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'Favourite recipes with beer and beer and cider' is part of the Salmon ' Favourite Recipes....' series of which there are a lot of books , mainly based around regional cooking. Some of these can be found on Amazon but are more commonly found in places such as garden centres and gift shops.
These books usually retail for around £1.50 but you can often find them on
The book itself is an unusual shape and size, being basically like a slightly taller chequebook. The cover is slightly glossy. The book itself at 50 pages, is quite slight so is bound together by staples. This means it lies out flat quite easily to cook from. The inner pages themselves are quite glossy also.
In keeping with the no-fuss approach of the book, there is no introduction, instead it gets straight to the index and then the recipes.
There is no formal sectioning of all the recipes, rather connected recipes are just all put in the same place eg beef, lamb, ham and pork, rabbit, fish, then finishing with dessert, cake and drinks. There is normally 1 recipe a page and the recipes are interspersed with reproductions of paintings and drawings of old-fashioned countrylife. Each recipe has a short one line introduction detailing its virtues, where and when it came from and when it was traditionally made for if it was a celebration dish.
There are 34 recipes. To give you a rough idea of what these are,here are some examplesof what these are: Apple, raisin and cider teabread, beef in stout, cider-baked fish, goulash, ham baked with cider and thyme, honeyed welsh lamb, stuffed pork in cider sauce, Wassail bowl (basically a mulled cider) and Yorkshire Parkin.
I really like this book for a number of reasons. Firstly, I think it is well considered and put together. These are not recipes that you will normally see in your run of the mill cookbooks or magazines, harking back as they do to older times. That said it is not prohibitively old fashioned or containing of odd or difficult to source ingredients like to might expect from some older type recipes. It is more focussed on tried and tested favourites.
The recipes themselves for the most part are not particularly complicated either, the ones that I have tried have been easy to follow and the results have been good. There are a number of stews available here which I have found work really well not just as described but when cooked throughout the day in the slow cooker.
The cakes and desserts deserve a particular mention as I had never done this type of food with cider before and I have been really pleasantly surprised at how well they have worked and these have quickly become part of my cooking repertoire!
The simplicity and non-fussyness of the recipes also means that they are open to a bit of experimentation which is not alluded to, for example I have experimented with adding extra herbs and veg, particularly in the stews and this has worked quite well.
For such a small book, there is quite a variety of ideas here which I like because it has given me confidence to experiment more with these alcohols in standard cooking.
I suppose it could be argued that this is more of a winter cookbook, due to the heartiness of a lot of the ideas but that is no bad thing. Also the ingredients in general are not that expensive - the cuts of meat are generally on the cheaper side as well as the vegetables . That said, many of them do have quite long cooking times as they require the alcohol to be cooked into the dishes over a period of time, but that is no bad thing - why else would you put it in there in the first place!
One slightly odd thing however, is that the ingredient quantities are given in imperial measurements. There is a metric conversion table at the back however. That said, I have not found it too much of a problem because most weighing implements should still have capacity for imperial quantities.
For a good twist on good wholesome, home cooking - I really do not think you can go far wrong with this book, or indeed any of the other books in the series (some of which I will be reviewing in the future.