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Delia's How to cook books are a real bugbear to many experienced chef's but they are also hugely popular with the majority of people who don't understand how to make a Hollandaise Sauce as soon as they walk in the house after an 8 hour working day. The idea of the book is to take forward the principles of her first book, this was the book ridiculed in some quarters for teaching people how to boil an egg, but its a great idea, its a full cookery course in three books, the first book teaches the basics and this book builds on them. It is simple, concise and cuts out the flowery language and all the things likely to intimidate an amateur wanting to learn more about cooking. This book looks at cooking with fish, meat and poultry as well as fruit and vegetables. For me the first chapter is one of the best it deals with your store cupboard and the things anyone serious about cooking should have in it, its not talking about truffle juices extracted from a field overlooking the oldest elephant in Madagascar's sacred burial ground as some slightly more pretentious books do, this is simply talking about ingredients, tins and condiments that will help you in everyday cooking, from mustards to peppercorns, it is honest, not overwhelming and doesn't require months of searching to find these things, most if not all of these things are available in your local supermarket. Chapter Two: Fish Without Fear This is a really handy chapter dealing with how to handle fish, how to cut it, what parts to cook and cooking techniques, it also includes some simple yet really effective recipes. My most successful recipe from this chapter is the wonderful Char Grilled Tuna Steak with Warm Coriander and Caper Vinaigrette. Chapter Three: How to cook meat A handy chapter, I didn't find this overly informative, although it is great that there are four pages of questions and answers before any recipes, but it gives you the basics to allow you to experiment further Chapter Four: Chicken and Other Birds What kind of bird is best, how to joint it, how to roast it, I made my first roast chicken from this and it was hugely enjoyed by everyone so I think this section is excellent for new chefs everywhere. Chapter Five: A vegetable Calendar An excellent section which lists when vegetables are in season, how to cook them and what with, its snappy and informative and a great section which has been copied by many other books since. Chapter Six: Salads and Dressings for Beginners I'm not a salad person so don't do much with this, but it does make the whole idea of making them slightly less intimidating. Chapter Seven: Whats new in the Dairy Cooking with milk and creams, generally this would just be lumped in the dessert section, but its great understanding this a bit more and getting the most out of something you will always have in your fridge. Classic Creme Caramel is the star recipe in this chapter. Chapter Eight: Fruits for Cooking Does exactly what you'd expect, we talk about cooking with fruit, advising how to prepare fruit and use it in desserts and main courses. Chapter Nine: Cheese in the Kitchen A very used section in my house, I love cheese and this talks about how to combine it with other food and drink as well as presenting recipes from Welsh Rarebit to Red Onion Tart with Goats cheese, this is a gorgeous little chapter and you don't see cheese used so much in recipe books as it is here. Chapter Ten: Proper Chocolate How to use Chocolate in cooking, what type, how to prepare it, what it combines best with. Try the Melting Chocolate Puddings as an easy and quick recipe to test your new skills. My View: This book has recipes from all cultures, covers most major foodstuffs and really breaks down the science of cooking to make it less intimidating and more enjoyable, its a good, well written and researched book and is available at Amazon for £12.31 although it is cheaper via Marketplace.
I'm not an easy person to buy presents for. I don't like cut flowers. My ample girth suggests that I don't need any more chocolates and as for the more girly things, well, if someone says "Lush"? in my hearing I tend to think they're suggesting I drink too much. So, it's pretty much inevitable that when there's a new Delia Smith out, someone will buy it for me. It's a good job that I don't take offence easily, because a book entitled "Delia's How to Cook: Book 2" could imply that I can't cook and I can. The trouble is that you get stuck in a bit of a rut ("Sausages? Good Heavens, is it Wednesday already?") and I always like to use Delia Smith for ideas, even if I don't slavishly follow her recipes. I first encountered her back in 1980 when I was leafing through The Radio Times and found a recipe for Gratin Dauphinois, a concoction of potatoes, garlic and cream with a sprinkling of nutmeg on the top. It was delightful and it was a tempter for "Delia Smith's Cookery Course" which was currently doing extremely well on BBC1. We've come full-circle because Delia's back again, not with the Cookery Course this time, but with "How to Cook". She credits her priest with the inspiration for this series; he lamented the move away from preparing good food at home and towards ready-prepared convenience food. Delia set about trying to remedy this and it is to her credit that she was prepared to take on a mammoth task. The format is not dissimilar to that of "Complete Cookery Course". A subject is taken, some instruction is given and then recipes are provided. For me the drawback is that it reminds me vividly of my school days and I feel as though the recipes are exams that I have to take to prove my competence. Each of the three books in the "How to Cook" series begins with a general chapter. This time it 9;s about what the serious cook has in her store cupboard. I found this slightly intimidating, particularly when Delia implies that unless you have these ingredients then you're not a serious cook - you're only flirting with it. Well, I'm afraid I'm only flirting, because I've never had nam pla fish sauce in my store cupboard, I've never felt the need of gravy browning or kaffir lime leaves and we don't like the flavour of anchovies or cornichons. You might and you might well have all of these in your store cupboard, but I do dislike being made to feel inferior because something is not to our taste. The chapter naturally has its own recipes. Amazingly I find that one of the recipes that someone learning to cook will try is Marinated Pork with Jerk Seasoning and Grilled Pineapple Salsa for six. So, Ms Smith and I did not get off to a good start. By the end of chapter one I'm feeling resentful, but then I brighten when I see that the next chapter is about fish. To me fish is just about the easiest food to prepare and I've never been able to understand why people will buy some dreadful frozen fish concoctions when they could, for a fraction of the price and little more effort make food that is worth eating. In fairness Delia does a wonderful job of debunking some of the myths that have surrounded fish preparation. There are excellent guide-lines for fish preparation and cooking and at least some of the recipes would seem to be within the skill of a relative beginner. Meat comes next and there's some good, reassuring instruction on the basic techniques required. I can vouch for the Shepherd's Pie with Cheese-Crusted Leeks; it's a good wholesome meal. I'm quibbling now about the other recipes, because I feel that they're all a bit, well, glorified. When I was learning to cook I was cooking for my family and we didn't live on such things as Entrecote Hongroise or indeed Entrecote Mar chand de Vin - well, not on a regular basis. Ah, now I'm beginning to spot a trend. If you look on the cover of the book it boasts that there are 120 new recipes. Now the joy of "Complete Cookery Course" was that you learnt a technique and then you had the simple recipes that are the staples of our lives, the meals that we eat every day, but you see, Delia's done them already and to sell the books to those of us who have her other books she needs new recipes. The instruction is there for the beginner but the recipes are there to get those of us who've been buying her books for years to go on buying. Whoever buys it is really only getting half a book. Now I'?ve spotted it I flick through the rest of the book with a jaundiced eye. The Chicken and Other Birds chapter restores my belief in St. Delia a little - once again we've got the excellent instruction but some of the recipes are a little more basic, such as the 'how to cook a whole chicken quickly' which I?ve used on several occasions. The vegetables chapter is good too, with the recipes reflecting the greater emphasis on consumption of vegetables which has come about over the last twenty years. Do try the Oven-roasted Winter Vegetables - if nothing else it's a wonderfully simple way of preparing all the vegetables to accompany a meal and cooking them together. Delia's "Complete Cookery Course" gave me the confidence to cook. I won't say that it taught me to cook, because I owe that accolade to Elizabeth David, Jane Grigson and more recently to Nigel Slater, all of whom have taught me to respect and understand the ingredients and get the best from them. Delia, you see, teaches techniques and provides fool-proof recipes, but she does little to foster a love of good food or a willingness to experiment. You won't go far wrong with this book. There's good instruction on techniques and some very tasty recipes. If you read it and follow the recipes you will certainly be able to prepare a meal. Whether you'll be able to cook is another matter. But then, who am I to say? I?m only flirting with it. Amazon £11.89 ISBN 0-563-38431-X
I was bought this book as a present from my partner to inspire me to do more than fish finger and chips, egg and chips, pizza and chips etc. Has his plan worked? Delia Smiths How To Cook Book 2 is a follow on in her back to basics campaign and contains 120 recipes in 10 chapters. In DELIAS words this book is "To rediscover the simple pleasure of food and to guide beginners through basic techniques that will serve them through a lifetime of cooking" - sounds easy!! Chapter 1 (The Store cupboard) All good cooks should have a storecupboard full of basic ingredients to add to meals. Some of these were normal run of the mill items e.g. sugar, salt, mustard, soy sauce, spices and honey etc. Others I found strange. How many of you stock capers, cornichons and kaffir lime leaves as essentials ? Chapter 2 (Fish) Delia described all the different kinds of fish and their flavours such as sardines, salmon and trout and also how to bone and fillet them. She then wrote a few paragraghs on the various ways of cooking fish, poaching, frying, steaming etc. This was followed by the recipes on fish, my favourite being The Luxury Fish Pie. Using salmon and kippers, I missed out on the capors and cornichons( none in the cupboard) and topped it with mash mixed with creme fraiche and mixed cheese, very impressive. Chapter 3 (meat) This chapter consisted on guidelines on how to cook meat to get the best flavour such as pot- roasting, braising, grilling and frying and also how to know when the meat is cooked and the different cuts of meat you can buy. Again this was followed by some delicous recipes. The one I cook most often is Fast Pork Roast with Caramelised Apples. This Is quick to cook and looked exactly like the picture, which surprised me (mine don't usually) and it tasted delicious. Chapter 4 (Chicken and other birds) This started with a brief history of how tasty chickens used to be and then showed photos of a step by step guide to carving a chicken followed by a list of the "other birds" (guinea fowl and quail where on earth do I buy them) and duck. One recipe I haven't tried yet and are never likely to, is the Guinea Fowl Baked with 30 Cloves of Garlic Chapter 5(Veg) This chapter started with a comprehensive how to cook perfect veg going through them from A, asparagus to T, turnip. My favourite veg recipe is the Oven Roasted Winter Veg, take chuncky pieces of butternut squash, ,swede, shallots and potatoes, mix with garlic ,olive oil and lots of seasoning in a plastic bag ( this can be left for 2 to3 days in the fridge. When needed bake in oven 220 or gas mark7 for 30-40 mins. Delicious! Chapter 6 (salads) This chapter consisted of how to make salad dressings and a list of the different lettuces available (there's loads)and other salad ingredients e.g. beetroot and chicory. Haven't really bothered with the recipes in this chapter. Chapter 7 (Dairy) The chapter starts with a list of the different milks available as well as the creams and cream cheeses you can now get. Favourite recipe here is the Toffee Fudge and Bananas with toasted nuts, it takes no longer than 10 mins from start to finish but looks and tastes as if you have spent a lot longer. Chapter 8 (Fruit) This chapter again started with a alphabetical list of the different fruits and explained how to prepare them. It had the usual apples pears and strawberries along with the more exotic types, pawpaws, passion fruit and mangoes. Many nice recipes in this section a family favourite being Key Lime Pie with easy to find ingredients and good results. Chapter 9 (Cheese) I never knew that cheese came under so many catergories, squidgy, hard , soft , cooking, strong. well you live and learn. Again there were many tasty cheese meals to make. two very good ones being the Mexican Enchiladas wi th Cheese and the Pasta with 4 Cheeses. Chapter 10 (Chocolate) The best was saved until last. After a brief history of chocolate and the different kinds it was on to the calorie laden recipes such as Melting Chocolate Puddings, miniature choc ices and the best, Cheats Chocolate trifle (made in moments but tastes gorgeous) I liked the book, at times I found Delia's manner a bit smuggish and irritating but she does come up with some very tasty recipes. I liked the fact that everything you needed was listed e.g. 6 ramekins , large baking tray etc and I also liked the personal comment that delia gave at the beginning of each recipe. The recipes were straightforward and easy to follow and they all had a picture of the finished article so you knew what it should be like. The book was priced at £16.99 but I can't imagine my partner paying that much for a cookbook no matter how desperate he had become but he definitly thinks the book was value for money.
OK, Part 2 of the Series, and as I have already written about one, managed to get more than 10 reads, and no-one has written about part two of the 'How to Cook' series yet, I thought I had better put you all out of your misery. The book became popular about 2-3 years ago, after a TV show, which I did not see, because I lived in Australia at the time, and would have been overdosing on Neighbours instead. However, Mother says the show was patronising so it must be true. However, I am just here to tell you about the book. It is priced at £16.99, but was on sale with its elder brother for £9.99 in all the big stores. In fact if anyone did pay the full asking price, let me know, just purely out of interest. This book builds on your by now eggscellent culinary skills in the art of pastries, eggs, rice and pasta, and will add more strings to your culinary bow. So here goes, in chapter order: The Serious Cook's Store Cupboard ================================= Here Delia tells you what you should have in your cupboards, hence the chapter title. This includes sugar and spice, every seed and herb imaginable, port sherry, jar of golden syrup, kikkoman soy sauce, everything. There are also some recipes, which one must be able to make from the items in same store cupboard, although this makes the book reviews life very difficult as the recipes leap about from Thai Noodles to Anchovy on Toast, guacamole, and my favourite, Beef Curry Dopiaza. My problem here was there was a bottle of wine and a bottle of port, and we don't do very well at keeping that in our cupboards, preferring to drink it instead. Ah well. Fish ==== Now I am by no means a fish fan, and will never, ever fillet a fish, even if my life depended on it, and certainly not when you can buy perfectly good fish fingers from Birds Eye, however for those who want to know, you can learn here. I have however, t ried the Thai Fishcakes with Sesame and Lime dipping sauce (v Good), and I do enjoy a good fish pie, and Delia has kindly included a receipe for Smoked Fish Pie. Meat ==== Firstly Delia takes you through the basics of how to cook meat, and carve joints. A nice 'everyday' receipe is the Shepherds pie with Cheese crusted leeks, and there are receipes for Boeufs On Croute for those with patience, and an amazingly easy looking recipe which I haven't tried (yet) for Entrecote Marchand de Vin, which roughly translated means 'Entrecote or sirloin steak, fried and topped with red wine and onion gravy'. Chicken and other birds ======================= Ok, my favourite here has to be the Fast Roast Chicken with Lemon and tarragon, and yes, some of us do need a recipe to prepare a roast. There is also an excellent receipe for Roast duck with confit of sour cherries, and a stir fry with lime and coconut, which is good. Vegetables ========== Ok, to serve with the Chicken, the Oven Roasted Winter vegetables is great, and an easy light meal for any night of the week. There is also a great recipe for pumpkin soup, but apart from that, I haven't delved into this section too far. Salads ====== Favourite, is chargrilled Aubergine and roasted tomato salad with Feta cheese, now that is what a salad should be like. Fruits for Cooking ================== My recommendation is the Apple and Almond Crumble, which always goes down a treat. Also Key Lime Pie Cheese ====== Curd cheesecake with Greek Yoghurt, Honey and Pistachios, at only 1000 calories per slice!!! Delicious. There is also a great recipe for enchiladas. Overall, the book has 120 recipe ideas. I haven't tried as much out of this book, as the first one, probably because I am more likely to cook out of this bo ok when I am catering for guests, and not just when there is only two of us for dinner. But all in all, worth having in the kitchen for when you do have to magic something up which you can serve to friends.
with book 1 under my belt i rushed out and purchases part 2 when it was released (or i picked it up when i had time, not quite as an exciting review tho!). Again delia has nice grub explained well, the meat chapter is great and im now faced with finding excuses to actually get some of this stuff cooked up. I traded in some of my barclaycard loyalty points to get an amazon.co.uk gift voucher and also timed my purchase with a 50% off phase at amazon so i picked the book up quite cheap ... think id still pay full price for it tho.
Cookery books used to be a no-go area for me, and I have only recently become more enthusiastic about cooking and have never bought cookery books before. I actually wasn't going to buy this book as I assumed it would be very dull and simplistic, but in the end I decided to give it a go. I am however really pleased with the book, it is far from boring and their are many recipes suitable for entertaining which are really original. It does read as though you know nothing, and I find all the recipes very well explained - for example they tell you how long you need to prpare the ingredients ahead and to preheat the oven/grill! For anyone who wants a foolpoof set of recipes which create quite impressive meals I really recommend it.
I have gotten each other Delia books for Christmas over the past two years. I just love looking at the pictures; everything thing looks so yummy. Some recipes are simple and things that no one ever teaches you how to do (like make a cheese sauce or make bread -- this in book one) are spelt out for you. Some recipes are a bit expensive to make and if you're a student the recipes may not be the most cost effective 'cause you either need lots of ingredients that you will never use again or fancy cooking tools. I lived in a bed sit once and I can tell you it is really hard to bake bread if you don't have one of those full-sized ovens. But if you do have a bit of extra money and you want to make a special effort, if you are a "young professional" or have a family, this is a lovely book with lovely recipes.
If you want to cook ridiculously nice food, then follow me. Chapter 1) The serious cook's store cupboard. The basics, according to Delia; a huge selection of sometimes crazily obscure condiments and the like, all of which you'll need if you're going to cook absolutely everything in this book. In practical terms, this means an interesting section explaining in more detail Delia's favourite essential extras: capers, gelatine, shrimp paste, brown rice wine, and so on - so if you ever do buy any of them, you'll know which type to go for and why. There's a good spice guide too, all rounded off with a few random recipes featuring some of the store-cupboard ingredients. Random recipe: Pad thai noodles with shrimps. Chapters 2,3 & 4 concern fish, meat and 'chicken and other birds' respectively. I'm vegetarian, so I can't really comment on these chapters - but when I finally get round to trying to cook some meat for someone, I'll be heading straight for this book. Random recipes: Tiger prawn risotto with lobster sauce. : Roast leg of lamb with shrewsbury sauce. : Grilled lemon chicken kebabs. Chapter 5) A vegetable calendar. Brilliant. Discussion of the merits, seasons, and types of loads of different vegetables, with comments on what to look for when buying, and the best method for onion chopping I've seen. The vegetables have preparation covered, along with Delia's preferred method of cooking each one. This is followed by a very decent selection of 8 or 9 recipes. Random recipe: Pumpkin soup with toasted sweetcorn. Chapter 6) Salads and dressings for beginners. This is another great chapter, discussing at the start the finer points of oil, vinegar, lettuce, other common salad ingredients, and how to make a vinaigrette. Once again, this is a great guide for the beginner, and the recipes that follow are genuinely interesting tak es on salad - the blue cheese dressing being a personal favourite. Random recipe: Char-grilled aubergine and roasted-tomato salad with feta cheese. Chapter 7) What's new in the dairy? I haven't seen as extensive and useful a discussion of dairy products as I have here - the technical differences, including fat content, between many different milks, creams and pseudo-cheeses (quark, ricotta etc) are covered. Two savoury and many sweet recipes follow. Random recipe: Toffe-fudge bananas with toasted nuts. Chapter 8) Fruits for cooking. This is basically the same thing as the vegetable chapter - details of the merits of many different types of fruit, and details of how to go about buying, preparing and storing them. The preparation guides come into their own with pineapple and mango - having chopped mango with and without Delia's help, I can vouch for her skill here. The following recipes are nicely varied, fruit interacting with, amongst other things, fish and gorgonzola. Random recipe: Key lime pie. Chapter 9) Cheese in the kitchen. Delia categorises cheese in an interesting way, splitting its various types into five groups of 'squidgy', medium-soft, hard, blue and goats', one of each of which should be included on a good cheese board, allegedly. The discussion section is smaller than in most chapters, but the recipe section is my particular favourite, covering dishes as varied as a soup, a salad, a pasta dish, and a cheesecake. Random recipe: Cheese and herb fritters with sweet-pepper marmalade. Chapter 10) Proper chocolate. Delia starts by justifying the pretentious title of this chapter, and while I won't be abandoning my Crunchie just yet, the recipe section is amazing. No real discussion here, just recipes, for mousse, torte, puddings, trifle, brownies, cake, muffins, choc ices and creme brulees - and they all look gorgeous. In short, everything you could possibly ask for from Delia on chocolate. Random recipe: Chocolate mini muffins with toasted hazelnuts. Right then. Not much else to be said, really. If you didn't like How To Cook Book 1, you probably won't like this. If you did, then this clearly must be bought. Delia is the don of all things food.
Deliah's book is another triumph in teaching us the basics of cooking. It works !!! Whether a seasoned cook or a novice, there are hints and tips to teach us all the basics (and more advanced) techniques of cookery. Beautifully presented and clearly outlined this is an ideal book for any lover of cooking or any newcomer, eg. a teenager going off to college to fend for themselves. Once again she excels in clearly outlining basic and complex recipes, but in a simple structured way. Deliah will always be a favourite in the bookshops and rightly so. Once you've bought one of her books, you'll want to collect the rest. I don't believe any top cook or chef could find fault in this book. If you have a youngster or novice cook in the family.. buy this book ready for their Christmas gift.
Starting with the presentation itself, Delia's How to Cook book 2 is a nice looking hardback. The pages are laid out well, with godd quality colour photographs. Just what you'd expect from the BBC, in fact. The recipes themselves are grouped into sections according to what they are (Meat, Vegetables, Fish etc.) and tend to be impressive looking but easy to prepare. The sections are introduced by a few pages talking the reader through the various points to look out for when preparing and buynig the items, and are pretty informative. Unfortunately it retains Delia's vaguely condescending air, and her reliance on odd ingredients (who REALLY uses sun-dried tomatoes normally?). This is mildly irritating, but doesn't spoil what is otherwise a very good recipe book. (Sorry, I can't remember the price)