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The Really Helpful Cookbook Hardcover – 5 Oct 2000

4.5 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Ebury Press (5 Oct. 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0091877989
  • ISBN-13: 978-0091877989
  • Product Dimensions: 20 x 2.5 x 26 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 520,260 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

In a crowded marketplace, facing competition from Nigella, Nigel and Jamie, media superstars all, cookery books are having to signal their virtues ever more desperately. Waving vigorously from the lists is Ruth Watson's The Really Helpful Cookbook, a volume hoping to be the one that the hesitant, reluctant or novice cook reaches for when fate requires them to take their place at the stove. They could do a great deal worse, though the bleak reality is that under the circumstances it will probably be Delia. Ruth Watson is an experienced chef, restaurateur and food writer with more than her fair share of attitude: she has produced a collection of stylish, eclectic, practical recipes designed to fit into busy lives. It deserves to do well, as it is chock full of wonderful things. Refreshingly, and unlike almost every other cookery writer, she divides her year only into winter and summer, giving for each a selection of starters, main courses, puddings, lunches and suppers. Here, for example, is a dish at once achingly fashionable yet comforting--Cod with Saffron Mash and Gremolata. Or what about Scallops with Sauce Vierge and Crisp Pancetta? Or Poached Strawberries with Five-Pepper Ice-Cream? These are seriously good things to eat. There is nothing difficult here, nothing pretentious, just fine eating. Ruth Watson's commentary is also to be relished, by turns wise, sporty and licentious. --Robin Davidson

Review

Her recipes are a sensual delight. Nigel Slater"

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Ruth Watson`s "Really Helpful Cookbook" lives up to it`s name, it is so full of advice and tips that you keep saying to yourself "I must remember that, and that, and that". The recipes themselves are stylish, up to the minute and interesting. The Pumpkin Cheesecake with Pumpkin Seed and Maple Praline is top of the list for a dinner party treat. Ruth Watson writes in witty and chatty style, the humour adding to the charm of the book. As a real cookery book fanatic I find this book one of the best (if not the best) this year and worthy of the five stars I have given it.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a 'really helpful cookbook' indeed. What isn't helpful is the title, or the complete lack of blurb on the back cover to help a buyer understand who it's aimed at. There is also a dearth of photos, although I like the typography. I received this as a gift seven years ago, and it sat largely unused all that time. That was because I was fresh out of uni, couldn't cook, and didn't want to make the effort. Now I've been cooking enthusiastically for nearly four years, the book is a revelation.

The recipes here are not 'real fast food'. They are not simple one-pot dishes. Most involve very fresh and/or seasonal ingredients, seafood, deep-frying, advance prep of multiple components etc. Ms Watson writes from a restaunteur's perspective; each recipe has a few really helpful lines describing precisely how long things can be prepped in advance, and how they should be stored and put together at the last minute.

None of the techniques demanded are 'Heston Blumenthal', but your culinary skills will need to be comfortably past the 'can't boil an egg' phase. What we have here are wittily described and carefully tested recipes mostly aimed at making an impressive meal for 2-6 between Saturday lunchtime (shop for the seafood in the morning) through to Sunday dinner. The dishes are divided seasonally, and into lunch, dinner, and puddings, so the book is an ideal accompaniment to Nigel Slater's 'The Kitchen Diaries'.

If you live near a good fishmonger, are serious about cooking, happy to spend a few quid on good food, and will make the time to potter away to make something well above average over the weekend, buy this book.
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Format: Hardcover
I haven't stopped reading this book since I got it. It's really humourous, friendly and packed with interesting and original recipes. I love the way it's divided into seasons and also the helpful information chapters- ie good places to eat and shop, and handy hints on preparation. There is a paragraph before each recipe to give you extra info about the dish e.g. what you can prepare in advance, and how long the dish will keep which I find very useful, being a bit of a novice in the kitchen department. I defy you to put this book down once you pick it up!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a good cook book for British cooks, as it is quite specific about brands, i.e. some brands mentioned are not available in Australia. But if you want some basic recipes with a special touch, then this is the one for you. Some old family favourites here, with a little extra spice, herb or special ingredient, and a few recipes for exotic stuff if you want to impress.
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Format: Hardcover
Ms Watson has a wonderful sense of humour and her recipes are practical and appealing. But unless you are the sort to read cookery books in bed or in the bath, the layout will drive you nuts.
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Format: Paperback
I bought it because of a delicious and original dinner eaten with friends. Now I cook from it, and my guests buy it.
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