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on 19 October 2013
Tom, have you actually tried cooking any of your recipes from this book using the weights and measures you have written down?

a 25% brine for salt beef is far too high and will make for an unpalatable cure, assuming you survive the dangerously high concentration of saltpetre!! 50g is enough for 2 gals of brine and way over the EC limits for curing meats.

The book is littered with proofing errors, most notably in the amount of salt used in the cures. Both the pork belly and chicken in a basket recipes use a 50% brine. This is not only far too salty for a brine but also impossible to dissolve (salt saturates at about 35% w/v in boiling water!!!

I am a big fan of Tom Kerridge's style of food but with recipes like these he will disappoint a lot of people which is a shame.

One last tip, assuming you survived your salt beef sandwich, if you make the shoulder of lamb on pomme boulangere use a leg instead. I tried with shoulder that I boned out and removed as much fat from as possible. The potatos were still swimming in grease when the lamb was cooked. Leg is a lot les fatty and should work just as well for a slow cooked joint (I prefer it butterflied on a BBQ).

In short Tom, you MUST check your work, especially when potentially toxic nitrates are used (use safer nitrites instead bought as an all in one cure or get 1g accurate scales and make sure you use a recipe from a reliable source!!).

Update - 12/11/2013

Absolute Press, the publishers of this book, have now published an errata relating to the salt and saltpetre quantities used in the salt-beef, belly pork and fried chicken recipes (essentially reducing the salt quantities from 500g to 200g). The publisher also state that later editions of the book will incorporate these changes. This is good news for those who have yet to try the recipes. For my tastes (and I like salty foods) I would reduce the salt level in the brines to no more than 10% (ie 100g/l) but his is just my opinion.
The level of saltpetre has also been reduced to a less toxic level. However, these days, saltpetre is really only needed for long slow cured meats like salami that will be held in a cool, dry environment (<10C) where the microbes required for the nitrate/nitrite conversion can do their job). In the fridge, this conversion is less certain. If making saltbeef (or bacon etc.) Do yourself a favour and use prague powder #1 (a widely available safer mixture of sodium nitrite and salt) in the cure instead of the saltpetre, along with Toms herbs, sugar etc. You'll get The same flavour in less time and without the uncertainty of the nitrate levels.

There are still errors to be found in the book (eg the batter recipe for the fish and chips) but none that are likely to completely ruin the dish so effectively as the salting errors.

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on 12 January 2015
Over all I like this book a lot and Tom is a legend, BUT, some serious errors have been made. The salt content in the brine for the fried chicken is absurd as the liquid becomes concentrated with salt before even half has been dissolved. The 4tsp of salt specified in the spice mix makes the coating inedible. I notice that the brine recipe in the follow up book doubles the amount of water and reduces the salt to 400g from 500g. This was his first book, so hopefully better checks will be made in the future. I wasted nearly £20 on ingredients.
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on 5 November 2013
whilst the book lis full of nice meals etc it is not written for everyday use or simple using the sort of ingredients kept in the home, it was sold on the claim that it is good pub food kept simple!!
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Tom Kerridge is one of the regular chefs on of the Great British Menu, he has two Michelin stars and runs a pub restaurant where you can buy a set piece lunch for under 20 quid. I like his food and his attitude to cooking, especially the way he has managed to elevate pub-grub to such a level yet still make the food accessible to people who enjoy cooking and wish to reproduce his recipes. This book contains 130 recipes and I could easily eat every one of them, including crispy pigs ears; the recipes are clearly explained and relatively straightforward to follow. The book is divided into 6 main sections, Breakfasts, Soups and Salads, Starters and Snacks, Fish, Meat and puddings with a section on basics for sauces, curry powder mix, pickle mix, Soda Bread and Mulled Cider. The photography is good, although not every recipe has its own photograph, you still get enough to show you what the dishes should look like on the plate. The recipes are interesting and tempting and Tom wastes very little, making good use of all the ingredients especially from pork. Some of the recipes are close to the up-market street food that is currently popular and he has managed, with expertise and panache, to make pub food something special without taking away its essential element of earthiness and popularity, but improving on what is already good. A fantastic cookery book, in my opinion.
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on 10 September 2013
I ordered this book months ago on pre order as a enjoy Tom's appearances on tv and and always drool over the food he produces so when I saw he was about to release his cookbook and it was called proper pub grub I was delighted as it would be filled with new twists on classics and also future classics with tips from a 2 Michelin star chef, BUT although the photograpy is good and Toms introductions are written in a friendly style there are remarkably few things I want to cook from either as the ingredients are tricky to get or they sound a bit too complicated or they just don't sound nice eg Jacobs ladder and bone marrow bread pudding,pigs trotters and bacon on toast, eggy bread with chocolate and orange sauce ( a breakfast dish? really?...)it maybe I'm not as adventurous as I think I am or maybe I don't fancy going to a pub and eating flaked skate,dandelion leaves,charred lemon and anchovies.If you are the sort of person who will make this kind of food at home then hats off to you and I'm sure you will absolutely love this book but its just not for me I prefer gastro pub classics by trish hilferty or the eagle cookbook.if you found this review helpful then please click yes at the bottom
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on 11 August 2014
Great cookbook full of interesting recipes and nowhere near as difficult for a half competant cook to source & make as some reviews would have you believe. Aside from some of the errors mentioned elsewhere it's a cut above a large number of cookbooks but without requiring a huge amount of kitchen machinery or specialised gear...
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on 11 January 2014
Few too many errors. Poor proof reading such a shame! Loved the the series but the book a bit disappointing.
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on 25 October 2013
I am a great fan of Tom Kerridge and the Hand and Flowers and since I live locally have eaten his super meals quite often. This book and the BBC programme are terrific BUT.. I bought the book before the series started and promised my wife to cook one meal each week. So far I have had a problem with each dish either with quantities too much or time in the oven too long. I suggest following the recipes the first time recognising this and adjusting the quantities and times the second time. Another tip is to constantly check the progress of the dish. It is worth it because the in the end the flavours are terrific. This is definitely Posh Pub Food. For proper pub food I suggest Gordon Ramsey's Great British Pub Food. The two books together will give you recipes for all the pub food you'll ever want.
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on 13 October 2013
Not a review from me but a heads up on what surely must be a typo in what is otherwise fun, approachable and tasty cookbook,,

If you have purchased this book and are thinking of making the pork belly or the fried chicken the brining stage calls for way way too much salt... 500g per liter. It's about 8 to 10 times the salt what you would normally expect to make a brine. It's so much that you actually can't dissolve that much salt in a liter of water. Your food will be inedible if you use this much salt, mine was! (A school boy error as they say on the telly! :) )

The BBC web site has at least dropped from 500g to 200g grams of salt but its still two and a bit times what you would expect.

Hope this info is of use, it's a good book don't let this typo put you off!!
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on 1 January 2014
Many recipes had ingredients that had to be sourced with difficulty and seemed to be very time consuming in preparation. Not many pubs serve his 'typical' pub food.
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