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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good range of classic dishes together with new ideas
When I first set up home on my own, thirty years ago, I had a copy of the Good Housekeeping Cookbook - I still have it and use it. I subsequently found Darina Allen's Ballymaloe Cookery Course in a remaindered bookshop a few years back and bought that too even though it covers much of the same ground as the GH book. This Leith's book also covers much of the same ground,...
Published 11 months ago by Marand

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Bit disappointed
Complex recipes and expensive ingredients, glad I did not pay full 30 asking price. May try some recipes for odd occasion.
Published 5 months ago by Lilia


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good range of classic dishes together with new ideas, 24 Sep 2013
By 
Marand (Warwickshire) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Leiths How to Cook (Leiths School/Food & Wine) (Hardcover)
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When I first set up home on my own, thirty years ago, I had a copy of the Good Housekeeping Cookbook - I still have it and use it. I subsequently found Darina Allen's Ballymaloe Cookery Course in a remaindered bookshop a few years back and bought that too even though it covers much of the same ground as the GH book. This Leith's book also covers much of the same ground, covering many classic dishes and basic preparation techniques. However it also reflects changes in eating habits over the years so that alongside the recipes for classics e.g. whole poached salmon with herb mayonnaise, you will find salmon quenelles in lemongrass & ginger broth.

The instruction on preparation and cooking techniques is truly excellent, for example a brilliant and comprehensive chapter on sauces & dressings, both savoury and sweet. There is a large section devoted to preparing and serving fish and seafood - lobster, crab, clams, squid, fish of all types. By way of example, here are some recipes from that section: plaice with tomato & sorrel dressing; halibut tronҫons with lentils; skate wing with cauliflower purée and hazelnut & parsley butter; monkfish with sage & Savoy cabbage.

Here are a few more recipes from elsewhere in the book: asparagus custards with creamed morels; a lovely dish of sweet potatoes roasted with lemon, red onion and a dressing of sweet paprika; chilli & ginger chicken noodles; poussin with kaffir lime, ginger & lemongrass or with warm fennel, potato & pancetta salad; ricotta & herb stuffed chicken; Szechuan beef ribs; veal in marsala; leek & mushroom gougère. Desserts include such classics as poached pears & crème brulée but also things like baked apples with frangipane, self-saucing lemon pudding, vanilla soufflé, chocolate fondants, a large group of ice creams & sorbets (I would recommend the ginger ice-cream and pear sorbet).

Although I am an experienced cook I have found plenty to enjoy in this book and if I had a child about to set up home for the first time, this is the cookery book I would give them. It provides excellent instructions accompanied by clear photos of techniques and processes, and a good range of both classic and more modern recipes to cater for all tastes.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful cookbook and a perfect gift., 19 Sep 2013
By 
Mark Philpott "marco772" (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Leiths How to Cook (Leiths School/Food & Wine) (Hardcover)
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As has been stated multiple times here, this is a BIG book! Huge, heavy, with an attractive cover/spine and 672 expensive, glossy pages, this is a luxurious tome which will brighten up and inform anyone's kitchen.

Though beginners may initially baulk at some of the recipes, there is still plenty here for those just starting out on their cookery journey - how to slice onions and prepare meat and fish are all comprehensively covered in their appropriate sections.

The book covers a wide range of culinary areas including Eggs, Pasta, Shellfish, Meat, Puddings and Pastry. It also includes a glossary and a section of good hygiene in the kitchen.

In fact, for the budding cook, there is an absolute wealth of information to devour here. Though not every recipe has an accompanying photo, the majority do, there is still an abundance of photos here to get the mouth watering.

All this splendour comes at a cost, of course, and 30 is a lot to spend when Jamie and Gordon's latest books will doubtless be everywhere and slashed to a tenner for mass consumption. But, on the other hand, this is probably a more comprehensive and, I dare say, slightly higher quality product.

Ah, hang on, it would appear Amazon has kindly slashed that RRP down to 12 in which case this is an absolute bargain for anyone and for "anyone else" with the vaguest interest in learning to cook or improve on existing skills it would make a fantastic gift.

A beautiful cookbook at a giveaway price? There's really no reason not to get it!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Generally excellent guide to the best techniques of good cooking, 8 Sep 2013
By 
R. F. Stevens "richard23491" (Ickenham UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Leiths How to Cook (Leiths School/Food & Wine) (Hardcover)
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Leiths is a well established high-quality cookery school and they have produced many superb books on the various aspects of cooking. This latest addition fits in well, and most of the time measures up to their very high standard.

The book lies comfortably at the opened page without risk of breaking the flexible spine, and the stitched binding means that the pages will not all fall out even after extended use.

The methods are all clearly explained, the recipes correspond with many we already use gathered from a variety of sources over the last fifty years in the domestic kitchen. And even after all this time I had a penny-drop moment when I finally understood better why I should frequently de-glaze a pan, even on relatively small batches of browning or sealing - to prevent bitterness.

There are enough relevant illustrations, but not too many stealing valuable recipe space. There are many pointers on how we can know when we have got it right, and also occasionally (usefully) what can go wrong.

Each of the eleven main sections has an explanatory introduction, a summary of relevant techniques, and many recipes and variations on the themes to suit different tastes. Several classic dishes are included, as are some we have not seen before; and almost all of them are just begging to be tried!

The book is rounded off with a short but useful reference section including a Glossary, suggested Kitchen Tools, and guidance on Food Hygiene and Catering Quantities, as well as an Index.

BUT, my main problem with this edition of the book is that the type is a bit too small, and sometimes in grey instead of black, and sometimes on top of pictures, all negative points requiring one to look closer and in good light when using it, and this is especially annoying when there is so much reflecting white space wasted on the large shiny pages. This problem with the presentation is specifically why I have docked it one star. Our very dog-eared and scribbled-on thirty-year-old Delia's Complete Cookery Course books are much, much easier to read with the correct sized type.

And I do have one other very small quibble not worth losing a star over. The title 'How to Cook' might lead an inexperienced would-be cook to believe that all you need to know is within these covers. But, I've spotted several sillies with loose terminology that an experienced cook will ignore, but a beginner might believe; for example on page 187, when boiling rice, where it says "Fill a large saucepan with water, add a good pinch of salt and bring it to the boil." OK, but the inexperienced cook might well do just that, to the brim, and then wonder why the hob is covered in boiling water, whereas the rest of us will have only 'filled' the pot to about a third of the way up the sides. This is basic stuff, and most often the phrase used in the rest of the book is more like "Bring a large saucepan of water to a rolling boil, ..." But again with no mention of how full. When heating cooking oil fortunately the mention is always there; "one third full".

Generally speaking this is an excellent book, one I am pleased to have added to the kitchen library, and we have both been browsing it and ticking off recipes and methods to experiment with for the next few months. Lots of post-it place-markers are now sticking out of the top!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Almost one of the top two or three general cookbooks, 10 Sep 2013
This review is from: Leiths How to Cook (Leiths School/Food & Wine) (Hardcover)
To describe this as a general cookbook is to do it a disservice - it's much more than that. Its explanations of techniques are more comprehensive and painstakingly illustrated than any I have ever seen. As a teaching book, it beats even Darina Allen's offering. I'm a very experienced cook, and I found a lot of technique here that I'd either never heard of or had forgotten. It's great to have a single volume that gives a refresher on all you need to know. Others have covered the detail, so there's no point repeating it, but I would like to reinforce how very well made this book is. It lies flat wherever you open it, with one of the strongest spines I've seen for years. It is stunningly produced with 500 recipes, 250 variations, and fantastic pictures. Most pictures are to illustrate techniques in a step by step fashion which I found very useful. Of course, if you have any experience, a general cookbook is going to have stuff that you know, but this book seems to include important detail that others omit - it is a useful reference that you will keep. Many of the recipes are updated traditional, chosen partly to expand on the training material - so look for lots of extra tips there, including more problem solving.

My initial test of a general cookbook is always poached eggs. I discovered the vinegar-less method independently years ago and put books back on the shelf that deviate from it. It saves spending a lot of time and money on those that are not up to scratch! "How to cook" nails poached eggs perfectly. I am particularly fond of baking and really like the section in this book. It's essentially an update of "Leith's Baking Bible" minus most of the recipes. I note with approval that the rubbing-in method is fully reinstated without the suggestion that it is old-fashioned and no longer relevant (see Baking Bible 1st Ed.). The section is amazingly comprehensive, covering the most likely baking "gotchas" very well. Note that many items generally covered in baking books are included in other sections in this volume - for example, steamed puddings are dealt with in detail in Fruit and Puddings. The section on sauces covers this highly technical aspect of cooking very thoroughly, and will enable me to chuck out at least one specialist sauce book to make way for this one! I haven't tried any of the recipes yet - that's not why I bought the book. But the few I've looked at in detail seem fine and should produce excellent food for a modern menu.

As might be expected, there is a well-organised index covering eleven pages. The typeface is highly readable if possibly half a point small for practical use. The sections contain such a wealth of information and recipes that a detailed contents should have been provided for each section. Using the index to home in on what you want soon becomes tedious. I deducted a star in my rating for this important flaw. A separate index of recipes would also be a useful tool. Also a couple of place marker ribbons are very useful in books like this to help you flip from technique to recipe, and back, easily.

In short, this is a good book at a good price. I'm not sure if it's suitable for novices, it's so comprehensive it might put them off cooking! On the other hand, if they persist it will be a friend for life. You might also like to wait for a second edition with, hopefully, detailed contents at the head of each section and a slightly larger typeface.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How to Cook, 10 Sep 2013
By 
Shaya (Wales) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Leiths How to Cook (Leiths School/Food & Wine) (Hardcover)
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WOW What a book! When i saw this I thought it was going to be a large paperback book full of recipes but when it came is was a very large very heavy Hardback book stuffed full of recipes and information for those even without knowledge to learn how to cook.

Each section of the book is very informative and well described.
It takes you through the book with quite a comprehensive step by step approach to the item needing cooking and recipes too for the beginner and advanced alike.
It has every thing from preparing Vegetables to making delicious recipes a more experienced cook would maybe not tackle.

It is illustrated throughout and beautifully laid out. A truley gorgeous book.

My daughter left home 2 years ago with some understanding of cookery as she and her Brothers and Sister were very familiar with the kitchen. Her Fiancée is mad about cooking too so I let them borrow it to give me their opinion.

Buying a whole fish was the first thing they did and it was gutted prepped and on the dinner table cooked and ready in a wonderful sauce and mashed potato on the side.

They have made Steaks, a hotpot, some wonderful chicken dishes and lots of fish meals too.
They live a couple of doors away from me and I have been invited over for dinner at least once a week!

This is an amazing book for those wishing to cook 'proper food' but without any first hand knowledge. Easily understood steps to a gorgeous meal.

Would highly recommend but be warned it is a very big book!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great For The Beginner And Onwards, 26 Oct 2013
By 
P. Stokes "Historian71" (Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Leiths How to Cook (Leiths School/Food & Wine) (Hardcover)
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An enormous book from the famous Leiths School, this is an encyclopaedia of tips, techniques and recipes, only in a more useful layout! As an unconfident cook I found the instructions on skills needed, plus the full colour photographs dotted around the book, to be informative without being patronising. For example a section on tomatoes follows the simple procedures of peeling, deseeding and concasse with a recipe for Gazpacho.

Having read a lot of cook books where it is assumed everyone is completely familiar with how to prepare things like artichoke it is refreshing to find this kind of book available and it makes a great addition, one that can be dipped into for both the information and the recipes. Chapters include the expected vegetables, stocks & sauces, eggs etc. yet trickier aspects such as pastry are explained with an entire segment rather than adding it in with the baking as an afterthought. There is also a handy glossary towards the back of the book as well as advice on kitchen equipment and food hygiene.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good looking, 12 Nov 2013
By 
Mal Page "Mal Page" (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Leiths How to Cook (Leiths School/Food & Wine) (Hardcover)
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This is an impressive volume which looks beautiful and would make a substantial gift.
I liked the way many of the recipes are slightly 'old-fashioned' in that they don't use large numbers of ingredients and that was how I was taught to cook. The scones for example are positively puritan compared to the over-blown, money-no-object, versions of some modern chefs.
I agree sometimes the layout isn't the easiest but I liked the suggestions for varying the recipes. If you learned just a few you'd have a pretty good range of dishes up your sleeve in no time.
I was surprised by some omissions though. It includes baked custards but not custard tarts, for example.
All in all I liked it very much and have found it a useful addition to my recipe books.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Book Ever!!!!!!, 11 Nov 2013
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This review is from: Leiths How to Cook (Leiths School/Food & Wine) (Hardcover)
This is the only cooking book you will ever need! Sauces, salads, meat, baking, butchery and everything in between described in fantastic detail with some great tips.

I don't know how this is produced and sold for 12. Can't recommend buying this enough! GET IT NOW!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow. Something for everyone., 6 Nov 2013
By 
A. Miles (Al Khor, Qatar) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Leiths How to Cook (Leiths School/Food & Wine) (Hardcover)
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I teach cookery for a living, and without wishing to sound patronising, some of my students do start my classes with a quite baffling lack of basic knowledge. Not knowing how to dice vegetables is one thing, but not knowing. e.g. that you need to turn on an oven in order to make it cook anything is quite another..

One the other hand of course, every cook knows that you never stop learning, and will constantly use new techniques and recipes.

So whilst a book that uses quite complex, modern food to teach basic principles seems at first rather counterintuitive, what results is something that almost everyone will find useful to own. Every home should have something like this, really. However, very experienced cooks should bear in mind that the recipes are very,very detailed indeed,presuming no prior knowledge, occasionally taking longer to read than the dish takes to cook.

As for the presentation of the book itself - Wow. I was expecting something rather utilitarian, but this is a real coffee table job, very high quality with 600 pages. At the price Amazon's selling it at the moment, it's a proper bargain. Thoroughly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A massive reference, 16 Oct 2013
By 
leftfooter "leftfooter" (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Leiths How to Cook (Leiths School/Food & Wine) (Hardcover)
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On my bookshelf for many years has been Prue Leith's "Cook's Handbook". This indispensible little paperback is my go-to reference when I just want to check little details like cooking times for meats, ingredients for sauces, etc.

This volume, however, is an entirely different prospect. This is not written by Prue Leith, but rather by the chefs/teachers at the cookery school that bears her name. The book is highly structured, very much like a proper training course would be, and follows a standard pattern repeated through every section: (1) Explain technique (2) Provide recipe(s) using this technique.

Many techniques are explained in step-by-step instructions, with a clear photograph of each step so you know what it should look like. The coverage is comprehensive for every type of food: meat, fish, vegetables, fruit, sauces, desserts, baking, etc.

Whilst the content is wholly excellent, before buying this book I would suggest that potential buyers consider the following:
(a) This is a massive tome. Approaching A4 size, and 2 inches thick, you would not want to drop it on your foot! This is a book that you would take down from the shelf to consult over a specific technique, rather than convenient to flip open on your worktop.
(b) If you are quite an experienced cook, you will find that a lot of the basic techniques are ones you already know
(c) If you have no aspiration or intention of expanding your cooking skills much beyond chopping and stirring, then large chunks of this will remain pointless to you.
(d) It is directed towards acquiring techniques, rather than any particular cuisine. If you want inpiration about a particular regional cooking, look elsewhere for specialist books on French/Italian/Indian/etc.

I would recommend this book wholeheartedly for the following consumers:
- a comprehensive reference for beginners who are eager to learn, and are not put off by the scale of the book
- a guide to advanced techniques for established cooks who have a drive to move beyond the basics

For others, make sure this book is filling a real gap in your library, otherwise it could be a very expensive doorstop.
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Leiths How to Cook (Leiths School/Food & Wine)
Leiths How to Cook (Leiths School/Food & Wine) by Leiths School of Food and Wine (Hardcover - 12 Sep 2013)
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