Top critical review
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Basic but useful
on 30 July 2013
This book aims to give guidance and recipe ideas for those who might frequently be faced with cooking for themselves. There are some introductory chapters which outline what things you might need in the kitchen and some "tips for beginners". It's then broken down into chapters based on food type, such as soups and snacks, seafood, beef, lamb, pork, poultry, vegetables, etc, making it easy to find each recipe based on what you might fancy making. There are also some meal planners at the back which cover two weeks' worth of recipes for lunch, dinner and a dessert.
I was hoping for some inspirational ideas but really, this book offers a lot of basic recipes which most competent cooks would probably conceive themselves. Spaghetti and meatballs in this book is only different because it gives smaller quantities, whereas something like Lamb Chops with Shallots and Peas is more an assembly job than an elaborate dish. Some recipes give quantities for two servings, suggesting that the other can be eaten the following day or placed in the freezer, however these recipes aren't frequent.
As will always be the case when cooking for one, recipes use small quantities of items you have to buy in large packets. The recipe for Lamb Shank with Rosemary and Garlic uses two anchovy fillets, which would leave you with another 6 or 8 fillets left to do something with. Some of the desserts are similar, such as the Caramelised Pears with Mascarpone: two table spoons of Mascarpone would leave you with 2/3 of a pot to use up elsewhere, which isn't great for the singe cook. In some places, however, suggestions are made for how to use the remaining ingredients, and this is seen in the mascarpone recipe: the writer suggests making Tiny Tiramisu or just substituting the mascarpone for creme fraiche.
The recipes are clearly set out and the method for each is broken down into no-fuss bullet points, making it easy to follow. However there are no images (at least not in the kindle edition) which is a shame, as it would be more enticing to make some of the recipes if there were images of them alongside the recipes. Overall it's a solid book, and certainly the kindle price makes it a useful purchase.