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Don't Sweat the Aubergine: What Works in the Kitchen and Why Paperback – 7 Sep 2006

4.6 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 335 pages
  • Publisher: Short Books Ltd (7 Sept. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1904977782
  • ISBN-13: 978-1904977780
  • Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 2.5 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 959,978 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

"Intelligent, thoughtful, fascinating... a gem" Nigel Slater"

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By Marand TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 1 Jan. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I loved this book - not so much for the recipes it contains as for the somewhat irreverent approach it takes to the craft of cooking and the advice to view recipes as guides rather explicit instructions to be followed without deviation. He rightly points out that such things as the accuracy of your oven's temperature, your own tastes and so forth will all affect the results from a recipe. He de-bunks too a number of myths and old wives' tales, providing sensible analysis and advice. I laughed out loud at the point he mentioned Gordon Ramsey's suggestion that a salad spinner should be avoided as it damaged the salad leaves - particularly as Ramsey's suggested alternative could hardly be described as foolproof. The notion of frying meat to seal in the juices is also given short shrift ("scarcely more up to date in cooking than bloodletting is in medicine") - quite convincingly too.

I am an experienced cook but learned a few things along the way, the reasons why some things work or why some of the accepted kitchen wisdom is based on little or no evidence. The book would be ideal for culinary novices. There are some decent core recipes which can be adapted easily, and plenty of useful advice that would stand a new cook in good stead for a lifetime of cooking.
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By Kindle Customer VINE VOICE on 20 May 2010
Format: Paperback
I am surprised that this book is not constantly in the cookery bestseller charts. It is a kitchen essential for everyone from a young person in their first kitchen, to an experienced cook. It covers just about everything and tells you how to cook it, but more importantly why. For instance it gives you 3 tried and tested methods for cooking rice, but then breaks each down into WHY you do each step and what happens if you don't follow them. Nicholas Clee is very honest about the things about cooking that frighten him, and then gives advice on how not to be frightened yourself. The book covers the basics; rice, eggs etc but there is also enough for even the most experienced home cooks to find this book invaluable. For instance; under the heading MAYONNAISE, Clee writes:

"This classic sauce" Raymond Blanc claims "is very simple to make" That is an example of the Annoying Things That Chefs Write. Vinaigrette is simple; it cannot go wrong. Mayonnaise, as every cook of experience knows, can go wrong: unless you're careful, it will split.

Clee then goes on to explain; Don't start cold, and why, What oil to use and why; What to add when and why, and why Drop by Drop is so important.
The book is also full of recipes. From effortless recipes for entertaining a large group informally around the kitchen table to recipes for delicious lunches when dining solo.
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Format: Paperback
Everyone thinks I'm joking when I say I finally learned how to make mashed potatoes. After prior cooking disasters (with aubergines, potatoes, chickens...) where the cookbooks assume you know things or remember from your home economics class, I avoided that and many others. But I love aubergines and a friend lent me her copy of this book. So now, I can bake an aubergine and it tastes great! That led to ratatouille (and red sauce). This week, I'm going to try making stock with chicken wings, then bbq-ing the chicken. It is all the basics I ever wanted and has inspired me to really learn to cook the basics. Nick explains things really well and I like that he explains why he chooses another method when contrasting methods with another cook. It helps me understand where things can be changed. Love love love this book. Finally I can cook.
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Format: Paperback
Very useful book for someone fairly unfamiliar with cooking but who has a degree of intelligence and curiosity. The range of food covered by the book is fairly broad but nothing too unusual - all the basics are covered - although I suppose the pudding section could have been longer. The related blog is also well worth checking out.
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