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So here it is sometimes I like to cook however sometimes I don't can't be bothered lack inspiration, to tired from work whatever. So one day I was browsing this new book that had opened up in town on this day everything was £1 loving a bargain and loving books I went in to have a look and there high up on the shelf was this book. I took it down had a quick look at the back were I was told that this book offers a chance to 'rekindle your love affair with your kitchen and make you want to cook there everyday' can't say I have ever truely had a love affair with my kitchen lol but I do enjoy cooking for friends.
This book is aimed at using ingredients that you have 'lurking in you cupboard' to prepare quick and easy meals with minimum effort. It also said that it should be £20 on the back so I grabbed it headed for the counter where the mans reponse was 'oh I thought I had took all these down where have you found it?' 'on the top shelf' I replied before handing him my pound and heading to the door, I know my rights lol.
On getting this book home I had a closer inspection its broken down into 11 different parts:
Eggs and toast
Meat and fish
Eat reads like a story Tom Norrington-Davis the author talks you through his own experinces of cooking so its not just a cook book full of lists (or pictures). The receipes are easy to follow and my favourite is the discovery of how to make carbonara eggs, parmesan, pancetta and pasta all I need I never knew this and its now a firm favourite in our house.
If you like cook books with pictures and step by step instructions this won't be for you although there are pictures there not of everything which may be a bit off putting for some if you like to see what your dish is like. I think of it the other way if I can't see what it looks like I can't think I have failed when it doesn't look quite like the picture when done.
There are lots of things to do and its worth a purchase especially if you can find it a cheap as I did.
A cook book to recommend to friends.
Thanks for reading my review I hope you found it useful.
You may also see my reviews on other sites under the same name
*This review refers to the paperback version*
Cupboard Love is Tom Norrington-Davies follow-up to his highly successful traditional cooking book 'Just Like Mother Used To Make.
The book is in a traditional paperback novel form, thereby being a matt cover with quite absorbent pages that can be easily splashed. One thing I will say, without wanting to appear picky, is that the picture on the cover - of the author and a can of chopped tomatoes is somewhat inappropriate and a little off-putting, not really suitable for a cookbook.
There are very few photographs in this book - isolated to a few double sided pages at separate intervals about halfway through the book.
There is a 12 page introduction entitled "how to get the most out of your kitchen" in which Norrington-Davies sets out his intentions for the book. Essentially he want to improve people's "relationship with their kitchen", giving them confidence and not worrying overtly about reaching impossible standards set by many popular cookbooks or celebrity chefs.
Each chapter has introduction about that particular type of food/meal then what is known as 'the kit' - that is key ingredients that are needed to prepare meals of that type - going into detail about what particular qualities to look out for when buying each product as well as any necessary cooking and equipment information. Then he moves onto the recipes.
The first section is on pasta, recipes include methods for tomato sauces, carbonara, cheese sauces and good accompanying salads eg tomato and red onion, French bean and avocado.
Next we come to risotto, the recipes include lemon risotto (a simple, but light and refreshing dish), and chilli and herb.
The next chapter is oddly titled toast, but is actually as you will find out - eggs and toast. A number of pages are given over to omelette ideas, then moving on to including dishes like eggs on toast, Welsh rabbit, beans and sausages (using dried beans), roast tinned tomatoes and various club sandwiches.
This is followed by larder salads, namely salads which centre around ingredients that have a longer shelflife than standard salad vegetables eg capers, olives, tinned fish and beans etc. This is a particularly useful chapter on days when the cupboard is bare and when you are preparing to do a 'big shop', I have found that there are a number of ideas here which are good for work lunchboxes. Recipes include; various potato salads such as salad nicoise, bread salads such as panzanella, bean salads such as tuna, bean and oregano, chhese salads like Greek salad and an Indian salad based around a simple recipe to make your own paneer.
Next up is the stir-fry section. Recipes include a basic vegetarian stir-fry, bean-curd stir fry, a version of pad thai and ways of preparing meats to add to a stir-fry
We then come to the grill section, including the basics of how to grill different meats followed by a number of sauces which can accompany these eg salsa verde, Italian bread sauce and pepper sauces.
Possibly my favourite section is the 'soup' one. We initially get a recipe for a basic poato soup, then moving on to recipe ideas which 'jazz' this up including potato and dried mushroom soup and a really good potato, cabbage and chorizo one. Then we come to ideas that can be used with pulses which are particularly nutritious and cost effective eg Turkish lentil soup and Italian bean soup.
The next section is on 'junk' food. By 'junk' Norrington-Davies means ways of creating takeaway type dishes at home. These are split into three subsections - burger night, kebab night and pizza night. Burger night incorporates a basic-no nonsense hamburger, as well as ones for chicken, vegetable and fish as well as side orders such as chips and sauces. Kebab night includes leg of lamb and pitta bread as well as fillings such as hummus and tzatsiki. Pizza night gives the basics of how to prepare a pizza dough, followed by ideas for pizza toppings such as margheritas then moving onto alternative bases such as French bread pizza.
Next up we have the Indian section including chicken tikka, lamb with yoghurt and spices, aloo gobi, tarka dhal and pilau rice. There are also some good and easy chutney ideas.
The Thai section includes chicken and green curry, a great chickpea curry with madras flavouring, vegetable curries and instructions on how to make your own curry paste and coconut milk should you want to.
The final section, rather unsurprisingly is on 'afters' or desserts. Recipes include different ways of serving shop bought ice-cream and accompaniments such as cookies and brownies, rocky road, macaroons, ice-cream shakes, dishes that can be prepared with cost and nutritionally effective frozen fruit - eg trifles. Finally there are some simple chocolate and sweet nut puddings.
There are a number of good things about this book - certainly there are a number of good simple, everyday recipes that are well explained, easy to prepare and certainly not intimidating. However, I can also say that they are not easy to get excited about. The techniques are quite basic and the foods not particularly memorable so I have to say that it is not one which I go back to very often. I think that it might be good for students or people who are relatively beginners to cooking.
Being in a standard paperback format it is quite annoying to cook from as you constantly have to rest it pages down as it will not lay open by itself.
The cookbook market is quite overcrowded to be fair, and I really do fail to see what special elements this book has to offer. There are a lot of better books out there to inspire people who do not have oodles of time and energy to cook either for themselves or their families - in particular I recommend the two books written by Gill Holcombe which I have reviewed previously.
In conclusion, this is one of the least used books in my cookbook collection, its layout and lack of inspirational recipes mean that it is often one which I forget to use.
In conclusion, whilst there are some good ideas here, it is well written and I admire its ethos - this is not really a book that inspires long term excitement about cooking.
Do you ever get home from work, and think, what on earth am I going to cook for the family tea? Do you ever feel that you are stuck in a rut and cook the same things over and over again? I think that this book offers lots of ideas on what to do with all those bits and pieces that you have in the fridge and in the larder, and really gives inspiration. I really enjoyed reading through the book, as it gve me new ideas on what to do with ingredients that I already keep in stock, for instance, the pasta section gave me lots of new takes on my same-old stand-by meals. The pizza section was lovely, with once again, inspiration on taking a simple cheese and tomato standby and making it into something that bit more nutritious, and most importantly, into something new. The one downer was that i tried the Thai curry paste, and it was horrid! Maybe a more specialised recipe book would be appropriate for something like Thai. This has not put me off teh book, however, as it is perfect for those quick, simple ideas for feeding my family.
If you don't have the time or culinary skills to follow in the footsteps of celebrity chefs but won't be satisfied with ready meals that take just a few minutes in the microwave, Tom Norrington-Davies' 'Cupboard Love' could be the ideal cookbook for you. The idea is to establish an up-to-date version of an old-fashioned larder in your kitchen. This may entail an initial outlay to build up a well-stocked cupboard, but once you have the basic ingredients you can produce a variety of home-made dishes with the addition of fresh produce in a short time and without too much fuss. It does of course mean that you are in control of the ingredients and can use olive oil or butter rather than hydrogenated fat, and pure sugar as opposed to dextrose or corn syrup.
The cover features bottles, jars and tins, some as familiar as Heinz Tomato Ketchup and Tate and Lyle's Golden Syrup, others more unusual - Gazi Feta or Green Lentils from Le Puy.
Following the introduction which sets out Norrington-Davies basic philosophy, the book is divided into chapters each focusing on a particular type of food:
eggs and toast
short-order meat and fish dinners
It is clear that all tastes are catered for here, whether you like traditional British, European or Eastern food. I was a little surprised by the inclusion of junk food, but Norrington-Davies says that while he hates burger bars, he adores junk food that can be eaten with hands. Of course home-made junk food does not have to be full of sugar, salt or fat as it often is in restaurants. This chapter includes kebabs and pizzas as well as burgers, but fish and chips are left out as they would require a deep-fat fryer and the idea is to keep gadgets to an absolute minimum. One of our favourites from this chapter is a pizza with cold toppings which are added to a base that has been baked just with the tomato sauce. Extra quick and ideal for summer.
The colour photographs can make even the simplest dishes such as Welsh rabbit or an omelette sandwich look genuinely appetising. I was impressed by the double-page spread of four pizzas, whose irregular shapes and variety of toppings look far more appealing than the offerings of Pizza Hut or Dominos. Yet the toppings are so simple: a fried egg, tomato and cheese, feta cheese and onion, ham, and plenty of greens on each one.
For those who do have time on their hands and want to minimize the use of ready-made foodstuffs, there are 'DIY' recipes for mayonnaise, sweetcorn relish, coconut milk and curry paste to name but a few.
Norrington-Davies wants to encourage us to avoid supermarkets as far as possible and shop instead at local delicatessens and specialist Eastern stores. This is fine if you live in London, Birmingham or Manchester I'm sure, but for me it would mean a seven or eight-mile journey. That does not seem to make a great deal of sense, so I will still have to rely on Waitrose for cardamom seeds and coriander leaves.
The font is clear and simple, and paragraphs and lists of ingredients are well spaced, making the text easy to read. No preparation or cooking times are given, so you would have to read through the recipe to gauge these, although they are kept to a minimum to suit our busy twenty-first century lifestyles.
This book certainly does have an original standpoint, and I would recommend it to anyone who doesn't have oodles of time but wants to be creative and know what is going into their food. Apparently we British use far more convenience foods than any of our European neighbours, and that is not something we can be proud of. So let's have a better relationship with our kitchen and its cupboards.
'Cupboard Love' by Tom Norrington-Davies
Published by Hodder and Stoughton, 255 pages
Hardback ISBN0 340 83526 5
Price £20 Amazon £13.60
There is also a cheaper paperback version.