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on 1 October 2012
This is a great cookbook for the basics. It's classic Grainger, straight forward recipes, delicious results.

The baking section is particularly good, the brownies are beyond ace. I've made a lot of brownies, and generally rely on a Nigella recipe. But Bill's have won me over, and this will be my brownie recipe in the future!

It's a nicely set out book, and there's quite a lot of healthy recipes to balance out the brownies (it's the Aussie way)

I'd recommend it to cooks who are fans of Bill's straight-forward cooking, who enjoy spending a bit of time in the kitchen but don't want anything too complicated.
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VINE VOICEon 26 February 2011
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I have caught a few of Bill Granger's cooking shows on a number of occasions but he's never been a chef that I made a point of sitting down and watching. Because of that I was intrigued but not overly excited by the thought of this cookbook.

How wrong I was.

The book itself aims to take 100 classic recipes, simplify the techniques, minimise the fussy ingredients and generally give a cookbook full of good, tasty cooking that's suitable for everyone. There are things such as pancakes, muffins, cookies, madeleines, soups, carbonara, risotto, chicken satay, steak, fish pie, lasagne, soufflés, baked cheesecake and so much more besides.

I don't think I've ever read a TV chef cookbook that is so down to earth. There's no pretentiousness about Bill or his cooking and I genuinely think his will be a book that I will actually pick up and cook something rather than leaving it sitting on the shelf. I feel other TV chefs are constantly trying to make themselves more interesting by resorting to gimmicks and tricks so it's really refreshing to find someone who seems to cook for pleasure and wants to share that joy.

The sections in this cookbook are: breakfast; baking; soup; salads; rice, pasta & bread; chicken; meat; seafood; vegetables and desserts. Most recipes have pictures of the finished food and there are other pictures dotted about that make this a really interesting book to pick up and read.

Each recipe follows the same pattern - a small introduction from Bill, a list of ingredients and then an explanation of how to make it. There's enough space around each recipe to make it easy to read and to write your own notes if you're that way inclined.

You're not going to like every recipe in this book but there are quite a number that I've tried, am going to try and am going to revisit. It's a book that you're sure to find something to take your fancy and will inspire you to cook some more. I have to say it's the best cookbook by a TV chef that I've ever read and I feel it will take quite a lot to beat. 5 stars.
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on 30 September 2010
This book just looks amazing to begin with, coffee table cookbook style, all glossy with fantastic food photography throughout.

As an amateur cook, I enjoyed the instructions on how to prepare the simplest of dishes. Recipes for such things as the Perfect Steak or Lasagne may seem basic and simple to the more experienced cook but I found them to be really useful. I think I am the perfect audience for this book! It doesn't talk down to me for not knowing how to cook something like Eggs Benedict, and it shows me how amazing simple dishes can look so there's no need to fret about whether or not a dish is impressive enough for a dinner party!

Bill Granger has showed me that there are better ways to cook simple things and I will definitely be using this book for reference now I have it.
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VINE VOICEon 29 November 2010
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I have never heard of the author, so my first frustration came when I read on the back cover that he is famous for giving a makeover to scrambled eggs, his recipe pronounced the most delicious in the world. But that recipe is not in the book unfortunately. I had high hopes when he wrote that it was to be a book of what he considers his most important staple recipes, however they are not staples as far as I am concerned. A few nice recipes are in there which I might try but on the whole it's another faffy recipe book. Baked orecchiette with sausage and cavolo nero might be a basic to Bill, but not to me :)
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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Recipe books are a type of volume that you are absolutely allowed, nay meant to, to write in. Already Bill Granger is inspiring me to add scribbles, of admiration and recommendation on many pages. I liked the innovative paper cover that allows room for tucking in notes, menus etc.

`Bill's Basics' is a totally sensible useful reference manual to have at hand for entertaining family and friends around the kitchen table. The pictures are deliciously mouth-watering and the text encouraging, friendly and relaxed.

His approach is one that will appeal to male or female cooks, easy to understand and full of clever ideas you just feel you needed to be reminded of.

I immediately made his Lemon Drizzle Loaf with Blueberries, which disappeared in one sitting. Small granddaughter determinedly packed up the last slice into her `going home' bag. It was `lush'. The Brown Sugar Shortbread is so simple and yummy you'll wonder why you ever bought a box of the commercial stuff. I made mine in the processor and it was crisp, light golden and completely delish. I am grateful too for the Brownie recipe, at last one that actually does work, with a hint about creating tiny mouthfuls of Petit Fours by giving it an icing and cutting the squares to a tiny size. Which is surprisingly actually possible with this simple recipe.

Next up the Butterscotch Madeleines with a refreshingly easy recipe and believe me as an owner of two Madeleine trays Chicago Metallic Madeleine Pan, 12 Cup already I have tried some terrors involving clarified butter, burnt butter and what have you. These Bill Granger ones are simplicity itself, made in minutes (use a table top mixer for the whisking to avoid having to stand over the eggs, sea salt and sugar) and every poppet turned out the right shape, the mixture having obligingly filled the two trays to perfection. Although I don't suppose Proust knew of Golden Syrup; or maybe...the tins have been around forever.

And how easy is his Tarte Tatin? Baked on the oven with caramelised top, shop bought puff pastry (phew) it looked a million dollars.

On the savoury side, the Coleslaw, `Fried Chicken' and Perfect Steak are a great introduction to cookery for students or newly launched cookery enthusiasts. All this food you think you have to buy ready -made; no, read up in Bill's Basics and save £££s all the while achieving tremendous improvements in taste, nourishment and good value.

This attractively straightforward book would sit well on a school curriculum. Bill himself looks rather like a confident surgeon relaxing after successfully completing a major op; reassuringly fresh faced, cleanly dressed and very smiley. I like him!
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on 16 November 2010
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I've had this for a little while now and have had a chance to try out a few of the recipes, and overall I'm very pleased with it. While some cookery books have started to go down the "lifestyle" route where you almost have to read it like a novel due to pages of text about the history of the ingredients, this is refreshingly straightforward which is fine by me as I'm really not interested in anything but ingredients list and the method. There is a brief note about the choice of each dish but it's tucked away at the top of the page so if, like me, you're not bothered then it's not in the way.

In terms of content there is certainly a wide variety of it. Included recipes cover everything from light snacks to big meals to deserts to home baking. Recipes are grouped by broad categories ("Breakfast", "Meats", "Seafood", etc) and the book includes a helpful index. On the presentation side, I would have to say it's excellent; there are full page colour photos of each dish, and the ingredients lists and methods are clear and concise. No clutter, no fuss.

If I have to name a fault, it's that some of the recipes aren't necessarily what a beginner would consider to be basic - but, that said, they are uncomplicated versions, it's just that the dish itself naturally involves a certain level of complexity.

Overall I would definitely recommend this book, especially to someone like myself who isn't hugely skilled but wants to learn some new dishes with minimal hassle.
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on 25 September 2010
I am a huge fan of Bill Granger's books, and this latest work is as good as ever. In this new book, he brings together a collection of his favourite, classic recipes - the kind he comes back to again and again. The recipes are true to Bill's style, simple and elegant, letting the gorgeous ingredients shine. This is food that is easy to prepare, and even easier to enjoy, but still shows style and something special.
As for the recipes, they are first class versions of great classics, along with a few innovative twists. Featuring vibrant flavours from around the world from brunch dishes to teatime treats. Some of the recipes that I particularly like include:
Spaghetti with scallops and preserved lemon, Tomato Soup with cashew and coconut sambal, a really jammy Plum Tart, Chickpea burgers, and the Polenta Bolognese Gratin and Saffron Risotto with lobster.
The book is laid out in a clear and easy to follow style. The recipes are divided into logical sections, and with just enough introduction to get Bill's style without being too long winded.
I can highly recommend this book - both for seasoned cooks or kitchen novices, for Bill Granger fans and those who are new to his books - it's a winner!
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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
`Bill's Basics' offers up Bill Grangers take on various well known and classic recipes/food stuffs. This is broken up into various chapters so you can find the recipe for your requirements, these are Breakfast, Baking, Soup, Salads, Rice Pasta & Bread, Chicken, Meat, Seafood, Vegetables and finally desserts. Each recipe has a mouth watering photo of how it should look and whilst it suggests how many people it will serve, it doesn't specify preparation or cooking times separately like other books I own. Each recipe also has a short paragraph from Bill with some thoughts on each dish. The photos are well produced throughout and get you salivating at the thought of tasting the dish on offer. After trying a few recipes (and reading through many more) I found this book easy to follow and whilst you may need to tweak the recipes slightly for personal preferences, the finished meals have tasted pretty good so far. This has some simple recipes for novice cooks, as well as some more difficult dishes for when you get more confidence and for those cooks who have more experience. All in all this is a well presented book, with some tasty recipes and it should compliment any household cookbook shelf.

Feel free to check out my blog which can be found on my profile page.
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on 13 September 2010
This is an excellent book. Granger offers one hundred classic recipes in his typical no nonsense, practical manner. The results are always successful, and high on fresh flavours.

The book is beautiful, too. Full of magnificent colour photographs and written in a style that is engaging and concise. Granger simplifies cooking, but never dumbs it down. There is good humour, too, and much common sense.

Possibly my favourite book of his so far, and contender for cook book of the year.
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VINE VOICEon 15 January 2012
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The recipes in this book span a range of cuisines and are always clear and easy to follow. Everything I've cooked up from here has turned out exactly as planned - and all have been very tasty. Not just a book for beginners, it's a reminder for the experienced cook that exciting and delicious food doesn't have to take ten hours and fifty ingredients to make. It's certainly been good to have this on my shelf on late nights home from work.
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