Top critical review
14 people found this helpful
Not what I had hoped for
on 18 August 2013
Unless you are an avid viewer of Masterchef, you are probably wondering who Stacie Stewart is. I confess, even though I watch Masterchef, I found myself struggling to recall Stacie until I got to the recipe in her book that she spectacularly goofed, and then I remembered.
I had high hopes when I first picked up the book, as I am any book on my favourite topic - baking. After flicking through the book, my first impressions were that the collection of recipes was somewhat uninspired. If you have several baking recipes books, and anyone that is seriously into baking will do, you will find the majority of the recipes you will have a dozen times in the books you already own. Other recipes are familiar staples that have been given a modern make-over. To be fair, the tag line on the front of the book does state `classic cakes', so I suppose that should have been a clue. It is a shame though, because the few that are more original are great, and the ones I tried were perfectly delicious.
The book opens with the usual twee `when I learned to bake' story that you often find at the front of a recipe book, and the author seems desperate to shout of her working class origins. This is followed by a few baking tips, some of which I actually disagreed with, others are obvious and common sense, but I guess useful if you are a complete novice.
The recipes themselves are separated into sections that are not consistent in theme. Some are occasions such as Easter, or Valentine's, but there are also sections for the seasons, and meal times. There is a mixture of sweet and savoury, with a leaning towards the sweet.
The recipes themselves are full of clear instructions, and even include little tips and pointers along the way which is helpful. The measurements are in grams, ounces and cups which is always a plus point for me, as it means this book can be used by bakers all over the world, with which ever method they prefer.
The photos of the food are pleasant and appetising enough. I will say that there are not enough of them. Only one in every three or four has a photo included, yet the book has several full pages dedicated to pictures of the author either on a scooter or just posing with big hair. I found myself starting to wonder if this was a recipe book or a fashion shoot.
The author has a retro style of dress, and there is even a couple of pages at the back of the book dedicated to her explaining that she is a Mod. I am happy that she has this strong sense of identity, but this is straying a little too much into biography territory for me, and I just don't think it has any place in a recipe book.
The final nail in the coffin for me was that once again, we have a recipe book from a professional baker that does not know the difference between a macaroon, and a macaron. The recipe included in this book is clearly a macaron, yet falling into the general ignorance trap, it is listed as a macaroon.
This recipe book is probably more suited to a novice baker, someone who doesn't already have a comprehensive collection.