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4.7 out of 5 stars
137
4.7 out of 5 stars
Format: Hardcover|Change
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on 11 November 2016
This book is brilliant for either the beginner or experienced cook looking to improve their skills and technique. The book is broken down into numerous sections covering a particular skill or ingredient and then has a few recipes to try out related to it.

Plenty of photos make it really easy to follow and I've already created some fantastic looking/tasting food. You may need to invest in kitchen equipment to follow some of the more advanced techniques. The handy glossary section explains the terms used in various other recipe books and there's lots of helpful advice on food hygiene.

Overall a great find, and I suspect this book will be making regular appearances in my kitchen for some time to come!
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on 1 April 2017
Gorgeous book, an absolute bible for cooking - as a beginner, it's really easy to follow and breaks everything down into baby steps. Something I'll cherish for a long time.
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VINE VOICEon 19 September 2013
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
As has been stated multiple times here, this is a BIG book! Huge, heavy, with an attractive cover/spine and 672 expensive, glossy pages, this is a luxurious tome which will brighten up and inform anyone's kitchen.

Though beginners may initially baulk at some of the recipes, there is still plenty here for those just starting out on their cookery journey - how to slice onions and prepare meat and fish are all comprehensively covered in their appropriate sections.

The book covers a wide range of culinary areas including Eggs, Pasta, Shellfish, Meat, Puddings and Pastry. It also includes a glossary and a section of good hygiene in the kitchen.

In fact, for the budding cook, there is an absolute wealth of information to devour here. Though not every recipe has an accompanying photo, the majority do, there is still an abundance of photos here to get the mouth watering.

All this splendour comes at a cost, of course, and £30 is a lot to spend when Jamie and Gordon's latest books will doubtless be everywhere and slashed to a tenner for mass consumption. But, on the other hand, this is probably a more comprehensive and, I dare say, slightly higher quality product.

Ah, hang on, it would appear Amazon has kindly slashed that RRP down to £12 in which case this is an absolute bargain for anyone and for "anyone else" with the vaguest interest in learning to cook or improve on existing skills it would make a fantastic gift.

A beautiful cookbook at a giveaway price? There's really no reason not to get it!
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on 10 September 2013
To describe this as a general cookbook is to do it a disservice - it's much more than that. Its explanations of techniques are more comprehensive and painstakingly illustrated than any I have ever seen. As a teaching book, it beats even Darina Allen's offering. I'm a very experienced cook, and I found a lot of technique here that I'd either never heard of or had forgotten. It's great to have a single volume that gives a refresher on all you need to know. Others have covered the detail, so there's no point repeating it, but I would like to reinforce how very well made this book is. It lies flat wherever you open it, with one of the strongest spines I've seen for years. It is stunningly produced with 500 recipes, 250 variations, and fantastic pictures. Most pictures are to illustrate techniques in a step by step fashion which I found very useful. Of course, if you have any experience, a general cookbook is going to have stuff that you know, but this book seems to include important detail that others omit - it is a useful reference that you will keep. Many of the recipes are updated traditional, chosen partly to expand on the training material - so look for lots of extra tips there, including more problem solving.

My initial test of a general cookbook is always poached eggs. I discovered the vinegar-less method independently years ago and put books back on the shelf that deviate from it. It saves spending a lot of time and money on those that are not up to scratch! "How to cook" nails poached eggs perfectly. I am particularly fond of baking and really like the section in this book. It's essentially an update of "Leith's Baking Bible" minus most of the recipes. I note with approval that the rubbing-in method is fully reinstated without the suggestion that it is old-fashioned and no longer relevant (see Baking Bible 1st Ed.). The section is amazingly comprehensive, covering the most likely baking "gotchas" very well. Note that many items generally covered in baking books are included in other sections in this volume - for example, steamed puddings are dealt with in detail in Fruit and Puddings. The section on sauces covers this highly technical aspect of cooking very thoroughly, and will enable me to chuck out at least one specialist sauce book to make way for this one! I haven't tried any of the recipes yet - that's not why I bought the book. But the few I've looked at in detail seem fine and should produce excellent food for a modern menu.

As might be expected, there is a well-organised index covering eleven pages. The typeface is highly readable if possibly half a point small for practical use. The sections contain such a wealth of information and recipes that a detailed contents should have been provided for each section. Using the index to home in on what you want soon becomes tedious. I deducted a star in my rating for this important flaw. A separate index of recipes would also be a useful tool. Also a couple of place marker ribbons are very useful in books like this to help you flip from technique to recipe, and back, easily.

In short, this is a good book at a good price. I'm not sure if it's suitable for novices, it's so comprehensive it might put them off cooking! On the other hand, if they persist it will be a friend for life. You might also like to wait for a second edition with, hopefully, detailed contents at the head of each section and a slightly larger typeface.
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on 28 June 2017
If I could only have one cook book, this would be it. It's extremely well-written, with clear instructions, and lots of information about tools and techniques. The recipes range from the simple to the potentially daunting, mainly classical cuisine,but the recipes are so comprehensive and straight forward that they encourage the reader to have a go at something they may previously have felt beyond them.

I'd recommend this both for novice cooks, and for anyone wanting to improve and push the boundaries a bit more.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 4 March 2016
I've enjoyed cooking at home for more years than I care to remember. Cookery books seem to be subject to fads; diet or the latest so called celebrity chef will see a plethora of cookery merchandise. A few good, most bad or indifferent. Prue Leith has been at the top of her profession for years. She's not one for self proclaiming, but her influence on food is amazing. She revolutionised the image of railway catering, for example. Shes truly been there and got the Tshirt and How To Cook is a truly outstanding cookery bible. It's far less complicated than Larousse Gastronomique. It's more colourful, enticing and practical.

Whether you're a novice cook, looking for know how, or an experienced home cook seeking just a bit more by way of technique or recipes, there's something here. I've cooked rib of beef for years. I've never seen uch easy to follo photos showing how, if you wish, to cut the joint off the bone prior to serving. It made my mouth water just looking at it. It explains sauces, their base, how and why they work, what to use them for. I've always made my own roux and bechamel, for example. If you use a packet mix, take a look at this book and see how easy it is to make something so much better from two or three staple ingredients. Step by step guide, with pictures make this almost infallible.

Fish,meat, pastry, cakes, sauces, lobster prep, vegetables; everything in a single volume. I love this book for its colour, inspiration and sheer simplicity.
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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I teach cookery for a living, and without wishing to sound patronising, some of my students do start my classes with a quite baffling lack of basic knowledge. Not knowing how to dice vegetables is one thing, but not knowing. e.g. that you need to turn on an oven in order to make it cook anything is quite another..

One the other hand of course, every cook knows that you never stop learning, and will constantly use new techniques and recipes.

So whilst a book that uses quite complex, modern food to teach basic principles seems at first rather counterintuitive, what results is something that almost everyone will find useful to own. Every home should have something like this, really. However, very experienced cooks should bear in mind that the recipes are very,very detailed indeed,presuming no prior knowledge, occasionally taking longer to read than the dish takes to cook.

As for the presentation of the book itself - Wow. I was expecting something rather utilitarian, but this is a real coffee table job, very high quality with 600 pages. At the price Amazon's selling it at the moment, it's a proper bargain. Thoroughly recommended.
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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
More than a cookbook, this is a cookery course with lots of illustrated descriptions of preparation methods across all of the food groups: step-by-step photographs show how to prepare just about anything you are likely to cook and a few you may not - sea urchins, for instance and something which has become popular recently, razor clams. But there is much more including vegetables, meat, fowl and game as well as pastry, breads and biscuits, plus more besides. I teach cookery and this would be a good resource for learners up to level 3: cookery students would be well advised to buy this book in addition to anything else they need to read for their course. There are some good recipes, nicely photographed food that is perfectly presented, but this is not a particularly chefie book: it builds upon the basics for good restaurant food, showing you how to prepare and make the dishes up to a high standard and I think that it is a good thing, learning how to glaze a poached salmon or prepare lamb noisettes, which is instructional rather than modishly creative or stunningly exciting. However, as the title explains, this is a book that aims to teach you how to cook and to guide you through the process. There are a lot of cookery books at this moment in time, that are presenting incredible food that, for most people, are difficult if not impossible to replicate successfully: this book will, if you follow it, make that process easier: you will make dishes that most people will only have had dining out and do so to a good standard. So, if you want to learn to cook better or to extend your range, this is an excellent book to buy. All aspiring cooks or chefs should have this book or something like it. If you only have one cookbook and are just starting out to gather your collection, this is a good one to get: I will certainly recommend it to my students and to anyone else who is interested in good cooking.
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on 22 November 2013
Looked at Tesco's Direct for this and discovered it was nearly double the price I paid on here and was delighted when it arrived
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VINE VOICEon 8 September 2013
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Now this is what I call comprehensive. I love this book. It has lots of slightly over-exposed photos (as all good cook books should have), and has lots of recipes for all levels of cooking.Tidy.

What I particularly like is it does actually start from the beginning- that is, it even includes how to chop things up in different styles. I like this, as before this book, I generally chopped things in a manly and masculine way; thing is, my carrots look like bricks, and my broccoli looked like hammer drills. Now they look all lovely and delicate. Nice.

Another point is the recipes are as they are. Certain other 'mockney chef' cook books complicate things at the end of the recipe. 'Pukka- sorted-simply throw in some dodo mozerella to taste'- or 'loverly jumbly- for extra bite, chuck in a bit of virgins blood'. These 'extras' can cost as much or more than the rest of the recipe, and REALLY crack me up. This book doesn't do that. Sweet.

So there you have it. Save money on going to cooking college, buy this book, and spend the money saved on cheap lager (or cider if you so prefer). Awesome.

Recommended.
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