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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good read with some excellent recipes esp if you like anchovy!
This is an excellent book, not just a recipe book packed with Italian inspired recipes, but with tales from the two authors, brothers and James (the good looking one) and Thom (the good looking one with a beard and moustache.....) Additionally watch the boys on You Tube/online as they map their way around Italy in a three wheeler van learning to cook the Italian way...
Published 12 months ago by Sue H

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not a pizza book
The recipes in here all look lovely but this is NOT a pizza book. Buy it for good ideas for Italian food in general but definitely not if you're specifically after pizza recipes.
Published 7 months ago by Currie


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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good read with some excellent recipes esp if you like anchovy!, 3 Aug 2013
By 
Sue H "Sunshine Suzzy" (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Pizza Pilgrims: Recipes from the Backstreets of Italy (Hardcover)
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This is an excellent book, not just a recipe book packed with Italian inspired recipes, but with tales from the two authors, brothers and James (the good looking one) and Thom (the good looking one with a beard and moustache.....) Additionally watch the boys on You Tube/online as they map their way around Italy in a three wheeler van learning to cook the Italian way. Their passion for food and Italian cuisine shines, although they write in a very un pretentious way, and a dish with a posh sounding name which could appear complex seems doable with their interpretation, although surely boys you can toss a frittata!. They describe:a portion size two hungry or 4 normal people, and being over taken by jogger going up hill in their van carrying a 700kg piazza oven.. For the techies there's an ipad version of the book as well.

The book is beautifully illustrated. There are arty photos of the food (but not so artistically blurred that you cant decide what the dish should look like -a criticism I have of many recent cook books!) There are also photos from the boys travels. They describe the food production as well as cooking for example process and testing of Parma Ham. Not sure how Joan Collins will like being associated with the process though. They give instructions on how to build a piazza oven in the garden-fab! (sorry haven't tried it yet)

The recipes are well laid out mostly ingredients on the left and instructions on the right. As an experienced cook I could easily follow the methods but those new to cooking might find some areas lacking in a little detail. Ingredients of often translated into English or a local variant suggested as an alternative.

There are few negatives about this book. The boys knowledge of microbiology is not great, cleaning a jar/container with boiling water will kill some bugs but not sterilise it. (After cleaning it with boiling water put it in an over upside down at 200DegC for 20-30mins will go a long way further to it being sterilised.) Next take a tour round Britain and learn how to grow some of the ingredients in our climate, peas, pumpkin, squash, basil, lemons, san marzano toms- all much better fresh from the garden ☺

Recipes include:

Street food and snacks

Rissoto balls filled with mozzarella, mozzarella and anchovy sandwich, Fritto Misto (fried battered fish/vegatable bits)
Red onion jam (only one spoon of sugar so one could consider it like a relish/pickle as it contains vinegar/wine)
Roast chestnut spread (similar to the commercially available choc spread with hazelnuts beginning with nut.......)
Breaded porcini (mushroom)
Deep fried polenta chips
Venetian polpette with tomato sauce (meat ball type of dish)
Globe artichoke with anchovy dip
Salt cod pate
Porchette (a roast pork)
Salasa verde (a herb, anchovy/caper `sauce' to have with pasta or meat or what ever you choose)

Starters:

Deep fried stuffed courgette flowers
Prawn pea and spaghetti frittata
Asparagus with egg and parmesan
Panzanella- stale bread chunks in salad with dressing
Gnocchi (cheese or potato base), with pumpkin fennel, and ricotta
Fresh pasta
Basil pesto
Peporanta on bruschetta (peppers and tomatoes on posh toast)
Tagliatlli with mushrooms and truffle oil
Mussels with lemon
Calamari in umido squid with tom and chilli
Minestrone soup
Shell fish with parsley and pepper crust-they reckon this is full proof but you have to clean the live fish first- not for everyone
Caponata-sounds a bit like ratatouille but with the courgette replaced by olives/capers,

Pizza:

Neopolitan pizza dough
Mararita- tomato no cheese!
Salsicce e friarielle fennel sausage with broccoli rapa (you can grow this from seed try DT Brown) is more closely related to turnip than calabresse/broccoli in mainline UK supermarkets. Also similar to the corn seed rape that colours the field bright yellow in May/June
Napoli salami

Mains:

Sunday dinner
Cacciucco fish stew
Artichoke risotto
Nduja fusilli (spreadable spicy pork sausage pasta dish)
Parmigiana Di Melanzane (aubergine with cheese and tomato)
Risotto Nero (Squid Risotto)
Clam linguine
Ribollita Bread soup
Pancetta and squash pappardelle
Cheese and pepper spaghetti
Polenta with wild boar sausages
Spaghetti alla puttanesca sphagetti with tomato, anchovy and chilli
Tuscan chicken with olives (and more anchovy)
Shoulder of Pork
Sea Bass
Smoked scamorza chicken and pancetta tortellini
Roast leg of lamb with wait for it..... anchovies!
Braised rabbit Ragu
Bistecca all fiorentina (tea bone steak with lemon)
Bollito Misto (Chicken and sausage casserole)
Cheese ravioli
Italian meatloaf

Puddings and drinks:

Lemon and bergamont granite
Rum baba ( the good bakers off the Great British bake off even found baba tricky hmm...)
Sfogliatelle frolle (pastry with a semolina and ricotta filling)
Cannoli with moscato (tubes of fried dough with sweet cheese filling)
Hazelnut truffles
Cantuccini (the boys call it bread with almond and cinnamon)
Chcolate and amaretti puddings
Italian rice pudding
Limoncello semifreddo with raspberries
Vanilla icecream with coffee, olive oil (yes but no anchovy..)
Pannacotta with honey and pine nuts (Milk, cream and sugar held together with gelatin)
Zuppa Inglasse Italian version of English triffle
Limoncello (lemon peel steeped vodka with added sugar)
Various cocktails......
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For those with a hungry heart!, 15 Jun 2013
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This review is from: Pizza Pilgrims: Recipes from the Backstreets of Italy (Hardcover)
We all know that sometimes you buy a recipe book and it just sits on your shelf covering the rising damp and after 41 shots you promise you'll make something from it, but you know that when the wrecking ball comes to knock down your flat the book will still be sat there like the ghost of Tom Joad... I'm glad to say that this one's different! My copy is already covered in tomato sauce (from the aubergine parmigiana), squid ink (from the risotto) and olive oil (from pretty much everything...) - and I've yet to find a dud recipe!

The story behind it is certainly inspiring, two guys who were born to run a pizza business working on a dream through the backstreets of Italy and who are now opening a pizza restaurant on Dean Street in Soho. I'll admit I'm a little jealous! However, this book delivers on the promise with delicious, simple recipes for everything from pizza and home-made pasta through to more unusual delights such as magic fritto misto, drinks like a negroni and even Italian rice pudding!

If it's just pizza you're after then this gives you great tips on how to make it in your own oven (something I definitely didn't think was possible) - my friend Rosalita was born in the USA and has always claimed that the best pizza comes from the streets of Philadelphia, but even she was impressed that you could make pizza of this quality at home! Just don't go thinking it's all about pizza, because this book has so much more... the only downside might be its impact on your waistline - calorie-wise this book takes no surrender!

I'm sure this review will get lost in the flood of people saying good things, but all I can say is that if you want a recipe book that you'll actually use then buy this one!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pizzas and Italian comfort food, 22 Aug 2013
By 
E. Dalton - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Pizza Pilgrims: Recipes from the Backstreets of Italy (Hardcover)
Having frequently eaten from the Pizza Pilgrims' van in Berwick Street and already a regular at their restaurant in Dean Street, this is one book which I was looking forward to.

Thom and James' built the Pizza Pilgrims' reputation by serving freshly-made, piping hot, Neapolitan style pizza from the back of a van to lunchtime crowds in London.

For those already familiar with the Neapolitan pizza tradition, especially its chewy cornicione (crust), this book provides all the essential information from how to construct a garden pizza oven through to the correct flour and best choice of tomatoes. For Neapolitan pizza novices, the information is practical without being overly reverent, and with sufficient direction that a good finished product should still be attainable.

When it comes to toppings, the book includes 12 recipes, which is not only 10 more than Da Michele in Naples serves, but is actually a wider range than that served in Pizza Pilgrims' Dean Street restaurant. Without listing them all here, suffice it to say that the book includes both a classic Margarita and their signature Nduja.

The book also contains includes several other uses for pizza dough, such as savoury calzone, saltimbocca and their delicious Nutella and Ricotta calzone. The latter is essentially the same dish, albeit in a different shape, to the "Nutella pizza" presently on the dessert menu at Pizza Pilgrims' restaurant.

Venturing beyond pizza into the wider realm of Italian comfort food, the recipes are divided into street food and snacks, starters, mains, puddings and drinks. There are recipes for basics such as gnocchi, pasta dough and pesto. A small omission from their bistecca alla Fiorentina recipe is that it doesn't mention that the uncooked steak should always be at least 1" thick. Particularly Neapolitan treats include crunchy outside, tender inside supplì and sfogliatelle. Their sfogliatelle recipe is for a lemon cream filling, but Nutella is an equally delicious - and authentically Italian - alternative.

Interspersed amongst the recipes are pages giving some of the Pizza Pilgrims' back-story, commentary on key Italian ingredients such as olive oil and polenta and an explanation of some of the differences between Neapolitan and Roman pizza.

Overall, this is an excellent book which captures both the spirit and the flavours which have made Pizza Pilgrims such a success.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very authentic recipes but not everyday Italian, 12 Aug 2013
By 
TheShopaholic (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Pizza Pilgrims: Recipes from the Backstreets of Italy (Hardcover)
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I lived in Italy for 3 years and have many Italian friends with whom I have spent time during family mealtimes etc and on the whole everyday Italian food is good but simple and not half as special as you may think. Mealtimes have to be enjoyable with tasty food but dishes which do not take hours to prepare. But then, the Italian Mamma always makes it look so easy!

The recipes in this book are excellent, they are tasty and definitely authentic but special. I would use this book to create a good dinner party menu but not for everyday meals. The recipes are easy to follow, the history of the dishes and the regions they come from are explained which gives the food a more special feel but some recipes call for ingredients that may have to be substituted over here in the UK. For instance, even a bog standard Pizza in this book, is listed with all the very particular ingredients and very specific types and while this is great for background knowledge and if you could lay your hands on them easily, probably would make a very Italian tasting dish, sometimes it is just not possible and the type of tomato specified would be hard to lay your hands on here.

Having said that, the recipes turn out well and this book is a good addition to your cookbook shelf for digging out when you fancy something special. Don't get me wrong, these dishes won't take forever to cook and they will most definitely be appreciated by anyone who eats them but, the dishes chosen for this book are definitely handpicked specialities of the regions of Italy.

Me and the children tried the pizza recipe for the Romano pizza, I lived just outside of Rome and my local Pizzeria chef had already shown me how to make their base and this book has the proper recipe in it and my kids were impressed. Its good, wholesome food. Definitely Italian, definitely worth having but don't expect the food to be this good when you go to Italy unless you go to the really good restaurants charging around 50 per head!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not a pizza book, 2 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Pizza Pilgrims: Recipes from the Backstreets of Italy (Hardcover)
The recipes in here all look lovely but this is NOT a pizza book. Buy it for good ideas for Italian food in general but definitely not if you're specifically after pizza recipes.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A thoroughly impressed Neapolitan!, 29 July 2013
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This review is from: Pizza Pilgrims: Recipes from the Backstreets of Italy (Hardcover)
After having paid a visit to the chaps earlier this year on a whistle stop tour of London I was waiting for them to produce a cook book not knowing if they were going to or not.

As a proud Neapolitan, Pizza IS life™ to us so to find a good eatery is hard enough. Home made pizza can be a hassle, especially getting the form right, as well as good cooking instructions. The book is simple, beautifully illustrated and gives you great ideas as well as a brilliant written guide to how to shape and cook the pizza.

If you love Pizza and want to make your own, you can't go wrong with this book, great to have on the book shelf and brilliant for pizza party ideas. I really wish these guys all the success when they open their store! Bravi!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, 28 July 2013
By 
C. M. Cotton "Chris Cotton" (Europe and USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Pizza Pilgrims: Recipes from the Backstreets of Italy (Hardcover)
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I have reviewed many cookbooks for the Amazon Vine programme. Some have been very good, others reasonable and most have been unusable and dire. This book falls into the very good category, its full of beautiful photos with many wonderful and tasty dishes. This is a great book for those wanting to cook rustic, original Italian food.

The book represents the journey of two English friends collating recipes from a trip around Italy for use in their London eatery. What they bring to this book are great, sometimes unusual recipes for so many different Italian dishes. The book even looks at preparing chillies and home-made Limoncello. The authors also look at how to create wonderful Pizza's but it so much more than a pizza recipe book.

Having lived for extended periods of time in Foggia, Puglia, Southern Italy and have experienced many different home made and restaurant bought dishes, which are not found outside of the Puglia area of Italy, I found this book refreshing and enlightening. Travelling around the country, you soon realise that the Italian food we eat in the UK is a far cry from that found on the streets of Italy. This book tries to bring those types of dishes to a wider audience. I adore Italian food and I adore this quirky well written cookbook.

Highly recommended.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely pictures, lovely recipes, 30 May 2013
Bought this after having been a long-time visitor to their van on Berwick Street at lunchtimes. Pleased to see a variety of Italian recipes, not just involving pizza and great pictures from their trip around Italy. Well put together and well written - would recommend.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant book, great recipes, even greater story, 29 May 2013
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This review is from: Pizza Pilgrims: Recipes from the Backstreets of Italy (Hardcover)
Dunno what that other person was on about. The book is BETTER for having more than just pizzas in (even though pizza recipes are awesome on their own - just made the saltimbocca pizza - amazing!)
Plus the story is awesome. Makes you want to go to the kitchen or go to Italy. SO much more interesting than all those other plain old recipe books. Already thinking who I can buy it for as a present!
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5.0 out of 5 stars The pizza book I've been searching for., 5 July 2014
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This is the book I've been searching for! For the first time since moving from Italy to Shetland I've had pizzas that tastes the way they should. I'd long since given up on the idea that I could buy a pizza that in any way resembles a genuine Neapolitan pizza. Every Friday used to be 'pizza night' and we were spoilt for choice when we lived in Italy. Over the past few years I've been tweaking the way I made pizza at home and the results were getting better.
Last night they took a leap forward when I used the method described by the Elliot brothers. My family thought I'd gone mad when they came into the kitchen and there was a cast iron frying pan heating up on the hob and the grill was on full blast as well. They were gearing up for bitter disappointment until they had their first bites 'this is just like being back at Cisco's' - our favourite pizzeria. They were pleasantly surprised at the results, amazed more like.
This book is so evocative, the recipes remind me of days in a sunnier clime, where life is taken at a slower pace, where students would argue about about who grew the best cherries and where old men would sit for hours in the local bars clutching a single Prosecco whilst they put the world to rights. The kindle format isn't brilliant and the list of ingredients appear as long columns with only a couple of words on each line, longer words being split over two lines. However the recipes themselves are a good selection of the things my family like to eat, that being said I probably have most of these recipes in other books. What sets this book apart from all the others is the method of cooking pizza, it's ingenious, it works, the pizzas were simple and delicious.
Thanks to the 'Pizza Pilgims' Pizza night had been reinstated and I've just bought another heavy pan so as one pizza is being finished under the grill the next one can start cooking on the hob.
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Pizza Pilgrims: Recipes from the Backstreets of Italy
Pizza Pilgrims: Recipes from the Backstreets of Italy by James Elliot (Hardcover - 23 May 2013)
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