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The Cook's Book: Step-by-step techniques & recipes for success every time from the world's top chefs, including Marcus Wareing, Shaun Hill, Ken Hom & ... Shaun Hill, Ken Hom and Charlie Trotter Hardcover – 29 Sep 2005
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'This truly is a book for cooks' -- Restaurant, 15 February, 2006
The books every home should have -- Eve, April 2006
About the Author
Editor-in-Chief, Jill Norman, author of DK's Herb & Spice, is one of the most respected editors and writers in the world of food and cooking. The long-time editor of Elizabeth David's classic books, she is now library trustee of the David Estate. Jill resides in London. Foreword by Marcus Wareing, protege of Gordon Ramsey, and one of Britain's most acclaimed young chefs. He is chef patron at the refurbished Savoy Grill and Petrus in London. Marcus lives in London.
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The book itself is large and the paper quality is good. Clear modern fonts and nice quality relevant photographs. Especially pleased that the Chinese section is by Hen Hom, the man of the Wok in the UK for decades. I have only scratched the surface with this book at the moment, but suffice to say it is big, comprehensive and so far seems to be written by people who know what they are talking about!
In size it is large format, over 600 pages and packed with colour. The production standards are extremely high.
In scope it has chapters – each penned by a different author – on a wide variety of topics. Some are obvious, being themed around ingredients – Bread, Meat, Fish, but others cover styles of cooking, such as Japanese or Mexican. The length of the chapters are dictated by the use that the authors assume will be made of the topic. Thus the Fish chapter is long, the Mexican chapter short.
The authors are an international bunch, many of whom I’d not heard, but others (such as Shaun Hill or Marcus Wareing) are quite well-known in the UK. The standards are excellent throughout irrespective of the author.
As well as having recipes this book is also a “how to” manual with many pages on techniques – e.g. for making stocks or filleting types of fish. All processes are well illustrated. There are also many handy tips. So, for how long should I roast my salmon fillet? The answer is quickly found - 10 minutes per inch of thickness.
It also scores in having a good mix of “staple” as well as “fancy” recipes, thus making this not just a special occasion book, nor one in which the authors feel they have to show off.
For me the test of a good cookbook is whether I enjoy reading it for pleasure and whether I cook from it.
Well, it’s a joy to read (although not a narrative in the way of Nigel Slater’s Kitchen Diaries). And within the first week I’d cooked a number of recipes – chicken stock and chicken jus, oatcakes, gravadlax and venison in a walnut, sour cherry and cinnamon sauce. All were straightforward, easy to follow, recipes and provided excellent results.
This book has, at a stroke, become my first point of call when I want to cook something or find out how to approach a cooking task.
The dark chocolate mousse recipe in there is simply sublime...and works every time..!! Try it and you won't be disappointed...plus it only takes 1 hour to chill...!
It doesnt assume a certain level of experience before you start, so explains every step with excellent pictures and tips in the most basic language.
I have had this book for about 10 years, and have called upon it so many times. It doesnt always have the breadth of recipes I would like, missng off some real classics that I would have expected in a cook book of this size, but that is more than made up for with the skills I have learnt from it and been able to apply elsewhere.
I will continue to use this as a first point of reference for mastering techniques and for recipes.
It is filled with an wide variety of informative chapters: sauces, starters, cakes, creams, pastries, and poulty; supplimented by a nice collection of chapters that focus on innovative, international cuisine.
While general cooking guides often only briefly skirt each subject; every chapter from The Cook's Book provides detailed investigation. At no point have I felt deprived of necessary information.
The clean, almost clinical DK style used to its full potential. Great recipies sit along side technicalities, tips and tricks, optional extras, and interesting narrative.
The wonderfully bright layout makes the preparation of the recipes appear very manageable; presenting all of information with reassuring clarity.
I am sure that The Cook's Book will become more valuable to me as I make my way though its recipies. I am also sure that it will continue produce suprises, regardless of how many times it is read.
It makes me want to cook. What more positive a compliment could there be?
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