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With me recently having a big interest in cooking, I soon realised I had no cook books in my flat. I usually do go online for recipes but it is nice sometimes to have a couple of good books to refer to for some great recipes. The website I do normally use is the BBC Good Food website so I did come across their range of books on Amazon. I knew exactly what food types I was looking for so when I saw their Italian cooking one I had to have it right away as it has 101 Italian feasts and it sounded ideal to me.
The book is very colourful and nicely presented. On the cover it states what it is and that it is by the BBC and shows a lovely dish on the front. On the reverse it also shows a couple more of the dishes and states that it is more than just pasta, that you can cook with confidence, eat well and that they are foolproof recipes. Now, I am not going to lie I am not a bad cook but even if you feel you are a beginner there is definitely a recipe in here for all skill ranges.
Now, when I first got the book I was very eager to have a look at all of the pages and see which ones stuck out most to me. I then marked the pages that I found appealed to me and knew at some point I would go back and cook them. I have had this book since Christmas now and have managed to cook quite a number of the dishes in here and all of them have turned out very nice, some moreso than others as some I wouldn't bother cooking again but that's the fun of it.
What I love with this book is it is split into categories: Light meals & lunches, simple suppers, perfect pasta, easy entertaining, side dishes, desserts & drinks. Now, with it being split up in easy sections like this it means you can go right to the section you need right away to see what there is.
With light meals and lunches you get everything from dips, soups, pizzas, salads. Now out of all of these dishes I'd say they are really very simple to make, my main pick out of this chapter would be the Winter Minestrone with Pesto Croutes as although it has quite a few ingredients it is a great dish to make and homemade soup is always a nice touch.
Simple Suppers being the next chapter has a range of gnocchi dishes, mash, olive dishes, chicken, risotto, ragout, vegetables, fish dishes and meatballs. This has a lot of recipes here which even though simple look quite advanced. Out of these I have cooked Gnocchi with creamy tomato & spinach sauce which was nice but quite runny and I don't think I'd cook it again. I did love the basil mash in this chapter, a great Italian twist to a casual mash portion that tasted great and got me lots of praise. Next I want to try the meatballs and the Oven Baked Porcini & Thyme Risotto.
Next chapter here is the Perfect Pasta which to most who like Italian cooking may seem the most obvious. I do love my pasta and was excited to see the ranges here. They have everything from spaghetti bake, lasagne, tuna pasta, macaroni, linguine, spinach dishes. Now, from this section I have not yet cooked any but I am very eager to try the Tomato & Mozzarella spaghetti bake as it seems very unusual but fun.
The Easy Entertaining section is mainly for dinner parties as it is more about presentation and some dishes are more difficult than some. Some ingredients are a bit more exquisite but they are nicely done and would be good to impress. There are dishes like roast chicken, parmesan bake, lamb steaks, racks of lamb, pancetta wrapped trout, bruschetta and tartlets. I have only made one dish from this which was the Italian-Style Beef Stew which wasn't too difficult and came out really nice. However, next I want to try Seared Beef with Wild Mushroom & Balsamic Vinegar.
The Side Dishes are great if you just want something nice on the table to add to your dishes. They have a great range of easy to cook side dishes which I am itching to try. Dishes are focaccia bread, potato bake, garlic bread, polenta, bean salads, roasted vegetables and macaroni. There is not an excessive amount but from them I am really wanting to make Creamy Cheese & Tomato Macaroni, Roast Tomatoes with Pesto and Parmesan Roasted Potatoes.
Lastly the chapter on Desserts & Drinks looks fantastic and has all of my Italian favourites. It has classics like Tiramisu which looks heavy but easy to make, tarts, ice cream, spiced arancello, mascarpone trifle, iced hazelnut zabagliones, granita, panettone cake and roulade. I would like of all of these to make the White Chocolate Creams with Balsamic Strawberries.
As you can tell for 101 Italian Feasts, it certainly does have everything you could possibly want from an Italian cookbook. It is only a small square book but all of the pictures accompanying the recipes are nicely presented and really add to the books presentation. I now feel confident when hosting dinner parties that I have a good selection of recipes to choose from and I still want to cook so many of the dishes in here.
This book is best to be purchased from Amazon as I got it delivered free and very quickly and it only cost £3.78 which is a bargain really for what you are getting. The book has 216 pages and I haven't seen it sold in stores but as I've said this is the best deal unless you can get it cheap off eBay or somewhere else.
If you want more recipes like this cook book the Good Food books have quite a range and the website is free to access the many recipes at http://bbcgoodfood.com