on 9 October 2006
I adored Thomasina when she was on Masterchef because of her unwilting passion for exciting flavours and the sheer joy she exuded when using any influence to create delicious, simple food. This book brings all of that back to life and it is a joy to have in my kitchen. It has a mass of recipes that she clearly loves, and lots that I'm not going to find neatly packaged in all the other celebrity chef cookbooks because they are her own, truly original recipes. This book is going to provide me with inspiration whenever I am looking for something interesting and original.
on 31 October 2010
There are about a dozen cookery books in my collection which I could not bear to lose and this is one of them. The book itself is a pleasure to read with some great food photography and the cooking is fresh, informal and imaginative.
This is the book you need when your friends come round on Saturday night for gossip around the kitchen table. Have some crusty bread at the ready, do a little advance preparation and then cook some Prawns al Ajillo in less than five minutes - completely delicious.
Her char-grilled courgette wedges with basil, mint, chilli and lemon are now a staple side dish in my home and she has great variations on slow cooked lamb and new ideas for steak. Thomasina can do homely too; her blackberry and stem ginger pudding is the best thing about Autumn!
A book for the kitchen, not just the bookshelf!
This is Thomasina's first cook book, following in the wake of her success on Masterchef a few years back. It is described as a seasonal cook book but it is arranged in a conventional format - starters, soups, meat, etc. There is a section at the beginning which provides a selection of the recipes which follow and categorises them according to season but thereafter the seasonal references are sparse apart from occasional seasonal titles for recipes. It struck me that the seasonal reference is introduced because it is a culinary buzzword. This sounds critical of the book but in fairness the recipes are good, covering a wide range and with influences from around the world. I think most of my favourites are Mediterranean influenced dishes like the little courgette & dill cake starters from Greece, pan fried fillet of halibut with spicy chickpeas & chorizo, baked fish, roast pumpkin with deep-fried polenta, char-grilled courgette wedges with basil, chilli & lemon, fennel gratin.
Others include roast chicken with saffron cannellini beans, guinea fowl with lemon & caremelised garlic, rack of lamb with a spiced butter, several mashes and some lovely garlicky potatoes. The selection of desserts is small but the summer pudding nougat ice cream and blackberry & stem ginger pudding are worth mentioning.
The book has been written with verve and when I flick through it the urge to head for the kitchen kicks in. One thing to mention, although it isn't something which bothers me, is that comparatively few recipes are accompanied by a photo. There are photos dotted about, some of which probably relate to recipes in the relevant chapter but they are not necessarily placed side by side with the recipe.
on 7 December 2006
I've never written a review for a cookbook before but felt I had to toss one in for Thomasina Miers. I never heard of her before but after browsing at a bookshop, I decided to purchase the book because of its interesting and different recipes. So far, I've only tried the mojo de ajo sauce and the eggplant with feta recipe and they were superb. I can't wait to try the rest and I hope Thomasina keeps the books coming!
on 28 November 2006
Pity the production team have modelled this so closely on the Jamie Oliver books - pictures of the author 'in lively real life situations!', lists of must-have staple ingredients etc. - because the idle browser in a bookshop may well pick this up and dismiss it as a rip-off. WHICH WOULD BE A HUGE PITY! Thomasina Miers has got some lovely, interesting ideas and tons of enthusiasm, as anyone who saw her on Masterchef Goes Large 2005 will remember. These are recipes I can't wait to try and I'll be definitely buying this for other people this Xmas. I simply think that she, and her writing, deserve a more individualistic/better looking book, more confidently designed around her own considerable virtues. She's an original!