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Cool Food is a very attractive little book, it has a very pretty aqua blue spine, and the front cover has a lovely looking tuna salad on. The book is only small, 18 cm tall by 15 cm wide, but it's a thick book (400 pages in all).
I like cooking, and for a while found cook books hard to resist. I fell in love with this book in Sainsburys of all places, but once I got it home the love affair dwindled.
The book is divided into
I like the fact that there is quite a large chapter on drinks, very few books are so comprehensive in this respect. The majority of the drinks are non-alcoholic which is great for families with kids, although I'd have quite liked either a section on cocktails as this book has a lot of ideas that are great for entertaining, or suggestions by the drinks of 'you could replace the ginger been with ginger wine' or something along those lines.
Despite the book being as thick as it is, there aren't as many recipes as you might expect. Each recipe has 2 pages, one for the ingredients and method, and another for a photo of the finished product (these are really well done, the sort of picture that has you salivating, but sadly my attempts seldom live up to the pictures). I personally quite like this, but my Mum borrowed the book and was irritated by it.
There are a lot of recipes and there's a really nice range. Plenty of meat-free options for veggies like me, loads and loads of fish dishes, and a lot of meat dishes too. The recipes are from all over, including Greek food, Thai food and Italian food. Here's a taster:
-Tuna and white bean salad
-Fresh salmon patties with mango salsa
-Spinach salad with bacon and quails eggs
-Chargrilled vegetable terrine
-Sweet citus scallop salad
The ingredients lists are quite long for most dishes, and I have found that they often add up to quite an expense (this isn't necessarily a problem, but if you're on a budget you do have to be careful).
The actual recipes are in nice paragraphs, and they are fairly simple. I prefer recipes with a step-by-step guide, and these don't have this. Having said that, they are generally easy to follow, I just find I get lost more easily with where I'm up to (I'm an erratic cook, people who are more organised shouldn't have this problem.).
There isn't much jargon used, which I'm grateful for. The language in the recipes is simple and very friendly to new or inexperienced cook.
The book claims to have 'refreshing food and drink ideas for lazy days'. I agree that the food and drink is refreshing, but a lot of the recipes take quite a long time to prepare and a lot of work, so I'm not convinced about the lazy days - a lazy day to me is a really quick meal.
Overall, this is a nice book and it's got some lovely ideas, but it wasn't quite what I'd hoped. I've made a few of the recipes and they've worked and not been difficult, but they have been time-taking and pricey.
This review can also be found on Ciao under my user name of MNewcastle