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Baking made more accessible
Baking Made Easy - Lorraine Pascale
Member Name: cerys82
Baking Made Easy - Lorraine Pascale
Advantages: Good variety of useful recipes
Disadvantages: maybe could do with more photographs
From: Lisa Smith [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: 27 August 2012 21:42
To: Lisa Smith
Subject: baking made easy lp
'Baking Made Easy' is the first cookbook by model turned patisserie chef Lorraine Pascale and accompanied the BBC TV series of the same name. I have to say I was not a massive fan of her programme, finding her presenting style quite cringeworthy and amateurish but was won over by the recipes in this book and went ahead and purchased it.
The book is hardback with glossy pages with a looseleaf cover (something I always recommend you remove if you're planning to cook from it a lot as it easily gets damaged.)
The book is 239 pages long and contains 100 recipes.
After a thankfully short introduction - Lorraine gives 3 pages over to some bulletpointed tips to accompany the ideas in the book then we get to the recipes good and proper.
Examples from each chapter are as follows:
*Each recipe has a short introduction by Pescale, an indication of how many people the recipe will serve and indicates whether or not it is vegetarian. The ingredients are listed down the side of the page and she often splits them into useful segments such as coating, sauce, by layer, cream etc as well as separately listing the equipment that is required. A number of the recipes also have photographs of the finished dish alongside them.
Breads - Croissants, Brioche rolls, coffee and maple panettone, foccacia, chorizo and thyme fougasse, pumpkin and rosemary muffins
Cakes - Carrot cake (with 3 tiers!), mojito genoise, orange and cardamom ricotta cake, Battenberg, Victoria sandwich, Three-tier Red Velvet Cake, cupcakes
Savoury baking - Camembert and roasted garlic, butternut squah with quinoa, feta, basil & mint, quiche Lorraine, pork pies with cider, fish pie
Desserts and patisserie - dark chocolate and raspberry swirl cheesecake, bakewell tart, pear tart tarte tatin, jam roly poly, peach clafoutis, rum babas with star anise cream, sticky toffee pudding,
Dinner party - parmesan and poppy seed lollipops, sun dried tomato and rosemary palmiers, pork with calvados, marscarpone and ginger crème brulee, passion and lime meringue pie,
Sweet treats - Fondant fancies, bite-sized jam doughnuts, macaroons, flapjacks, cookies and cream fudge brownies, honeycomb, churros, rosewater marshmallows,
Before the final section - index and acknowledgements comes a section of basic recipes including: puff pastry, shortcrust pastry (savoury and sweet), flavoured pastries.
As you can probably assess - given that 100 recipes isn't necessarily a massive number for a book of this type - the recipes that Pascale has chosen do seem to fall into two types - traditional /well-known and original variations on this.
I have to say that this has gradually become one of my most used cookbooks and I really like the mix that she has selected. In particular the camembert and butternut squash recipes have become part of my regular rotation. I have found all of the recipes that I have tried have been really well descrived and I have been thrilled with the end results. There are a lot of staple baking classics that I have never had the confidence to try before such as croissants but this book has really changed that.
The recipes are written in a clear and concise way and don't ask you to have tons of difficult to source ingredients, although it is advised that you should have some basic baking equipment. As a patisserie chef, I think it would have been easy for her to go really over-the-top with her sweet goods but the book is incredibly well balanced.
One criticism I would have is that I would have liked a few more photographs - particularly on some of the more complicated recipes (ie multi-layered cakes).
In conclusion, I would really recommend this book both as a baking cookbook but also in a more general sense. I think that anyone with a general interest in cooking would get something out of it and it also serves as a really good reference for anybody who is looking for a one-stop place for baking basics.
Summary: A very useful addition to most cookbook collections
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