on 2 November 2011
Mince It ~ AWW Book Review
I am a big fan of Australian Women's Weekly Cookbooks (AWW), they are attractively priced and are always full of varied and diverse recipes which I am sure will appeal to most people. This Book, "Mince it" is no exception, although I would not recommend it for vegetarians!
The book has a contemporary feel to it, AWW have changed their design format recently and the results are sleek with an air of modernity about them; the way that the cookbooks are set out now are user friendly and helpful, with wonderful pictorial sections about selected food and kitchen equipment; this book has a great section at the front and back of the book entitled "Know your potatoes" as well as very useful section of Knife Skills too.
As with all of AWW's latest cookbooks, the photography is top notch and the food styling is attractive and appealing; the serving suggestions and ideas are fresh and exciting, as well as most of the recipes, which I found to be very innovative in this cookbook.
The contents of this book are as follows:
1. Minced Meat ~ a VERY informative section about all types of minced meat such as lamb, beef & veal, chicken & turkey, pork and sausage mince.
2. Chicken & Turkey
3. Beef & Sausage
5. Pork & Veal
7. Conversion Chart
The index is extremely helpful in awarding each recipe a symbol to further aid your recipe selection ~ F for Fast, E for Easy and $ for Cheap ($'s being Australian, but still helpful)
The Glossary, as always, is extremely informative about certain less common ingredients, as well as being very helpful about certain food groups such as, Beans, Sauces, Sugars, Flour, Rice and Vinegars. Next to the Glossary is the Conversion Chart which is a must for European users, as it converts from Aussie cups and Metric to Imperial; this cookbook also has a brilliant bookmark flap at the back of the book with a condensed conversions chart featured, so you can have easy access whilst cooking, this really is a thoughtful and very useful feature.
The recipes, as I mentioned before, are diverse and innovative ~ this is NOT your standard minced meat cookbook and I like it all the more for that reason. There are some wonderful Asian inspired recipes such as Sang Choy Bow and Pork Balls with Soy & Lime Dipping sauce as well as the more usual pasta dishes, but again they are modern and innovative; some recipes that leapt out straight away are: Pork, Mushroom & Sage Lasagne and Chicken, Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni. There are various burger recipes, as you would expect in a minced meat book and I was immediately drawn to the Turkey Burger with Cranberry Onions. Mexican inspired meals are also represented with several Chilli Con Carne recipes and some amazing looking Spicy Chicken Tacos. Meatballs, Spag Bol and Meatloaves also jostle for position with Curries and Spicy Stir Fries ~ Pies, Sausage Rolls and Soups are also there to entice you, I particularly liked the sound of the Harira Soup and Lamb, Potato & Rosemary Pie. All in all, the selection of recipes is superb and it is hard to believe that you have a paperback cookbook in your hand with just 120 pages.....AWW certainly pack them all in and in a very well designed way too. The layout of all the recipes is easy to follow with appealing photos alongside. Each recipe has the prep and cook time listed as well as the nutritional count per serving, a very useful addition for weight watchers.
My overall impression of this book is that is looks extremely sleek and modern, which belies the subject matter of humble minced meat; there are some great family meals in the book, but also some recipes that would not look out of place at a dinner party table, and this varied choice of style and type of meals is refreshing and makes the book a good "all rounder" in most people's kitchens. Well priced as always at £6.99 and £4.33 on Amazon, this is a "Must Have" book for amateur and more experienced cooks and I give this book a well deserved 5 stars.
Karen S Burns Booth
On opening the book, the first thing i noticed was that inside the front (and back) cover are two very informative pages. There was a section called 'know your potatoes' with pictures and short descriptions of fourteen different types of potatoes: what they looked like, what they are good for etc. Another section was entitled 'Knife Skills: choosing the right knife for the job' - pictures and descriptions of the different knifes most commonly included in a knife block. The last section on both the front and back covers were photographs of some of the main ingredients used in the recipes and also descriptions, which parts can be eaten, how you would be likely to buy them (jarred, tinned, fresh etc). I thought these were very useful pages, and would love to see them included in other recipe books. However, this is an Australian book and I think that some of the names of ingredients are different down under, and while many of them have a few names given, some may not be available in the UK. There is also a half page of conversion charts; oven temps; liquid measures; length measures and dry measures.
The book is dedicated to minced meat and the book gives recipes for chicken and turkey; beef and sausage; lamb; and pork and veal. The pictures jump out of the page, full of bright colours, beautiful looking food and there are some recipes I would love to try: turkey and cranberry meatloaf to name a few. However, there are some I have no idea about:arancini with tomato and balsamic sauce or lamb spanakopita.
There are cold meals, curry, pasta meals, pastry pies etc, something for any taste or occasion. However, I was unsure as to many of the ingredients or flavours featured in the recipes.
The book as a recipe book is one which looks very easy to use. Each recipe has a colour photograph ( most recipes have one page dedicated to it, however at the end of each chapter there are two pages which have three recipes per page, these recipes are very easy and simple). There is a clear ingredient list for each recipe and the recipe is split into clear, manageable steps (3-6 steps). At the end of each recipe there is details prep and cooking time (combined) and average servings. There are also nutritional count per serving (total fat. saturated fat, calories, carbohydrates, protein and fibre. This is very useful and a definite plus to this book - more cook books should include this information!
I like the book as a template for recipe books - great layout, useful nutritional values per recipe, photographs for each recipe, clear layout of recipes etc however I am unsure of how much I would use this book for its recipes. This is my personal opinion and I will admit that I am not adventurous with cooking or new tastes, however I think that is a book that you need to look at before you buy it for the recipes that are included, to see if they are to an individual buyers taste.