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The Slow Cooker Cookbook: Time-Saving Delicious Recipes for Busy Family Cooks
The Slow Cooker Cookbook: Time-Saving Delicious Recipes for Busy Family Cooks
by Audrey Deane
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.48

329 of 343 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fuss free recipes deliver great tasting meals, 27 Aug. 2013
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Let's face it, slow cookers rarely deliver on their promise. What you want is to chuck a few ingredients in a pot, walk away and get on with your life, and return in a few hours to some great tasting food. I bought one of the best rated slow cooker books a couple of years ago but was put off by the instructions to brown and pre-cook food before in went into the cooker. That kind of defeats the whole point of the exercise if you ask me.
Last month I dragged the slow cooker out from the back of the cupboard and decided to try again. Decided to try this book as a friend had one of the author's previous books, and so far - big difference. We've only had the book a couple of weeks but so far we've been able to make Bolognese sauce and Sweet and Sour chicken by really just chopping up a few ingredients and chucking them in the pot. No browning, no part frying of vegetables, and the results still taste great. Beef Rendang took a little bit more effort (ie whizz a few ingredients to make a paste) but also was simple and was served up to visiting family to much acclaim. The book is broken up into helpful chapters based upon the time and ingredients that you have and I'm looking forward to giving a few more a try. It also a good looking book, with great photos, in contrast to other slow cooker books which seem to be pretty cheaply produced.
Slow cooking is not haute cuisine, but when family life gets hectic this books really does seem to be able to deliver on the dream of spending 20 minutes preparing a meal in the morning and serving up a great family supper when everyone drags themselves home in the evening.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 26, 2015 11:17 AM GMT


The Quantum Thief
The Quantum Thief
by Hannu Rajaniemi
Edition: Hardcover

3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning, 16 Nov. 2010
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This review is from: The Quantum Thief (Hardcover)
This is an incredible debut. Compelling story telling in a complex, beautifully rendered universe inhabited by well crafted characters. In parts reminiscent of M John Harrison but really a unique voice in his own right. Dive in, immerse yourself in the tale and enjoy. This is the best book I have read in some time and, if you have to talk genre, the best Science Fiction I have read for years.


The Miracle Of Castel Di Sangro
The Miracle Of Castel Di Sangro
by Joe McGinniss
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.99

10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars What a buffoon McGinniss is!, 4 Nov. 2010
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Sports stories don't come much better than Castel Di Sangro. The plucky underdog wins promotion against the odds and takes on the big boys of Italy's second division. Throw in the backdrop of a quirky Italian provincial town, financial mis-management, corruption, some truly crazy publicity stunts, drug deals and love, sex and death and you have a heck of a tale. One can only imagine what Buzz Bissinger, John Feinstein or Michael Lewis would have molded from such rich source material.

McGinniss manages to tell the tale well enough (who could fail), but he mucks the whole thing up by sticking his own big dumb self into the middle of the story. He begins by ignoring all the advice and guidance he is offered and as a result acts like the archetypal stupid yank abroad - not only does he disregard local manners and protocols but he proudly goes out of his way to do exactly the opposite of what he is asked. Against all advice he books himself into a local flophouse and then whines about how horrible it is, acts like a naive child when invited to sit with the clubs directors and generally makes a fool of himself. Worse still - despite having an incredibly limited experience of football he fools himself into thinking that he is an expert and offers up advice to the club's manager and posts cringing critiques of the clubs owners throughout the town. He even becomes directly involved in an effort to transfer one of the clubs players to the US. He excuses the shockingly rude behavior by shrugging it off as the result of some sort of football fever. Such a pathetic excuse would sound lame from a child, from a well traveled and experienced author it beggars belief. McGinniss ends the story by throwing a massive strop and marching off into the distance having betrayed everyone whose hospitality and patience he has taken advantage of. The long suffering residents of Castel de Sangro must have been glad to see the back of him. They deserved better. A better writer may well have also exposed their warts and shortcomings, but would have probably avoided acting like such a clown while doing so.

The story was compelling, McGinniss's writing was good and kept me reading but his behavior was just awful and by celebrating it the book he ruins a great tale.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 14, 2014 9:33 PM BST


The Orphaned Worlds (Humanity's Fire, Book 2)
The Orphaned Worlds (Humanity's Fire, Book 2)
by Michael Cobley
Edition: Paperback

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Utter confusion, 26 Sept. 2010
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I've been so frustrated by this book that it has spurred me to submit my first review.
Like others I bought Seeds of Earth because of Bank's cover quote and I while I thought that it was far from perfect i felt that it was worth sticking with Cobley. Goodness knows that we need some fresh blood in the Space Opera genre, and writers do grow in confidence and ability over the course of a series. But dear oh dear what a mess Orphaned Worlds is. The book is filled with such unnecessary complexity - virtually every character and plot line sits within a maelstrom of political intrigue - that it is impossible to keep up with who is doing what and why. As a result of this tangle huge plot inconsistencies arise and characters frequently contr adict previously deeply held beliefs. Solid practitioners of Space Opera feed off complexity to spin a compelling yarn, but Cobley just gets lost. Plot lines fall apart and just end after running for 100s of pages, characters embark on epic journeys and then appear to have nothing to do when they reach their destination and so turn around and go back again. Timelines and galactic scale are ignored and narrative falls apart.
The scfi of the book is also weak. The levels of hyperspace thing is non-sensical and the mysticism of the forest would be more at home in a bad fantasy novel.
Cobley is not without talent - 2 or 3 of the human characters and well rounded and sympathetically drawn, and the basic idea behind the trilogy is strong - but the poor boy needs a strong editor to give him some firm advice to get him out of this fuddle. I read on wikipedia that Cobley is building a universe in which he intends to write several novels not just this trilogy. That would maybe explain why all the stupid twists, turns, and loose ends are being stuffed into this book but Cobley needs to realize that his future plans are ruining his present endeavor. It's unlikely that I'll be buying the final part of this trilogy let alone his future novels.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 7, 2015 1:04 PM GMT


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