Top positive review
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Totally lush! And NOT a rip-off
on 26 October 2009
Delia Smith's first Christmas book (published 1990) is the King of Christmas Cookbooks. Now she has brought out a new cookbook, containing some recipes from the old, and a hundred new ones too. Does this short-change her readers?
I think this book is a great acquisition. Unlike some of the other humbug-ish reviewers here, I relish the chance to try some new Delia Christmas recipes, and I think they are totally characteristic of her excellent style. (One reviewer complains many of the recipes here appeared in a WHSmith Xmas special Delia did in 2003 and 2004 but for those of us who don't have copies handy, most of what's in this book will be new.)
Plenty of things have changed in the two decades since the first book was published and the hundred new recipes in this book reflect that. For example, people eat a lot less meat. Out of eleven recipes in the vegetarian section, only three come from the 1990 book. A new watercress soup, a vegetable pie, a different cheese terrine, a macadamia and pistachio nutroast. These are just one example.
The sections with the most duplication are the classic sections like Christmas cakes and puddings and the preserves, which is sort of understandable as it is difficult to think up innovation there. But even in cakes modern life has arrived - the Dundee cake recipe has disappeared, and there are two delicious sounding recipes using Panettone, the Italian Christmas cake now widely available in supermarkets.
Lists of suppliers have been updated, as have menu suggestions now stretching to every meal from Christmas Eve to New Year's Day. There's also a lot more party food, and more choices of main course for those whose palates are too posh for turkey - including a slow braised belly pork recipe which should also please credit crunchers. And for those Scots who had been feeling a bit neglected, a new Hogmanay section gives a Scots trifle, a crab soup and a Haggis pie recipe for Hogmanay.
If I have any criticisms of this book its that in such a lush book, with high production values, there isn't a picture of every dish! Which is especially mental when it comes to puddings, which you NEED to see pictures of! No photo of the Chocolate Chestnut log so you can work out how to create the bark effect?? Come on!
But apart from that, the more time I've spent flicking through the book the more I'm surprised at the negative reactions of some Amazon readers. I will not be able to get rid of the old Christmas book as how would I manage without its recipes, the ones not reprinted here, such as Roast Ham with mustard and demerara crust, and Port Wine Jelly?? But this new book is great, really inspiring, and makes me look forward to Christmas even more than I already was.