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190 Reviews
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125 of 126 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ditch your Ramsey and Oliver shelf ornaments...
...because this is one of only two cookbooks you need ever really buy, if indeed you are genuinely an enthusiastic cook. As opposed to most people who are either looking for glossy tomes to brighten up their bookshelves or who are simply difficult people to buy for at Christmas.

As a genuinely enthusiastic amateur cook, I'm far too busy in the kitchen to get...
Published on 12 Jan. 2009 by J. Young

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209 of 212 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not quite as advertised
I admit I bought the book because of the reviewers's claim that the menus 'average out at about £30 a week for a family of four' including organic meat (2007 prices). I wish.

Yes the meals I made were delicious, yes the recipes are clearly laid out and easy to follow, nor do you have to be a trained chef to follow them but when I got the book, the costings...
Published on 23 Feb. 2009 by Sandra Byrne


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125 of 126 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ditch your Ramsey and Oliver shelf ornaments..., 12 Jan. 2009
By 
J. Young "godfreylazarus" (London) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
...because this is one of only two cookbooks you need ever really buy, if indeed you are genuinely an enthusiastic cook. As opposed to most people who are either looking for glossy tomes to brighten up their bookshelves or who are simply difficult people to buy for at Christmas.

As a genuinely enthusiastic amateur cook, I'm far too busy in the kitchen to get properly wordy about this, but suffice to say that Gill Holcombe is exactly what a decent cookbook writer should be: unpretentious, honest and fearless of taking a make-do-and-mend approach in the kitchen. As a result, this book is full of "if you haven't got the herbs, it doesn't really matter" type advice. In stark contrast, then, to the absurdly humourless stuff being churned out by our Michelin-starred betters who consider any departure from their carefully-described hallowed 'jus' as an insult to their genius. (Heston Blumenthal: 'In Pursuit of Perfection'? Are you SERIOUS?)...
All the recipes I've tried from this book - and unlike ANY other cookbook in my house, ever, I had tried at least half a dozen within a week of buying it - were great, but the recipes for fish and for baking were particularly so. Some were basic, and shamelessly and entirely self-confidently so, but some were absolute gems that I raved about to friends for weeks, such as the apple cake that you can make in one bowl that looks a mangled mess when it goes in the oven and miraculously transforms itself into something quite beautiful within.

If you do nothing but cook every meal from this book for a year you will be very well fed.
And richer, to boot, because Gill isn't one to spend money where a store cupboard fall-back will do just as well.

The other book you need, by the way, which deserves its thoroughly well-thumbed position alongside this one, is Nigel Slater's Kitchen Diaries. Our Nige is, like Gill Holcombe, not a professional chef, but simply a greedy amateur who understands food. All his writing is good, but Kitchen Diaries is the best of the lot.

That's enough, I'm off to do a bit of baking.
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286 of 290 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The book Jamies Ministry of Food wishes it was!, 27 Dec. 2008
By 
S. Begley "keyznsaz" (UK) - See all my reviews
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I bought this book when the credit crunch kicked into our family shopping budget and was amazed at how much money I saved each week! The recipes are amazingly simple to follow and the ingredients is very cheap (I bought Jamie's Ministry of Food at the same time and by comparison I found his recipes to be complicated and more importantly, the ingredients he uses are actually very expensive!)
My kids are very fussy eaters and at first I was sure they would turn their noses up. Instead I found clean plates and requests for seconds!
If you cant cook - this book is for you. If you find it difficult keeping to a food shopping budget - this book is for you. If you want to give your family a healthy balanced diet without force feeding them spinach - this book is for you. If you want a book with pretty pictures in it of celebrity chefs and chums with about one recipe that you'll actually use - this book isn't for you.
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209 of 212 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not quite as advertised, 23 Feb. 2009
By 
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I admit I bought the book because of the reviewers's claim that the menus 'average out at about £30 a week for a family of four' including organic meat (2007 prices). I wish.

Yes the meals I made were delicious, yes the recipes are clearly laid out and easy to follow, nor do you have to be a trained chef to follow them but when I got the book, the costings were made for evening meals only, and for only five days out of the seven.

I would still recommend the book for its recipes and costcutting tips but
treat the reviews quoted with caution.

A thumbs up for the section on school lunches: some commonsense tips on what to put in the sandwich box so that it will be both edible and nutritious. On the whole a good buy
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good one for parents with no time !, 30 July 2009
By 
TeePee (Southampton, UK) - See all my reviews
I'm a bloke...I have no time for mucking about and want to cook good food for my family instead of pulling something processed from the freezer and turning on the hob or oven...I am fed up with mediocre meals, or as Crocodile Dundee would say: "you can live on it, but it tastes like S%#t !"

For this, I would recommend this book. For those like me that lack confidence and imagination in the Kitchen I have tried many of the recipes here and can happily say that I am using them again regularly. The book covers points on how to use leftovers for other meals, how to promote food to young Children, and tackle pack lunches in ways that are appealing instead of working hard to have them come back un-eaten. The author is clearly a well-practiced mother and a former school cook to boot, commenting on both the positives and negatives of school foods over the past several years.

I have tried several of the tactics mentioned in the book on my 4-year-old girl with positive results. No pictures or complex guides will be found in this book, its all quick, simple and straightforward. Everything is open to deviation based on your taste - this is encouraged by the author to improve your confidence with cooking and also stop you fretting about what you don't have in your food store.

Most importantly, as the title describes, you can learn how to budget for your weekly meals, a process that seems to be lost in time (late 70's onwards?) as many families these days buy on impulse instead of planning for what they need for the weeks ahead. This book is well worth a buy and read if you want to cook and eat healthy home cooked food that won't break the bank.
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171 of 178 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This was a life changing book for me!, 12 July 2008
By 
Mrs. N. J. Harris (Britain) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This book has not only shaved £60 off my shopping list each week but my very fussy children have eaten everything I have cooked which is nothing short of a miracle.

I feel saintly that the food is all healthy, fresh and no food is wasted so its green too!

I really loved the weekly menu planning because it simplify s my life and often one days left overs are used in tomorrow's menu. (Mr Brown would be proud as no food is wasted in our house!) We are on week three and for me its been a life changing experience.

Do not dig your own grave with your knife and fork buy this book, save cash, eat healthily and cut out the e numbers!

Nicky Harris UK
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122 of 127 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally! A book for real families., 18 Nov. 2008
By 
Mrs. E. J. Hasler "491EmmaH" (Suffolk) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I can't praise this book enough.

I have accumulated plenty of cook books over the years that have been slowly gathering dust, as the receipes in them just don't fit my busy family life.
This book is different. Here, you will find a no nonsense practical approach to cooking affordable nutritious meals for the family, as well as hits and tips on tempting fussy children without giving them junk food.

You will not find gourmet recipes to feed a dinner party.
You will not find long lists of ingredients and even longer lists of preparation details.
What you will find are recipes for tasty meals with a minimum of fuss, and simple ingredients that are readily available.

I could go on and on about this book. Just take my advice. If you are the cook in a family or feeling the pinch or just generally too pushed for time to bother cooking decent food, buy this book!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant book for everyone, 10 May 2009
This book is brilliant. It's for everyone. For those who have never cooked before to the highest level of cooks. I fall somewhere in between. Working full time and with two primary school aged daughters this book has totally transformed our meal times. I no longer feel that I slave away in the kitchen after a full day's work. The receipes are simple and straight to the point. I've cooked rarely a vegetable lasagne before, because it seems too time consuming and the ones that I have cooked never seem worth the effort. I tried the aubergine lasagne last week, it was great and quick! It takes little effort to make double the receipe and put the second dish in the freezer. The book is packed with lots of straight to the point helpful tips. I've never thought of freezing pancakes before! One other positive thing I've noticed is I'm loosing weight. I'm not overweight anyway, but I've noticed by not buying ready made food and cooking freshly, the inches are coming off my waisline and I'm not trying to diet!How to Feed Your Whole Family a Healthy Balanced Diet, with Very Little Money and Hardly Any Time, Even If You Have a Tiny Kitchen, Only Three Saucepans ... - Unless You Count the Garlic Crusher...
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56 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AMAZING, 26 May 2008
By 
J. Sinyor "Joe S" (London) - See all my reviews
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this is an incredibly good book for everyone; I'm a vegetarian but there were plenty of recipes for me anyway.
A very good buy which I highly recommend.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A cookbook I actually use, 14 Jan. 2009
I own a lot of cookbooks, Nigella, Jamie, Nigel Slater etc. But this is much better (oh, and cheaper to buy, and to cook from that the others). It isnt gourmet cuisine, its normal food, great wholesome family food, that doesnt cost the earth, and is easy to prepare. Its also really well written, and funny in parts. Only had it a few weeks and Ive tried several recipes already. I has ideas for breakfasts and lunches, then on to dinner recipes (shepherds pie, chicken and ham pasta bake, sweet and sour chicken, cider sausages), then onto soups, puddings, and baking (the all-in-one apple cake went especially down well). Easy to read, easy to cook from, and engaging.
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71 of 74 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Superb, 17 Mar. 2008
This is an amazing book. It's light hearted, it makes recipes seem like the simplest thing since opening the fridge door and the outcome of following the recipes is gloriously tasty and very filling.

Highly recommend this book to anyone who's after some new easy recipes.
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