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I love to cook. I didn't say I was good at it, but I love to give it a try anyway. And I am getting better gradually and experimenting with new recipes and ideas all the time, particularly in today's current financial climate, combined with my own financial circumstances, and also my keen interest in healthy eating, regular ready meals and takeaways are now a thing of the past. Homecooked, homebaked and homemade as often as possible. And alongside me on my little back to basics crusade, is this book. The unimaginatively titled, 1000 Recipes, collated by Victoria Blashford-Snell.
I bought this book about 3 years ago, from The Book People, for the bargain price of £8.00, not bad, as the RRP is £25.00, and currently sell on Amazon for around £19.00 + delivery.
*About the Book*
It's an A4 sized Hardback Book, with 544 pages in total. The cover is a glossy white with an orange band, with the name of the book in white and a large, colourful polka dot background. At the top there are 3 photos of dishes that feature in the book.
It goes straight into it, on the very first page, where you are met the title 'Useful Information'. Here are 2 pages of tables including Oven Tempature Equivalents, Volume and Measuring Conversion Charts, Freezer Storage Guidlines, Cooking times for Roast Meat and Poultry. Then there is the usual introduction from the author and a quick list of contributors, the Contents Page, and more usual information, more detailed than the quick-look page at the beginning, and an explaination of cookery terms, a list of basic kitchen equipment and a guide to any symbols that made used throughout the book.
The Recipes are divided into 3 sections, each with a number of sub categories, plus a sections on Techniques, followed by a detailed alphabetical Index at the back of the book. The sections are as follows:
~APPETIZERS AND STARTERS~
Breads, Sandwiches and Pizzas
Soups & Salads
Eggs, Cheese, Pickles and Chutneys
~MAIN AND SIDE DISHES~
Pasta, Noodles, Pulses and Grains
Fish & Shellfish
Poultry & Feathered Game
~CAKES & DESSERTS~
Puddings & Ice Cream
Cakes & Pastries
Fruits & Jellies
The recipes are grouped together, for example in the meat section, the lamb dishes are together, followed by beef, followed by pork, etc. At the beginning of each chapter is an illustrated summary of a selection of the recipes.
*About the Recipes*
As the title states, there is 1000 recipes, ranging from the very basic, such as simple soups, toasted sandwiches, scrambled egg, through to intermediate, such as roast dinners, pasta dishes, fairy cakes and shepherds pie, to more adventurous, like Beef Wellington, Thai green curry and Tarte aux Pommes. There are a variety of dips, soups, side dishes, snacks, lunch box ideas, barbeque tips and low fat dishes. Each recipe states the number of servings, prep and cooking times, cooking utensils required, whether or not the dish can be frozen or prepared ahead, and tips relating to the individual dish, for example, in the recipe for vegetable kebabs, it states the wooden skewers should be soaked beforehand to prevent burning in the grill or barbeque. There is also a note suggesting side dishes and accompaniments.
Every dish in the book is carefully illustrated in colour photos, this is a must for me in a cook book, I like to see what the dish is supposed to look like!
The book contains a recipe for just about every dish imaginable, from a variety of countries. There is a good selection of curries, stir fry and oriental meals, European meals, south American and Caribbean dishes, modern cuisine, traditional recipes and ideas for picnics, dinner parties and special occasions. There is a huge selection of desserts and cakes, with homemade ice cream, trifle, pies, crumbles, cookies and brownies, plus homemade jam and jelly.
The techniques section is one I have found particularly helpful, with photo illustrated instructions for fillet fish, carving and jointing meat, making sauces and salad dressings, preparing vegetables and fruit, making stock and gravy, whipping and piping cream, cake decorating, kneading dough, and cooking grains and pasta, to name but a few. This section has a picture by picture account for each technique, showing what it should look like at each stage. There is useful information on such things like how to tell if eggs, meat and vegetables are fresh, whick kind of oil to use for different flavours, information on basics like types of flour and sugar, instructions for making home made pastry and ideas for leftovers and the storing of them, which I have found invaluable.
The book seems to cater for all tastes and abilities, and there truly is something for everyone in this book. The book is well-illustrated, the recipes are easy to follow (even my other half has made a few dishes from this book!), and it is everything you need in one book. I would say it caters well for families, as most of the dishes serve four, however can easily be converted to serve more or less people. It is an ideal book for a novice cook, who is looking to expand their cookery skills, and even for the more experienced cook, as there are some unusual recipes, I have made a lot of these recipes, and although some of the more adventurous ones have taken some practice, I believe with the help of this book I have become a more confident cook, and have increased my knowledge immensely in the past 3 years. I use it several times weekly, if not daily. I have many other cookbooks, Jamie, Gordon, Nigella, the usual, but they just look nice in my kitchen. THIS book is my real kitchen buddy.
I highly recommend this recipe book, it is beautifully illustrated and practical, helpful and well written. It is pricey unless you can get it on an offer through a book club or second hand, but in my opinion, it is worth it, 1000 Recipes really is the only cook book you'll ever need, and every kitchen should have one!