Food and drink review blog with an ethnic twist. Focus on new, unusual and seasonal products
bought in the UK.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Favourite Cookery Books Reviewed

This is the book to accompany the television series airing on Channel 4 last year.  A big break from form and his usual tradition, seen meat loving, self sufficient Hugh ditch meat entirely.   Have watched his previous programmes and he always comes across very well and has a good philosophy on food.  The column he writes for the Guardian is also worth a read.  It was a challenge for him to be veg only but it encouraged creativity and reinforced that all people should really think about making veg a bigger part of their meals.  As a vegetarian it was good to see a programme that focused entirely on veggie food.  Altogether there were seven episodes.  In the course of the programme he cooked for wild swimmers, ate at an Indian wedding, sampled some modern veggie cooking, collected and made a dish from monkey puzzle tree nuts, experienced the raw food craze, Buddhist temple cooking and plenty more besides.   
It is the best cookery book I have owned and has provided me with so many delicious meals.  It is all too easy to get stuck eating the same things and to make little effort.   But, this recipe book encouraged me to be far more creative when cooking for myself.  The recipe book has 325 pages of beautiful recipes from filling veg and bean stews, to fragrant Asian dishes, handmade breads, curries, salads and an epic soup section.  Now, soup is something I eat a-lot of and in this book there are quite a-lot recipes for this.  The book itself is well presented, bright pictures with rustic looking food that makes you hungry just leafing through.  Each section has a short introduction, words from Whittingstall on his experiences, likes and some tips.  There are some vegan recipes included and most of the dishes can be adapted to suit a strictly vegan diet.  Book would be a very good addition to any veggies book shelf but really anyone would like this, even the most ardent of meat eaters!
Recipe Highlights- 
Cauliflower and Chickpea curry, North African Squash and Chickpea Stew, DIY Pot Noodle, Leek Risotto with Chestnuts, Pistachio Dukka, Carrot Hummus, Mexican Tomato and Bean Soup, Beetroot with Walnuts and Cumin and Roast Parsnip, Lentil and Watercress Salad


A beautiful and jam packed recipe book by the famous Hummingbird Cafe.  It holds an array of tantalising American baked treats.  As a book, it is beautiful and bright with thick pages and generous full length photographs of the completed items.  The recipes are simple with easy to follow instructions.  On the most part the recipes do not call for bizarre/obscure ingredients that are hard to track down (find that some cookery books are guilty of that).  The hints and tips section at the end of the book is very good, especially for someone who is just getting into baking. 
The book is split into nine sections.  This is a nice touch as it allows you to bake for the season/specific occasion.  The sections are as follows:- Valentines Day, Spring Weekend Bakes, Mother & Father's Day, Easter, Summer Afternoon Tea, Birthdays and Celebrations, Rainy Day Treats, Halloween and Bonfire Night and Christmas.  My favourite is the rainy days one.  As I live in Scotland there are far too many rainy days, what is better to do on one of those than bake!  The recipes there, tend to be lovely warming ones, which is right up my street.  I received this book as a gift and is a fantastic recipe book which I definitely recommend.  It has something for everyone including healthier bakes, very quirky ideas and combinations (fancy some coca cola cupcakes?!), loafs, bars, whole cakes and also small cakes.  A taste of the USA in your very own kitchen.
Recipe Highlights-

 Cherry Cupcakes, Gingerbread Muffins,Walnut and Honey Loaf, Spiced Apple Cake with Brown Sugar Frosting, Pistachio Whoopie Pies and Chocolate Fondant Cupcakes 
This is my Mums cookery book and aways remember cooking from it from a young age at home.  Fairly traditional and quintessentially British it is an excellent resource crammed full of recipes.  It has some 432 pages!  The book was published in relation to a series that aired on television during the 70's and 80's, called the Farmhouse Kitchen.  This was a popular daytime show, it often featured guest chefs and really celebrated British food.  It shared hints, tips and advice on how to cook for a family and on a budget.  The main feature of the programme was that it asked people to send in there own recipes and the hosts would cook these.  I very much like the personal touch in this book- all the recipes submitted are by home cooks and their names appear alongside.  The baking section is particularly good, it features a-lot of traditional and regional British baking recipes.  Many of those specific to certain areas are some that I had never came across before.  Plenty of puddings, cakes, loafs, bread and pastry recipes.  It has good traditional main meals such as stews, curries, soups, hotpots, pies, roasts as well as preserves, chutneys, drinks and food gifts.  It is purely a recipe book and does not contain pictures.  It is simple British cooking at it's best, easy to follow recipes and as it is British, it is handy if you like to cook with local and seasonal produce.

Recipe Highlights-
Yorkshire Parkin, Banana Loaf, Bran Scones, Nutty Treacle Bread, Roasted Root and Thyme Soup, Seeded Soda Bread, Chicken and Rice Casserole, Apricot and Almond Slice, Lentil Nut Loaf, Chili Jam, Rosehip and Raspberry Jam and Rhubarb and Ginger Crumble
Quick recipes and handy shortcuts.  Lots of good ones in here including some fancy show stopping ones that are both simple and take no time at all.  Amn't a big fan of cream, butter and very rich food so she probably isn't the right kind of cook for me!  However, there are a good number of recipes that I have enjoyed and even more that I have made for other people.  I regularly have my family around for a meal and if I do go home I always cook for them.  I have made a-lot of the recipes from this book for them and they have gone down very well.  Especially with my mum who adores Italian style food.  The book offers a wide range of recipes including drinks, breakfast items, sweets (candy), desserts, meals, light meals and snacks.  It is fantastic all round cookbook.  Though I mentioned Italian, it is Nigella's main influence but in this express book the cuisine is varied and certainly not strictly Italian.  It has given me plenty of ideas and the recipes are easily tweaked to taste. 

Recipe Highlights-
 Festive Fusilli, Apple Martini, Brandied Bacony Roast Chicken, Chocolate and Pistachio Fudge, Pomegranate Ice-cream, Nectarine and Blueberry Gallette and Seared Salmon with Singapore Noodles

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