like you spent hours. The Cinnamon peaches with yogurt are a decadent breakfast that feels more like indulging in dessert for breakfast without all of the guilt. The chicken stew was incredibly easy but tastes sophisticated with a variety of flavors, from the juicy chicken to the pop of the olives and the licorice zing from the fennel. The Crab and Fennel salad is crisp and cool, perfect for the heat of summer... I could go on. I've been living off of the recipes in this book for two weeks and each meal is delicious, exciting and takes hardly any time to prepare. Each recipe is simple enough that you will find yourself whipping them up on a whim and never needing to order take out when you get home late from work.

My only complaint about this book, if you could call it that, is that some of the recipes make portions a good deal larger than necessary. Most of the recipes are meant for two but we could never finish all of the food and ended up having enough for one more serving, sometimes two. The recipes are measured in US and UK measurements and include both terms for items that have different names in the US and UK.

I would recommend this book for everyone. From the first time cook to the experienced chef, from the Sophie Dahl fan to the person interested in cooking that has never even heard her name. If you enjoy cooking you will enjoy cooking out of this book.
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on 24 September 2010
I brought this as a present for my best friend, but when it arrived I had to keep it and order another one for her. The pictures are beautiful, receipes yummy and the musings about her life really interesting. Both my friend and myself felt like we were young again cooking all the sort of food we were brought up on, and would share growing up at each others homes. One of my favourite cookery books, will be buying more as presents!
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