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4.1 out of 5 stars
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4.1 out of 5 stars
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I have to say, this is the first time I have ever read a cookery book from cover to cover in the space of a few days. Because it's not just recipes, though there are plenty of those; but nuggets of wisdom about how to get children (and adults) to eat healthily without getting too fat, lots of humour and some apt quotations.

British teenagers today are in the first generation to be less healthy than their parents. We all know they (we?) prefer fizzy drinks and rubbish to eat, if permitted, and we all recognise that there is an awful lot of junk on supermarket shelves.

Being Mrs Microwave myself, with the usual excuses of having too little time to cook, this book was inspirational. In her introduction "Where did we go wrong?" the author quite rightly says no one should have to rely on takeaways or ready meals, and points out that less than 40 years ago cooking was taken for granted, without all the labour saving devices we possess today.

She also reassures that no one has to like cooking, or do a lot of shopping, spend a lot of money, or even be good at it. No need for fancy ingredients either - in fact cooking "real" food is nowhere near as exhausting, tricky or unrewarding as people think (and it's myself I'm psyching up here!)

As well as all the wholesome, quick and enticing recipes, I enjoyed the down to earth approach and humorous asides such as "Cheshire Tart - not a footballer's wife," and "store in a tin with a tight-fitting lid to stop the gingerbread men running away."

For too long, my attitude to cooking has been similar to someone called Katherine Cebrian who is quoted as saying "I don't even butter my bread; I consider that cooking." If anything is going to motivate me to change, this book will. In fact I can't wait!
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on 1 October 2009
I was so unsure about this book after reading the reviews that I got it out of the library rather than pay for it and I'm so glad I did
Its full of self praise
and contradictions

If you do read it note that the author of a book on healthy balanced diet tells you shes overweight and has tried the cabbage soup diet
The front of the book is several sections about how well the author does this sort of thing and how you too should be able to avoid using processed fried and sugary food whilst saving money etc..
then
the recipes then go on to give you lots of ideas for.. you guessed.. fried food, sugary foods and meals that include one or more element of pre bought processed food.
the meal planners assume you only eat five meals a week, and shop in different supermarkets for each.
All the exact information in the book is available online for free if you look for the authors website
if you've got to read the book - borrow it - that way you'll have a little more money and won't feel so conned afterwards.
22 comments| 42 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 24 November 2008
I normally don't like recipe books without pictures, but this isn't your average 'pretty to look at' recipe book. The format is as straightforward as the concept and the recipes. I'm not very confident about cooking meals (although I love baking), but the recipes and explanations are great. I love that there is a section on how to prepare vegetables too! Our first week of meals cost just under £30! This book has been just the thing to kickstart my way into making hearty healthy meals everyday after work without the stress or the long list of pricey ingredients. I love it!
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on 14 January 2009
I own a lot of cookbooks, Nigella, Jamie, Nigel Slater etc. But this is much better (oh, and cheaper to buy, and to cook from that the others). It isnt gourmet cuisine, its normal food, great wholesome family food, that doesnt cost the earth, and is easy to prepare. Its also really well written, and funny in parts. Only had it a few weeks and Ive tried several recipes already. I has ideas for breakfasts and lunches, then on to dinner recipes (shepherds pie, chicken and ham pasta bake, sweet and sour chicken, cider sausages), then onto soups, puddings, and baking (the all-in-one apple cake went especially down well). Easy to read, easy to cook from, and engaging.
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on 5 November 2008
This is a wonderfully simple, efficient cookery book that every working mum can relate to. I found that not only do my family enjoy the meals but my children want to help make them too. My daughter made the Tuna Pasta Bake recipe in cookery class as school and got 10 out of 10 and 2 merits for it.
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on 19 December 2008
This is exactly what I have been looking for. I love the fact that the recipes are easy and full of ingredients that are easy to find. I love the weekly planner, as well as the shopping list for the week and also where to get it from!!! Its fantastic. I love the humour in it, the layout of the recipes and the variety of meals and deserts :) Of course, I'll substitute some meals from week to week, but I now have a place to start. My kids have eaten everything we have made so far, which used to be a sore point in this household. Its been a life saver and have recommended this book to all my friends!
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on 30 July 2009
I'm a bloke...I have no time for mucking about and want to cook good food for my family instead of pulling something processed from the freezer and turning on the hob or oven...I am fed up with mediocre meals, or as Crocodile Dundee would say: "you can live on it, but it tastes like S%#t !"

For this, I would recommend this book. For those like me that lack confidence and imagination in the Kitchen I have tried many of the recipes here and can happily say that I am using them again regularly. The book covers points on how to use leftovers for other meals, how to promote food to young Children, and tackle pack lunches in ways that are appealing instead of working hard to have them come back un-eaten. The author is clearly a well-practiced mother and a former school cook to boot, commenting on both the positives and negatives of school foods over the past several years.

I have tried several of the tactics mentioned in the book on my 4-year-old girl with positive results. No pictures or complex guides will be found in this book, its all quick, simple and straightforward. Everything is open to deviation based on your taste - this is encouraged by the author to improve your confidence with cooking and also stop you fretting about what you don't have in your food store.

Most importantly, as the title describes, you can learn how to budget for your weekly meals, a process that seems to be lost in time (late 70's onwards?) as many families these days buy on impulse instead of planning for what they need for the weeks ahead. This book is well worth a buy and read if you want to cook and eat healthy home cooked food that won't break the bank.
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on 5 January 2009
I was bought this as a present for Christmas and already we have saved money in following the recipe plans at the back of the book. Straight forward, healthy food that are easy to prepare and very tasty. Nice to find a non-American book of this type.
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on 16 December 2008
This is the cookery book that I have been searching for: simple,healthy, tasty food, to feed to my 'picky' family. No exotic ingredients to buy (hard to find, and never to be used again). Also it is written with much wit, warmth and wisdom.
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on 10 May 2009
This book is brilliant. It's for everyone. For those who have never cooked before to the highest level of cooks. I fall somewhere in between. Working full time and with two primary school aged daughters this book has totally transformed our meal times. I no longer feel that I slave away in the kitchen after a full day's work. The receipes are simple and straight to the point. I've cooked rarely a vegetable lasagne before, because it seems too time consuming and the ones that I have cooked never seem worth the effort. I tried the aubergine lasagne last week, it was great and quick! It takes little effort to make double the receipe and put the second dish in the freezer. The book is packed with lots of straight to the point helpful tips. I've never thought of freezing pancakes before! One other positive thing I've noticed is I'm loosing weight. I'm not overweight anyway, but I've noticed by not buying ready made food and cooking freshly, the inches are coming off my waisline and I'm not trying to diet!How to Feed Your Whole Family a Healthy Balanced Diet, with Very Little Money and Hardly Any Time, Even If You Have a Tiny Kitchen, Only Three Saucepans ... - Unless You Count the Garlic Crusher...
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