Customer Review

119 of 125 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fairly Impeccable!, 19 Oct 2011
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This review is from: Heston Blumenthal at Home (Hardcover)
As other reviewers have noted, it's a handsome well-produced book. I have found the writing style excellent: clear, almost conversational, and friendly. The chapter introductions alone give you great explanations about the subjects to follow. I also really like the typography and layout. The font used is classic, and very easy on the eye, and reminds me of some of the better books my mum used in the 70's. The recipes themselves are not broken down into too many steps, and are nicely padded with white space, which all helps to put you at ease, and keep the metaphorical temperature down. The photos are amazing too.

I much prefer this to the "In Search of Perfection" books, where single recipes spanned a chapter, and often several days preparation.

The recipes I have tried so far have been superb, although I agree that the "roast chicken" mentioned by another reviewer reads a little unsettling (I haven't tried it yet). At one end of the scale, the US FDA recommends a minimum internal temp of 74C for poultry, at the other, an excellent German book I have devoted solely to low-temperature cooking of meat suggests an OVEN temperature of 75C for chicken breasts! In the same way that it's become permitted/encouraged to serve pork with a glimmer of pink now, which never used to be the case, I think the boundaries are being "investigated" when it comes to chicken too. The big unknown is the true quality & condition of the bird in your fridge... Equally, as most people are still hard-wired to recoil from chicken with any hint of pink (unless it's tandoori pink!) the good cook will use their nous to prepare it in a way that is most palatable to their diners, as that reviewer did.

I also like the fact that some real sweet recipes are included, i.e. like you'd get from the sweetshop, not just desserts. That's always been a slightly mysterious subject, and the recipes here are a relatively easy way of surprising and confounding people who might otherwise be sceptical of this type of cooking. Drinks, snacks and side-dishes are here too, so you can jazz up even the simplest get-together with a few clever touches.

Other than the sous-vide stuff (which is only a small section anyway), the equipment demands are fairly modest. The only disingenuous note was that "dry ice can now be bought online". Yes it can, but the best offer I could find had a "minimum order value of £120" and was about 40kg. Which is going a bit far for 4 portions of ice-cream. Maybe some enterprising suppliers will take note and produce a CO2 Gift Set ;-)

All in all, highly recommended.
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Comments

Tracked by 2 customers

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Showing 1-8 of 8 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 23 Nov 2011 23:40:52 GMT
Rob says:
Being german myself I wonder what thename of the cookbook is you were referring to?

In reply to an earlier post on 24 Nov 2011 00:25:45 GMT
Marine Blue says:
It's a slim volume called "Fleisch sanft garen, bei Niedertemperatur" by Annemarie Wildeisen. A German colleague was kind enough to give me a copy, and it's now a treasured book.

In reply to an earlier post on 12 Jan 2012 15:19:50 GMT
R Lee says:
I am thinking of buying this book after watching the programme "how to cook like heston" in which he also mentioned Dry Ice being pretty cheap.

I did a google search and found this website:

http://www.green-gases.com/buyonline.htm

Obviously £35 still isnt cheap in the strictest sense of the word but for a bit of theatre at a dinner party it seems reasonable.

Posted on 12 Jan 2012 23:37:13 GMT
Last edited by the author on 12 Jan 2012 23:38:04 GMT
O. Morris says:
I too am looking for cheap dry ice. I think im going to attempt to do it myself, taking the neccesary h&s precautions. You can get a cheap 2kg CO2 fire extinguisher for about £35 and you can create instant dry ice in the quantities you want.

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Jan 2012 00:06:02 GMT
Marine Blue says:
Cheers for that, good to know! When I googled around before I wrote the review, Green-Gases definitely did not come up, maybe they're quite new?

On another note, on Heston's programme yesterday, he was quite disparaging about ice-cream made at home using just a machine. I thought that was quite unfair/untrue. Me & the missus were never too fussed about ice-cream until I got the freezer attachment for our Kenwood. It's easy to make knock out stuff with that, or any other I expect. Use a tiny bit of xanthan gum to thicken your mixture, and prevent large ice-crystals forming and you get really smooth intense stuff. In the book, he only uses dry ice for the Whiskey Ice Cream, because the alcohol content inhibits proper freezing, but if you prefer soft-scoop anyway, you can still make it in a machine, without dry ice, with a moderate amount of alcohol.

This stuff is covered in more detail in the following book, which makes "Heston At Home" look like Nigella ;-))

Ideas in Food: Great Recipes and Why They Work

Posted on 21 Jan 2012 23:19:21 GMT
[Deleted by Amazon on 24 Apr 2012 21:31:47 BDT]

Posted on 4 Oct 2012 20:24:23 BDT
Regarding the low-temperature chicken - I have prepared the roast chicken from In Search of Perfection and I was a bit worried about it myself, but not only was it absolutely amazing (by far the best chicken I have ever eaten) but there was nothing to be squeamish about for anybody. It didn't look any different from any other roast chicken when carved, except for being so much juicier.

Posted on 5 Jan 2014 22:54:01 GMT
In Modernist Cuisine at Home (get it if you are interested in this stuff it's amazing, just stupidly expensive for a cookbook, and not even close to as expensive as the full Modernist Cuisine 6 book set) they write about how the FDA in regards to cooking temps, particularly low and long cooking temperatures such as sous vide or others, and how it's a great shame they decided to only mention internal temperature guidelines and not times and temperatures which is a whole different matter as time makes a lot of difference.

Pork you can have rare, as it's been proved it's safe and is akin to beef whereas chicken must be cooked, no exceptions, that's not going to change.
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