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3.5 out of 5 stars30
3.5 out of 5 stars
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Having had this book a number of months now, I have read it with glee but cooked from it with varying results.

Marcus Wareing's introduction explains the premise of the book (being called `Nutmeg and Custard' since this epitomizes important ideals in food such as "flavour, texture, quality, care and technique".

For me the book does this to a point, in that the recipes are very visually inspiring and when putting together meal ideas I do find myself reaching for this book because of the flavour combinations Marcus devises.

However after two epic fails (and some expensive ingredients wasted), I do not trust the recipes to a T, and so do not follow them. This is a real shame. I was unsure whether to give this book two or three stars since it is meant to be a kitchen tool, and it's shameful it doesn't seem to have been proofed at all. However 2 stars does seem too harsh considering I actually still use the book.

The saving grace for me with this book that makes is deserving of three stars ultimately is the photography.

The majority of recipes (I'd guess at two thirds) have fantastic images accompanying them, and Marcus's presentation is inspirational (I have uploaded a couple of images on this product page to try and show some typical pages).

So all in all, there are plenty of other books out there that are better than this one (certainly in terms of recipe accuracy). But now that I own it I do still reach for this book; but if I could get a refund on this one, I probably would. Just wish those recipes were accurate and this would be a 5 star book. Would not especially recommend unless you're a big fan of Marcus Wareing.
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on 3 May 2010
Some great looking and sounding dishes in this book, however recipes are not that well written. Tried several things and none were great, 2 were a complete and utter disaster. Recipes timing are far too short (20 minutes to cook beans from scratch? More like 60... and that is only one example) and in places the ingredient list is not specific (chorizo to coat monkfish - cured or cooking chorizo? Doesn't work with cured but no mention of that). Also tried to make cheese and herb muffins - absolutley disgusting!

If you can use it for ideas, well go for it, it's certainly an interesting book, but I won't be using it again after some very expensive monkfish tails went in the bin.....
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on 19 October 2010
I got this book for christmas last year and was thrilled with some of the ideas presented. There are lots of vegitarian options in there which I thought were great as it's an option that's often overlooked in a lot of cook-books. However, once I'd tried some of them out I found the instructions were slightly flawed and unclear in parts and several of the dishes I made didn't come out anywhere near as planned.

In all, it's a well-presented book and if you already have a good knowledge of professional level cooking then you can work around the recipes and achieve great results but it's deceptively advanced in places.
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on 19 November 2012
I had high expectations of this book after eating at one of Marcus Wareing's restaurants (Petrus) some years ago and really enjoying it. I was hoping it would be along the lines of Gordon Ramsay's Cooking for Friends which I found to be very useful for dinner parties and other special meals. However, it couldn't have been further from it!

First of all, just like a lot of 'celebrity' chef books (Gordon Ramsay and Jamie Oliver included), it is full of nauseating photos of the grinning chef himself rather than the food. This wouldn't be so much of a problem if all of the recipes had pictures, but unfortunately many of them don't. This is particularly problematic when the instructions are so vague and the recipes are quite experimental.

The recipes are divided into sections which makes sense, but what doesn't make sense is why so much of the book is dedicated to popcorn, sweets and ice cream. Honestly, who is going to want to throw parma ham and pesto over the top of popcorn?

I consider myself to be a keen amateur home cook/chef, as I am sure most people would be that consider buying this book. I am very good at following recipes, and until I bought this book, I had always managed to get good results. I certainly never had to throw food away! But unfortunately this has happened more than once after cooking Marcus' recipes. One in particular was so bad that a whole shoulder of lamb had to be thrown away. The recipe is for a spiced shoulder of lamb, but in the recipe he talks about a leg of lamb. The timing for slow cooking the lamb is ridiculously short at 2 hours at 150 degrees C. It was still bloody in the middle (and the meat weighed less than the suggested amount, and was at room temp before cooking). Coating the meat in spices before cooking sounded great, like tandoori, tikka or Moroccan-style cooking of lamb, but the results were awful. It looked like someone had puked over the lamb as the greek yoghurt/onion/spice rub simply turned into a congealed mess.

As other reviewers have mentioned, the recipe timings are absurdly short. I like my meat rare, bloody even, but some of the recipe timings would have us eating raw meat! Also, the relative proportions of ingredients make no sense - e.g. huge quantities of unsalted butter, then hardly any salt.

There is also no preamble to most of the recipes to explain their conception, and why we should spend so much of our time cooking them. There are no recipe timings either, to give you an idea of how long the whole thing will take. Also for many of them there is no suggestion of what to accompany the recipe with.

Overall, this is by far the worst recipe book I have ever purchased or been given, and I would suggest that people consider other books for impressing people (or themselves) with their culinery talents.
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This is a lovely book. It has a solid feel; no dust jacket to protect it but it feels as though it will cope with being subjected to many referrals in the kitchen and will probably look even better once it has a covering of flour and so on.

It is a nice, compact size, at a little over A5 and bound so well that it will stay open on a kitchen work surface without needing to be weighted (so it will probably avoid too many greasy fingerprints) . The paper is a good weight and quality, which probably helps the book to stay open where you want it to.

The book contains a good balance of recipes, including several that are vegetarian and most are photographed beautifully presented on the plate. Food presentation is not my strength, but I feel I will be able to accomplish some of the results shown in the book now I have it to guide me; nothing looks to be beyond my capabilities. For example, a recipe for 'Fillet of salmon' shows the salmon served on baby leeks with crème fraiche on the top. It looks lovely (even though I do not eat fish), but most importantly, achievable.

Some of the other recipes that caught my attention though are 'Sundried tomato and sweetcorn muffins', 'Olive, feta and herb muffins', 'Sundried tomato and feta stuffed mini loaves', 'Strawberry mivi ice cream', 'Espresso mousse with cinnamon madeleines' and 'Spiced apple crumble'.

There are lots of recipes that appeal to me as a vegetarian and many more that I will cook for my partner.
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on 2 May 2010
I was looking forward to this book big time - and while it's a solid, practical choice for the home chef. The last quarter of the book is a huge disappointment, I kid you not when I say it's full of popcorn and ice cream recipes. Cheap and lazy filler, that leave a sour taste in the mouth (forgive the pun, I just couldn't resist)
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on 29 August 2010
I agree with a number of the other reviewers here - I found there to be few recipes that I wanted to cook. Those that I did find appeared not to have been tested properly before publishing.
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on 1 March 2016
I've had this book for a number of years, and as a cookbook addict, it can get a bit lost amongst the others. I dug it out the other day, as I do occasionally, and remembered how good it is, with fab and fun recipes. It devotes a chapter to popcorn, another to ice creams and another to confectionary. It is full of unusual ideas, this morning I made cheese and pickle muffins. Yum! It's a book I love to browse and cook from. I really must get it out more often!
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on 5 December 2009
This book is my introduction to Marcus Wareing. I am hooked, completely inspired by this book. I am a Bill Granger and Donna Hay fan as I love flavour but simple meals. I was quite bored recently as all my cook books didn't seem to inspire or challenge me anymore. As a home cook I love flavour yet simplicity and Marcus ticks both boxes with a gigantic marker.

He has superceeded my expectations and now he is my top inspiration. Where Granger is the epitome of heart warming, flavourful homely food, Wareing is the posh version. His book just tells it as it is. It is written clearly and recipes are very simple to follow. He does in some recipes leave an element of cooking up to you...which for an aspiring home cook with a 21 month old and very little time, is brilliant, as I can be as creative or not with the rest of the meal. E.g. Roasted beef sirloin with mushrooms, brandy and roasted potatoes...This is simply what the recipe is, no vegetables, nothing more. It is up to you whether you want blanched beans, mushy peas or absolutely nothing with the recipe. Another example...Sticky sesame pork ribs...you use your own imagination as to how you want to serve the dish.

With a perfectly rounded amount of different types of recipes from Meat and veg meals, to seafood, snacks, desserts and his gorgeous sweets section. This book fulfils my weekly cravings pretty well. His Rice Crispie Squares took me right back to my childhood and his home made beef burgers with caramelised onions was the most flavoursome beef burgers I have ever eaten in my life!

I highly recommend this book for all 'walks of chefs'. However, if you have cooked enough Delia, Bill, Jamie etc then this book will re inspire you and turn you into a cook.
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on 21 December 2013
There are some very appealing recipes in this book and although I don't eat meat, there are plenty of vegetarian and fish recipes to choose from and I think it would be quite easy to substitute some of the meat ones with vegetarian alternatives. I am looking forward to trying out a few.
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