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The Demon's Watch: Tales of Fayt, Book 1
The Demon's Watch: Tales of Fayt, Book 1
by Conrad Mason
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars Fast-paced fantasy with really gritty themes., 18 Oct. 2012
I read The Demon's Watch at the same time as my 11-year-old nephew, and his 8-year-old brother dipped in too. We all enjoyed the blood-thirsty fights, the fast pace of action, the twisting, clever plot and witty dialogue, and the artwork. I thought they might be scared by the murderous witch, but I shouldn't have worried. Scary enough, but in a good way! On another level, talking about the book led to some interesting thoughts about politics, trade and power, and about race and identity. The vocabulary and plot would be quite challenging for children under 10 I think, but it's definitely entertaining enough for adults to enjoy reading alongside their children, and explaining things as they read.
Favourite character: Slik the fairy.


Peckish But Poor
Peckish But Poor
by Cas Clarke
Edition: Paperback

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars can't get by without it, 4 Feb. 2010
This review is from: Peckish But Poor (Paperback)
I got this book when I first left home, and now, sixteen years later, I still rely on it regularly. The recipes are basic, but suit me down to the ground. I have probably tried about half of them, and regularly use around 20%, most from memory now or my own versions. I loaned the book to a friend a few months back, as she believes she can't cook (with this book, anyone can cook). Now, rather than asking for it back I've ordered myself another copy for 1p - can't be bad! As I'm waiting for my new copy to be delivered, this review is done from memory...

The book starts with a useful chapter for absolute beginners with basic recipes like cheese sauce and batter, which can then be used within other recipes. Then the main part of the book is split into seasons, which I like, as it helps when shopping for local produce, and means you're not serving up the same dishes all year round (that said, with quite a few of the recipes it's not clear why they ended up in that particular season). There's a chapter on veg in case you are having a senior moment and forget what to do with your courgette. Another useful chapter is the emergency store-cupboard recipe section (or recipes you can make in ten minutes when you're home alone and can't be bothered to do anything more demanding). The "just like mother used to make" chapter is the one I probably use most: very easy recipes for things like curries, lasagne, chicken fricasee, all the classic dinners. Then finally there's a chapter on cakes and puddings, all of which seem to be foolproof.

Foodies would definitely turn their noses up at this book because it involves a lot of tins of tomatoes, tuna, pasta etc. and so I suppose is quite studenty food. But as someone who likes pasta and stir-fries I really like the results. They certainly taste better than ready meals, and are way cheaper. There's not much emphasis on nutrition, but the recipes aren't grease-loaded or overly rich, so if you opt for wholemeal rice/pasta and a range of accompanying veg I would say the food was pretty healthy. To add to its charms the author has written notes on some of the recipes and at the beginning of each chapter, and there are funny little cartoons dotted throughout as well.

This is a great book for anyone learning to cook, or even confident cooks who just want some new ideas for easy meals. It's written by someone who clearly loves food, but avoids all the snobbishness, pretentiousness, and unnecessary-faffing-around-with-a-million-ingredients, of nearly every other recipe book in the world.


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