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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I love to bake!
I was sent a preview copy of 'I love to bake!' by Octopus Books and couldn't wait to get stuck in...

I'm a bit of a cookbook collector and this one will definitely sit on the 'basic yet extremely useful' end of my shelf. The recipes are not flashy: they're traditional but easy to work from and, I imagine, great for children to cook and eat.

I'd...
Published on 3 July 2011 by Halloween Becky

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Ok, not groundbreaking
This is an average book, but only because I'm a more experienced baker. For those starting out then I think it would be great as Tana covers all the baking basics. I found some of the cake recipes looked a bit dry and the pictures provided uninspiring- which is why I have yet to bake any. However, although the cakes may not look beautful and professional- Tana is more of...
Published on 6 Aug 2011 by Cam


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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I love to bake!, 3 July 2011
By 
This review is from: I Love to Bake (Hardcover)
I was sent a preview copy of 'I love to bake!' by Octopus Books and couldn't wait to get stuck in...

I'm a bit of a cookbook collector and this one will definitely sit on the 'basic yet extremely useful' end of my shelf. The recipes are not flashy: they're traditional but easy to work from and, I imagine, great for children to cook and eat.

I'd never baked a Swiss roll before I got my hands on this book and I can truthfully say that Tana Ramsay's recipe was so straight-forward that from opening my cupboards to find ingredients to serving up a really pretty, very moreish cake took less than 25 minutes start to finish! I would recommend anyone who buys this book to give it a try (mind you, I did cheat a little by switching the marscapone for clotted cream for added luxury).

I was pleased to see that the cupcake section is kept to a minimum (can we just move on now please, publishers?!) and there is a greater emphasis placed on puddings, traybakes and tarts to share. However, where I think this book will come into it's own is not with sweet treats, although there are many to chose from, but with the well-selected, interesting range of savoury recipes to try. I've already earmarked the triple cheese straws with mustard & thyme and crab & chilli samosas as potential winners and the lamb shanks with white beans sound both hearty and family-friendly.

This book is certainly not about to win any prizes for its food photography - a platter of white chocolate & strawberry profiteroles should be a thing of beauty and falls well short of the mark here. That said, the recipes are so logical and are written with such a reassuring tone that you can be safe in the knowledge that, regardless of the how the dish is pictured, your own efforts will almost definitely turn out to be not only extremely tasty, but more attractive!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly good, 10 July 2011
This review is from: I Love to Bake (Hardcover)
My first impression of this book from the styling and photographs was that it is aimed at yummy mummies (not me at all). However as I flicked through the recipes I got more and more excited - they all sounded delicious and Tana's preamble before each recipe gave an indication of how difficult and time consuming they were. The book is comprehensive covering everything from cupcakes to bread to meat bakes and the photographs make it appear child friendly and family oriented.

The first recipe I tried was the lamb hotpot as I was drawn to Tana's statement that "it is just the thing to prepare when... time is short." There was nothing technically difficult about the recipe but the instructions were a little vague. For example, step 2 says "Put the lamb cutlets in a bowl along with all the marinade ingredients, cover with clingfilm...". This caused my husband to query whether he should get his hands involved in rubbing the marinade ingredients into the meat. We decided that he should (how else was it all going to mix together and marinade with the meat?) but it wasn't entirely clear. In total we spent in the region of forty minutes preparing the dish and then we put it in the oven for 90 minutes. As I set the alarm on the oven I realised that meant we wouldn't be eating until 10 pm - hardly perfect for when time is short. Being a fidgety sort I checked on the dish after 40 minutes and realised that the potatoes were close to burning. If I had left the dish for the full 90 minutes we would have had to dial for pizza. As we tucked into the hotpot we realised that this was British cooking at it's best; simple, flavoursome and comforting.

The second dish I tried was the sausage cassoulet. This was ridiculously easy to prepare but as I put it in the oven my heart sank a little. It looked like a bad recipe from the 1970's and I had visions of it being bland. I'm not entirely sure what alchemy occurred in my oven but when I served it the flavours all hung together and we all returned for a second helping.

In conclusion this isn't a book that I would have chosen for myself but I suspect that I will be using it regularly especially for the savoury dishes although I will be keeping an eye on cooking times.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A lot more than baking, 7 July 2011
This review is from: I Love to Bake (Hardcover)
This is the fifth cookery (or recipe) book from Tana Ramsey.

The title is a bit deceptive, as from first look you might think this is a book about baking cakes and the like but its not. 'I love to bake', covers a range and number of different savoury and sweet dishes and things to bake that essentially need oven cooking, hence the title. So here you might have savoury dishes and stews like 'baked tomatoes' and 'lamb shanks and white beans', alongside tarts and flans, of both the savoury and sweet kind. In fact some of the savoury dishes, like the meat, fish and vegetable based recipes (such as the 'lamb and lentil casserole', 'fish lasagne', 'stuffed aubergines' and 'mushroom and taleggio tart') seem the most tempting and appealing to make.

The photographs in this book probably do not do all the dishes the justice they deserve, some are better (the 'nectarine pavlova' and 'baked peaches') than others and some of the photographs are quite dull and could have been better presented. Positively, some of these recipes do appear to have been made by children as the pictures depict.

The basics are covered in that there is a section of bread recipes, muffins, cakes and biscuits. A short chapter at the end of the book covers festive ideas for Christmas and Halloween (cakes, savouries and biscuits). The book is dotted with photographs of Tana and her four children.

If you are an experienced cook or baker and looking for new, exciting and challenging dishes to make, then I would say this book would not suit your needs. But if you like to follow easy and fail safe family type recipes, that most people will enjoy, then you will get a lot out of this book.

Most families would really enjoy these recipes and they would suit both everyday menus and other occasions, like cakes and biscuits needed for baking events at school fêtes etc.

Tana has said in her introduction that she has set out to deliver "simple and real" family recipes and she does just that.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book, 5 July 2011
This review is from: I Love to Bake (Hardcover)
When I got this book I was completely unaware that Tana Ramsay was the wife of Gordon Ramsay. I must say I hope he is as impressed with the book as I was!

From the title I imagined it was a book containing cake recipes. What a lovely surprise to find, when I opened it, recipes from Cannelloni to bread and cakes!

The book is beautifully bound with a lovely welcoming introduction to the book. Wonderfully photographed throughout including pics of Tana appearring to bake at home with the family. Some of the recipes contain step by step photos others just show the end product.

Each recipe comes with a small foreword giving ideas on how to serve dishes and any additional extras you can add to it.

Chocolate brownie cookies were a simple and easy recipe to follow that made the most delicious cookies. So easy to make, the kids did it! Swiss Roll was a hit with the family and turned out better than I imagined, having never attempted one before I was impressed.

Just one small thing that could be added... A step by step guide at the end of the book telling the kids how to tidy up after they attack my lovely new book!

Thanks Tana, you got the family in the kitchen!
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4.0 out of 5 stars I Love to Bake, 26 Jan 2012
This review is from: I Love to Bake (Hardcover)
This book has a very misleading title. I expected a book filled with cake recipes but instead got a book that includes recipes both sweet and savoury and some not what I would classify as 'baking'. In many ways it is reminiscent of "Fay's Family Food" and I think it is very much a family food book filled with tasty recipes that can be enjoyed en famille. As a mother of two I find that very appealing.

Unlike some of the other reviewers I found the photography, simple in it's styling, very appealing and fitting to the title. However I have to say that apart from a deceptive title the book also boasts a pretty bad cover - it looks like a book that has been cobbled together using recipes from other books - very downmarket. The design inside has the same feel - looks like it should belong to a bargain bin book with it's unsophisticated font and extremely simple design.

Quibbles about the design aside, I have enjoyed reading the book and cooking from it as well. The bakewell tray bake was absolutely delicious as was the mushroom and taleggio tart. And even though some of the recipes are simple hearty family food there is enough choice here to make more impressive dinner party food (the pavlova for example wowed my guests although I had to substitute the nectarines with mixed berries). I have earmarked several recipes to try and in fact it would be quite easy to build a weekly family menu with the recipes in this book.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Ok, not groundbreaking, 6 Aug 2011
This review is from: I Love to Bake (Hardcover)
This is an average book, but only because I'm a more experienced baker. For those starting out then I think it would be great as Tana covers all the baking basics. I found some of the cake recipes looked a bit dry and the pictures provided uninspiring- which is why I have yet to bake any. However, although the cakes may not look beautful and professional- Tana is more of a home baker and not misleading- what you get is what you see. But, the savory baking part of the book is much better and I rate her chicken pie. All-in-all an ok read.
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4.0 out of 5 stars More than Baking, 19 July 2011
This review is from: I Love to Bake (Hardcover)
I was sent this book to review by the lovely Octopus Books. Having perused many of hubby Gordon's cookery books, this was the first one of Tana's books that I had seen. I did wonder whether it was a case of jumping on Gordon's coat tails but most definately Tana is an accomplished cook in her own right.

The title of the book is a little deceptive as I expected a book full of cakes and puddings but also included are numerous main courses and starter dishes.

The book is split into ten chapters plus an introduction and acknowledgments section and as well as the expected chapters such as Cakes & Cupcakes, Biscuits & Traybakes, Puddings and Sweet Pies & Tarts there are also chapters covering the unexpected Savoury Pies & Tarts, Meat Bakes and Fish & Vegetable Bakes plus a Bread chapter, an Easter, Halloween & Christmas Chapter (perfect for baking with children) and a whole chapter on Chocolate!!

The recipes are clearly set out with a foreword from Tana and are straightforward and easy to follow. Some such as Swiss Roll with Raspberry Jam have step by step pictures making it even easier to follow.

My only criticism would be that not all the recipes have a photo with them. I like to be able to see what the finished recipe should look like even if mine don't turn out that way!

Favourite recipes from the book include: Orange and Poppy Seed Cake; Blueberry Flapjacks; Lemon Tart with Blackcurrants and Asparagus, Marscapone & Cashel Blue Slices.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A fabulous baking book which covers it all, 19 July 2011
By 
This review is from: I Love to Bake (Hardcover)
Another down to earth, charming book from Tana Ramsay. Tana can definitely be classed as a 'home cook' with family meals in the forefront of her mind.

This baking book is beautifully put together. Whilst not bursting at the seams with recipes, it covers all the basics very well and all the recipes appealed to me. In particular the nectarine pavlova is one I will be using for a family BBQ this summer!

The book is full of images which is always a winner for me. The recipes are easy to follow and navigate and use ingredients most people will have in their store cupboards.
There is a lovely section on seasonal baking and I was particularly impressed with the Christmas section, so I can't wait to go back to that come Christmastime.

If you want an easy baking book with lovely recipes from someone who knows about family expectations(!) this is it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great book to add to a collection, 18 July 2011
By 
Natalie Phillips "_Natalie_P" (Chester, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: I Love to Bake (Hardcover)
I received this book about two weeks ago and although I've only had a chance to try a few recipes, I've found it great so far. There are lots of recipes in there that are fairly standard and found in lots of baking recipe books but this one does have a nice section which isn't just about cakes! The recipes are easy to follow and have turned out well so far. More photos would have been nice as I always like to know what I'm trying to aim for. If you're looking for something with a lot of new and interesting recipes then this book probably isn't for you. If you enjoy simple cooking and would like an easy to follow book to add to your collection then I would definitely recommend this.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for busy families kitchens!, 7 July 2011
By 
S. A. Broadhurst "SBroadhurst" (Worcester, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: I Love to Bake (Hardcover)
When I hear the name Tana Ramsay, I picture a mother and a business woman who has to juggle the two halves of her life, while also coping with her husband, Gordon Ramsay! In recent years, I have seen Tana Ramsay on many TV programmes talking about issues relating to family life, and preparation of healthy, wholesome meals to feed the family. She has followed this with a number of recipe books promoting healthy, wholesome, easy food for families.
The forward to this book promises simple recipes for satisfying dinners and meals which are quick and easy to prepare. The recipes cover all areas of meals for family life: cakes; biscuits; puddings; chocolates; sweet pies and tarts; savoury pies and tarts; meat bakes; fish and vegetable bakes; bread and a final chapter on Easter, Halloween and Christmas.
In her introduction, Tana tells us that when preparing food for her family it is simple and real food, whose ingredients can be picked up on the way home from work, that do not need to be sourced from specialist retailers. The recipes in the book include some hearty meal ideas, while others are suitable for a light lunch. There are some indulgent recipes and others tempting and easy recipes. Some recipes can be adapted to what is in season. A lot of the recipes can be prepared in advance for busy mums on the run. There are recipes for every occasion. Tana also suggests involving the children in the preparation of the recipes.
There are many things I like about this book: Each recipe starts with a couple of sentences by Tana giving us a reason why it is in the book, what she likes or suggestions for alternatives. It is these introductions that I like to scan when choosing a recipe. There are clear ingredient lists at the start of each recipe and also approximate servings per recipe. The recipe is split into easy steps, written concisely and clearly.
However, there is one negative: not all recipes include full colour pictures of the end result. I do like to see what I should be aiming towards when following a recipe. This is however, only a small point as many of the recipes do include full colour photographs of the final results - there appears to be only a couple of recipes per chapter which does not include a photograph.
The photographs which do accompany the recipes are of a high standard and all the food looks very tempting and appetising. Some photographs also include children helping to make the recipes - enforcing Tana's belief in getting children involved.
There are a good number of recipes per section of the book and there is a varied selection of meal suggestions. The recipes will suit many budgets, with everyday, easy to source, ingredients being used throughout. There are ideas for children's lunchboxes, picnics, light lunches and evening meals and I would think that there is something in here for any occasion.
I would recommend this book as a great addition to any kitchen book shelf and would be a great gift for a busy family wanting new ideas for their meals.
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I Love to Bake by Tana Ramsay (Hardcover - 4 July 2011)
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