2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Lovely recipes, but too few photographs,
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This review is from: Simple To Sensational: The Perfect Dinner-Party Cookbook (Misc. Supplies)This is a lovely book. It's aim is to turn simple recipes into something that can be presented for entertaining whilst, at the same time, helping those lacking in confidence to improve their purchasing and cooking skills.
It is divided into the following sections: Soups, salads, rice & pasta, fish, meat, vegetables and puddings.
The recipes really do achieve what the author claims. Simple ingredients are turned into beautiful combinations of flavour and colour. All the receipes are paired, so that there is a "simple" recipe and a "sensational" version of it. For example, a simple recipe is chargrilled pork chop with sweet and sour peppers, whereas the accompanying sensational recipe is the more involved glazed pork chop with peppers and herb dressing.
Each recipe is accompanied by buying tips where needed (e.g. how to choose butternut squash or select scallops, and the benefits of frozen peas over fresh ones).
Most of the recipes are very light, although there are a couple of casseroles (and even these are presented with real elegance). There are lots of light soups, salads, pasta and rice dishes.
My only complaint is that there are not enough photographs of completed meals. When you are trying to produce something to serve to others it is incredibly useful to know how it should look on the plate. In a standard cookery book that would not be such a nuisance but in this one it really is, the two-fold aim of the book a) to turn ordinary ingredients into something that can be presented to guests and b) to give confidence to new or improving cooks. For example there is a recipe for pea soup with mint froth, and I would very much have appreciated a photo to show what the froth should look like and where it should be placed. There are quite a few photos of the author, which would have been much better replaced with photos of the dishes he produced.
The photographs, where they do appear, are lovely and show how beautifully food can be presented with very little effort.
The book is published on high quality, slightly shiny paper and the overall design of the book is excellent, with bright colours and engaging illustrations and decorations.
I would have given it four stars but for the photographs, which I see as a real downside to this particular book.