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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Basically Brilliant
It does what it says on the tin. Bill Granger provides a selection of easy to cook recipes that you will use every day in your kitchen. The recipes are well laid out and clear to follow, the ingredients are not too rarefied that you couldn't get hold of most of them in your local supermarket (perhaps I will allow that the saffron and lobster risotto may be the only...
Published on 6 Dec 2010 by Mrs. K. A. Wheatley

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23 of 28 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice looking book, doesn't quite deliver.
I hate flouncy cook books that aren't physically built for a life of spills and spatters in the kitchen. So first of all I must give this one top marks for practicality. It comes with a good, robust, whipeable cover. And instead of a dust jacket there is a glossy slip which folds round the front cover. This can be moved throughout the book to act as a handy placeholder...
Published on 17 Jan 2011 by doublegone


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Basically Brilliant, 6 Dec 2010
By 
Mrs. K. A. Wheatley "katywheatley" (Leicester, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Bill's Basics (Hardcover)
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It does what it says on the tin. Bill Granger provides a selection of easy to cook recipes that you will use every day in your kitchen. The recipes are well laid out and clear to follow, the ingredients are not too rarefied that you couldn't get hold of most of them in your local supermarket (perhaps I will allow that the saffron and lobster risotto may be the only exception here), and every one that I have tested so far is tasty beyond belief.

The book is laid out in useful sections like breakfast, baking, desserts, meat and helpfully, an entire section for chicken. It is clearly marked where ingredients are optional, and serving suggestions are offered rather than dictated. I loved this book. The clear, simple photography really gives you a feel for what the food should look like. There are some wonderfully fresh vegetarian options, a lasagne which is packed full of ricotta and mozarella cheese and a good, simple tomato sauce, and a black bean chilli I am dying to try.

I do not think you should review a cookery book if you haven't tested at least some of the recipes, and so far I have made, chocolate brownies which were deliciously dark and sticky, the plain cake for friends which was light and moist and looked beautiful and the most divine carrot cake I have ever made or eaten. I have also made the flat breads, which were simple and far superior to any you will buy in a supermarket. The beef daube in rose was absolute heaven, and so was the roasted tomato soup. I cannot wait to crack on with the rest of the book.

This is my first Bill Granger recipe book. It will not be my last.
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51 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully presented, with over 100 simple yet delighful recipes, 7 Dec 2010
By 
Chris Hall "DLS Reviews" (Cardiff, Wales) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Bill's Basics (Hardcover)
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Length:: 2:15 Mins

First published in September of 2010, popular self-taught Australian chef Bill Granger's beautifully presented cookbook 'Bill's Basics' clearly had the 'Average Joe' in mind when he began penning this recipe book. The principle that runs behind the entirety of the book is good, honest and simple food - cooked simply. No experience or any advanced understanding of cooking is required; the book is aimed at taking the user through all the stages to create a vast array of quite simplistic culinary delights.

The book begins with a short introduction by Granger, allowing a brief glimpse into how surprisingly personal the book is to him. This alone adds a genuinely nice touch to the following recipes, and allows you to truly believe that he cooks these dishes all of the time; unlike with other cookbooks, whereby you know that half of the recipes are for dishes that the writer/chef would probably never cook up for themselves in everyday life.

Each recipe includes brief notes on the dish, which are often personal to Granger, as well as snippets of the dish's history ("carrot cake reached our shores in the Seventies"), or honest insights into the recipes and his attitude to cooking ("Satay Skewers are one of my favourite street foods, but I can't always be bothered to thread the chicken onto skewers at home").

An entire chapter is dedicated to soup, with a good number of delectable yet healthy recipes included. There are also one or two unusual recipes, such as 'Laksa' which is a rich and fragrant noodle soup that is (or so we're told) becoming the 'Spag Bol' of Australia. Don't be fooled into thinking that because the book is entitled 'Basics' that you will have seen it all before. With Bill's 'simplified' take on cooking, a lot of the classic recipes are seemingly transformed into the glorification and utter enjoyment of the ingredients and the honesty of combining and cooking them.

Not only does the cookbook offer up interesting and so-very-slightly unusual dishes such as the likes of the aforementioned 'Laksa', along with 'Salt & Pepper Squid', `Roasted Butternut Squash, Lentil & Spice Pasties' and 'Saffron Risotto With Lobster'; you also have recipes for the justifiably classic dishes such as 'The Perfect Steak', 'Fish Pie', 'Vegetable Soup' and 'Tomato Pasta Sauce'.

Each recipe includes a full colour photo alongside it, which brings together a beautifully presented and brilliantly inspiring book. The recipes are simple to locate, put into their own chapters based on the principal ingredient and/or style of dish (as well as an easy to use index). Each of the chapters is exactly 24 pages in length.

The chapters include:
Breakfast
Baking
Soup
Salads
Rice, pasta & bread
Chicken
Meat
Seafood
Vegetables
Desserts

All in all, this is a beautifully presented cookbook, which is ideal for everyday use, for absolutely anyone. Running for a total of 256 pages, this high quality and durable publication covers a vast array of dishes, with simplicity and the sheer enjoyment of cooking always in mind. Very highly recommended (and I don't say that often!).
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beyond basics, 17 Nov 2010
By 
E. L. Wisty "World Domination League" (Devon, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Bill's Basics (Hardcover)
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Whilst billed as "basics", namely classic meals from around the world for everyday cooking, Bill's Granger's book often goes beyond that. I was quite pleased for example to see that his recipe for Bolognese sauce includes the "authentic" ingredients and processes which most books leave out (soffrito of onion, carrot & celery, pancetta, pork as well as beef mince, milk and white wine).

His interpretations of the recipes can add that little bit extra beyond the standard. Though I have been doing Indian cooking for many years, I have always struggled to produce a palak paneer which I could call satisfactory to my mind. But trying ideas from Bill's recipe here I've gone a long way towards remedying that.

To be fair there are probably not too many recipes in this book which I would go out of my way to cook, but this is a decent enough book for those less experienced at cooking who want to expand their repertoire and produce relatively simple meals but with that little bit more.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really Good Recipes, 6 Nov 2010
By 
MrsOsborne2013 "Legally_Lillywhite" (Nottingham, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Bill's Basics (Hardcover)
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I've seen a couple of episodes of Bill's programmes and I've seen him on Saturday Kitchen. I've never bought one of his books before because I had the impression that his recipes were more suited for the Australian lifestyle, e.g. salads and barbecues and al fresco eating, not always possible in an English summer!

However, I am glad to say I was wrong and Bill's recipes are a revelation. Although the book is entitled "Bill's Basics", basic does not equate to boring. The food within is fresh and exciting and exactly what I would want to cook:

Breakfasts - Pancakes made without buttermilk (fantastic! As Bill says, who has buttermilk in their fridge on a Sunday morning?)and interesting egg recipes (Bill's speciality), as well as a tasty looking kedgeree and white hot chocolate

Baking - Brownies and Carrot Cake, simply done but looking delicious and achievable for a non-baker like me

Soups - Not a great fan of making soup, but something for everyone here, including the classic French Onion. I may be tempted to try the tomato soup with cashew and coconut sambal......

Salads - The classics are here, Caesar, Nicoise and potato salads but the one I am going to try is the Thai beef

Rice, Pasta and Bread - My favourite carbohydrates! There's a nice lobster risotto here and noodle dishes including pad thai, but the one that most interested me was the polenta bolognese gratin, a never seen before Italian dish and definitely different.

Chicken - Bill's Coq au Vin looks tasty and so does the lemon chicken. Roast chicken with stuffing is also here along with other classics, like chicken parmiagiana, fried chicken, burritos and satay. All my favourite things to eat and made easy to cook

Meat - Roast pork belly, lamb and beef fillet and how to cook a proper steak, also beef en daube made with rose wine and a delicious looking lamb curry

Seafood - Fish pie and fishcakes look easy to make and classic fish and chips are here, with Bill's paprika dusted batter and home made tartare sauce. Fish looks less scary to cook in Bill's book......

Vegetables - Now here is the real revelation and what makes this a five star book - no usual carrot or potato accompaniments here, only really interesting vegetarian recipes, in fact the best I have ever seen in a non-vegetarian cookery book! Included here are chickpea burgers, butternut squash, lentil and spice pasties with yogurt dressing, palak paneer and cheese and leek souffles. Now it takes a lot for vegetarian dishes to make my mouth water but Bill's have!

Desserts - No real surprises here but a really good recipe for tiramisu containing two types of alcohol, an easy pavlova and a delicious looking baked lemon cheesecake

I am really pleasantly surprised by this book and will definitely be cooking a lot from this one
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant brownies, 1 Oct 2012
This review is from: Bill's Basics (Hardcover)
This is a great cookbook for the basics. It's classic Grainger, straight forward recipes, delicious results.

The baking section is particularly good, the brownies are beyond ace. I've made a lot of brownies, and generally rely on a Nigella recipe. But Bill's have won me over, and this will be my brownie recipe in the future!

It's a nicely set out book, and there's quite a lot of healthy recipes to balance out the brownies (it's the Aussie way)

I'd recommend it to cooks who are fans of Bill's straight-forward cooking, who enjoy spending a bit of time in the kitchen but don't want anything too complicated.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A lovely recipe collection, 7 Jan 2012
This review is from: Bill's Basics (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Bill Granger's cookbook is full of simple, laid back tasty recipes, all of which are clearly explained and beautifully photographed. 'Bill's Basics' has taken pride of place next to my Naked Chef cookbook as one of my 'go-to' books when I want to cook something quick, simple and, most importantly, tasty.

Recommended.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best of the basics, 26 Feb 2011
By 
josie82 (Fife, Scotland, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Bill's Basics (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I have caught a few of Bill Granger's cooking shows on a number of occasions but he's never been a chef that I made a point of sitting down and watching. Because of that I was intrigued but not overly excited by the thought of this cookbook.

How wrong I was.

The book itself aims to take 100 classic recipes, simplify the techniques, minimise the fussy ingredients and generally give a cookbook full of good, tasty cooking that's suitable for everyone. There are things such as pancakes, muffins, cookies, madeleines, soups, carbonara, risotto, chicken satay, steak, fish pie, lasagne, soufflés, baked cheesecake and so much more besides.

I don't think I've ever read a TV chef cookbook that is so down to earth. There's no pretentiousness about Bill or his cooking and I genuinely think his will be a book that I will actually pick up and cook something rather than leaving it sitting on the shelf. I feel other TV chefs are constantly trying to make themselves more interesting by resorting to gimmicks and tricks so it's really refreshing to find someone who seems to cook for pleasure and wants to share that joy.

The sections in this cookbook are: breakfast; baking; soup; salads; rice, pasta & bread; chicken; meat; seafood; vegetables and desserts. Most recipes have pictures of the finished food and there are other pictures dotted about that make this a really interesting book to pick up and read.

Each recipe follows the same pattern - a small introduction from Bill, a list of ingredients and then an explanation of how to make it. There's enough space around each recipe to make it easy to read and to write your own notes if you're that way inclined.

You're not going to like every recipe in this book but there are quite a number that I've tried, am going to try and am going to revisit. It's a book that you're sure to find something to take your fancy and will inspire you to cook some more. I have to say it's the best cookbook by a TV chef that I've ever read and I feel it will take quite a lot to beat. 5 stars.
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23 of 28 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice looking book, doesn't quite deliver., 17 Jan 2011
By 
doublegone (scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Bill's Basics (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I hate flouncy cook books that aren't physically built for a life of spills and spatters in the kitchen. So first of all I must give this one top marks for practicality. It comes with a good, robust, whipeable cover. And instead of a dust jacket there is a glossy slip which folds round the front cover. This can be moved throughout the book to act as a handy placeholder. How often are you using a cook book by the stove and can't keep the thing open where you want it? Not with this one.

Turning to the contents I liked the look of the recipes. Granger is Australian so overall there is an Asian influence sneaking in (coconut milk appears quite a bit)but he also seems big on Italian. I have to say though having made a few things from the book that I wasn't altogether impressed.

I carefully followed his brownie recipe and found the results only fair. Two bars of Green and Blacks went into it and frankly I would have rather just eaten the chocolate. That I think is a telling thing with any cook book. A recipe needs to add value to the ingredients and not leave you wishing you had just done something simpler with the same items.

Sadly the same occurred with Bill's take on Shakshouka - the Israeli breakfast dish. A little better were his chickpea burgers, which he claims to be the result of years of experiment. I thought they were alright but I know of better veggie burgers with a lot less effort.

The most success I had was with the extremely intense tomato soup. This involved oven roasting a lot of tomatoes and blending in coconut milk to create what can only be described as a properly posh version of Heinz Cream of Tommy Soup. The cashew and coconut sambal Bill suggest with it was a waste of time though, and I have substituted a swirl of pesto in subsequent batches.

I didn't know anything about Bill Granger when I got the book but have subsequently seen his TV show. I have to say overall I feel there is a lot more marketing flash than there is culinary genius in him.

Only one out of the first four things I have tried from this book has impressed me. I'll make his soup again but I would have hoped for a better strike rate than this.
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38 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and Practical, 13 Sep 2010
This review is from: Bill's Basics (Hardcover)
This is an excellent book. Granger offers one hundred classic recipes in his typical no nonsense, practical manner. The results are always successful, and high on fresh flavours.

The book is beautiful, too. Full of magnificent colour photographs and written in a style that is engaging and concise. Granger simplifies cooking, but never dumbs it down. There is good humour, too, and much common sense.

Possibly my favourite book of his so far, and contender for cook book of the year.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous new book from Bill G., 25 Sep 2010
This review is from: Bill's Basics (Hardcover)
I am a huge fan of Bill Granger's books, and this latest work is as good as ever. In this new book, he brings together a collection of his favourite, classic recipes - the kind he comes back to again and again. The recipes are true to Bill's style, simple and elegant, letting the gorgeous ingredients shine. This is food that is easy to prepare, and even easier to enjoy, but still shows style and something special.
As for the recipes, they are first class versions of great classics, along with a few innovative twists. Featuring vibrant flavours from around the world from brunch dishes to teatime treats. Some of the recipes that I particularly like include:
Spaghetti with scallops and preserved lemon, Tomato Soup with cashew and coconut sambal, a really jammy Plum Tart, Chickpea burgers, and the Polenta Bolognese Gratin and Saffron Risotto with lobster.
The book is laid out in a clear and easy to follow style. The recipes are divided into logical sections, and with just enough introduction to get Bill's style without being too long winded.
I can highly recommend this book - both for seasoned cooks or kitchen novices, for Bill Granger fans and those who are new to his books - it's a winner!
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Bill's Basics
Bill's Basics by Bill Granger (Hardcover - 3 Sep 2010)
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