on 23 January 2001
Bought this book just after Christmas (aftre many hints to family and friends that I would like it and no one took me up on the NOT so subtle hints!!).
Its a beautifuly written piece of work. When reading it you soon get a feel for Gary's love of british food, which then encourages you to have a go!!
So far Bread and Buuter pudding, Rice Pudding and the amazing Chicken Sanwich have been tasted and tested... all were delicious! Today is the turn of homemade crumpets and at the weekend its time for Rack On Black!!
on 5 January 2000
I am an avid cook and watched all the TV series which accompanies the book. I thought the price was great - I've just ordered a second copy for my Mum for her birthday! An excellent book- classic recipes without being too old fashioned or staid, together with loads of great ideas for interesting food without the ingredients being too weird or difficult to buy. Well photographed, with lots of accompanying tips and hints with the recipes.
on 22 November 2000
When I saw the photos in the book I thought they looked a bit daunting - could I produce something so professional?
Don't be put off. The recipes are easy to follow and, whilst some are time-consuming, the end product is a delight - both to taste and look at.
The background information included ahead of particular topics makes the book a good read as well as a source of information.
Top tips from the book are the Steak and 'Kidney' pie (tastes wonderful and gives everyone a surpise as it comes in two distinct parts: steak with its own kidney pie) and White Lamb Stew. Such innovation is a mark of this book.
on 3 October 2010
This book is guaranteed to bring back some mouth-watering memories for anyone of a certain age. British food has always had a bad reputation, no more so than from from ourselves - we refer to many of the dishes as `unsophisticated' or `simplistic' whereas their European counterparts are usually described as `honest' or `uncomplicated'. In this book Gary Rhodes reinvents some of the UK's classic recipes without losing touch with their heritage or over-`cheffing' them to the point where the book becomes a `good read' rather than a practical handbook for the kitchen.
I remember receiving one of Rhodes' books when he first started to appear on our TV screens and as far as I recall I didn't cook a single dish from it. Many of the recipes were a touch over-complicated or used ingredients which were either too expensive or too difficult to find in those days. `New British Classics' is a lot more accessible and I'm certain that it'll prove to be a book I call on regularly in the future.
The book is structured along traditional lines with main sections on: soups; sauces and dressings; cheese and eggs; vegetables and salads; fish and shellfish; meat; poultry and game; puddings; cakes, sweetened breads and baking and finally a useful section on preserves and pickles. Alongside each of these main sections you'll find subsections on stocks, herbs, the great British breakfast, potatoes, savouries and snacks, the Sunday roast, picnics, Christmas ideas, high teas and spices and flavourings.
I was pleasantly surprised to find that the book is a little larger than the typical `celebrity chef' book, and that it contains more than just a set of fixed meals, but also sections on kitchen fundamentals, techniques and traditions.
A typical recipe from the book begins with an introduction containing some thoughts on the dish and, where applicable, something about its origins and variations. This is followed by a list of ingredients. The procedural part itself is in paragraph form rather than numbered. About one dish in five is photographed.
So, if dishes such as pork and stilton cheese toast; baked pork, prune and apple meatballs; steak and kidney pudding; calves' liver steak with blue cheese dumplings; chicken fillet steaks with chestnut, mushrooms, sage and lemon sauce; Scottish fruit tart with whisky; or sticky toffee apple pudding tickle your taste buds, then I recommend you order this book.
on 14 January 2002
Gary Rhodes has truly turned out a cornucopia of mouth-watering treats and delights in the wonderful book! It sets a new trend, by encouraging, and updating some of the great classics of Britian.
The book was written for people who are comfortable in the kitchen, and some of the recipes could be a bit daunting for a first time cook. Be prepared to commit a healthy amount of your time to the recipes, as they are somewhat more time consuming than you would find in other recipes. But that is the whole point: by using a bit more time, and high quality ingredients, Gary Rhodes can turn your home-cooked meal into a first-class affair.
One criticism is that some of the ingredients used are a bit expensive. His Fish pie uses some cuts of fish that were qute extravagant (I had to preorder them from my fishmonger, as they are not normally stocked). A guide to ordering some of the less available ingredients would have been helpful. Also, some of the cuts of lamb and beef are also a bit on the dear side. But again, this goes back to better quality for a better meal!
on 6 December 2002
I am an American who owns over 300 cookbooks, and I consider myself a gourmet cook. On a recent trip to Britain, I scoured bookstores and chose this book over all the others. I'm glad I did. I have to say, this is absolutely the BEST cookbook I have come across in the past 20 years.
This book is not as comprehensive as The Joy of Cooking, which tries to tell you how to cook absolutely everything under the sun. But this book IS inclusive of everything that's important in classic British Cooking (and in traditional American cooking, as well)-soups, sauces, cheese and eggs, vegetables, fish, meat, poultry, picnics, puddings, cakes and baking, and preserves and pickles. In addition, it has chapters on The Great British Breakfast, Savories and Snacks, Sunday Lunch Roasts, A Festive Christmas, and Afternoon and High Tea.
As an American, I learned SO much from this book. I learned about the ORIGIN of bacon and eggs for breakfasts, about the histories of many different vegetables (quite different information than is included in The Joy of Cooking), HOW and WHY British cuisine got a reputation for being bland (it wasn't always so), and many things about the history of eating which have just been plainly lost to us in America. For example, I did not know before that the origin of certain foods sometimes being served on a piece of toast was from the "trenchers" used in medieval times--"trenchers" being big slabs of bread which were laid directly on the table, and food put on top. The reason for the use of trenchers was that plates were too expensive for ordinary people to use. Not only are so many interesting discussions about the origins of different foods and customs included in this book, but ALL the recipies are interesting and FANTASTIC!
British readers will enjoy the depth and style of this book, while American readers will really learn a lot about the origin of our own traditional cuisine. I will treasure this book for many years. I am buying four more copies to give as gifts this Christmas. I bought the paperback edition. This book is so wonderful and will be used for so many years, that I highly recommend to other readers to spend the extra money and get a hardcover edition, if it is available.
on 11 March 2011
Considering this work was written in 1999 (at height of BSE crisis and ban of beef sold on bone etc.) this book is as relevant today as back then. Perhaps now, even more so as we're all foodies today and Brit cusine has finally found its mojo and people have embraced our traditional dishes again.You kynow with Gary you'll get strict methodology and step by step instructions in preparation to produce wonderful food. He's had some tough press but this book shows that even in 1998/99 he had the forsight to see that British food had been dealt a duff draw and by using quality ingredients and re-visiting the classics such tasty food could be made. Standouts for me include stunning beef dishes including the best Oxtail and Steak pie & pudding you'll ever cook. Some fantastic puddings including his signature jam roly poly and some great Britsh savouries including that 2010/2011 fashionista - the Scotch Egg! This chef knows his onions, and with the state of Brit food as is, this is more relevant today than is was when published! If I were him I'd get a hardback re-print out there today or even a slightly revised version and bring in the bacon now food culture has moved on so much. Yum!