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VINE VOICEon 3 August 2013
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is an excellent book, not just a recipe book packed with Italian inspired recipes, but with tales from the two authors, brothers and James (the good looking one) and Thom (the good looking one with a beard and moustache.....) Additionally watch the boys on You Tube/online as they map their way around Italy in a three wheeler van learning to cook the Italian way. Their passion for food and Italian cuisine shines, although they write in a very un pretentious way, and a dish with a posh sounding name which could appear complex seems doable with their interpretation, although surely boys you can toss a frittata!. They describe:a portion size two hungry or 4 normal people, and being over taken by jogger going up hill in their van carrying a 700kg piazza oven.. For the techies there's an ipad version of the book as well.

The book is beautifully illustrated. There are arty photos of the food (but not so artistically blurred that you cant decide what the dish should look like -a criticism I have of many recent cook books!) There are also photos from the boys travels. They describe the food production as well as cooking for example process and testing of Parma Ham. Not sure how Joan Collins will like being associated with the process though. They give instructions on how to build a piazza oven in the garden-fab! (sorry haven't tried it yet)

The recipes are well laid out mostly ingredients on the left and instructions on the right. As an experienced cook I could easily follow the methods but those new to cooking might find some areas lacking in a little detail. Ingredients of often translated into English or a local variant suggested as an alternative.

There are few negatives about this book. The boys knowledge of microbiology is not great, cleaning a jar/container with boiling water will kill some bugs but not sterilise it. (After cleaning it with boiling water put it in an over upside down at 200DegC for 20-30mins will go a long way further to it being sterilised.) Next take a tour round Britain and learn how to grow some of the ingredients in our climate, peas, pumpkin, squash, basil, lemons, san marzano toms- all much better fresh from the garden ☺

Recipes include:

Street food and snacks

Rissoto balls filled with mozzarella, mozzarella and anchovy sandwich, Fritto Misto (fried battered fish/vegatable bits)
Red onion jam (only one spoon of sugar so one could consider it like a relish/pickle as it contains vinegar/wine)
Roast chestnut spread (similar to the commercially available choc spread with hazelnuts beginning with nut.......)
Breaded porcini (mushroom)
Deep fried polenta chips
Venetian polpette with tomato sauce (meat ball type of dish)
Globe artichoke with anchovy dip
Salt cod pate
Porchette (a roast pork)
Salasa verde (a herb, anchovy/caper `sauce' to have with pasta or meat or what ever you choose)


Deep fried stuffed courgette flowers
Prawn pea and spaghetti frittata
Asparagus with egg and parmesan
Panzanella- stale bread chunks in salad with dressing
Gnocchi (cheese or potato base), with pumpkin fennel, and ricotta
Fresh pasta
Basil pesto
Peporanta on bruschetta (peppers and tomatoes on posh toast)
Tagliatlli with mushrooms and truffle oil
Mussels with lemon
Calamari in umido squid with tom and chilli
Minestrone soup
Shell fish with parsley and pepper crust-they reckon this is full proof but you have to clean the live fish first- not for everyone
Caponata-sounds a bit like ratatouille but with the courgette replaced by olives/capers,


Neopolitan pizza dough
Mararita- tomato no cheese!
Salsicce e friarielle fennel sausage with broccoli rapa (you can grow this from seed try DT Brown) is more closely related to turnip than calabresse/broccoli in mainline UK supermarkets. Also similar to the corn seed rape that colours the field bright yellow in May/June
Napoli salami


Sunday dinner
Cacciucco fish stew
Artichoke risotto
Nduja fusilli (spreadable spicy pork sausage pasta dish)
Parmigiana Di Melanzane (aubergine with cheese and tomato)
Risotto Nero (Squid Risotto)
Clam linguine
Ribollita Bread soup
Pancetta and squash pappardelle
Cheese and pepper spaghetti
Polenta with wild boar sausages
Spaghetti alla puttanesca sphagetti with tomato, anchovy and chilli
Tuscan chicken with olives (and more anchovy)
Shoulder of Pork
Sea Bass
Smoked scamorza chicken and pancetta tortellini
Roast leg of lamb with wait for it..... anchovies!
Braised rabbit Ragu
Bistecca all fiorentina (tea bone steak with lemon)
Bollito Misto (Chicken and sausage casserole)
Cheese ravioli
Italian meatloaf

Puddings and drinks:

Lemon and bergamont granite
Rum baba ( the good bakers off the Great British bake off even found baba tricky hmm...)
Sfogliatelle frolle (pastry with a semolina and ricotta filling)
Cannoli with moscato (tubes of fried dough with sweet cheese filling)
Hazelnut truffles
Cantuccini (the boys call it bread with almond and cinnamon)
Chcolate and amaretti puddings
Italian rice pudding
Limoncello semifreddo with raspberries
Vanilla icecream with coffee, olive oil (yes but no anchovy..)
Pannacotta with honey and pine nuts (Milk, cream and sugar held together with gelatin)
Zuppa Inglasse Italian version of English triffle
Limoncello (lemon peel steeped vodka with added sugar)
Various cocktails......
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on 15 June 2013
We all know that sometimes you buy a recipe book and it just sits on your shelf covering the rising damp and after 41 shots you promise you'll make something from it, but you know that when the wrecking ball comes to knock down your flat the book will still be sat there like the ghost of Tom Joad... I'm glad to say that this one's different! My copy is already covered in tomato sauce (from the aubergine parmigiana), squid ink (from the risotto) and olive oil (from pretty much everything...) - and I've yet to find a dud recipe!

The story behind it is certainly inspiring, two guys who were born to run a pizza business working on a dream through the backstreets of Italy and who are now opening a pizza restaurant on Dean Street in Soho. I'll admit I'm a little jealous! However, this book delivers on the promise with delicious, simple recipes for everything from pizza and home-made pasta through to more unusual delights such as magic fritto misto, drinks like a negroni and even Italian rice pudding!

If it's just pizza you're after then this gives you great tips on how to make it in your own oven (something I definitely didn't think was possible) - my friend Rosalita was born in the USA and has always claimed that the best pizza comes from the streets of Philadelphia, but even she was impressed that you could make pizza of this quality at home! Just don't go thinking it's all about pizza, because this book has so much more... the only downside might be its impact on your waistline - calorie-wise this book takes no surrender!

I'm sure this review will get lost in the flood of people saying good things, but all I can say is that if you want a recipe book that you'll actually use then buy this one!
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on 16 March 2014
I was intrigued by this book, especially about the story of these two young guys who decided to quit their job and travel along the Italian peninsula in search of traditional recipes. The story is good, the pictures are good but unfortunately the love for this book ends here. A seasoned cook, with a good solid background, would have no problem in identifying the many faults hidden among the pages of this book. First, it very obvious that these two guys are clueless about cooking techniques and food hygiene. Page 17 of the book describes how to make mayonnaise for the fritto misto, suggesting, and here I quote exactly what is written in the book, "This mayonnaise will keep in an airtight container for a good couple of weeks". Fresh home made mayonnaise, after it is made, should go straightaway in the fridge and consumed the same day. They should have given this advice, and the other advice is that people should use pasteurized eggs to limit the risk of salmonella (alternatively, they should have warned people about the problem, when using normal eggs bought in the supermarket). If you want to run the risk of seriously harming young kids or elderly people, than follow this book's suggestion; it is entirely up to you (I really wonder why the editor didn't check this hygiene issue, before publishing the book). Page 34 of the book gives an interesting recipe for salsa verde, suggesting the use of basil. This is not a traditional Italian recipe; there's no such thing as basil in salsa verde. The fresh pasta recipe at page 52 is a joke; the page shows the ingredients and briefly describes how to make the pasta dough, but nothing is said about how to make the pasta by using a rolling pin or the classic Imperia (or similar models) pasta machine. In the fresh pasta recipe you can also read, and here I quote exactly what is written in the book, " It's important not to over-knead your dough as you can damage the proteins that give the pasta that all important 'al dente' texture".....well, I am sorry to say that, again, these guys are clueless about cooking techniques. Cooking pasta al dente have nothing to do with breaking the proteins; kneading by hand doesn't do any harm to the pasta dough (the over mixing can be a problem only in bread making when using a stand mixer, because it could over oxidize the dough...but I don't want to enter into such details here). The pizza chapter in the book is mediocre, the recipe for the basic pizza dough shown at page 80 is goodish; it's based on fermenting the dough for 24 hours. The next day you will have "old dough" (the French call it pâte fermentée and the Italian call it pasta di riporto); 24 hours at 19-22C could work in the winter but with hot weather it is better to retard the fermentation at approx. 10-15C. Using a pan to cook pizza it’s a novelty introduced time ago by the great British chef Heston Blumenthal, in his book "In search of perfection" and in that book there's an excellent chapter about pizza. Coming back to the Pizza Pilgrims book, page 136 shows the recipe for Caciucco (a very famous Tuscan fish stew) but unfortunately the authors got it completely wrong, suggesting to add octopus (as alternative to squid) in the last 5 minutes. They should have said "moscardini" (baby octopus) and you sauté them at the start. I could go on and on but the main point here is if you are thinking this is a very good book, then re-think, because some of the recipes are tweaked to suit who-knows taste and some recipes should not be mentioned in the book at all, like the Pissaladière in page 111. Definitely a book I won’t keep in the shelf.

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on 2 January 2014
The recipes in here all look lovely but this is NOT a pizza book. Buy it for good ideas for Italian food in general but definitely not if you're specifically after pizza recipes.
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on 22 August 2013
Having frequently eaten from the Pizza Pilgrims' van in Berwick Street and already a regular at their restaurant in Dean Street, this is one book which I was looking forward to.

Thom and James' built the Pizza Pilgrims' reputation by serving freshly-made, piping hot, Neapolitan style pizza from the back of a van to lunchtime crowds in London.

For those already familiar with the Neapolitan pizza tradition, especially its chewy cornicione (crust), this book provides all the essential information from how to construct a garden pizza oven through to the correct flour and best choice of tomatoes. For Neapolitan pizza novices, the information is practical without being overly reverent, and with sufficient direction that a good finished product should still be attainable.

When it comes to toppings, the book includes 12 recipes, which is not only 10 more than Da Michele in Naples serves, but is actually a wider range than that served in Pizza Pilgrims' Dean Street restaurant. Without listing them all here, suffice it to say that the book includes both a classic Margarita and their signature Nduja.

The book also contains includes several other uses for pizza dough, such as savoury calzone, saltimbocca and their delicious Nutella and Ricotta calzone. The latter is essentially the same dish, albeit in a different shape, to the "Nutella pizza" presently on the dessert menu at Pizza Pilgrims' restaurant.

Venturing beyond pizza into the wider realm of Italian comfort food, the recipes are divided into street food and snacks, starters, mains, puddings and drinks. There are recipes for basics such as gnocchi, pasta dough and pesto. A small omission from their bistecca alla Fiorentina recipe is that it doesn't mention that the uncooked steak should always be at least 1" thick. Particularly Neapolitan treats include crunchy outside, tender inside supplì and sfogliatelle. Their sfogliatelle recipe is for a lemon cream filling, but Nutella is an equally delicious - and authentically Italian - alternative.

Interspersed amongst the recipes are pages giving some of the Pizza Pilgrims' back-story, commentary on key Italian ingredients such as olive oil and polenta and an explanation of some of the differences between Neapolitan and Roman pizza.

Overall, this is an excellent book which captures both the spirit and the flavours which have made Pizza Pilgrims such a success.
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I stumbled upon this book since I bought a pizza oven for my cookery school: I have lots of cookery books and several on breads and pizza as well as Italian foods, generally, but this is a cut above the ordinary - a passionate book of recipes, (not just for pizzas), which is refreshing and exciting. It is easy to think of pizza as convenience food, which it is to some extent and ignore the glories of the truly excellent experience of eating a really good one. The story of how these two guys get together and start their business is interesting and adds to the overall flavour of the book of menus that includes cocktails and other dishes. The actual pizzas are basic, but the fundamentals of their creation and differences of style are worth noting and learning to perfect. This is the second cookery book of this type that I have bought recently and it probably indicates a trend in going back to making great food out of basic ingredients, but in a way that is far from mundane and genuinely life enhancing. Oh, and you don't need a pizza oven to enjoy this book or to cook from it.
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on 5 July 2014
This is the book I've been searching for! For the first time since moving from Italy to Shetland I've had pizzas that tastes the way they should. I'd long since given up on the idea that I could buy a pizza that in any way resembles a genuine Neapolitan pizza. Every Friday used to be 'pizza night' and we were spoilt for choice when we lived in Italy. Over the past few years I've been tweaking the way I made pizza at home and the results were getting better.
Last night they took a leap forward when I used the method described by the Elliot brothers. My family thought I'd gone mad when they came into the kitchen and there was a cast iron frying pan heating up on the hob and the grill was on full blast as well. They were gearing up for bitter disappointment until they had their first bites 'this is just like being back at Cisco's' - our favourite pizzeria. They were pleasantly surprised at the results, amazed more like.
This book is so evocative, the recipes remind me of days in a sunnier clime, where life is taken at a slower pace, where students would argue about about who grew the best cherries and where old men would sit for hours in the local bars clutching a single Prosecco whilst they put the world to rights. The kindle format isn't brilliant and the list of ingredients appear as long columns with only a couple of words on each line, longer words being split over two lines. However the recipes themselves are a good selection of the things my family like to eat, that being said I probably have most of these recipes in other books. What sets this book apart from all the others is the method of cooking pizza, it's ingenious, it works, the pizzas were simple and delicious.
Thanks to the 'Pizza Pilgims' Pizza night had been reinstated and I've just bought another heavy pan so as one pizza is being finished under the grill the next one can start cooking on the hob.
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on 8 November 2015
overpriced and overpromoted. For this price I'd have liked a wider range and greater depth. The whole marketing thing - that apparently started as a food cart and is now a restaurant - seems to have been done well. Lots of warm juicy pictures. Just light on the extent depth and range of content. It all feels like a "story". Can't fault it on what it did provide, though. Good luck to the boys though if this is how you build a successful business these days. I wish them well.
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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I lived in Italy for 3 years and have many Italian friends with whom I have spent time during family mealtimes etc and on the whole everyday Italian food is good but simple and not half as special as you may think. Mealtimes have to be enjoyable with tasty food but dishes which do not take hours to prepare. But then, the Italian Mamma always makes it look so easy!

The recipes in this book are excellent, they are tasty and definitely authentic but special. I would use this book to create a good dinner party menu but not for everyday meals. The recipes are easy to follow, the history of the dishes and the regions they come from are explained which gives the food a more special feel but some recipes call for ingredients that may have to be substituted over here in the UK. For instance, even a bog standard Pizza in this book, is listed with all the very particular ingredients and very specific types and while this is great for background knowledge and if you could lay your hands on them easily, probably would make a very Italian tasting dish, sometimes it is just not possible and the type of tomato specified would be hard to lay your hands on here.

Having said that, the recipes turn out well and this book is a good addition to your cookbook shelf for digging out when you fancy something special. Don't get me wrong, these dishes won't take forever to cook and they will most definitely be appreciated by anyone who eats them but, the dishes chosen for this book are definitely handpicked specialities of the regions of Italy.

Me and the children tried the pizza recipe for the Romano pizza, I lived just outside of Rome and my local Pizzeria chef had already shown me how to make their base and this book has the proper recipe in it and my kids were impressed. Its good, wholesome food. Definitely Italian, definitely worth having but don't expect the food to be this good when you go to Italy unless you go to the really good restaurants charging around £50 per head!
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on 1 July 2013
Personally, I am taken up with this book. The title might suggest that it is about pizza. In fact it contains recipes for all types of tasty but ordinary food from the regions of Italy. Such food uses a simple range of quality fresh ingredients, a hallmark of much Italian cuisine. The recipes are well written and easy to follow. There are many unpretentious snecdotes from the two brothers' tour of Italy. There is much impish humour to be found both there and in the recipes. If you like to share good tasty food with friends and a bottle or so of wine around the kitchen table, then this book is for you. If you prefer a seven course dinner party with elaborate food, formality, and small talk, then look elsewhere.
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