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4.6 out of 5 stars63
4.6 out of 5 stars
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 27 November 2009
A wonderful book with lots of tasty, easy to make recipes, particularly valuable for those with limited time. The aim is for easy preparation; even if the cooking takes longer, it generally isn't necessary to tie yourself to the cooker for hours and so the recipes are perfect for after-work suppers but will also work for informal dinner or lunch parties. I like that I can do a generalised shop without having anything particular in mind and then find something in the book to produce a lovely meal. For example, if you have pork chops then, with a fairly basic store cupboard, you could try Smothered Pork Chops with Mustard & Thyme Butter, Pork Chops Lyonnaise, Thai-spiced Pork Chops with a lime dipping sauce, chops Italian-style with fennel seeds or Spanish chops with orange, amongst others. The same applies to chicken, sausages (Vine-grower' Sausages, Gascon sausages & beans, baked sausages with leeks, cider & apples to name just a few), lamb, etc.. There is a lovely chapter on spring & summer vegetables followed by one devoted to autumn & winter veg.. Similarly, there are chapters on summer and winter puddings. I am not very confident with puddings & cakes but all the recipes I have tried from the book have turned out exactly as described. The first one I tried was a baked lime & passion fruit pudding - the idea was that a layer of sauce would form under the sponge and, much to my surprise, it worked perfectly and my guests loved the zesty flavours. The summer desserts are wonderfully simple but full of flavour e.g. Grilled Apricots with blackberries & mascarpone, peaches in rose syrup, Swedish baked peaches with raspberries & almonds, plus a great summer fruit brulee.

I like the fact that this book enables me to pick whatever meat, fish, veg, etc is available and come home knowing I can produce something a little more interesting without having to spend hours in the kitchen.
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on 30 November 2007
At last, a book for people who don't have hours to spend in the kitchen making fresh pasta, or the money to buy weird and wonderful ingredients. Diana Henry transforms "everyday" ingredients (sausages etc) into something special. I particularly like the "variations" that she offers for many of the dishes, and the international twist to the recipes, as well as their simplicity. It's fantastic to be able to put something in the oven, put the kids to bed and then come back to a delicious meal. My only slight niggles with the book are a) the penchant for chilli- not great when cooking for young children, but easily adapted b)the slightly illogical index- which lists all the individual sausage dishes, but lumps all the chicken recipes together.
The main ingredients of each recipe are easily available, although I've had trouble getting hold of some of the minor ingredients. The book does contain website addresses for specialist suppliers and the author recommends Waitrose-unfortunately my nearest branch is an hour and a half away! Don't let this put you off though- there are still plenty of recipes with ordinary, everyday ingredients, and the book suffers less from "Londonitis" (the "pop down to your local Japanese deli" syndrome)than others. A great book, and excellent value, especially on Amazon.
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VINE VOICEon 31 August 2008
Another stunning book by Diana Henry. Based around simple ingredients and some store cupboard essentials, Diana has created a book which allows you to easily create something delicious. Recipes aren't long winded or complicated - they are equally suitable for a dinner party of a mid week dinner. All the recipes I've tried have turned out beautifully - and I've repeated them time and again! I can't wait for more from this author.

Recipes include:

Chicken baked with red onions, potatoes and rosemary
Pork Chops with plums and chinese spices
Italian sausages with purple-sprouting broccoli, chilli and penne
Roast leg of lamb with anchovy cream
Lamb stuffed with goat cheese, blush tomatoes and basil
Sea bream with lebanese herb sauce
Spaghetti with bacon, egg and smoked cheese
Goat cheese and fig salad
Warm potatoes with beans and avocado
Courgettes with ricotta, mint and basil
Scandinavian potatoes in sour cream
Peaches in rose syrup
All-in-one chocolate cake
Rhubarb cakeD
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on 19 November 2007
I bought this book a couple of weeks ago and i am using it all the time, for dinner parties, for children's teas and for tired husbands. It really work for me having the chapters grouped around ingredients that I always have (or can easily get) like sausages, chicken etc. I would highly recommend it.
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on 6 May 2008
Yum, yum, yum. Diana Henry was the name that always appeared at the bottom of the recipes that I just had to cut out and try in the Telegraph. I was never tempted by any of their other writers, but her delicious sounding recipes always hit the mark instantly with enticing dishes that said This Woman Understands Yum.

What's more, she understands what it is to be a busy person who loves food but hasn't got time to spend hours in the kitchen and who is most likely to get home tired from work and quickly have to cobble something together from what they can find in the fridge or store cupboard.

Well, if you've got a pack of sausages in the fridge and some grapes in the fruitbowl you can cook the unctuous 'vine growers' sausages'. Bit of blue cheese left? Why not try penne with roasted onions, gorgonzola and walnuts? This woman's recipes have such a high hit rate! You want to try all of them - and probably will because they are definitely good enough to serve to friends at the weekend but also easy enough to cook midweek for the family.

Diana Henry deserves a much, much higher profile, although if she did you'd probably end up eating nothing else as all your friends would serve you Diana Henry all the time too.
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on 24 March 2014
It was a mistake to buy this as the Kindle edition. Although the recipes look great there is no way of navigating through the book other than by going through all the recipes one by one. I had thought that having a cookery book on my tablet might be very convenient but it will be a great disappointment.I may invest in the traditional book as the recipes do look good.
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on 1 December 2007
I've had this book for a couple of weeks and have already made at least half a dozen of the recipes - some of them several times. All the recipes have worked... and all tasted great. As someone who is not naturally at home in the kitchen, if I can do them - anyone can.
My usual policy is to buy cook books, look at the pictures and leave it at that. With this one, I've actually cooked from it as well. Diana Henry's, 'Cook Simple' works as an appealing coffee table book - it is beautifully written and photographed - but the recipes are so simple and tasty, it will also become a kitchen staple.
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on 18 May 2015
Knock out book full of simple to prepare delicious recipes, in constant use. Favourite dishes are chicken with georgian stuffing, pork with fennel, sausages with leeks and apples, cider lamb, pasta with lemon, ham and peas (divine and SO simple), roast squash with feta, stuffed peppers, roast aubergine with hummus yoghurt mint and coriander, grilled apricots with blackberries and mascarpone, marzipan chocolate figs in red wine syrup and all of the bread and butter pudding variations. And I could go on. The recipes sound complex but they really are very relaxed (and quick) in their preparation, there are also recipes and ideas for no cook starters and desserts, so you can prep a perfectly respectable dinner party menu and only have to actually cook once course. Enticing photography and Diana Henry is a great writer to boot.
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If ever proof was actually needed that Britain still remains a country where it's not what you know, but who you know that makes you successful, Diana Henry is a case in point. She should be as well known as Jamie, Nigella, Gordon, Rick et al, in fact more so since her recipes are several orders of magnitude better than any of these undeserving "celebrity" chefs (and even worse, the horrific new phenomenon of celebrity non-chefs bringing out cookbooks) with their books full of lifestyle porn, who want to show you just how much more fulfilled their lives are than yours.

Having bought Diana Henry's previous three books (Crazy Water, Pickled Lemons: Enchanting Dishes from the Middle East, Mediterranean and North Africa,The Gastropub Cookbook,Roast Figs, Sugar Snow: Food to Warm the Soul), I was waiting with excitement for the publication of this, her fourth volume, and I was not disappointed. Her books are by far the most regularly used of all my cookbooks, and I have a lot of cookbooks.

Many of the recipes in here are of a "bung everything in a pot/roasting dish and stick it on the stove/in the oven" format - simple but full of flavour. Many recipes include variations thereon, and there are lots of extra "one paragraph" recipe ideas, especially for desserts. It packs quite a lot of useable recipe ideas into one book.

I hope Diana Henry continues to publish more cookbooks for a long time to come.
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on 23 September 2011
Diana Henry has a passion for food that is conspicuous in every recipe in this book. And, for that matter, in all her books. My first encounter with her recipes came in the form of "Crazy Water, Pickled Lemons"

I have made a number of the recipes from Cook Simple and the combination of ingredients in dishes such as Pacific Lime Chicken balance beautifully.So too Fettucicine with Goat-Cheese, Pesto and Roast Tomatoes.

There are so many wonderful treats to be had from this book that you would be missing out if you did not discover them for yourself.

I would highly recommend it as an important addition to anyones collection
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