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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
James Martin has provided us with another set of useful recipes. We like most of them, some are variations on old favourites we have cooked many times over the years (such as the Pork with Armagnac and Prunes, and also the Sesame Roasted Duck), and others are new to us, especially amongst the seafood and puddings. The best feature is that here they are all presented as "Fast Cooking" - something he suggests can be done in 20 minutes.

Quite a few of the recipes can be done this quickly, but several I have looked at will be closer to double that target when the preparation time is also counted in, and even that assumes you are well practised at that particular set of techniques. But this is reasonable, and all the new recipes we have tried over the last week did work as hoped.

His expectations of what should be in our stock cupboards might take some getting used to, and it will be necessary to plan ahead for many of the recipes to make certain of having all the ingredients to hand. Also, a lot of the recipes are based on hot-pan-roasting or frying; fortunately, our main non-stick lidded frying-pan has a removable handle so also allowing for cooking under the grill or in the oven.

A minor criticism I have is that he is often profligate with pans and dishes; for example the Ten Minute Fish Soup uses two large pots, a large frying pan and a liquidiser, as well as the four serving bowls. Think of the time also required for washing up, which here would be a significant part of the meal experience and one I would prefer to minimise by using the least amount of hardware possible while cooking. In his excellent introduction he even admits to his team getting fed up with all the washing. I don't have the luxury of a team to do it for me; I cook, I wash up.

BUT the real annoyance, and one that made me reluctantly dock the book a star, is because the publishers have not done us any favours by the presentation. They have followed the idiotic gee-whizz fashion of making it look pretty without thought for the poor people who might want to actually use the book to cook from. Too much of the text is small, white and on pale coloured pages. I could understand them employing a small font if there was a lot crammed in to a page, but no, the text usually only occupies about a third of the otherwise unused page area and the font could easily be much bigger and more readable. And there is just no excuse for the poor contrast between white text and pale background fighting the legibility. I cite Delia's early Complete Cookery Course books as models of readability and utility; they score 100% for presentation, and I rate this one at only about 25%.

On balance, despite the criminal lack of legibility, this is an excellent book with numerous interesting short-cuts to producing a quick meal, usually aimed to serve four. There is a preponderance of fish, poultry, egg and seasonable vegetable dishes, mainly because they are quick to cook, but this is not a bad thing when meat is becoming so expensive.
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on 11 June 2017
No other cook like James Martin!! Not much more can be said about how good his recipes are.
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on 5 January 2016
I'm sorry I was looking forward to this book - fast cooking always useful. Its due to personal taste but I dislike fish and this book has so many fish recipes (starters and mains). I also found the other dishes uninspiring. I've taken one recipe (goats cheese & red onion jam) and given the book away. If like me you are not a fish fan, don't buy.
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on 30 May 2017
Great cook book and easy to make recipes love it would buy again from this seller
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on 28 April 2017
Great book by a great chef
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on 6 May 2016
What i expected
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on 18 February 2015
Great book, well written and easy to follow. Recipes are clear and easy to follow with great results!
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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Receiving this book gave me a happy and rewarding surprise. I wasn't anticipating too much of it, I suppose; so when I got going reading it through, I felt unexpectedly inspired, brightened and re- energised, all as to the daily `turning out' of meals.

Three Cheers for James Martin from the fishing industry too. He may be a farmer's son but he takes enormous trouble to introduce every possible commercial fish to the plate, emphasising of course, that fish is the ultimate fast food. In fact he cooks some mackerel for a mere minute and a half with a (kitchen) blowtorch!

Frequent use of the deep fat fryer is made, and ours went the way of the recycling years ago for fear of fires, grease and obesity so I would have to check out the modern versions to make many of the `quickly put together' recipes he has come up with. He even deep fries eggs, which look a lot prettier than they sound.

Richly retro recipes from the 70's make a comeback; Beef Stroganoff, Baked Alaska. Cheffy tips educate, the bright pics give you the finished meal to aspire to. Some of the pages are without photos, I am not quite sure why, maybe the dishes are so easy you wouldn't need an illustration but I missed them.

I was half way through the starters, mains before I came across the meats; it was all veg, eggs and fish. Glorious presentations of Tuscan bean stew, smoked haddock and herb fish cakes (with bought mash), grilled pork chop with apple scrumpy mash, Tuna Nicoise salad, mmmm... And the puddings, well they are all heavenly and so, so simple. Melting Chocolate puds, Instant Strawberry ice cream, Lemon Posset with Limincello, Banoffee Sundae. James Martin sticks to his remit - 20 mins from start to spoon.

Many families are of the `if it's' leaning - `If It's In the Kitchen It's on The Table' so some more forward planning will pay off. Just sitting down for a while and planning the week's menus could truly work. In the fridge you will probably need ready made puff pastry, buttermilk, cream, crème fraiche to get you going together with jars/tins dulce de leche, soy sauce, sweet chilli dipping sauce, all the interesting condiments that bring these dishes to life.

I am absolutely delighted to now have this to hand. It deserves its place on the already crowded kitchen bookshelf, and definitely on the `Home Economics' syllabus. It comes with a bookmark postcard, but one is not enough, there are at least twenty slips of paper now proudly sticking out of my copy!
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on 12 June 2017
Great book. Love James and The dishes he cooks. Love the photos
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on 27 January 2015
Great book, would recommend
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