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4.2 out of 5 stars23
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 3 August 2010
I am a keen collector of cookbooks. My collection runs into the hundreds, and dates back nearly a century. However, I can say with some degree of confidence that I have never read in any of them that the use of a camper van is recommended by way of a cooking utensil. Never.
I used to own a camper van just like Alice, so I am on her wave length (or band width for the younger reader). When she refers to it as "the ultimate in mobile kitchens" she scores a culinary hole in one with me.
As a camper van girl hers is not the kitchen scattered with a dozen dirty bowls, a sink full of washing up and four burners and the oven firing flat out. A camper van kitchen is compact, utilitarian and compels the chef to cook in a minimalist way. If you saw the size of the sink inside them, you would understand - it is barely big enough to set a jelly in.
It stands to reason then that camper tucker is going to have a pretty easy ride to the table. Like picnics and play away barbecues, she prepares things in advance to cut out unnecessary fussing when out and about. Indeed she bravely attempts damper bread cooked on a stick over an open fire, and suggests dry mixing the ingredients into a plastic bag at home. Also cakes to be baked at home to bring along too. All such sensible advice.
Exotica such as grilled corn and sweet potato with lime dressing, rosemary farinata and Saigon salad rolls are effortlessly put together like ham and pickle sandwiches and a flask of tea. No prizes for working out which tastes better.
Alice does operate from inside her house and domestic kitchen too. She extols the delights of a traditional family Sunday lunch, offering pleasant twists on the usual fare and arranges the recipes here as elsewhere into orderly menus to provide a complete and complimentary meal.
Breakfast , lunch and parties all have their own chapters, and throughout the book she constantly offers sensible short cuts to avoid the last minute crush before the food arrives at table, leaving the cook to enjoy the meal along with others , be it family or friends, few or many.
So, if you want to make lamb cigars, boozy lollies or learn how to cover your tracks after a camp fire, Alice's Cook Book is the one to buy.
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on 23 August 2010
The first thing that struck me about Alice's Cook Book was the gorgeous cover work on the book. This alone was enough to make me want to see what this book had to offer and having read about Alice, it's very representative of her personality and great loves - cooking and camping! The book has images that will make you salivate and rushing to get cooking them up.

I was excited by the culinary adventure this book was offering for a multitude of different reasons. One because I noticed it was part of the 'New Voices In Food' series and to be quite honest, I've been waiting for something a little different. I mean, don't get me wrong, I LOVE cookery books, but nothing will spark my interest more than new talent and Alice Hart did not disappoint.

The book is set out into sections so that when you're looking for something for breakfast or picnic food ideas, you know exactly where to look. The layout is easy to read, the recipes are easy to understand and the tone of the book is warm and friendly...exactly how I'd expect Alice to be!

I recently attempted the brownie recipe (page 182) and they went down a storm. They can be made in the time people might take to go and choose a Sara Lee out of the freezer in the supermarket and taste one hundred percent more tasty! Alice even suggests the use of other chocolate types if you're not a dark chocolate kind of group which for people who aren't very confident in trying to change an element of a recipe is a godsend. As someone who went through Home Economics in the '90's when restaurant design was deemed more important than survival skills, this book was great and not complicated to use at all. Good honest, easy-to-follow recipes for people like me in their 20's/30's who weren't given the option to learn a life skill at school. Having said that, her recipes would be great for anyone of any age as they are fuss free and delicious!

This book is definitely one everyone should have in their kitchen cupboard for impressive but easy ideas!
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VINE VOICEon 15 November 2010
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This book is written with a really nice, warm tone and it has a lovely style for the cover, with the sort of country chic, vintage-y look that's in right now.

The recipes are varied and although there's lots I wouldn't make (the array of pickles etc holds little interest to me) there's also some very yummy ones (try the raspberry custard cake!).

However this book is a victim of my pet hate in cookbooks - no photos of what the finished product is supposed to look like! This might not be an issue for others but personally I am put off trying recipes if I don't know what on earth it's going to look like. With photos of each dish this would be a four star book, but as it is, I can only give it three.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 25 March 2012
This book looks like the kind of thing that would normally annoy me.

First it is a cookery book built around the concept that the author scoots round in a campervan. I loathe these approaches - The Hairy Bikers (shudder) and so on. Just tell me how to make good food and keep your gap-year jaunt to yourself thanks!

And Hart is stupidly young to be doling out advice on anything. So an over-privileged metropolitan brat then?

But despite my best efforts to grouch this is a fantastic cook book full of vibrant food.

The recipes are clustered together in menus rather than split into starters, mains, sides etc - another approach of which I usually disapprove.

Winners for me so far are the Boursin Omelette Baguettes (no really!), The Easy Dhal Soup and the genius quick supper recipe for crab cannelloni.

Alice Hart is clearly a food writer to watch. I am also really taken with her Vegetarian book too.
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VINE VOICEon 23 September 2010
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I have a huge collection of cook books with just a few old faithfuls that I return to time and time again. This is not likely to become one of them. Very few of the recipes can be made from items in the cupboard and indeed I think I would struggle to find some ingredients in the average high street (though I haven't tried yet). If you want to know how to make Pomegranate Jelly or Oatcakes with Gruyere then this is the book for you. I have found it over fussy and actually a little intimidating. There are however a few little gems inside, The Spiced Pear Relish is fantastic (and just in season) and the Best Brownies are to die for! I am also looking forward to trying the Chilli Jam. These are the saving graces and earn it the three stars, otherwise the Bruleed Sabayon or Pan Fried Gurnard would, I am afraid, leave me cold. I though I was quite knowledgable about food, maybe I'm not, maybe this book is for someone with a degree in recipe names who may realise they are normal recipes with fancy titles. Or not. I think I spent more time referring to the Glossary to work out what I was reading!
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on 22 September 2010
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
At first, I wasn't sure of what to make of Alice's Cookbook - but after sitting down with a coffee in the late summer sun, I "got" it. It's a cookery book, but in narrative. A recipe book to read rather than simply follow. A real pleasure to read through and savour, then come back to time and again in order to create the feasts described.

Some lovely recipes, grouped in sections according to occasion - some simple, some more complex. But all utterly delicious and completely appealing in the context of their suggested events. My personal favourites were the breakfasts!

A pleasing and fresh approach to cookery books and would make a lovely gift.
Highly recommended.
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on 20 July 2011
This is not, for those of a certain age and folksy-ness, the Alice of Arlo's Alice's Restaurant. This is a chef named Alice who lives in London and yes just happens to have on the cover of her cookbook the requisite VW micro bus.
The book is set up in menus, brunches and picnics, all with a very European , modern flavor.
It includes, breakfast and brunch, picnics and happy camping, seasonal Sunday lunch, supper and lunch to share, and party. Recipes included are camelized baby roots, feta, and sweet lemon dressing, cumin-spiced fish, curd rice. Some ingredients are not usually found in your ordinary pantry supplies and will require a trip to your grocer.

There are hardly any pictures of the prepared dishes, and those that exist are not included with the recipe or identified. Some short recipes do not give you a recipe list, but instead have the ingredients as you use them. Most irritating of all many of the recipes do not state very clear or even say how many they serve.
There are some pages with quick ideas for breakfast, or camping ideas such as green curry paste. It's not your run of the `meal' cookbook. For those that want a modern different, not too difficult collection of recipes this is it.
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on 16 July 2010
Alice's Cook Book is the ideal mix of easy accessible recipes, beautiful photography, non-coated paper. I carried it around in my bag for a few days and read it while commuting to work, and last weekend tried the brownies recipe, which Alice says is the best recipe ever. The person to whom I gave the tray of brownies after eating a few let me know they were the best brownies he's ever eaten, and offered four to his electrician as a bribe to get him to do some extra work in his home. ;-)

I think Quadrille's idea to do a New Voices in Food series is a great way to introduce new-ish talent to the market that isn't your typical TV presenter or superstar chef. I say new-ish because Alice has an established track record-- which is why her recipes are good and her writing style engaging.

Anyway, this is a great book, and I am going to be buying it as a gift for a few friends.
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on 9 November 2010
I was initially attracted by the cover of this book, having never heard of Alice Hart before. On receiving it I found it a good book, nice intros to each recipe but quite scarce on pictures - I like to see what the end product is meant to look like! Many of the recipes are inventive and original however it's not really an everyday cookbook and not one I would choose for a novice cook. Many of the ingredients are not typical store cupboard ingredients and I could see some of these recipes getting a bit costly. On the whole it's a nice one to read and flick through, very aspirational evoking images of woodland picnics and cooking up a storm in your campervan but I'm not sure how well that actually translates to real life.
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on 6 November 2010
Alice's Cook Book

This is one of the first two in a new series "New Voices in Food" from Quadrille and is written by Alice Hart, who has already run pop-up restaurants and been the food editor of Waitrose Food Illustrated, although still in her 20s. It is interestingly produced, with wrapover covers and a reinforced spine and has some beautiful photographs.
The recipes are fresh and quirky, showing a very individual approach and there are lots of ideas for expanding on the given dishes. They vary from the simple (baked potato mash) to the multi-layered (chocolate and salted caramel cups with scooping biscuits), some demanding preparation over several days, others being very quick. I will enjoy cooking from this book but it only gets four rather than five stars because of its internal organisation, which makes it less easy to find a particular type of recipe. It is organised by event - breakfast and brunch, picnics, seasonal Sunday lunch, supper and lunch to share and party - for most of which there are full menus given rather than a series of separate dishes. Although the index is clear, giving both ingredients (pomegranate) and dish (jelly), you need to get to know this book well in order to be able to find a particular recipe. However, it would repay getting to know it well in terms of new ideas and events - a light post-Christmas dinner, autumn film night, chilly spring lunch - and certainly encourages a different way of looking at your kitchen.
Definitely a writer to watch and a series to collect - good to see newer and less-established (read "known") writers published.
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