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Customer reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9 out of 5 stars
How I Cook
Format: Hardcover|Change
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on 2 May 2011
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I was attracted to this book as I cook daily, but I'm always looking for some new, interesting takes on old favourites. I was initially dissapointed as there is not a picture of every recipe, which tends to be how I decide what to cook next. Flicking through the recipes they tended to be on the more indulgent side of home cooking. However my issue is with the pages which are taken up with non-recipes (perfect cucumber sandwiches, really?!. I don't really feel this book adds a lot to my cooking repertoire, and while it's a nice book to flick through, it doesn't have enough to set it apart to become a favourite in my kitchen.
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VINE VOICEon 9 February 2011
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I cooked a full meal from the book; starting with Clam and Corn Chowder, then slow cooked lamb with artichokes and peas which was delicious with melting soft lamb and ending up with blackberry and raspberry trifle. The icecreams looked great but I don't have an icecream maker or the patience to do it manually. However the dishes I cooked were all delicious.

I also liked the fact the index sourced recipes by ingredient (eg looking up capers brought up Green goddess Dressing and salsa verde), which helps you to cook from what you have in your fridge. I'm not sure what the connection of the silver spoons on the cover was to the cooking... personally I'd rather have seen a photo of one of the dishes on the cover.

A note that some of the ingredients are hard to come by and some recipes are definitely for the more adventurous chef.
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VINE VOICEon 28 December 2010
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
To be honest, I was initially put off this book by a strong sense of inverse snobbery.The name "Skye",her privileged background and the publisher's description all served to make me think that here was just another vanity project involving the chattering classes.That may all be true to a minor extent, but on the plus side there are some really nice recipes in this book, which are both simple, affordable and delicious and don't involve searching out esoteric and obscure ingredients.It's nicely laid out, very easy to follow and has plenty of enticing photographs.So far, due to Christmas intervening, we've only had the bread and butter pudding, which was lovely,but I really look forward to trying many of the other recipes.Recommended.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 3 December 2010
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
A beautiful well written recipe book. But some of the recipes are laughable book fillers and some I wouldn't eat at all. But the ones I would, are the ones worth cooking. I don't go in for this snobby cooking that seem to make a lot of these cook book not worth the money.

I like most of the recipes, how they were laid out and using easy to find ingredients. Menu planning from suppers to dinners is a good idea if you are into that.

From starters, Dinners and Desserts, there is something to choose from that will suit every ones taste.

Even though it is beautifully laid out I gave it only 3 stars as I like less than half the recipes in it, which I know others might like nearly all of them.
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on 8 February 2011
I'll be honest and say I didn't know a lot about Skye Gyngell a few weeks ago; I knew the name, but that was about it. Then this year's Michelin Guide was released and her cafe-restaurant Petersham Nurseries in Richmond was awarded its first star. The regard for the coveted accolade may not be as high as it once was, but there's no denying that when a new star is awarded, it's worth paying attention.

How I Cook is not about Skye's work at Petersham Nurseries, rather it intends to be an insight into what the award-winning chef and food writer cooks at home for her friends and family.

My first impression of How I Cook was that it is a beautiful and classic-looking recipe book. The hue reminded me of recipe books my mum had when I was a child, as if it was from another era, and not in a bad way - it's simply not a modern, in-your-face, look-how-exciting-cooking-can-be book. It's understated. The arrangement of the recipes only added to this nostalgia, with categories including afternoon tea, Sunday lunches and special occasions such as Easter, suddenly I was transported back to an age of innocence, enjoying afternoon tea in the garden at my Grandma's house.

While I thought the book looked beautiful, I wasn't immediately struck by the recipes. And the funny thing now is, having spent some time cooking the dishes, I honestly couldn't stop. At first glance, the layout of recipes could be off-putting to some readers, because they are presented as meal ideas, for example Rabbit with endive and pancetta, puree of parsnips and pan-fried griolles, and if you don't like one element (for me the mushrooms, plus I had to Google endives) you can be tempted to skip right over it. What I like though, is that on closer inspection the meal is broken up, with separate instructions for each element, allowing you to mix and match sides and meats as you wish; this combination is just Skye's suggestion based on flavours and seasonality.

Another touch I appreciated is that a lot of the recipes have a little note with them. Some explain a technique, such as cooking the Creme Caramel in a `bain-marie (literally a water basin) to protect a delicate dish from direct intense heat'; others offers welcome advice,`don't be disheartened if the mayonnaise begins to curdle, as this has happened to me from time to time' followed by directions on how to fix it; and others simple serving suggestions, such as pagnotta with the Bouillabaisse. All these are little personal touches which make the reader feel less like they're being talked at and are on their own in the cooking process.

With dishes such as Poached langoustines with green goddess dressing, roasted caramelised peaches, shoulder of lamb with sweet paprika and chickpeas, Blackberry and raspberry trifle, Sodabread ­- I could go on and on - there really is something for every occasion and every budget and with such a varied combination, it's clear this is unashamedly a collection of dishes Skye simply enjoys and wanted to share.

After spending far too long salivating as I turned page after page, I've managed to cook four recipes so far. My experiences of cooking these were mixed, but the fact that I am stopping in the middle of this to mark a page each time I come across yet another recipe I want to try, as well as already having a fridge full of ingredients for sodabread, slow roasted tomatoes and rich chocolate pots shows just how much I am enjoying Skye Gyngell's How I Cook. The cover describes it as `an inspiring collection of recipes' and given my growing shopping list, an inspiration is exactly what it is.
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VINE VOICEon 1 December 2010
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I have about 15 recipes which I cook regularly.
In my repetoire I have Mary Berry's Leek and Potato Soup (actually Vichyssoise served hot) and one of Jamie's casseroles. We all love Silvana Franco's Chocolate Meringues and Donna Hay's Thai Caramelised Pork Salad (which we also eat hot!).
It may be the same with you. Just a few old favourites which everyone is always pleased to see on the table when they sit down to eat.
Well, Skye's book has 3 or 4 clever twists on family favourites which I will definitely incorporate into my well-thumbed recipe file, like the buttery recipe for scrambled egg (who knew you could improve on such an old staple?). And she has another 5 or 6 completely new recipes which are very likely to push some of my present repetoire off the "regularly made at home" podium.
When a cookery book gives me more than 3 or 4 new favourites I'm very impressed - so this book has really impressed me.
As usual, there are some recipes which I'll never cook like quail or rabbit but generally the recipes are made up from ingredients which any home cook always has in the kitchen - cream, eggs, flour, chicken, leeks, caster sugar and strawberries etc and the flavours are simple and uncomplicated and above all, fresh.
I'm really looking forward to making Slow Roasted Tomatoes, Old-fashioned pancakes with maple syrup, Poached Egg & Ham, Easy Roast Chicken, Creme Caramel, Rich Chocolate Pots, Roasted Caramelised Peaches, Roasted Red Peppers and Tomatoes (a little like Delia's Piedmont Peppers but even easier - if that's possible) and I'll definitely be borrowing my friend's ice-cream maker as there are 3 new flavours for ice-cream and sorbet that I must try.
Oh - and did I mention that it's a lovely read. Just as one of the other reviewers said, this is a book which you can take to bed and read. Much like Nigella's Domestic Goddess, this is a delicious read in its own right.
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on 29 January 2011
I enjoyed reading Skye Gyngell's "How I Cook" (Quadrille Publishing). It is a beautifully illustrated, well thought-out book, targeting towards making a simple family meal a memorable one. The refreshing thing about this book is that it doesn't fall into the trap of being a yet another catalogue of recipes.

The book has a relaxed, laid back summer afternoon feel. This is the kind of book you would refer to when you are not in a rush and would really want to enjoy your food with family and friends. Many of the recipes are delightfully simple and yet remarkable in their outcome. I tried her recipe for the roasted Sea bass with lemon and thyme. It took me only a few minutes to put together and it turned out beautifully. This book is also very suitable if you are cooking for any occasion or for someone special.

The book is categorised according to different themes and occasions like `Sunday lunch', `Late night supper', `Time to spare' etc. Each of these sections has recipes for all three courses so that you don't have to look elsewhere to see what starter will go with the mains you are making. The book has a wide spectrum of recipes most of them are complimented with lovely photographs by Jason Lowe. It covers from very simple recipes like cucumber sandwich to as complicated as slow cooked lamb shoulder. Along with the traditional recipes you will also find some not so widely known like Pashka (I loved the suggestion she made for this particular recipe. Read the book to find out! ). If you like spicy food like I do, then you will love her recipe for Rouile. It is simple but with absolutely delicious end product.
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on 4 February 2011
I'm ashamed to say I've never heard of the super talented, Skye Gyngell but I was fortunate enough to have been given the opportunity to review her book and for that I'm very grateful. Gyngell is an award winning chef and food writer and in her book 'How I Cook', she reveals to the masses how she cooks for her friends and family.

The book is split into different menus, demonstrating meals for all seasons and all occasions. There's even a 'Time To Spare' section for when you get a bit of time to indulge yourself. For inexperienced cooks such as myself, I found this was a great book for entertaining as much as it was as a day-to-day cookery guide. Gyngell has designed each meal suggestion with a main, any accompaniments and a desert that all compliment each other and marry together well. It's not just food that she mentions either as the introduction describes tips for table decoration and crockery recommendations and throughout the book she offers alternatives to elements of her recipes which is helpful.

The thing I found most refreshing was her attitude to food. All too many books these days are about low fat options and make the reader feel guilty and conscious. I'm relieved to say that Gyngell has the same healthy attitude to food as my family where we see food as an expression of love and enjoyment with our family and friends rather than the robotic task of eating it for function and practicality. 'Everything in moderation' is my mantra and it seems to be hers!

The dish that caught my eye immediately was the Slow Cooked Belly Pork. I have a major weakness for pork crackling and the photographs by Jason Lowe made it look just as good as it does in real life. It was the first dish I marked out with one of the three ribbon page markers provided. I loved this little touch because I always end up tearing up scraps of paper to mark out the recipes I want to try when there's no bookmark attached! Great thinking Skye :) With spring just around the corner I'm desperate to sit in the garden with a glass of Strawberry and Rhubarb cordial. Even the suggestion of this recipe makes me feel refreshed and sun kissed.

All in all, a great and very well organised book. It's a joy to read and use and I look forward to testing more of her recipes soon. My tummy is rumbling right now just thinking about it!
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VINE VOICEon 31 December 2010
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Over to my wife for this review.

We have had the rather expensive pleasure of dining at Skye Gyngell's garden restaurant at Petersham Nurseries, where the food was good, fresh and wholly organic. I feared that this cookery book might require a lot of unusual ingredients that would be difficult to source, but not at all. Apart from her gentle request at the beginning of the book "Please use sea salt, freshly ground pepper and fresh herbs. Choose organic free-range eggs...." the recipes are very accessible for anyone in reach of a decent supermarket, a good butcher and some plant pots for herbs.

The book is divided into meal types: Breakfast, Late Night Supper, Alfresco Eating etc. with some enticing menu ideas. I like the emphasis on enjoying the food with friends and family rather than cooking to impress. Crying Lamb and Slow Cooked Belly of Pork are two of the recipes I look forward to trying: nothing revolutionary here but they look yummy in the photos.

The recipes are interspersed with short hints and tips explaining some of the Whys and Why Nots of cooking. I shall now be heating my milk/creme fraiche/butter before adding to potato mash - apparently it is sloshing them in cold that creates lumps.

One small detail I liked is that the book has not just one but two integral ribbons for marking your place when you are cooking the dishes. This is a recipe book that will happily merit a place on my groaning kitchen shelf.
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VINE VOICEon 3 March 2011
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is one of those cookbooks that would make a perfect wedding present/gift for someone setting up their own home. It isn't just the presentation - this beautifully photographed book comes complete with 3 silky bookmarks - but it is full of essential recipes. It has all those basics, which when well cooked, beat all the modern fancy recipes hands down, potato dauphinoise, rice pudding, pound cake, and bouillabaisse. Food that cannot be faulted and always goes down well, good classic recipes which are hard to find these days in their luxurious full fat forms.

However the book also features more unusual recipes such as rabbit with endive and pancetta. As well as giving the recipe, Skye Gyngell gives a mouth watering introduction and serving ideas, she also explains why rabbit can sometimes be tough and how to counteract that, and for anyone who doesn't fancy cooking rabbit or cannot find it in their local supermarket, she gives details of how to substitute it with chicken.

The recipes are grouped together by meals, breakfast, Sunday lunch, alfresco eating, simple weekday dinner etc, and should cover any entertaining challenge, and give everyone eating the impression that the cook is someone who is a naturally good cook and who finds cooking breezy and effortless.
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