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Pastry
Pastry
by Michel Roux
Edition: Hardcover

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the great little cook books, 9 Oct. 2010
This review is from: Pastry (Hardcover)
This is a great cook book. Its title is a misleading, but it follows on from Sauces and Eggs. Michel Roux sets out how to make a variety of different pastries with great pictures and instruction and then provides recipes for using the pastry.

A couple of observations. First, not surprisingly given the subject matter, he has duplicated some recipes from "Eggs". Secondly, the oven temperatures appear a bit low for many of the recipes (for example, 180 degrees for puff pastry). Finally, he doesn't provide any compromises in terms of using a food processor to make the initial dough everything is mixed by hand. It would have been helpful if, whenever possible, Michel Roux had made an aside in the text on when and how a food processor could have used.

Even with these issues, it is a great little (A5 sized) cook book. His definition of pastry extends to croissant (possible) and brioche (stretching the definition). Do the recipes work? Yes. I have made the pate sable, brisee, puff pastry, pizza dough, croissant and brioche from this book and they all worked subject to adjusting the temperatures.

The additional recipes are what make this such a great book. His chicken pie is wonderful, as his beef pie. Similarly the mince pies are unlike anything you can buy in any store - they never last more than a day in our house. Just don't make the bacon wrapped brioche unless you want to gain about five pounds in weight in one Sunday morning brunch!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 19, 2010 9:18 PM BST


Gary Rhodes' Sweet Dreams
Gary Rhodes' Sweet Dreams
by Gary Rhodes
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The king of desserts, 9 Oct. 2010
I ate Rhode's bread and butter pudding many years ago and it is the reason I bought this book. He does set out many great recipes clearly and in a foolproof manner, but the book suffers from poor editing (some of the page references are given as XXX for example and the ice creams seem oddly collated) and also the sponsorship from Tate is intrusive. I am not sure how the corporate tie-in worked, but it's just odd to see the company's products so heavily endorsed.

For me the key tests are: does the recipe work and how does it taste. Surprisingly there are some good and weird recipes. The bread and butter pudding recipe is fantastic, the bread pudding ice cream is not something I would make again.

If you find this book discounted, then it is worthwhile; full price it's not value for money.


The French Laundry Cookbook
The French Laundry Cookbook
by Thomas Keller
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £26.00

29 of 49 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Has anyone used this book as a cook book?, 9 Oct. 2010
I was given this book as a gift and have cooked a couple of the recipes. In one case I also cooked Delia Smith's version of the same dish at the same time. Kellner's version took five times as long (separate cooking for each ingredient, left to marinate overnight then recombined at the end), but it tasted half as good as Delia Smith's. What was the problem? No doubt it was because I don't have twenty assistants to help me slowly sweat the onions, produce fresh beef stock etc.. (As another example I compared his french onion soup recipe to Raymond Balnc's with the same result in time and taste.)

If you do not have an army of sous chefs to help you, and live in California with your own kitchen garden to provide fresh seasonal ingredients daily, then it's unlikely that you will be able to reproduce anything close to the perfection that Kellner produces. This book documents how he performs his art, but this is not a cook book for someone to use as a recipe book. It is a coffee table book from a talented chef.
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 18, 2012 2:28 AM BST


Seinfeld - Season 9 (Complete) [DVD] [2007]
Seinfeld - Season 9 (Complete) [DVD] [2007]
Dvd ~ Jerry Seinfeld
Price: £9.99

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The model for DVDs of TV series, 23 Nov. 2007
This final series of Seinfeld is produced in the same way as the previous eight series. Beside "Notes about nothing" on the episodes, there are the inside looks when members of the cast, the writers and producers explain some of the background to the episode. There are also deleted scenes, bloopers and some sein-imation. The other bonus features are a featurette on the final programme as well as a round-table discusion between the cast and Larry David. There is an easter egg on the fourth disk but this is just some seinimation.

The series may not have had the stand out episodes of earlier series, but its still great after all these years. The additional treatment in terms of the introduction to the episodes makes the DVD well worth buying - especially if your introduction to Seinfeld has been reruns.


Super Crunchers: How Anything Can Be Predicted
Super Crunchers: How Anything Can Be Predicted
by Ian Ayres
Edition: Hardcover

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Good concept, poor execution, 27 Oct. 2007
The concept was reasonable: to show how statistical analysis was changing the way in which the businesses and governments operated. The author also set out the relevant topics sensibly; chapters covered such issues as why this is occurring now, random samples, the reaction of experts to such analysis (with an extra focus on the medical profession) and the legal/ moral issues that this type of analysis raises. The trouble with this book is that the writing style is too simplistic. It's not obvious whether this is the fault of the editor or the author or a combination of the two. Various examples of data analysis are used without it being clear what point the author is trying to make. The result is that at the end of many chapters it's unclear what the author's intent was. There are two other aspects of the writing which are irritating. First, every person whose work is described in the book is given a brief biography which reads as if they were some form of matinee idol. Secondly, the author uses the opportunity to air some personal professional disputes which for anyone outside the argument is tedious. Overall, it's a book you may buy at an airport to read on a flight and throw away


Holiday
Holiday
by Bill Granger
Edition: Hardcover

77 of 77 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bill back on form, 20 Oct. 2007
This review is from: Holiday (Hardcover)
I have all of Bill's books and like his style of cooking. After the slight disappointment of his last book, this is return to form. Given that he lives in Sydney, in the past, his recipes and style have been geared toward summery or warm climate cooking. However, this book has many excellent recipes for colder winters. There is still an Asian flavour to many recipes, but this book includes some pork and beef dishes as well as some winter soups. Like all his previous books the recipes never take too long and many include extras that add a lot to the dish. Don't be put off by the "Holiday" title, this is great book for every day cooking.


Gods Behaving Badly
Gods Behaving Badly
by Marie Phillips
Edition: Hardcover

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Light read, not bad, but not quite as funny as it could have been, 24 Sept. 2007
This review is from: Gods Behaving Badly (Hardcover)
The basic premise is one that has been used in a number of novels namely a fictional group of characters are real. In this book, it's Greek Gods who live and work in North London. Whilst a knowledge of the relationship of the Gods and their powers would help in the initial chapters, it's not essential. The plot revolves around the diminishing powers of the Gods, and the squabbles that took place in ancient history are still occuring - mainly caused by their interaction with mortals. The book is an easy read and occasionally funny - it is probably destined for a number of beaches over the next twelve months. On this level, it is better than many others. Unlike a number books with similar themes or other first books, the narrative does not flag. However, it could have been so much more witty, if once the original premise had been established it had been explored more fully. Also, at times and probably when considered as a whole, the book reads like a television treatement. Nevertheless for a first novel it is worth 4 stars.


Seinfeld - Season 8 [DVD] [2007]
Seinfeld - Season 8 [DVD] [2007]
Dvd ~ Jerry Seinfeld
Price: £9.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great show, great DVD, 30 Aug. 2007
The question that needs to be asked is, if you've seen all the episodes on rerun many times why would you buy this DVD? The first answer in the case of the Seinfeld DVDs is the way that they have been put together. Most episodes will have interviews with the cast and writers who give the background to the story and the making of the episode. This adds to the richness of the series and should be followed by all TV show DVDs. Secondly, there are the episodes themselves. Is the series the best Seinfeld? Debateable. Are there some memorable episodes? Absolutely. Is it better than nearly every other TV show at the moment? Yes


Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game
Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game
by Michael Lewis
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.11

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not just for baseball fans, 30 Aug. 2007
The book is centred around the Oakland A's baseball team, but as someone who had only ever seen one baseball game in his life, it was still a fascinating book. The narrative is about how the team can consistently outperform other teams which have more funds to pay for players etc.. Michael Lewis does not labour the analogy of their approach to other fields, and its left to the reader to think how the same ideas may be applied elsewhere. Even if you have never seen a baseball game you would be able to enjoy this book.


Bills Open Kitchen
Bills Open Kitchen
by Bill Granger
Edition: Paperback
Price: £17.99

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is one of the best, 30 Aug. 2007
This review is from: Bills Open Kitchen (Paperback)
The style of cooking is light flavour filled dishes, but what sets this cook book above others is the layout. Not only does every recipe come with a photogrpah so you have an idea of what it should look like, but also Bill has extra comments in the margins about other items that would complement the dish or practical tips for that recipe. As for the recipes themselves they are easy and quick. This is an ideal cook book for anyone wishing to wean themselves and others off supermarket ready meals.


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