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4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 24 October 2011
I received this book a couple of days ago and was curious to open my parcel and go through the recipes.
The this that has surprised me most of all, and what I was not expecting at all, is a step-by-step recipes, in photos! That is definitely not the way I was expecting a "chef's" cookbook to be. I was prepared for huge glossy pictures and minimum of explanations. The kind of book you keep on your bookshelf for inspiration,not for cooking. This on will definitely spend some hours in the kitchen with me.
All the recipes are already grouped in meals, with a time planning on what to cook first to be on time for the dinner, a Sunday dinner, as I don't have 2-3 hours for cooking every day.
And the "cherry on the pie", there are ingredients given for 2 and 6-8 people. No need to re-calculate your ingredients for a dinner for two, or a family meal.
It is a book to keep in the kitchen, definitely!
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on 23 September 2011
The first review sums the book up admirably. Like that reviewer, I am keen to develop my technical knowledge of the kitchen. The introduction contained an intriguing reference to the use of xanthan gum, and I've already experimented with that, with good results. Likewise, if the days weren't already cooler, I'd be keen to try the "watermelon and Hall's mentholyptus sweets" given as one of the dessert recipes...

The writing style and copious pictures, (laid out in a grid, step by step) are both excellent and very clear.

The book would probably make a good introduction to somebody with high ambitions but negligible experience. Being arranged as a series of simple 3 course meals, is novel and potentially useful, especially as most recipes are given in several "sizes" up to 75 servings, presumably the number of staff at El Bulli. Could be useful for anybody wanting to try their hand at catering for an event...

However, even on a cursory reading of the book, there are errors! From an author and a publisher of this calibre, this is inexcusable, particularly as large quantities of ingredients may be at stake...

1. The teriyaki sauce recipe "makes 1 kg" yet contains almost 2kg of wet & dry ingredients, with no reduction during cooking. So either the recipe is plain wrong, or you will indeed end up with 2kg of teriyaki sauce, which is likely to be a bit too much even for the most obsessive fan of teriyaki salmon...

2. The mackerel & potato stew recipe instructs you to use "half the stock" but makes no further mention of using the remainder

3. "Grating a tomato" is a fairly common step in many Spanish recipes, but you are first directed to faff around blanching & peeling the tomatoes. As I learned from another Spanish book years ago, you don't actually have to peel the tomato at all. The skin will end up spread across the grater, protecting your hand, as you shred the last little bits of flesh from the skin. I can't believe this is unknown to the great master ;-)

On the upside, it's nice to see chimichurri being promoted to a wider audience.

Also keen to see what HB comes up with shortly too...
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on 5 October 2011
I received this for my birthday, and was very disappointed

It may be co-written by Ferran Adria, but the recipes are someone elses, and he just approves the menu. The recipes are designed for a large group of people who need a quick but good meal before working - which is fine - but it really is not a book about cooking for your home or family by a great chef!

I like the idea of 31 menus each with starter, main and desert. I also like the learning about different ways of balancing things - we can sometimes get too tied to "meat & 2 veg" at times - and it does give the flavour of Catalan cooking. The other interesting idea is the use of a syphon to create foams of flavour...

The level of complexity, flavour or unusual ideas in the recipes is what lets it down to me. Yes there are very detailed photos of all stages - for example, you get a photo of how to drain pasta! - but far far too simple for a cook with experience (or other more interesting cookery books!). It would make a great present for someone who doesn't cook but would like to learn...

I'll keep the book (well, it was a present! and I love cookery books) and I will cook a few of the recipes, but it really is not the "home cooking with Ferran Adria" that I was hoping to find :-(
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on 4 February 2013
I was very eager to see Ferran Adrià's take on home cooking, but sadly The Family Meal was way below expectations. The first impression was positive; the book seemed extremely well organized, thorough and the recipes were very detailed with numerous pictures outlining the process. Interestingly the book is organized as meals, which you of course can follow or just pick out dishes and make up your own menu.

The negative impressions hit me in the first main course recipe, which was a cheese burger. As a burger fanatic and perfectionist, I was eager to see Adrià's take on it, but this was the most simple, unadventorous recipe possible. It barely instructed how to make regular patties, and even adviced that they could purchased prepared! I was equally shocked to see there was no recipe for the burger buns, which are a critical ingredient to make the difference between a bland, generic burger and a good one. It was supposed to be served with chips, but as there was no recipe for them either, I suppose you can just buy a bag at a gas station.

There were other similar let downs; no recipe for the fries served with roast chicken. Potato mash made out of flakes! There were only a handful of truly exiting dishes, and even those were nothing new, you could easily google an identical recipe for any of them. In all honesty, if I want this type of food, I can search recipes online or make them up myself, I don't ned a cookbook by one of the best chefs in the world for this.

For more interesting home recipes, I'd reccomend Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc at Home: Family-Style Recipes, or Two Dudes, One Pan: Maximum Flavor from a Minimalist Kitchen.
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on 9 November 2011
Fantastically simple, Ferran's recipes are broken down into easy stages leading to the creation of wholesome, sublime meals.
The book is a great tool for anyone wanting to experiment: use them as a confident baseline for your own culinary adventures.
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on 12 December 2011
Just as El Bulli, (the most iconic restaurant of recent times, located on the Costa Brava in northern Spain,) has closed its doors, chef-patron Ferran Adrià has released a new cookbook.
Ferran Adrià immediately summons thoughts of molecular gastronomy: his famous spherical olives which appear as jellied green blobs jiggling on a spoon but burst to fill the mouth with the flavor of intense olive juice. Or the frozen Gorgonzola balloon, a hollow white sphere, about eight inches across and the color of fresh ricotta, topped with a grate of nutmeg meant to be broken (with your fist?) and eaten in shards.
But it's not about 30-course menus and wondrous concoctions such as gorgonzola balloons or roses with ham wonton and melon water, which El Bulli is so famous for. Instead it's Adrià 's first home cooking book and it's all about simple, everyday menus that are easy and inexpensive to reproduce. The Family Meal is a collection of almost 100 recipes.
The recipes comprise a wide selection of everyday classics featuring numerous culinary influences reflecting the international nature of El Bulli's brigade. Menus include bread and garlic soup, Mexican-style slow-cooked pork and figs with cream and kirsch; or lime-marinated fish or ossobuco.
Highly recommended for the busy professional family who love to entertain and also the familys who are on a budget as all is caterered for.
You will return to this publication many many times and have your guest raveing about your creations and balanced menus " WOW" your a great chef....
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on 30 September 2011
Having read some of the reviews in the newspapers I still wasn't sure what to expect from The Family Meal, but at the price I thought I'd take a gamble. Not having a huge kitchen or one that's very modern, I was a little worried I'd have to spend my money on gadgets rather than good ingredients.
I was wrong of course. What you have in this book are very economical, reasonably easy but very tasty recipes to suit many different styles, tastes and moods.
I think the key as far as what to expect from the book is in the description that Amazon has provided. The recipes do still carry a whiff of the pazzaz about them tho, anything would when created by a man of Ferran's talents?
It's an El Bulli book, its got great recipes and its less than £20...and he isn't even on the telly :)
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on 25 November 2011
Good book with easy to follow step by step recipes.
Have tried several and all have been really good and have come out as described in the book
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on 6 May 2012
The Family Meal: Home Cooking with Ferran Adria

The Family Meal is a cookery book written in a refreshing style and set out in an unconventional format and all the better for it. Author Ferran Adria is one of the worlds greatest chefs and proprietor of the exclusive and best restaurant in the world el Bulii, however his step by step descriptions and pictorial layout in this book allow even the most inexperienced and knowledge deprived home cook to turn out superb meals using simple ingredients, this is a book I can see myself coming back to time and time again. Apart from the exciting content of the book, this being a PHAIDON publication the book is beautifully bound and printed on quality paper. Buy this book, read it, cook it's recipes and treasure it----you will be rewarded
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on 5 October 2011
Living my 9th year in Barcelona with my catalán husband, I have learned quite good receipes from my mother-in-law... This book gives the modern touch to the catalan cuisine and very very well illustrated. Also very well indicated the time it takes every step so your better organization. Don't know what are Sofreigt, Alioli and Picada? Don't worry there are step by step photos to show you how to make them! If you dominate the "sofreigt" and the "picada", you dominate 50% of catalan cuisine!

Made by Ferran Adria, you may expect plates very different and extraordinary... But as indicated in the title, this is for family meal. Receipts with accessible ingredients... This is not a Bulli book, but can be your family receipes! After some years your children may remind "my mother used to make me an amazing fish soup in winter..." even they didn't know you copy the receipes from the best cook in teh world! For all of us, our mothers are always the best cooks in the world!

An excellent book to introduce catalan cuisine in your kitchen, not only the daily diets but a also a weekend family/friend meal!
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