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Customer reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars

on 17 May 2017
Excellent cook book. I highly recommend Bill Granger, he is practical, easy to understand and has delicious meals that are great for family meals.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 8 October 2012
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I think it would be fair to say that this isn't the most innovative cookbook around, and there are recipes which are variations on a well-known or commonplace dish. The layout is good, separated into chapters based on a key ingredient (e.g. chicken, steak, rice potatoes, beans, cheese, etc) which makes it easy to pick up something in the shop, like a pork chop or chicken breast, and then make it a bit more interesting. Frequently, once you have the fresh ingredients - meat, fish or veg - the recipe uses store cupboard items. Although the recipes are simple to prepare, you do need to watch the overall timings. Whilst some recipes could be on the table within thirty minutes, others involve reasonably lengthy prep and cooking times.

I think the book may encourage people to vary a standard recipe with different ingredients or flavourings or even to try something new. For example, there is a baked potato & coleslaw recipe - hardly revolutionary - but in this case the coleslaw is based on kohlrabi. I happened to see some in my local farmshop, never having tried it before, inspired to do so by reading the book. I have also tried the preceding recipe for potato, courgette & mozzarella fritters (very more-ish and will become a staple in our house).

On the day the book arrived, I had a pork chop in the fridge for my husband, and some leftover sour cream. Flicking through the book I came across a recipe for braised chops with leek & mustard and gave it a go. My husband certainly enjoyed his meal and it required little or no effort. Another recipe I tried did require a longer prep/cooking time: this was a chick pea, tomato & spinach cottage pie. Apart from the fact that there was too much mash for the topping, this was a lovely recipe - I had reservations about teaming chickpeas and mash but it was fine, nicely spiced with ras al hanout. Another recipe I can recommend is paprika & coriander roasted chicken (the recipe called for chicken legs but I only had chicken thighs which worked fine). The method is simple and although the preparation and cooking take over an hour the involvement of the cook is minimal as for half the time the chicken is sitting in a marinade that takes about thirty seconds to prepare, and the rest of the time it is in the oven. Finally, there is a really nice white bean soup which is quick and easy which I made entirely from store cupboard/freezer.

Whilst this isn't a book to set the culinary world alight, I have found plenty of recipes to try - next up a shortcrust cheese tart, Indian spiced potatoes with fried egg, fontina tartiflette and cinnamon chocolate mousse!
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on 21 November 2012
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is the second Bill Granger cookbook that I own (the other being the excellent Bill's Basics) and it has quickly found it's place as a favourite in my kitchen. It's as beautifully presented as you'd imagine a Granger cookbook to be, and whilst some reviewers have given it negative reviews due to the recipes simplicity, for me there is place for 'Easy'. I don't always want to slave away in the kitchen for hours on end to produce great food, sometimes I need to cook something that is ready to eat in a sort time, or something that can be quickly assembled and left in the oven for a couple of hours allowing me to get on with other important things. It is on these occasions when 'Easy' makes perfect sense, and it is for that simple reason that I highly recommend Granger's latest book.
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VINE VOICEon 3 March 2013
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Of all the cookbooks I own, Bill Granger's are becoming a fast favourite. This latest offering is no exception. Anything that gives you tasty meals, quickly and easily, is a winner for me. Alongside the recipes, Bill's relaxed style makes you feel like you can accomplish any of the dishes and more.

This particular book contains 100 simple recipes - perfect for tasty, achievable teas and dinners. It's split into 16 different chapters, each concentrating on a different ingredient with recipes for that item. The ingredients/chapters are: Piece of chicken, Fillet of fish, Slab of steak, Leg of lamb, Pork chop, Mince and sausages, Pack of pasta, Bag of rice, Handful of grains, Sack of potatoes, Tin of beans, Slice of cheese, Carton of eggs, Apples and pears, Punnet of berries and Block of chocolate. I really like this approach to a cookery book as more often than not, I have the ingredients and want something to make with them.

The recipes themselves contain a great mixture of everything from the traditional to the fancy. Having said that, even the fancy dishes are presented in such a way that they don't seem too difficult to make and actually make you want to step out of your comfort zone and try something new. There's everything from omlettes, baked potatoes, meatballs and chocolate cake through to baked aubergine, quinoa fritters and gnocchi goulash. A really good mix.

Most of the recipes have a picture - a plus from me - although not always on the same page as the recipe. The recipes themselves have a clear ingredient list and clear instructions and without much of the waffle that's common in some cookbooks.

Overall, I feel this is a really nice cookbook and one that I can recommend. While I don't like it as much as Bill's previous books, it's still a great buy. 4 stars.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 7 October 2012
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
[]Australian chef and restaurateur, Bill Granger, has become somewhat of a household name over the years, most notably due to his television series 'Bill's Food' and his appearances on the likes of GMTV etc. With nine books already under his belt, Granger's tenth cookbook to hit the (highly competitive) shelves is entitled 'Easy'. The book was first published in August of 2012.

Like with his previous cookbooks, this latest endeavour is based around a particular idea - this one being simple, laidback and easy recipes. To quote the book's objective "Bill offers 100 fantastically mid-week-achievable dishes". Fair do's - it's a cookbook that would therefore probably appeal to most people. So how did it fair up with this goal?

Firstly, the book is split into sixteen chapters, each dealing with a particular predominant ingredient. These are:

Piece of Chicken - 18 pages (7 recipes)
Fillet of Fish - 16 pages (7 recipes)
Slab of Steak - 16 pages (6 recipes)
Leg of Lamb - 16 pages (6 recipes)
Pork Chop - 16 pages (5 recipes)
Mince & Sausages - 16 pages (6 recipes)
Pack of Pasta - 14 pages (6 recipes)
Bag of Rice - 16 pages (6 recipes)
Handful of Grains - 14 pages (6 recipes)
Sack of Potatoes - 14 pages (6 recipes)
Tin of Beans - 16 pages (7 recipes)
Slice of Cheese - 14 pages (6 recipes)
Carton of Eggs - 14 pages (6 recipes)
Apples & Pears - 14 pages (5 recipes)
Punnet of Berries - 12 pages (5 recipes)
Block of Chocolate - 14 pages (5 recipes)

Each chapter is presented awash with full-page colour shots of the dishes and related photographs chosen to make the overall presentation of the book look good. Indeed, along with the full-page photos, there's a feeling of contemporary minimalism in the presentation. It's certainly not a case of 'cram in as many recipes as you can'. Instead, the book slots in the recipes between bold and (quite frankly) immensely appetising shots of food, food and more food. So much so, that the cookbook starts to edge ever-so-slightly towards that of a coffee-table book rather than an all-out practical cookbook.

The recipes themselves are mostly straight-forward, more often than not utilising basic ingredients that you're likely to have in your fridge and cupboards. Along with having everyday ingredients for everyday dishes, the (relative) simplicity of the cooking and preparation fits in perfectly with the book's general brief.

Moreover, Granger doesn't faff around with overly colourful directions for preparing the dishes. Instead he goes for simple and easy to follow instructions, keeping it straight-forward and hassle free. Preparation and cooking time (from start to finish) for the dishes is generally around the 25 minutes to an hour mark. There are a few quicker to make dishes (such as with the 'Couscous With Feta and Cumin' recipe)as well as a number which take quite a bit longer (such as the 'Slow Roasted Lamb Leg & Chilli Relish'). But most appear to be around this length of preparation time.

We've tried out a few of the recipes so far and can strongly recommend the 'Chilli, Sausage and Broccoli Pizza' (which we added pepperoni to!), the 'Taleggio and Pancetta Baked Pasta', and the 'Tandoori Fish & Cucumber Tomato Salad'.

All in all we're really happy with the recipes offered along with the overall delivery of them. Presentation wise the book is absolutely spot on. It looks good, the dishes look mouth-wateringly appetising, and the general 'everyday' brief of the book works well for us. Pretty much all the dishes serve four people (some say 4-6), although from the few recipes we've tried out, these aren't exactly goliath portions it must be said! But then I do like big portions...

We also recommend Bill Granger's previous book 'Bill's Basics' (2010), which my wife uses and refers to all the time.
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VINE VOICEon 7 October 2012
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is another nice cookbook by Bill Granger and more to my taste than his recent Bill's Asian.These are fairly simple recipes,although not always cheap, that he thinks are quick and easy enough to be prepared after work,which in my book means no more than an hour for preparation and cooking.I haven't looked at all the recipes, but the ones I have read all seem to come comfortably within that timespan.There's plenty of variety:from pasta,grains,and sausages to curries,fish,and eggs and from Vietnamese to Spanish and I think the average mid-week cook will find most of them achievable.I'm not crazy about all the recipes and I'm not sure how many readers will be able to afford to make Vietnamese Beef Curry with 1kg of rump steak for 4 people, as a mid-week family dinner,but most are thankfully cheaper than that.We've only tried a couple so far,the Taleggio and Pancetta pasta bake,which was very easy and very tasty,and the Lemon and Coriander Roast Chicken,which again was very easy and tasty and a nice twist on a straightforward roast.We enjoyed both and will be making them again.The recipes are well laid out and easy to follow,although I'd prefer a larger print and I think just about every dish has a photo and most of them look very appealing.Not the book for a fancy dinner party,but a good one for every day or a relaxed meal with friends.
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on 15 November 2012
I was bought this book by a friend, and it has been my cooking bible ever since! Bill has created a vast selection of tasty and simple meals- my particular favourite is the spanish tortilla. I love the layout, and how the book is divided into sections, based upon produce, for quick reference and creative ideas. The photography is inviting, providing a realistic expectation of the final product. It stands out amongst many celebrity cook books, and I would definitely recommend this to a friend. Yum!!
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 28 September 2012
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I was very much looking forward to this latest offering by Bill Granger - who is sort of the Aussie equivalent of Nigel Slater. In fact, the book is laid out in a highly practical way based around a core ingredient - say a fillet of fish, a pork chop, some chicken, a tin of beans, pasta etc. Then he uses mainly cupboard store products to whip up easy meals that work well for a weekday night. It's fair to say that the recipes are not the most innovative, but the focus of the book is in the title - it's a useful weekday resource for inspiration rather than a show off diner party collection. I have to say that my first attempt at one of the recipes was though an unmitigated disaster. The fish tandoori looked appealing in the photo (there are the usual pile of sumptuous images that pad out every self-respecting recipe book but most are of the dishes rather than random images that many adopt), but my effort was an inedible version that looked very little like the image - it was more lurid pink than golden brown for a start. Partly this may be down to "operator error" but they are clearly not fool proof! Even taking everything into account, the stated grill time (3-4 minutes) seemed modest and even at the upper end of this range, I had to shove it back under to avoid eating sashimi.

This may have been an unlucky start though - my next couple of efforts (chilli chicken, baked aubergine, chickpeas and chilli) were much more edible and pretty tasty. There were no bizarre ingredients and the end results were well worth repeating. There are some vegi recipes - pretty much all tastes are catered for albeit if you want say vegi recipes, you won't get that many for your money.

All celeb cooks (technically, like Slater and Nigella, Bill is a writer rather than chef) seem to need a "thing" - Nigella waxes lyrical about the sensuousness of the ingredients, Jaimie shoves mitfulls of herbs at everything etc. As for Bill? He does like a marinade. These are not the annoying "oh, I fancy that - oh, you have to leave it in the fridge overnight" ones - more an average of 15 minutes. More often than not, you can get on with some other part of the dish while this is happening, but don't equate "easy" with "instant".

It is a practical and useful addition to the recipe book library - it's well organized and laid out and they don't require huge culinary skills - it's just that I still hold it responsible for one particularly revolting dish and, while in normal instances I'd say that a book cannot be held responsible for my incompetence - it does rather suggest that results are not quite as easy as promised! It is great for mid week inspiration though.
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VINE VOICEon 26 September 2012
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Ooh I do love Bill Granger with his impossibly white teeth and sunny disposition as yet unsullied by our dull grey British shores. Don't be expecting many changes to his standard mix of pan-asian dishes though, because while there are certainly some European flavours creeping in (antipasto plates, sausages, crostini and soft berries) there are also plenty of his familar oriental influences (hoisin marinated salmon and butter chicken).

The layout of the book reminds me of Nigel Slater's 'Real Food', with chapters themed by ingredient ('a sack of potatoes', 'carton of eggs' etc). 'Block of chocolate' was probably my favourite with a tempting chocolate and cherry tart enjoying a double page spread. In fact all the photography is mouthwatering, with that effortless rustic styling you normally see in Jamie Oliver's books (leg of lamb oozing juices on a roasting dish, potatoes beside it in a bowl, sea salt in an upturned shell, chili relish in another tiny saucer - god I'm going to have to go and get a snack just writing this!!).

In short, lots of tasty looking food - hardly a thing I wouldn't want to cook and minimal repetition (which is important if you own a lot of books by the same chef). Well done Bill. PS Would you like my phone number? ;-)
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on 9 September 2012
Let me first say that I am a huge Bill Granger fan. I have 5 other books of his and they provide the basis of nearly of all of our evening meals. Maybe the title 'Easy' should have given me the heads up, but I bought it anyway, keen to expand my Granger repertoire, eager to start cooking from it straight away. Alas it is not to be. I may even give it away. Nothing really jumps out at me. It is a very 'pretty book', with copious photographs, not a bad thing, although they have managed to stretch 100 recipes (none of which take up more than one page) to cover 256 pages. Thankfully the majority of the photos are of the food themselves this time, rather than Bill, although there are still a substantial amount that are just for decoration rather than of the food.

The premise of the book is 'cook something delicious but easy' and is split Into the following chapters, each of which contains only six or 7 recipes

Piece of chicken
Fillet of fish
Slab of steak
Leg of lamb
Pork chop
Mince & Sausages
Pack of pasta
Bag of rice
Handful of grains
Sack of potatoes
Tin of beans
Slice of cheese
Caron of eggs
Apples and pears
Punned of berries
Block of chocolate

Examples of the recipes are roast chicken salad with chive mayonnaise. Something called chilli chicken with skordalia, which we are then told 'ok, you've spotted it, this is really chicken and mash', later on we are given a recipe for a jacket potato - the slant being that rather than serving it with normal coleslaw, it has kohlrabi 'slaw instead, and on we go to salmon with potato salad, then a dish he says is nothing more than macaroni cheese but is called 'taleggio and pancetta baked pasta', and a lasagne that is just lasagne sheets layered with ricotta cheese.

Maybe this book is aimed at getting people into the kitchen rather than grabbing a takeaway or a ready meal. It certainly isn't exciting or representative of his previous books that I have. What I have always liked about his recipes is that they gave maximum flavour, without taking hours to cook, do even after a long day at work I could cook a good healthy meal in a reasonable amount of time - always less than an hour from prep to serving. This seems to have stripped things back too far, which is a real shame.

Next time Bill releases a book I will make sure I check it out 'in the flesh' rather than pre-order it.
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