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4.5 out of 5 stars
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4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 13 November 2003
I am Chinese, we eat enormous amount of food and our cooking takes a lot of work. so when I moved to London and had to do everything by myself, and having to deal with buying ingredients which are quite alien to me, I thought I needed some help.
I had owned cookbooks that looked pretty on shelves, and I know how useless I am with them. so I set out to get a book I can manage. I never looked back. I have bought other books since, but for some reason, Slater is the only one that gives me success stories one after the other. nothing in it is in the "too hard to tackle" category.
If you are new to cooking, it is simple to use and easy to perfect; if you are a seasoned cook, the refreshing approach to useing a variety of ingredients instead of sticking to everything by the book makes one feel good - afterall, we cook with whats around the kitchen, how often do we make a special trip to get ingredients for a fast meal?
love it, love it. I must say I have never believed in celebrity cooks, but Slater is in a class of his own.
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on 5 January 1999
Don't be put off by Nigel Slater's recent transformation from cookery writer to telly-chef. He is still at heart a writer, and this is a highly readable, excellent collection of recipe ideas, far more entertaining than those produced by the rather po-faced Delia or painful Ainsley.... The recipes, arranged in groups around a single main ingredient you might have picked up on your way home from work, are short and simple, perfect for cooking yourselves a quick supper, but are also seriously tasty enough for a Sunday lunch or even a dinner party. The recipes also cover just about every type of cuisine - there are some great Moroccan, Indian and Thai-influenced dishes as well as Italian and French. There are lots of options around the basic ideas, so there are plenty of ways to ring the changes. Slater is less concerned with elaborate techniques and far more interested in the quality of his raw materials, giving excellent advice on the type of ingredients to look for and to avoid. I have eaten more often from this book than any other in my (now considerable) collection - and have been disappointed less often than with any other. The fantastic 30-minute lemon roast chicken recipe alone justified buying it for all my friends, not to mention the herbed salmon, crispy scallops and bacon, and Goanese marinated prawns......
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on 26 September 2002
..in less time that it takes to deliver a takeaway!
It's the kind of book that no matter how bare my cupboard is, somehow I can always scrape together the ingredients for one of the recipes.
No fuss, no mess and does exactly what it says on the tin. Nigel is about enjoying the eating, not hating the cooking. Easy to follow and flexible - if you don't exactly have all the ingredients, he suggests some alternatives so you can improvise.
The perfect book for the first time cook and experienced cheffers alike!
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on 14 December 2005
I bought the book with the strength of review. I had never heard of Nigel Slater (sorry Nigel) but now people will hear this name! The recipes are absolutely fabulous. If you are looking for an easy to prepare, no-nonsense book, this is it. The end result is very professional tasting dish. I am very impressed and buying all of Nigel's books. I cannot say enough about his writing. And I am reading a cookbook and I would laugh out loud, getting weird looks from my husband. Buy and read to find out.
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on 25 January 2005
The best cook book I own, every recipe works, is delicious and does take 30 minutes or less to prepare. Nigel Slater really does know his stuff.
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on 22 May 2004
I cannot recommend this book enough.If you get in from work at 6.30,like me, starving hungry , you can have a truly fabulous meal ready in no time. Every recipe I've tried has been a real winner. Good enough for any dinner party too. "Real fast food" is an excellent buy also.Money well spent.
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on 25 April 2008
I absolutely love this book and recommend it all my friends. The recipes are simpled and uncomplicated. The ingredients are easily sourced and the results are fantastic. I own a number of cook books - this is the one I enjoy cooking from the most. Its perfect for everyday cooking, nothing takes too long and the instructions are easy to follow.
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on 24 December 2010
Cooking for 'one' can be a bind BUT this 30 minute cook book sets you free! At the end of the day when you are tired and find it easier to eat a ready made dessert - a yogurt, a banana, slice of bread, bar of chocolate - because you are hungry and the slow process of putting a meal together - meat/fish/pasta/vegetables...- is initially a bridge too far THIS BOOK gives you permission to just prepare a simple dish, full of tastes which can be minutes to prepare and enable you to eat correctly and with pleasure. If you are entertaining you can mix and match a fish dish and a vegetable idea. Instead of having a whole recipe with lots of juggling of ingredients, timetables et al, you can just have enough glorious tastiness with one item. And then perhaps, having satisfied the inner hungry person, you can then feel more willing to cook another tasty item to complete your nutritional needs. It is very liberating and each item is delicious and simple. And also you realise quite quickly that each recipe is not engraved on tablets of stone - they are launch pads for you to discover that you are a naturally creative person IF you follow your senses of sight, smell and taste. With this book you have permission to be your own cook. Delicious! All the recipes are for 2 people but one item on its own makes a satisfying meal for anyone any age who is usually neglectful about cooking for themself. Feel free to enjoy!
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on 30 October 2000
I love Nigel Slater. It's not just a cookery book, but a book you genuinely want to read. He is such a brilliant writer, and the recipes are great. I've even modified a few of them, just as Nigel suggests, and they are still great. I highly recommend it.
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on 25 June 2006
This is the first cooking book I've owned, purchased partly on the strength of the reviews, and partly due to its beginner-friendly promise (being a High Geek, but bored with pasta). I've had the book now for 6 months, and have tried a variety of the recipes.

The bad news: first, if you are like me, you'll find that most of the interesting dishes take more than thirty minutes: the basic ones clock in at around 30, whereas the more complex ones take up to one hour. Second, the editing can sometimes be a bit sloppy: the Chick-Peas with Aubergine and Spinach does not tell you what to do with the aubergines once you've fried them (there is a separate sauce, but should the aubergines be cooked with the sauce, or added at the end?); and the Red Lentils with Tumeric and Mustard Seeds seems to propose an inadequate cooking time and insufficient water. Third, not all the recipes work well: the Quick and Creamy Chicken Curry is fiddly and complicated for a rather uninteresting final result; the Pappardelle and Mozzarella uses ingredients that do not mix well with the pasta, but accumulate in lumps below it (even when served on a plate!); and the Spiced Mushrooms are a bit dull if meant as a main dish (and, given the audience, too much effort to prepare as a side dish). Finally, the recipes for liver and kidneys seem a bit of an indulgence by the author, since they are hard to cook well, and not to most peoples' taste.

The good news: this is a four star review, so my experience with the book is largely positive. There are some excellent dishes that are genuinely easy to prepare (I'll single out the Kormas, although they both take easily an hour to make; the Quick Lamb Curry; the fantastic Coconut and Coriander chicken; and the Crisp Spiced Grilled Chicken). The chick pea recipes are also delicious and filling vegetarian dishes, and have become my pasta replacement when I want something quick and energy-intensive. In general, Slater's approach seems to be to use interesting ingredients to achieve the required flavour, rather than difficult techniques, and for the most part he is successful.
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