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4.6 out of 5 stars
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4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 29 October 2009
I confess, I'm yet another Brindisa regular. I drag all my friends there and they are always impressed. I love this guy and his food. And I love the book. Without repeating what others have written I would like to stress that this is not essentially a restaurant recipe book - it's food from home for home. It's makeable and worth making.
Although it's about Spanish food and Spanish food is about Spanish ingredients, the book respects that many will not have access to these. Most of the recipes can be viewed as ways of making the best of what you've got. The few specialist ingredients that he mentions (like the vinegars) are worth tracking down, not just for these recipes.
The book is well laid out and a pleasure to read. The seasonal grouping is helpful because you can focus on what is available now. It's all about getting some good food out quickly to enjoy with family and friends - not labour-intensive stuff.
And it is good. There are some great things in here that I know I will be rolling out regularly. (There will be a jar of tomato jam in my fridge from now on for midnight feasts.) There are some great combinations in here that I was amazed I had not come across before. There are also some classics that deserve to be there simply because Pizarro's versions are the best I've tasted yet (eg. his tortilla de patata) There are also a few unexpected twists that are a revelation, rather than being weird. You will use them; your friends will be impressed.
He has mined his locality deeply. (I love Dioni and her pastry cake, and his Mum's baked potatoes) There's a generosity of spirit about this book in the amount of personal capital that he is sharing. The less scrupulous would have strung this out over several books. I can only assume that he hasn't done this because he has a lot more to give.
I certainly hope so.
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on 20 October 2009
Fans of the Brindisa tapas kitchens (Tapas Brindisa in Borough Market, Tierra Brindisa in Soho and Casa Brindisa in South Kensington) will need no introduction to José Pizarro, the talented and ebullient executive chef who has done so much to popularise top-quality Spanish cooking in the UK. An evening (or a very long lunchtime!) at one of his restaurants is quintessentially a sharing experience, and about the pleasure to be had in ingredients sourced with integrity, cooked with integrity, and eaten in great company.

This is the philosophy behind Pizarro's cooking, and his first book is totally infused with it. He shares with us an intensely personal experience of food - his formative years in rural Extremadura, family meals, festival food, the grass-roots of Spanish food production (the farm, the kitchen garden, the local producers, and most importantly the seasons). And as a chef with the enviable ability to put together wonderful flavours in imaginative ways, he has combined and refined these simple ingredients to produce dishes that anyone can cook at home, whether in Spain or the UK.

This is a beautiful and heartfelt book, lyrical and evocative both in words and pictures. The love and pride Pizarro feels for his country and his family shines out of every page, and his approach to food is a reminder that we can all be proud of our culinary heritage if we concentrate on the basics - seasonality, simplicity, locality and love.
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on 27 December 2010
I love this book. It perfectly captures the essence od Spanish cooking, and I am qualified to make this statement, I am Spanish!
Shameful to say until I bought this book I had never had a go at making paella, but when I followed the recipe in this book for seafood paella I was blown away, it tasted exactly like the one you get in restaurants in Spain. It is so good that I made it for my family and my mum asked for the recipe as she said it tasted better than hers.

Same with the recipe for Spanish ommelette, tortilla española, which contrary to what people think it's just potatoes, onions and eggs. This book has tought me that choosing the right kind of potatoes (floury type like king edward) and making sure you soften your onions for 20 mins before adding any other ingredient is the key to the perfect tortilla española.

As well as the popular Spanish dishes, there are also not so well known recipes all equally tasty but at the same time simple, the book is divided by seasons with additional chapters for specific ingredients such as rice, eggs, fish, etc.

My favourite Spanish cooking book.
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on 28 October 2009
An excellent book - all my favourite dishes from Pizarro's restaurants are here for me to cook. The recipes are simple and straight-forward to follow. The book has lots of great photographs, and the pride and enthusiasm Pizarro has for spanish food shows on every page and in every recipe. If you like simple tasty spanish food, this book is for you.
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on 14 February 2013
I live amongst Spanish friends and have tried several of the recepies..all enjoyed by those who consider themselves experts in national food. Great photos which serve to reflect something of the ambience of eating "Spanish"
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on 29 January 2010
I would recommend this book to anybody who loves food, regardless of whether they are already fans of Spanish cooking or not! It's packed with superb recipes, information and tips on how to produce a stunning range of dishes. On top of that, it's full of beautiful images and stories which really help bring the food to life. I received my copy in October and was so impressed that I purchased extra copies to give as Christmas presents to a few friends (all of whom absolutely loved it too!)
Definitely a "must have" in the kitchen!
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on 23 March 2010
As this book suggests, this is all about seasonal Spanish food. Organized by season, the book presents recipes by the ingredients which are abundant in each particular season. It starts with Spring, and the first recipe is a brilliant green pea soup with Serrano ham (the ham is served on a piece of toast placed on top of the soup). Every few recipes, there is an information page - about Spanish cheeses, salt cod (bacalao), Easter, vinegar, and so on - to put the food into a greater context, so you have the feeling you've made a connection with the place and the customs through Pizzaro's recipes. None of the recipes is too difficult- I appreciated his simple technique for preparing Galician-style Octopus, which is much shorter than other recipes I have seen, and produced a lovely dish. I do recommend keeping an eye out for your preferred level of seasoning as I found some of the recipes, if followed as written, tended to be under salted. The photography in this book is beautiful, and together with the recipes, makes this a great general Spanish cuisine book, and now I am wondering myself why I didn't stop at Tapas Brindisa in Borough Market two weeks ago when I was in London!!!

I only give this four stars because compared to MoVida Rustica, I find it a tiny bit less awe-some.
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on 7 February 2010
I have hundreds of cookery books, but this one is something special, it is Spain in capital letters AND REAL SPAIN !
It makes me homesick to Andalucia,it makes you want to cook all the recipes and eat them.
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on 11 March 2011
This book by Jose Pizarro is the most interesting book about Spanish food I've come across. He really manages to capture the atmosphere of authentic mainland Spain by sharing quite a lot about himself and the community he is part of there. The way the book is contextualised gives the recipes an extra mouth-watering dimension and for me, this made cooking them even more enjoyable. This really is a delightful book and I would highly recommend it to all foodies (and anyone simply interested in understanding more about Spain).
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on 23 September 2010
A superb introduction to Spanish cooking. The book is beautifully presented, the recipes are simple to follow.
I have tried many and all have worked really well, the best paella, tortilla I have ever made.
Proper seasonal recipes with a real feel of Spain, it's inspiring, you just want to work your way through every single recipe.
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