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3.8 out of 5 stars
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on 29 March 2011
I can't judge how good Leila Lindholm's book is, as there are so many mistakes in the English translation. There are many big and obvious mistakes - like 'tablespoons' insstead of 'teaspoons', for example. I have access to a danish translation, and have compared the two, and am stunned by the huge differences between them, mainly in the oven temperatures and quantities - in some cases the Danish has twice or half as much of a major ingedient as the English. I have also spotted some obvious mistakes inthe Danish version, so it doesn't seem much more reliable. So how on earth do I know what the author intended? I'm not at all sure it's worth bothering, as the only recipe that I have so far tried where the two translations agreed turned out to be very mediocre indeed - and I don't THINK it was my fault.

One other reviewer regretted the absence of one promised recipe. Any recipe using a Swedish ingredient that is hard to find elsewhere is either omitted,, or replaced with a similar sort of recipe. Understandably!
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VINE VOICEon 10 March 2010
Let's not get away from the fact that this is a truly beautiful book. I'm a sucker for pretty pictures and I have to say that I initially bought it based on that alone. Then I started cooking....

The first recipe I tried was for high-hat chocolate cupcakes. Throughout the book, Leila tends to provide one recipe and then a number of adaptations. This isn't a problem in itself. However the cupcake method goes as follows: 1. Preheat oven. 2. Beat together eggs, butter and vanilla sugar until pale and fluffy. 3. Melt the butter, add the sour cream and coffee and blend with egg mixture. Spot the error? Yes - how do you melt the butter that is already mixed beaten in with eggs and sugar?! The solution, I believe, is to beat the eggs and sugar together, and melt the butter as step 2. Even more frustratingly, this error is repeated for the classic cup cake recipe. The second stage of the high-hat cupcake recipe requires you to make french meringue. This is a long process but worthwhile in the end. However, the 'cake' part of the recipe is for 12 cupcakes. Yet for some reason the french meringue element (you pipe the meringue on top of the cupcakes) requires 6 egg whites and 850g of caster sugar! I had french meringue coming out of my ears! Overall the cake part wasn't nice - solid and stodgy, although the topping was lovely.

The second recipe was a basic sponge, described as a 'juicy sponge'. Despite following Leila's instructions to the point, my sponge was incredibly rubbery. It was for a birthday cake, and I'm afraid that I was so disappointed that I reverted to a trusted Nigella recipe.

The next recipe was for brittle biscuits. This one worked - absolutely delicious.

The errors could have been made when the book was translated from Leila's native Swedish to English. Even so a little proof reading would have been appreciated.

The book contains sweet and savoury recipes including:

Almond butter biscuits
Blackcurrant sponge
Strawberry and rhubarb sponge
Torta della nonna (Granny's cake)
Sticky chocolate cake
American apple pie
Raspberry lemon meringue pie
Redberry trifle
Brioche pizza with berries
Elderberry squash
Lovely lemon lemonade
Foccacia in seven different ways
White toast bread
Classis crispbread
Chocolate truffles
Cognac bomb
Lemon curd
Butterscotch sauce
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on 27 September 2009
I was looking forward to this book as it is also published under the title of Sweet and Savoury Swedish Baking and I particularly wanted a comprehensive Swedish baking book so I found it a big disappointment to find the majority of the recipes are not Swedish, they are mainly French, English and lots of Italian. The few Swedish recipes are found mainly in the Bread section. And although her background is Swedish-Moroccan there were no recipes with a Middle-Eastern slant either. The recipes in the book are fairly mundane and easily found in other baking books.

I found also found it irritating that her approach is to take one basic recipe such as Scones and then offer 9 variations on it. The same with Muffins and Sponge Cakes and so on and even Apple Crumble. This really means there are many fewer recipes than is at first apparent.

The publisher's blurb mentions Leila's "famous Lingonberry Cake" as part of the contents but search as I may, I have yet to locate it in this book.

The two recipes I tried were both failures; Chocolate Darlings used far too much butter and eggs and was a "sad' cake indeed. I then tried a version of the same recipe from another book and it worked perfectly! As I love apple cakes I tried the Apple Sponge, it rose beautifully and the apples did not sink as is so often the case but it was tasteless and of a strange consistency, a couple of bites and I ditched the cake.

The book is plentifully illustrated with pretty photographs of children's picnic tables, picnic baskets, children's birthday party tables, little girls daintily smudging their lips with cupcake icing and drinking Leila's homemade squash, not to mention numerous photos of Leila herself. But it's the recipes that matter and they don't impress.

This is a baking book of style over substance. Not for serious bakers hoping to find new and inspirational recipes.
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on 16 August 2009
I used this book as basis for my mother's birthday tea party and made lavender dream biscuits; speedy berry cake; spanish meringues; brownie cupcakes; blueberry muffins with crumble and almond cake with elderflower and fresh berries. Everything worked out absolutely perfectly, the instructions in the book are so clear and the timings are exact, the recipies therefore are simply foolproof. Needless to say the food tastes fabulous, the lavender biscuits are perfumed and light as a feather, the brownie cupcakes are divinely gooey and the elderflower custard on the almond cake is incredibly unusual. Without a doubt the best baking book I possess. Thank-you Leila.
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on 29 March 2014
I use this book all the time. great base receipts that can be added on to. I'm Swedish and if you like Scandinavian flavours this is very good for bread, cake and biscuits. Some American influences in wedding cake and cupcakes.
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on 25 January 2010
I bought the original Swedish edition in Helsingborg, Sweden, and although my Swedish is not quite superb (I am Bulgarian, living in Denmark), the recipies in this book are so easy to follow and the final result is always a pleasure for the eye and mouth!
I have never had luck with sweets and pastries, but this book gave me so much inspiration, so I have bought plenty of baking utencils in order to be able to prepare the Blueberry Cheesecake or the Chocolate Mud or some of the fantastic muffins in this book.
Beautifully designed with a touch of Swedish coziness, you will love this book from first sight and you will be surprised over how easy it is to bake the most superb sweets and pastries!
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on 25 December 2011
This is a great recipe book, the carrot cake recipe in particular is very good. Beautiful pictures accompany the recipes.
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on 8 June 2011
I suppose my review will have to be taken with a pinch of salt. I confess to not having tried lots of recipes in Leila's book but the one I did try (the chocolate and olive biscotti) was the best biscotti recipe I've ever done. I have tried many other recipes where they either use too many eggs or the biscotti turn out incredibly hard and the dough heavy. However, Leila's proportions work like a charm. Being a translator myself, I admit to preferring the books in their original language (although the recipe I tried came from the English translation). However, I understand that not everybody can read Swedish so they will have to do with the English version. The reason I have not given the book more stars is because, as I said, I only tried one recipe. As the saying goes "traduttore, tradittore".
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on 13 October 2011
this book is divided into sections for cookies, cakes, breads (sweet and savoury).Most of the recipes use some master recipes for a basic cake/pie/cupcake and different variations on it, so you have lots of different recipes in this book. Every recipe has also appetizing pictures, which helps me to figure out what I want to bake. The recipes are clearly written and described, so no complaints on these points.

Why this book is not my favorite baking book, is that the recipes are not all working. There are some baking books from which I can use every recipe, without doubting whether it will work out or not. This book is not one of those unfortunately. I have made a couple of recipes and not all of them came out the way they should, unfortunately. sometimes the amount of ingredients is wrong and you will end up with way too much frosting ( 3 times the normal amount).

So it is a beautiful baking book to use for ideas, but you will have to check the quantities and baking times when you use the recipes.

Another star was deducted because of the large quantities of butter she uses. Even in normal white bread, she adds huge amounts of butter, so you can compare it with some kind of cake of buttery brioche. And there is no basic bread recipe with no butter or some butter. I missed this.
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