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100 Reviews
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great inspiration for cooking for larger numbers with confidence
I have very little experience of catering for more than about 4 or 5 people at once, but having managed to host 8 people for Christmas lunch last year and more importantly having survived and indeed enjoyed it, I thought that this book might give me ideas to inspire me for feeding larger numbers and it has.

There are some really delicious recipes in this book...
Published 24 months ago by K. Z. Sobol

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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars One for the coffee table, I think ...
This is a cookery book, packed full of menus and recipes for almost any kind of gathering carefully divided by season.

It is beautifully presented, the photography is stylish, and there is a wealth of extra material that adds a certain charm.

Those recipes, those ideas, look lovely, and there are a few that I'll try, but there are rather more that...
Published on 16 May 2012 by Lynrow Kernow


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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice coffee table book but not really any use to me., 14 May 2012
By 
Mrs. Bryony A. Shaw "joltek" (Ely, Cambs) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Friends at My Table: A year of eating, drinking and making merry (Hardcover)
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I was a little disappointed in this book having been drawn to it for the easily feeding friends and family on a budget sales pitch. It's a lovely book and well presented but there are more pictures of table decorations and children playing on the beach than of the actual food. It's all just too posh for me really, one chapter begins " my family is lucky enough to own a little bolthole by the sea" and proceeds to tell me how to cook a freshly caught dab over a campfire. This is realistically something that is very unlikely to happen in my life and she lost me a bit from then on. It's a pretty book, but not very practical if I can't get half the ingredients at tesco.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A lovely whimsical book with some great tips, 23 April 2012
This review is from: Friends at My Table: A year of eating, drinking and making merry (Hardcover)
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'Friends at my Table' is a beautifully designed cookbook from Alice Hart, food writer and editor. The premise is to show how to cater for large groups, focusing on both the food and the practical preparations. The book is divided into celebrations such as 'holiday weekend away', 'a chic. easy picnic' and 'mezze night' and each has accompanying recipes and top tips. As an example, the holiday weekend away for 8 section contains recipes for brunch (banana, date and maple thickie, merguez sausages, spiced potatoes and eggs); lunch and supper (galettes de ble noir). While your weekend away will probably comprise more than a day's worth of meals, this is a good starting point. I suspect that I won't use this book as it's intended, but will pick and choose from the many lovely recipes. I'll also be stealing some of the ideas like serving knickerbocker glory for pudding, and getting guests to make them themselves. If you entertain a lot, or would like to but are intimidated at the prospect of having to cater for a lot of people, this book is worth a look. It is very nostalgic/whimsical in its style, which won't appeal to everyone but to me makes it a lovely book to add to my collection.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Hedonistic grunge, for the jet set., 27 Jun 2012
By 
Prof TBun (Birmingham UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Friends at My Table: A year of eating, drinking and making merry (Hardcover)
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The first thing to say about this book are that most of the recipes require exotic ingredients that you are unlikely to be able to source unless you live in a boutique area, or have not enough responsibilities in life.

Even I haven't actually marked the book down for that, but for the dreadful presentation and pompous writing style. The text is littered across across each page, in random fonts. Words are loudly highlighted in the middle of paragraphs in the most patronising manner.

Worst of all are the photographs. Most are badly focused, for which there is no excuse. But the real problem with them, is that they give the impression that Alice invites people to come over to eat at a Chelsea rubbish tip.

I note that trash art has been in vogue with a small group of New York hedonists for some time, which is no doubt what has influenced the style of presentation. However adding an element of garbage doesn't make for a laid back ambiance. What it does do is make you head fast in the opposite direction.

This book goes against every value I have in life, so I will not be recommending it to anybody.
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4.0 out of 5 stars For Entertaining, 20 Feb 2014
By 
P. Stokes "Historian71" (Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Friends at My Table: A year of eating, drinking and making merry (Hardcover)
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Taking the effort out of planning for important dinner parties here is a collection of 70 recipes arranged into 12 menus, 3 to suit each season.

Beautifully set out and illustrated this should take the fuss out of occasions however keep in mind these are not really every day special event menus but for impressing.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Recommended for confident cooks, 16 Jan 2014
By 
Alex Sumner "AS" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Friends at My Table: A year of eating, drinking and making merry (Hardcover)
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I bought this as a Christmas present for a female relative. She told me it was a beautifully photographed book which she particularly appreciated, as she is a cook who likes to entertain. Also the fact that it is menu-based was a plus. Luckily, the author lives, like her (and myself) in England, so her choice of ingredients would be more sympathetic to us than possibly to some overseas readers. Also some ingredients are not much available outside larger markets. For this reason I would mainly recommend this not for a complete beginner, but for someone a bit more confident and eager to gain experience.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Lifestyle book, 23 Dec 2013
By 
Ms. C. R. Stillman-lowe "Cathy SL" (Reading Berks) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Friends at My Table: A year of eating, drinking and making merry (Hardcover)
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This is a sumptuously produced volume. The recipes are arranged by season eg Summer contains recipes for a Laid back country wedding; Glamping; and Beach cricket barbeque. It is lavishly illustrated and includes sections on a Seasonality chart and Equipment and techniques to cook for crowds.

There are side-tracks eg a whole page dedicated to the basic rules and guidelines of beach cricket.

Someone with leisure to spend browsing this delightful book would be well rewarded. If you want quick recipes on a budget, it would be best to look elsewhere.
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3.0 out of 5 stars different, 13 Dec 2013
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This review is from: Friends at My Table: A year of eating, drinking and making merry (Hardcover)
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This is the first cookbook that I have come across where there isn't a FULL Christmas spread. There are some wonderful party plans and meals that are spread conversationally through the book. Alice has put this together in such a straightforward and easy to follow method as well as providing a great list of what you have to have to start the whole process (pans, pots, herbs, spices, etc). A great book for beginners (me) and advanced (my mother-in-law)!

Buy the book and get cooking!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Nice one for the collection..., 13 Dec 2013
By 
Me read (UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Friends at My Table: A year of eating, drinking and making merry (Hardcover)
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I'll start by saying what a pretty book this is. Hardback with lovely padded covers and a nice size too. It's a lovely book to add to an existing collection and it does have some new and interesting recipes that I'm keen to try out. I'm a sucker for any dish that includes a poached or lightly boiled egg in the photo so Merguez sausages, spiced potatoes and eggs is a definite but there are a few other dishes and drinks that look do-able too.

The only thing that disappoints me really is that a lot of the book is given over to outside dining. The beach, camping, BBQ's, garden parties... I don't do a lot of that. It would be nice to live somewhere that it's possible to do that but my cooking is done inside in the over so some of these recipes I won't be trying out. They sound nice and look easy enough but I'd look mad trying to have a cookout at my local beach.

If you spend a lot of time cooking outdoors this is definitely the book for you.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A lovely book, 12 Dec 2013
This review is from: Friends at My Table: A year of eating, drinking and making merry (Hardcover)
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"Friends at My Table" is a lovely book, perfect for anyone who enjoys good food shared with good company. Alice Hart's recipes range from simple salads which are perfect for picnics to delicious desserts for dinner parties and get-togethers. The book itself is designed very nicely; it is a hardback with a padded cover and the paper is great quality. Every page is a delight and the book is crammed full of illustrations and photos of the recipes, as well as handy tips for cooking and organising different celebrations. Anybody who enjoys tasteful, stylish yet simple cuisine would definitely enjoy this book!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Some good recipes and ideas, 28 Nov 2013
By 
Margaret Gallagher (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Friends at My Table: A year of eating, drinking and making merry (Hardcover)
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A lot of useful, practical info and advice on planning to cater for large numbers - and some excellent recipes. But. Ever so trendily pretentious as well. Including the artwork. Well presented and designed - with a particular market in mind.
So most regular folks will come across things they've never heard of and don't care about - and food they would never cook in a month of Sundays. But there is a lot in there that is worth the effort as well - bit like the curate's egg. And if you have a big event to cater for, it is well worth a look.
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