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4.6 out of 5 stars
The Skinny French Kitchen
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
I bought and loved Red Velvet and Chocolate heartache, so when I saw the cover of this book, I had an idea of what would be inside. Beautifully styled and photographed images of food and other imagery, as well as unique and wonderful recipes. Harry has delivered again! Though the recipes are mostly calorie-conservative versions of classic French recipes, so not quite unique, it is a unique approach to a cookbook of traditional French recipes!

I especially love the seven-hour leg of lamb, gratin dauphinois, and the apple tart (on the cover). Her notes on each recipe, explaining how she has reduced the calories while maintaining the flavor and character of the dish are also invaluable. It helps not only understand these recipes, but is great knowledge for adapting any other recipes to fit a lower calorie need. The recipes are all accessible, no special cooking skills required except for a few of the recipes like Madeleines and Macarons which might be a bit daunting if whipping egg whites scares you.

This book is perfect for anyone who loves to eat what they prepare for guests without making a special plate, it is for anyone who loves French food but has caloric intake concerns, it is for everyone who loves a beautiful book.
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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
on 3 April 2011
Harry does it again, and then some. This book appealed to me on a few levels - I love the traditional French ethos of eating (sitting down, taking your time over food, simplicity and balance of flavours and amounts) - love French food - and was looking for some lighter recipes which were delicious, but also healthy enough to make every day.

It delivers on all of those counts. I've recently become vegetarian again (or rather pescatarian, as I eat fish and shellfish) and I was finding my beloved Nigella Kitchen didn't give me too many options that appealed. So far I've made Harry's salad verte, croque monsieur (sans ham for me), skate (then used the sauce vierge that went with it on grilled haloumi the next night) and the endive, walnut and apple salad with Roquefort. They've all been terrific - easy and quick to make, and delicious. She's got plenty of fish and vegetarian recipies (or ones that could be easily adapted to be) alongside loads for meat eaters.

From her intro ("How are the French so skinny when they eat croissants every day? Answer: They don't") to her recipe ideas and instructions to her all-round approach, I find Harry really common-sense and practical. This book makes me feel like I'm eating well, and living well. I really like her Chocolate Heartache book too, but this to me is a step up. It's everyday cooking, rather than just the sweet treats, and everything I've made, I've loved (whereas in Heartache, anything using carrot, sweet potato or courgette are winners, but anything using eggplant or beetroot have a distinct 'earthy' taste to me). I think this is great - and really want to make that apple tart.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 7 April 2011
We really like this cookbook. I learned to cook Macarons last year during a cooking lesson in the wonderful campsite restaurant kitchen at La Garangeoire Campsite in the Vendee. So pleased to see the recipe here so I can try it again.
All the recipes look great and most of the typical French recipes seem to be here.
Only negative is the word "Skinny" in the title ! If you are going to eat and enjoy all of this food surely you cant be skinny too !
However I guess thats a pointer towards an attempt to keep the recipes healthy. Lovely illustrations and photographs throughout the book as well.The Skinny French Kitchen
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 4 May 2011
Harry Eastwood does it again. It's all about taste. Cutting calories so long as it still tastes as good or better. I agree about the choux pastry it does make you wonder why the original recipe has so much butter when it tastes so good without and the macarons are sublime. All the French classics are in here- tried and tested over again until Harry is sure she has it just right. The photography captures the mood perfectly. One of my favourite cookery books of the moment.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 20 June 2011
I love food, I might even go so far as to say i'm a little bit of a food snob. Up until I read this book (and read it I have, several times from cover to cover) I have been a sceptic about any so called "low fat" books. They are generally low in only one thing - taste. This book however is the first i've come accross that has REAL ingredients in it. It doesn't rely on substitues of synthetic butter and cheese etc, it just uses them in the minimum quantities to still give flavour. Bouef Bourgignon for dinner tonight - never thought I say that amd not feel a little guilty! YUM.

This book has been a complete revelation to me and I will definately be continuing to adopt Harry's philosphy on food. I shall be buying her baking book and hoping it is in a similar vein.

P.S. Love the calorie count on each recipe too - very helpful.
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25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on 28 March 2011
Nicely done, lots of pictures of Harry, Paris and food, though not all the recipes are photographed, a few more of the cooked savoury dishes would have been nice. I'd give it 4.5 out of 5, more pictures of the recipes would have made it a 5 out of 5. All the recipes have calories per portion on the recipe page and a Skinny Secret giving info on how the recipe has been made a bit lighter. Chapters are: *Aperitif* Sides* A table for Two * Dejeuner Sur L'Herbe* Cold Comfort* and *Les Desserts*.

I've made the Coq au Vin Blanc and Light Mashed Potatoes plus Grand Marnier Chocolate Truffles - all good. The chicken and mash were both light and clean tasting and the truffles were small, but full of flavour. Looking forward to trying many more.

Some more on my (very long!) to make list are:
Salmon and Spring Vegetables En Papillote,
Turkey Cordon Bleu,
Carrot and Orange Salad,
Boeuf Bourguignon,
Leek and Ham Gratin,
Duck Breast with Sweet Cherry Compote,
Mediterranean Chicken tagine with Lemon, Honey and Saffron,
Macarons,
Mini Coffee Eclairs,
Vin Chaud Sorbet,
Profiteroles au Chocolat and
Crepes Suzette.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 5 June 2011
The fact that i have only had this book a few weeks and already the pages are getting stuck together says it all! The recipes tried so far have been easy to follow and fairly straight forward. The aim (as with the 'Cook Yourself Thin' books seems to be 'stealth' dieting. Great tasting food that is easy to make, a joy to eat, doesn't rely on nasty reduced fat marg and which doesn't make you feel as if you are depriving yourself of anything (which lets face it is the reason that most diets go off the rails!). The holy grail of dieters is not losing the weight so much as keeping it off. This are the sort of recipes that you can see yourself coming back to time and time again once the weight is finally off - not because you feel you should but because you want to. Thanks Harry!
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 3 April 2011
I must confess to being a serial cook book buyer, with maybe 30 in regular use, but The Skinny French Kitchen is now firmly my #1! While I am writing this the smell of tarragon, lemongrass and chanterelles mushrooms from her 'Best Roast Chicken Ever' recipe on page 202 is filling the kitchen. What Harry has done here - take a complex and often daunting cuisine and make it accessible, fun AND slimming - is brilliant. She has clearly spent many hours painstakingly testing and refining each recipe but writes in an engaging, chatty way that communicates her love of the subject. I can't believe someone hasn't tackled French cooking in this way before. Well done Harry, I am 5 recipes in and all have been family favourites! I thoroughly recommend it!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Fantastic book, easy recipes and the results are healthy and tasty, used it for a dinner party for friends, all dishes full of flavour, but a lot less fat.
Perfect book for easy french entertaining with a healthy twist.
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on 23 June 2011
If you, like me, love cooking AND eating what you've prepared, but not necessarily love being big - this book is definitely for you!

There are plenty of recipes for a skilled cook as well as some pretty simple ones. I tried cooking several recipes myself and they turned out great! Especially the 'Potato Gratin' - it really does taste like there are lashings of cream in the dish, even though all you put in there is low fat dairy. Harry really puts her imagination to use - to save the flavour but lower the calories she uses spices, different cooking methods and good quality products.

The only thing I have to say (this is why I gave it 4 stars and not 5)- this is indeed a traditional French cookbook and some of the recipes in there simply aren't to my taste. But the ones I do like and do cook - are absolutely divine.

Great presentation of the book too, I must add. Harry's style of writing is a bit 'chatty', but I quite like that. There are plenty of nice photos - this is a girly cookbook.
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