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4.7 out of 5 stars27
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 18 June 2011
If you like your food or even your drinks spiced up then this book is definitely for you!

This cookbook is divided into thirteen different sections - Chicken; Meat; Fish & Shellfish; Eggs; Beans, Rice & Pasta; Levi's Roots; Vegetables & Salad Leaves; Sugar, Honey & Chocolate; Nuts & Coconuts; Limes, Oranges & Other Citrus Fruits; Mangos, Pineapples & Bananas; Coffee & Tea and Rum. It also has an excellent introduction written of course by Levi Roots, a very useful spice glossary, plus the index and acknowledgements.

I gave this book to my Mum to look at as she loves cooking and hasn't ever seen any of Levi Roots books before. We both eat quite a lot of spicy food - curries, lentils (dahl) and various homemade chutneys, so this book is ideal for us. Just flicking through the recipes made our mouths water and it had us planning right away what we'd like to eat!

First we tried the 'Roti Wraps with Chilli Chickpeas' recipe (mentioned in the introduction) on page 72. This came out really well - it was absolutely gorgeous and we will be eating this again soon. It is very quick and easy to make and the ingredients are cheap so it doesn't cost much.

Next we tried out the 'Love-Apple Chutney' recipe which is actually made using tomatoes and peppers amongst other ingredients. It has a nice kick to it and goes with lots of different things including crackers and cheese, lentils, curries etc.

There are quite a few other recipes we are interested in too.

This book is beautifully presented. I love the way Levi Roots has taken the time to add a little section before each recipe and the style in which he writes. I found some of his descriptions quite amusing. The various pictures are lovely too. It's a book we will always treasure!
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on 29 June 2011
You may remember Levi Roots from Dragons Den when he successfully presented his Reggae Reggae Sauce to the Dragons, and managed to acquire some financial support from them? Well he's gone from strength to strength since then with his food based products sold in most major supermarkets, a string of cookery books and his own restaurant in London.

'Spice it up' is the fourth recipe book by Levi Roots (Caribbean Food Made Easy; Levi Roots Food For Friends; and Levi Roots Reggae Reggae Cookbook are the other three). This book is filled with photographs of most of the recipes and of Levi Roots himself at work, in the kitchen and at play. The recipes are not at all technically challenging, and with a few additions to your store cupboard basics you could quite easily put a good number of these dishes together and impress friends and family with tasty Caribbean style food.

The book is divided into different sections, such as fish, chicken rice, pasta, rice, vegetables, sugar, honey and chocolate, citrus fruits coffee and tea, rum. The recipes cover everything from breakfast dishes (such as Mexican Huevos Rancheros) to cakes, desserts and alcoholic drinks (mostly rum based!).

A significant number of the recipes in this book would suit vegetarians.

There is an interesting spice glossary at the back, where Levi describes each of the main spices and its use and in some instances the relevance to his upbringing. If you are not very familiar with a range of spices this will help you.

We cooked two recipes from the book, Soy, Chilli and Star Anise Spiced Mackerel Fillets and Pasta with Thyme and Chilli Roasted Tomatoes. It was quite easy, the dishes were really good and we thoroughly enjoyed them, the pasta dish had a real kick and the mackerel was a combination of really fresh tasty and fragrant flavours that really complimented the fresh fish.

Spicing up our lives may be the future!
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on 30 June 2011
I was sent this cookbook to review by the lovely Octopus Books. My family all love spicy food so I was looking forward to trying out some of the recipes!

The book is really well presented and starts with an interesting and amusing introduction from Levi with hints and tips and some funny anecdotes from his childhood growing up in Jamaica.

There are then 12 further chapters with interesting and mouthwatering titles such as 'Sugar, Honey & Chocolate', 'Limes, Oranges & Other Citrus Fruits' and 'Mangos, Pineapples & Bananas' to name but a few. There is then a spice glossary to finish the book.

What surprised (and delighted!) me about the book ws the number of deserts and the number of vegetarian (or easily adaptable) recipes it contained.

Each recipe contains a foreword from Levi and they are easy to follow with further tips on how to cut and prepare the ingredients etc. The photographs are very clear and inviting and my only (minor) criticsm of the book is that there are a number of recipes without pictures. I always love to see what the finished product should look like.

The recipes tried so far have been a hit with favourites being Huevos Rancheros, Mustardy Macaroni Cheese, BBQ lime & Bay Haloumi with Red Onions in Pitta Bread and White Chcololate & Vanilla Mousse with Strawberry & Black Peppercorn Sauce (a real winner!)

If you love spicy food (not necessarily hot food), you will find lots here to capture your imagination and tastebuds!
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VINE VOICEon 8 August 2011
It is beautifully published hard cover with clear typography and filled with full size, fresh, vivid photographs that make you want to start cooking Caribbean food straight away. I was nicely surprised to see such a big variety of recipes, especially all those delicious looking desserts!

It contain as well very useful glossary of Caribbean spices with tips on how to use them.

Recipes in the book are quite straightforward, thus you can make them almost everyday, but at the same time impressive enough to prepare for guests. Just to mention few: Hot Carrot Soup with Coriander Cream, Brown-Down Salmon with Rice, Almond Cake with A Chilli-Spice Syrup and Wicked Caribbean Hot Chocolate.

It's a pity that some of the recipes are not pictured but I imagine that the book would have to be much bigger and not so handy to fit illustrations for all those 100 recipes. Nevertheless "Spice it up!" is a terrific cook book, fantastic as a gift for someone or treat for yourself, one of those books that will actually be in use instead of resting on the shelf.
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on 11 September 2011
I have purchased a a Levi Roots cookbook before and found it really good and this one doesn't disappoint. It is well set out with colour photos for guidance and clear instructions. So many different sweet and savoury recipes including fabulous ones for fudge and a tropical Christmas Pudding, also a section for drinks. Good introduction from Levi and the spice glossary is useful too. I cannot find a recipe that I wouldn't like to try, so I will just have to make them all! Just make sure that you have white and dark rum in your cupboard!
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on 30 November 2011
I bought this for my teenage brother (who has recently discovered a love of cooking) as a Christmas present because it had such high reviews. I can't comment on how the receipes turn out, but I had a little flick through and it looks amazing! It is beautifully presented and the receipes sound delicious. I want to keep it now... So I might have to purchase a second copy!
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on 14 December 2011
This is my sons Xmas Present - half price to Debenhams!
Now he can have the spices to go with it!
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on 3 December 2011
A new amazing flavour for every recipe. I specially liked the Hot carrot soup with coriander cream, the Hot chops with an orange & tamarind glaze are next on the list!
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on 2 July 2011
Just made a gorgeous meal from this book (seasoned-up allspice chicken with red peppers & coconut) and it was lovely! Deciding which recipe to cook was a hard choice, I literally wanted to make all of it... and I will!! I have Levi Root's first book which I love but I think this is fast becoming my favourite. The recipe I made was really simple and with a straight forward shopping list - which is great for me as I'm easily put off by a long list of items I don't have! The meal was a huge hit, perfect for what was a gorgeous sunny day & hubby wanted seconds, result :) The book is really nicely designed with pictures to get you in the mood and clear, easy to follow type. There are a lot of recipes too - you are really getting value for money with this one. Next on my list are 'ham with reggae reggae sauce & muscovado glaze', 'rum, chilli & brown sugar cured salmon' and 'chilli & lime prawns' which looks so simple and delicious. There are also a great selection of things for those with a sweet tooth & if you fancy trying something a bit different. The 'spiced creme caramel' and 'white chocolate & vanilla mousse with a strawberry & black peppercorn sauce' look to die for!

I love that this book has brought me something new and different to try but without the recipes being complicated and unachievable. It feels like once you've got a few key ingredients on hand you could make almost any of it. There's so much variety in here -chicken, chops, beef, fish and some lovely vegetable dishes too - creole aubergines, yes please! I would really recommend this book for anyone who fancies trying their hand a some Caribbean flavours, you wont be able to resist trying the recipes out and there is no complicated jargon or methods to put you off. Go on, spice it up! ;) xx
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on 10 August 2013
I bought this for a Caribbean gentleman in his halcyon days, who has tasted many variations of many Caribbean dishes over the years. He was thrilled with this and enjoyed experimenting, particularly with the fish dishes.
Bravo, Levi. Brining a VARIETY of Caribbean food and spices to the masses.
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