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I Love To Bake Hardcover – 4 Jul 2011
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A family-focused baking book by the Tesco Mum of the Year Packed with over 100 recipes Tana is the bestselling author of four cookbooks at over 225,000 copies sold Over 150 photographs by highly respected food photographer, Chris Terry Backed by a major publicity campaign
About the Author
TANA RAMSAY is a cookery writer whose work includes four bestselling cookbooks. She has co-presented the food programme 'Market Kitchen' and wowed the viewers with her performances on the hit TV show 'Dancing on Ice'. She lives in London with her husband, Gordon, their four children, and their dog, Rumpole.
Top customer reviews
I'm a bit of a cookbook collector and this one will definitely sit on the 'basic yet extremely useful' end of my shelf. The recipes are not flashy: they're traditional but easy to work from and, I imagine, great for children to cook and eat.
I'd never baked a Swiss roll before I got my hands on this book and I can truthfully say that Tana Ramsay's recipe was so straight-forward that from opening my cupboards to find ingredients to serving up a really pretty, very moreish cake took less than 25 minutes start to finish! I would recommend anyone who buys this book to give it a try (mind you, I did cheat a little by switching the marscapone for clotted cream for added luxury).
I was pleased to see that the cupcake section is kept to a minimum (can we just move on now please, publishers?!) and there is a greater emphasis placed on puddings, traybakes and tarts to share. However, where I think this book will come into it's own is not with sweet treats, although there are many to chose from, but with the well-selected, interesting range of savoury recipes to try. I've already earmarked the triple cheese straws with mustard & thyme and crab & chilli samosas as potential winners and the lamb shanks with white beans sound both hearty and family-friendly.
This book is certainly not about to win any prizes for its food photography - a platter of white chocolate & strawberry profiteroles should be a thing of beauty and falls well short of the mark here. That said, the recipes are so logical and are written with such a reassuring tone that you can be safe in the knowledge that, regardless of the how the dish is pictured, your own efforts will almost definitely turn out to be not only extremely tasty, but more attractive!
The first recipe I tried was the lamb hotpot as I was drawn to Tana's statement that "it is just the thing to prepare when... time is short." There was nothing technically difficult about the recipe but the instructions were a little vague. For example, step 2 says "Put the lamb cutlets in a bowl along with all the marinade ingredients, cover with clingfilm...". This caused my husband to query whether he should get his hands involved in rubbing the marinade ingredients into the meat. We decided that he should (how else was it all going to mix together and marinade with the meat?) but it wasn't entirely clear. In total we spent in the region of forty minutes preparing the dish and then we put it in the oven for 90 minutes. As I set the alarm on the oven I realised that meant we wouldn't be eating until 10 pm - hardly perfect for when time is short. Being a fidgety sort I checked on the dish after 40 minutes and realised that the potatoes were close to burning. If I had left the dish for the full 90 minutes we would have had to dial for pizza. As we tucked into the hotpot we realised that this was British cooking at it's best; simple, flavoursome and comforting.
The second dish I tried was the sausage cassoulet. This was ridiculously easy to prepare but as I put it in the oven my heart sank a little. It looked like a bad recipe from the 1970's and I had visions of it being bland. I'm not entirely sure what alchemy occurred in my oven but when I served it the flavours all hung together and we all returned for a second helping.
In conclusion this isn't a book that I would have chosen for myself but I suspect that I will be using it regularly especially for the savoury dishes although I will be keeping an eye on cooking times.
The title is a bit deceptive, as from first look you might think this is a book about baking cakes and the like but its not. 'I love to bake', covers a range and number of different savoury and sweet dishes and things to bake that essentially need oven cooking, hence the title. So here you might have savoury dishes and stews like 'baked tomatoes' and 'lamb shanks and white beans', alongside tarts and flans, of both the savoury and sweet kind. In fact some of the savoury dishes, like the meat, fish and vegetable based recipes (such as the 'lamb and lentil casserole', 'fish lasagne', 'stuffed aubergines' and 'mushroom and taleggio tart') seem the most tempting and appealing to make.
The photographs in this book probably do not do all the dishes the justice they deserve, some are better (the 'nectarine pavlova' and 'baked peaches') than others and some of the photographs are quite dull and could have been better presented. Positively, some of these recipes do appear to have been made by children as the pictures depict.
The basics are covered in that there is a section of bread recipes, muffins, cakes and biscuits. A short chapter at the end of the book covers festive ideas for Christmas and Halloween (cakes, savouries and biscuits). The book is dotted with photographs of Tana and her four children.
If you are an experienced cook or baker and looking for new, exciting and challenging dishes to make, then I would say this book would not suit your needs. But if you like to follow easy and fail safe family type recipes, that most people will enjoy, then you will get a lot out of this book.
Most families would really enjoy these recipes and they would suit both everyday menus and other occasions, like cakes and biscuits needed for baking events at school fêtes etc.
Tana has said in her introduction that she has set out to deliver "simple and real" family recipes and she does just that.