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Customer reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Format: Hardcover|Change
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on 11 March 2017
I'm very happy with my purchase.
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on 27 April 2017
Loved the low carb recipes
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on 24 October 2014
Very nice mels I enjoy
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on 9 September 2011
I am a very big fan of Rachel's and own nearly all of her books, each of which get used on a very regular basis (Rachel's chicken pie is a firm family favourite).

When I saw that Rachel was bringing an "Easy Meals" book out - I had to one of the first in line to receive it as I am often stuck for quick mid-week ideas.

As with Rachel's other books this one is a joy to read, well written and lots of beautiful pictures. There are lots of great ideas for quick and easy meals most of them have a guide of 10 mins prep and 10-20 mins cooking time, along with a handful of roasts and casseroles which can take a couple of hours.

There are also different sections like - one pots, no cook, 5 ingredients, store cupboard and a couple of others. The variety in the recipes is also great and I am sure they will keep us going for a while.

So thank you Rachel, I have already planned what is for dinner tonight - and I look forward to dining with you every night!
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VINE VOICEon 8 November 2011
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
With a beautiful picture of a dish you could create on one side and a short list of ingredients on the other side of the page, you know Easy Meals is likely to be a success before you even attempt to make any of the recipes. Split into sections including one pot and five ingredients or less - the dedication here has been to keeping the meals simple but also family orientated and easily scale-able with the option to add some sides or the suchlike for a larger meal. The book covers starters, main meals and desserts so whatever you are looking for and whatever level of cooking you are at it is unlikely you will be disappointed.

However, there are a couple of areas where this book falls down. When making things I always like to have a point of reference and sometimes a large picture of the ingredients replaces this. Simple also definitely doesn't mean cheap as Rachel Allen dedicates herself to producing tasty food which can contain expensive ingredients - but are probably worth it. The simple additions to basics are definitely welcomed as is the layout - think of it something similar to a Jamie Oliver book in that respect. If you know someone who wants to cook easily and quickly, think of this as a gift for them this Christmas.
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VINE VOICEon 1 January 2012
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This cookbook is colourful, packed full of quick and easy recipes with clear instructions in Allen's typical friendly style. I've made a few things out of it and they've all been stress free dishes for a cook who's just one step above beginners. The dishes could impress guests and the store cupboard section is particularly useful. Hearty fare like stews and chilli are where she comes into her own.

If you find Jamie's blokey charm on 30 minute meals a bit much, this is the book for you.
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VINE VOICEon 17 November 2011
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I absolutely love this cookery book. Reading through it on the day it arrived, I found something wonderful on almost every page. There is just so much in here that I want to cook,, and it is all relatively easy, just as it says on the cover. All of the ingredients look easy to find, and a lot of the recipes use the sort of stuff that you mainly have in your cupboard anyway, which is an added bonus as well, especially helpful with finances. I was particularly looking for a soup recipe to take to work for lunch, so made the carrot, ginger and coconut soup which was lovely, and gives me confidence to try the other recipes. There are lots of pictures of the food in this book, and maybe just a few too many of Rachel. The cover also quite similar to one of her previous books, Home Cooking, so much so that I thought I already had this one when I first saw it. Apart from these minor things though, it is a fantastic book, and one that I shall be using a lot.
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VINE VOICEon 25 November 2011
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I like Rachel Allen's recipes. They are simple, no fuss, no nonsense, you can cook them easily and they are just simple good family meals that the family like. In here there are some good recipes that I can see becoming family favourites. My personal favourite is the raspberry coconut pudding, it's a coconut sponge sitting on a later of sweet raspberry jam. Delicious with custard, it reminds me of school dinner type comforting puddings. Sesame crusted chicken is good (I love sesame seeds) and there are some good one pot chicken dishes and the chicken biryani is lovely. The chicken and chorizo with rice is similar to a Nigella recipe with new potatoes that I like but this one adds rice and stock and you cook it in a large saute pan on the hob instead of in the oven. I'm going to try Rachel's twist on chocolate marshmallow biscuit cake (with ginger nuts). The book is in 6 sections: store cupboard, fast and fab, 5 ingredients, one pot meals, no cook meals and extras and sides. I picked up some new ideas instead of just doing potatoes and rice all the time, like roasted sweet potatoes with honey and lemon and balck pepper.
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I bought this book primarily with the aim of finding some fresh ideas for quick after work recipes. I haven't seen the accompanying TV series so my comments relate solely to the book.

Like many TV related cook books these days, this book has an annoying tendency to use arty, lifestyle photos of the author or decorative bowls of ingredients where photos of the finished recipe would be rather more useful. One example is the photo page adjacent to a recipe for penne with smoked trout. The photo shows several bowls of dried pasta of various types - penne not being one of them! As some other reviewers have already commented, there are problems with some recipes in that ingredients are listed but then seem to be forgotten about in the instructions, or the instructions are missing or confusing. For a book which in part is designed to inspire people to cook this is a major problem. A more experienced cook can probably figure out what to do when the method goes AWOL but a beginner might struggle.

The book is laid out in chapters as follows: Store Cupboard; Fats & Fabulous; Five Ingredients or Less; One Pot; No Cook; Fuss-free Extras and Sides. Each section contains a mixture of recipes from savoury to sweet. For me, this just didn't work - I find a conventional starter, mains approach much better for skimming through to find something interesting to cook or to plan a meal.

Main courses include lamb & sweet potato curry, various roasts, lamb & chickpea tagine; pork chops with sage and apple; pan-fried duck breast with redcurrant jelly sauce; yoghurt masala fish; spicy squid salad; battered prawn stir-fry; piadine - Italian flat breads with various toppings - easy to make. There are, though, lots of recipes which aren't really unusual and for which I have recipes already (in fairness I should say that I have close to 400 cook books and therefore my take on this will be different to a less experienced cook or one who has only a limited library of cookery books). There are also some which are really too simple to require a recipe. By way of example there is a 'recipe' for chicken with basil mayonnaise on toast which involves using shop bought mayo mixed with chicken, basil & seasoning - not exactly rocket science. Spread throughout the book there are plenty of good desserts such as cardamom and orange semifreddo; strawberry & nectarine tart; pear & cinnamon tart; St Clements syllabub; caramel rice pudding, baked white chocolate vanilla custards (gorgeous) and banoffee pancakes.

Owing to the issues around inaccurate instructions and a general lack of new, exciting dishes, I have only awarded 3 stars.
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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Rachel Allen has produced a super book with 'Easy Meals'. It is a pleasure to browse through the pages imagining what the dishes will taste like. Nearly all use only a few ingredients, and most can be prepared very quickly with little effort. There is a big variety in the tastes and styles of food covered, not all of it to my choice, but most of it promises to be mouth-watering.

The recipes are neatly laid out; mostly one to a page, and about half of them have a full-page colour illustration opposite. Each has the title in large clear type followed by an introduction, also easy to read. How many people it will serve, and how long it should take to prepare come next. On the left side of the page is the list of ingredients, and on the right is the method. Sometimes there are variations on a common theme, eg three `Instant Dips' (made this evening) share a page and introduction, and also have an illustration showing the serving suggestion.

There are six main sections introduced by Rachel for different needs: `Store Cupboard', for those hurried meals when there has been no time to shop; `Fast and Fabulous', gourmet food in less than half an hour; `Five Ingredients or Less', from minimal preparation and shopping; `One Pot', to minimise washing-up and simplify timing; `No Cook', for healthy eating with speed; `Fuss-free Extras and Sides', simple ideas to round off a meal. There is also a nicely cross-referenced (by the different ingredients), comprehensive Index to help find the recipe we are looking for.

Lots of the recipes are familiar, usually working well for us. Also, I saw James Martin cooking the `Orange Torte' on Saturday Kitchen this morning - exactly as described by Rachel. I like the interesting variations on standard dishes with simple combinations of ingredients we've not tried before, and I expect the next few months will see our palette significantly enriched as we work through the book.

Some of the recipes are mouth-watering just from reading them. For example; `Baked Peaches with Honey and Pecans' - serves 4, 2 mins prep, 12-14mins cooking in pre-heated oven, serve with ice-cream or whipped cream or crème fraîche. Mmmm...

The book is nicely made with a wipe-clean cover and proper stitched binding to secure the pages. It lies open easily on the table with no need to hold the place at the page being read.

We have a shelf full of cookery books accumulated over the decades, including the classics by Marguerite Patten and of course Delia, and I think this one is a deserving and welcome addition to stand in good company.
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