Newest Review: ... reassured me as I use the BBC GoodFood website A LOT when looking for inspiration or something a bit different. It also claims on th... more
Bought for my husband, used by me!
101 One-pot Dishes: Tried-and-tested Recipes
Member Name: redhead78
101 One-pot Dishes: Tried-and-tested Recipes
Advantages: Good variety of recipes, easy to find ingredients, mostly quick to make
Disadvantages: Not much good for a more experienced cook, NO CHOCOLATE
My husband, bless his cotton socks, is not much of a cook. Don't get me wrong, he can make a mean jacket potato or pasta bake (and he's also been known to heat up MY homemade chilli, stick some rice in the microwave and claim all the praise for "making" dinner himself!), but try getting him to cook something from scratch, or something that requires using more than one pan at a time and something in his (highly scientific, engineer mind) just can't cope with it! I know men aren't meant to be able to multi-task (why, oh why, does it not occur to them to wash the dishes whilst they're waiting for the kettle to boil???), but I just cannot understand why having two pans on the go at the same time is such an obstacle for him...the man built his own mountain bike from scratch for goodness sake!
Anyway, I digress! Whilst on the lookout for little stocking fillers for him a few years ago I stumbled across the 101 One-Pot Suppers book (I also bought another in the series called 101 Simple Suppers, but they proved none too simple for hubster!) and, at only £3.99 on offer down from £4.99, I snatched it up in the vain hope that it might get husband into the kitchen more and me out of it more! If only...
It's a handy little book size, measuring only about 5 inches square and about 3/4 of an inch thick, although I personally prefer bigger, thicker cookbooks - in fact I wish publishers would make all cookbooks the same size so they looked neat and pretty on my kitchen shelf, instead I have to hide half of them in a cupboard! This one is produced by BBC Books and GoodFood Magazine, which immediately reassured me as I use the BBC GoodFood website A LOT when looking for inspiration or something a bit different. It also claims on the front cover that the recipes are "tried and tested" and has the obligatory tempting, hearty, mouthwatering colour photo to entice us to look futher.
Apart from the introduction (not much use for me, a waste of a page I'm afraid!) and the index (self-explanatory), it is divided into 6 sections:
- Meat and Poultry
- Fish and Seafood
- Veggie-Friendly Dishes
- Suppers for a Crowd
- Puddings and Desserts
One thing I did find a little strange is that there is no separation between the sections. Normally there would be a title page at the beginning of each section, but in this book they just merge together. The only way you know you've gone from the soup to the meat section (apart from the recipes, obviously!) is the word soup or meat and poultry in very small print at the bottom of the page.
There is also a handy little section with conversion tables for both measurements and oven temperatures...very useful for people like my husband, and myself admittedly, as I frequently cook from American recipes.
Each recipe covers a double page spread. The left hand side has a brief one or two line introduction, a list of ingredients, method and nutritional information and the right hand page shows a beautifully staged photo of the dish.
Being a one-pot cookbook you would expect the recipes to be easy to follow and they really are. Most of them have only two or three steps in their methods and so are generally quick and simple. The vast majority of them only use either store cupboard ingredients or ones that are readily available from supermarkets etc. There are one or two exceptions, the fresh kaffir lime leaves spring to mind - hands up who knows where to buy lime leaves?? But generally speaking, the average person living in the average town shopping in the average supermarket should have easy access to 99% of the ingredients they use.
To be fair, we haven't really used this cookbook as much as some others on my shelf (I say we, obviously I mean I!). Mainly because this doesn't live on my shelf, it's in a cupboard, out of sight, with all the other odd-shaped cookbooks I own, so when I'm looking for new ideas or inspiration I often forget about it. Having said that, however, the recipes I have tried from it have all been tasty and easy to make and have lived up to the titles promise of only using one pot - although many dishes require side dishes, so obviously these use other pots. Not that I care. If he's not going to even try cooking from this book then the more washing up for him at the end of dinner the better as far as I'm concerned! Or does that make me evil? :)
Recipes we've tried (I've tried) are the Roasted Ratatouille Chicken (very nice but nothing special, and certainly nothing I needed a recipe for), Sausage and Leek Hash (ditto), Cheesy Chops and Chips (VERY nice!), Spicy Prawn and Chorizo Rice (tasty, but not as good as my Jambalaya apparently!) and Red Thai Squash Curry (very tasty and mightily impressed my veggie mother-in-law).
The main let down for me when it comes to this book is the dessert section. What kind of cookbook doesn't include a single chocolatey pudding in it's dessert section??? MADNESS! Ok, there is chocolate in the Tiramisu, but apart from that there is a severe lack of my favourite ingredient! Who on earth would include a recipe for Sticky Cinnamon Figs and not a whiff of a chocolate pudding in sight? Poor, very poor!
For us this book isn't really much use to be honest. It was bought in an attempt to get my husband cooking more, but has sorely failed in that attempt...although he does still spoil me with toast and marmalade! Whilst I don't consider myself to be an expert cook I am more than competent in the kitchen so, for me, this book is a bit too simple and many of the recipes are ones that I would just concoct anyway if I had the ingredients in the fridge/cupboard. I could have a pretty good stab at Broccolli and Goats Cheese Soup without having a recipe in front of me, ditto for Spiced Pork with Stir-Fried Greens, for example. I won't deduct a star for this though, as it's not the books fault it doesn't get much (any) use by the person it was bought for.
If you were a starter cook or not very confident in the kitchen then this would be a very good investment. The recipes really have all been delicious and very easy to follow and they're mostly ready in under an hour, and many in less than half an hour, making it an ideal way of bringing some variation to your evening meals during the week. Unfortunately for me the recipes are just too simple to keep hold of my attention, so in my cupboard it will most likely stay. But for less than a fiver it's a good addition to MY collection of cookbooks and if nothing else, it's always useful to have ideas for visiting veggie guests.
(The loss of a star is for the chocolate issue!)
Summary: A handy addition to a beginner cooks shelf but not so handy for the more experienced cook
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