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Francisca (Cardiff)

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Paul Hollywood's Pies and Puds
Paul Hollywood's Pies and Puds
by Paul Hollywood
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £20.00

3.0 out of 5 stars A bit too oldy worldy?, 4 Jan. 2017
I bought this book extremely cheap in a charity shop so decided to give it a go. What I hadn't seen is that this is the type of Grandma's Recipes type of book which I tend to avoid because I already have more than enough of those. I wish that was made clear…. But I love the detail of the photos where Paul runs you through each technique and the book is appealing. I have read it from cover to cover but I still need to make the recipes so I can't say too much right now about the quality but I believe Paul wouldn't publish a book he doesn't stand by the quality himself!


The Unraveling of America: Who Is Pulling The Strings?
The Unraveling of America: Who Is Pulling The Strings?
Price: £6.96

3.0 out of 5 stars Too bad it is not published in paper.... I would very much like to read it!, 2 Jan. 2017
I haven't read this book yet but according to reviews on Amazon.com it is very much worth reading just here in the UK it only exists on Kindle and I don't read electronic books. Too bad because this limits the amount of books I read. I hope Amazon or the publisher or whoever will consider people who don't want to sit in front of screens 24/7!!!!!!!


Chocolate - Good Housekeeping Cookery Club
Chocolate - Good Housekeeping Cookery Club
by Joanna Farrow
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars Great recipes!, 14 Dec. 2016
This is a thin book but it contains quite a few simple but I think very good recipes. I have read the book from cover to cover but I have only tried one recipe which was a hit at my choir's Christmas concert: White Chocolate coated Brandied Fruits. I am sure that I will be trying many more recipes in the future!!!! A very good thing as well is that all the ingredients are easy to find in any shop or supermarket and the recipes don't seem overly expensive either! A really great book!!!!


Christmas Treats: 1
Christmas Treats: 1
by Linda Collister
Edition: Hardcover

3.0 out of 5 stars ok, not great...., 14 Dec. 2016
This review is from: Christmas Treats: 1 (Hardcover)
I bought this book after spotting a recipe for Lacy Brandy Snaps because I had just bought the little metal tubes one uses to make them. I haven't made any recipe yet but I have read this book from cover to cover. Is it worth buying? Well, it is not the best book ever. Some recipes you will find everywhere but there are a few that I really want to try. My advice… don't buy it if you have to pay a lot of money for it, otherwise give it a try because you might just find a few nice recipes!


Hors D'oeuvres and Starter Snacks: Great Little Cooking Books
Hors D'oeuvres and Starter Snacks: Great Little Cooking Books
by Academia Barilla
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £3.99

3.0 out of 5 stars I bought this book because it was very cheap but ..., 14 Dec. 2016
I bought this book because it was very cheap but it didn't really wow me. I have read it from cover to cover but have yet to try out the recipes. Some of the recipes are overly simplistic and not very well explained but I will reserve further judgement until I try them. There is a recipe for blini type pancakes, for example but they don't tell you what the topping would be. Would you just serve blinis with nothing else? I wouldn't…… There are some interesting recipes though….


Smart Bathroom Scales, TaoTronics Digital Scales with Four Precision Sensors Home Bathroom Weight Scale (Measures Weight, BMI, Fat, Water, Muscle, Bone Mass, BMR, & AMR Analyser, 12 User Memory Mode, Smart App, FDA Certified)
Smart Bathroom Scales, TaoTronics Digital Scales with Four Precision Sensors Home Bathroom Weight Scale (Measures Weight, BMI, Fat, Water, Muscle, Bone Mass, BMR, & AMR Analyser, 12 User Memory Mode, Smart App, FDA Certified)
Offered by Sunvalleytek-UK
Price: £35.99

2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I have never seen one like this!, 16 Nov. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The seller, TaoTronics, has asked me to test this bathroom scale and I was very happy to do it because I don't own one at this moment, moreover this is a very state of the art one. Amazing what such scales can measure nowadays…. It came very well packaged, as always with products sold by Taotronics. In the box there was the scale, two AAA batteries (quite handy so that you can get to use it right away) and an instruction manual in several languages. I find the design really beautiful, in shades of blue, meaning that it will go well in most bathrooms, whether they are modern or more classic.

The bathroom scale, as with all bathroom scales has to be placed on a level, hard surface and therefore not on a carpet, and the surface should be dry. The first time you try it you will get an error message but that is normal and will happen every time you move it from one place to another just because the scale has to recalibrate itself but the error message will disappear after the first time you step on it. Anyway, if you look on the instruction booklet you will see what the error messages mean and what to do about them. The scale gets into working as soon as you step on it and stops working when you step away. This is very handy because you don't have to turn it on and off and never have to worry about whether you left it on and it is maybe using the batteries for no reason.

The first thing I did was to place the batteries in the appropriate compartment under the scale. Then I stepped on it, waited for the error message to disappear and saw my weight. Of course when you really want to see your weight you should be fully undressed, with no shoes or socks or else you won't get you real weight. When I took the photo I was not really after seeing my weight, it was just for the propose of the photograph but that goes without saying and preferably you should use it every time at the same time of the day.

There is a caution message in the instruction booklet: don't use this scale if you are pregnant, receiving dialysis, have oedema or are wearing a pacemaker or other implants. You can download an app and use it with the scale after paring it. Paring is easy and most people have done pairing with lots of devices so they are used to it. All the paring in the future will be done automatically so it is not as if you need to do it every time. The app should be used between 5 and 10 m, so make sure that you use it within this range. This all is really fascinating and if you read all the instructions it will all be absolutely clear. Anyway, after using it a few times you will be used to it and it won't be a problem at all! The minimum weight it measures is 2Kg, the max 180Kg, which is a very wide range. I think that it will be very useful to me to weight luggage before I fly.

When you step on the scale you need to stand on the stainless steel bits on the side to get it to work properly. It is amazing all this scale measures… body fat, Calorie consumption and weight, of course, for both males and females. There are instructions of where to download the app, so no problems there either! You do have to activate the Bluetooth function before you download the app otherwise it won't pair with the scale but I think that these are things that most people know nowadays. You also have to create a new interface for every user so that the scale can keep track of who is using it but you can go under family and add or remove users. An amazing piece of kit! Of course being a precision device you have to treat it with care but that speaks for itself and anyway, once you have one like this you will be hooked and will never go back to the old timers, that only measured your weight. At the end of each section in a certain language you have a FAQ section but anyway, Taotronics has a really great costumer service, a team of people who speak your own language.
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Cookies for Grown-Ups
Cookies for Grown-Ups
by Kelly Cooper
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £15.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Nice book... could be better! No metric measurements!, 16 Nov. 2016
This review is from: Cookies for Grown-Ups (Hardcover)
I bought this book during a trip to a very interesting small Welsh town, Hay-on-Wye, which has quite a few second hand bookshops (some of which also sell new books). The title, Cookies for Grown Ups wowed me as I am always on the lookout for special cook books but this book disappointed me…. I never thought that an American book would be sold in Britain, which doesn't contain metric measurements. It seems like a recent book but unfortunately in the USA they don't seem to do like in modern day Europe where most books come in metric, American cups and many times still in imperial measurements. This book will proof to be quite a challenge to me because I believe in being very accurate when I bake and cups will result in different measurements every time. Actually I have trouble believing that there are still countries which don't use scales, especially now that they are readily available, so cheap and are now so thin that you can easily store them anywhere. I do use spoon measurements for small amounts and in cases accuracy is not so important but never for yeast, for example, or salt for a bread loaf. I do own a set of cups but never use them. If you use scales grams are grams and there is no guess work… packed, not packed, full, not full…. Etc. This problem is the reason why I tend never to use recipes I find online, when they don't come in metric measurements. I can work with imperial because most scales come with both but cups…. no, and if one looks for conversions one will find that every site comes with a different one so in the end you still have no idea of what you are doing and that doesn't work for baking!

But, back to the book…. I dislike all the fancy names, that is just not me! I don't see the need to give some silly names to the cookies instead of a plain name that results you knowing what it is all about right away. In my country, Portugal, all recipes and restaurant dishes used to have fictitious names and some have become so famous that we wouldn't change them anymore but nowadays most restaurants and cook books use names that give you a rough idea at least of what the dish is all about. All the recipes are very much original and I can imagine that the author had a lot of fun trying them out. The use of unsalted butter and then including salt in the recipe seems rather silly to me because first butter doesn't have much salt (unless salted butter doesn't exist in the USA?), second that little bit of salt is usually welcome in sweet recipes and third it is much easier to trust the little saltiness in the butter than to add a spoon of salt as you see in these recipes. There are a few ingredients that I will have to research but for the rest they all seem to be readily available here in the UK.

I have read the book from cover to cover but I haven't tried any of the recipes yet so I can't say much about how they will turn out. There is a very good index, not only with the names of the cookies but also by ingredients, which is really useful. As a rule I make an index at the start of any book so that I can take into account ingredients that I maybe will have left over and therefore can easily find other recipes to use them up but this index is a right effort in that direction although I still made my own as it doesn't include all the ingredients that I will have to use up. All in all it is an original book and therefore if you are an adult and love cookies.. .worth buying! Just one last remark…. I wish that they hadn’t made the recipes for quite a big amount of cookies. Most of us don't take dozens of cookies. I think that a dozen would be more manageable, especially when you are trying out the recipe and if by any chance you are going to bake them for a big party, or to sell at a fair or whatever you can always double and triple the recipe, rather than have most of the people making them scale them down because let's be honest.. most of us just bake for our own pleasure and therefore 5 dozens of cookies is rather a large amount!


30 Minute Festive Food from Around the World
30 Minute Festive Food from Around the World
by Katie Giovanni
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars Simple but great recipes from around the world!, 16 Nov. 2016
I bought this book because it was cheap and also because after looking through it I saw a few recipes I wanted to try out. I have read it from cover to cover and I wasn't disappointed. The recipes are mostly quite easy to make, not many ingredients one would have trouble finding and they look like they are well explained too. I found it funny that the name of the author, Katie Giovanni is not on the cover, rather the name of the maker of the appliances and the kitchens but that is their choice. One thing I don't like is books with double covers so, like it happens with a lot others this one has gone into the rubbish bin as I can't be bothered to have a book that I see as a work book with something that is constantly coming off. There are recipes for starts, mains, accompaniments, desserts and festive drinks and all of this from many countries. .

Two things I find rather odd, the first one is the insistence on semi-skimmed milk. I wonder whether the author thinks that this adds anything to the recipes… and if so how did she make the choice between the healthier full fat milk and the less healthy, processed skimmed or semi-skimmed version. If I was writing such a book I would just mention milk and leave the choice of what kind of milk to the reader but maybe she is trying to make a point, which to be honest is not clear to me? Another think that quite baffled me was the occasional use of unsalted butter and then adding salt to the recipe. I do agree that there are a few recipes that need unsalted butter when no saltiness, no matter how faint is desired but adding unsalted butter and then adding salt…. Moreover in my opinion the very slight saltiness of the butter is often very welcome, especially in sweet recipes and it is a lot easier to rely on the amount of salt in the butter than to add a spoon full of salt but… that is a personal preference. Some cook books seem to think that a cook book is something for people with health problems, in which case they should mention it on the cover so that anyone not suffering from any ailment would be able to avoid it. Anyway….. I think that I will have a lot of pleasure trying out the recipes in this book, especially now that we are nearing the festive season but all the recipes can be made any other time of the year (except maybe the hot drinks!).


The Book of Buns: Over 50 brilliant bakes from around the world
The Book of Buns: Over 50 brilliant bakes from around the world
by Jane Mason
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Marvellous book!, 10 Nov. 2016
I happened to find this book at a very good price and decided to give it a go as I love baking bread. So far I have read it from cover to cover and also tried three recipes, all of them very good. Especially the no kneed buns on page 82 are great and worth buying this book for. Jane Mason, the author remarks that usually she doesn't go for "no knead" bread but how great is it to go to the kitchen in the evening, throw the ingredients in a bowl, mix them and put them in the fridge to take the bowl out in the morning, pile spoons full of dough on a tray and bake in the oven for 20 minutes while you get ready? I think that the trick is to pile a spoon at a time so that they remain kind of high and not all at once because you will see them collapse. I loved them hot, with lashes of butter and blue cheese! There is at least one more recipe for no knead bus, a more elaborate one with olives, spring onions and feta, among other things, which is also quite good.

Most buns in this book are not really difficult to make and all the recipes come with photos and a good explanation of how to make them. In the beginning of the book there are many useful tips on bread making by hand. The recipes are from all over the world so there will be many buns you have never heard of but all worth trying out, no doubt about that!!!! Amazing that there are a lot more different recipes than there are countries, I am sure of that but many times different countries also have different version of the same bread. The explanations about each recipe are very interesting to read and at the end of the book there is a good Index. There sweet and savoury bun recipes!


Tempting Cheesecakes
Tempting Cheesecakes

5.0 out of 5 stars Most ingredients are easy to find but curd cheese seems to present some ..., 10 Nov. 2016
This review is from: Tempting Cheesecakes (Paperback)
I found this book very cheap in a second hand bookshop and decided to give it a go. After reading it from cover to cover I don't think that I will regret having bought it. The cheesecake recipes are not really that difficult and I think that they are all just as delicious. Most ingredients are easy to find but curd cheese seems to present some problems although some supermarkets do sell it and it seems to be something Polish grocery stores also sell but of course it is more difficult to know whether it is the same thing. Not all the cheesecakes in this book come with a photo but most do, which helps one visualize the final product. The photos are also important to give you ideas of how to decorate a cheesecake and of course you can use the ideas and adapt them to another recipe. There are also a few savoury recipes but most are sweet.

Cheesecakes are not really difficult to make and I think that the recipes in this book will be real show stoppers so I can't wait to get started. There are also drawings to walk you through the more challenging recipes and in the beginning you have quite a few tips to help you get started as well as the base recipes.


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