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I picked up this book a couple years ago when I first bought a house. It was from our local Tesco, I can't remember exactly the cost of it but it I'm sure it was around £3 which for a cookbook with 101 recipes you can't really go wrong.
Not being a lover of red meats, I (very boringly) will tend to cook and eat meals that consist of chicken or fish! Hence my reason for this purchase. At the time I was quite new to cooking and so liked to cook food I knew would work. As you can imagine I got bored quite quickly of the same meals being repeated over and over again. This book came in quite useful, giving me new ideas and inspiration for the kitchen.
The book itself is part of a collection of books from BBC Good Food all of which have been tried and tested taken from BBC Good Food Magazine. Others in the collection include 101 Veggie Dishes, 101 Cheap Eats, 101 One Pot Dishes. There really is something for everyone.
The RRP for the books are £4.99 however most places I have seen them tend to be lower in price or included within a deal. On amazon at the moment this book is priced at £3.29.
The book itself is paperback and compared with many cookbooks you see on the shelves is quite small in size (15 x 13.6 x 1.4 cm). This can be a positive as it doesn't take up that much room but also a negative when you're cooking. Before I bought a book stand I would have to weigh the pages down or keep the book facing down so as not to lose my page. Not a major problem just a pain when your hands are covered in food!
The whole book like all the others in the collection is very simple in design and exactly what you expect from the title. Inside the book each recipe has a double page layout with the recipe details on the left page and a full photograph on the right page. This is brilliant as all the recipes have a photograph of the end result, whether or not it looks like that at the end is another story!
The chicken recipes are split into 6 different sections depending on what you fancy and really there does seem to be something for most occasions. Suppers for 1,2 and more, Light and healthy, hot and spicy, suppers in 20 minutes or less, dinners to impress and finally classics from around the world.
Each recipe has a short sentence to introduce which just gives it a tiny bit of a personal feel and useful as for many it will recommend what compliments the dish. Typically you've got the ingredients list which for the recipes I have tried and tested doesn't seem to be too wacky and similarly with the instructions are not over complicated. In fact what I have found compared with other cookbooks I own that the instructions are very simple and direct, therefore very easy to follow.
Finally with each recipe there is also a section to tell you how long the meal will take to make and how many it serves. One of the big pros is that it includes all the nutritional information per serving which you don't always find with cookbooks.
With a 101 recipes you would assume you are spoilt for choice which in some ways you are however when you actually have a proper look at the recipes not all of them are that interesting and you get the feeling they may have been running out of ideas. There are quite a few recipes in the book which I have tried and will use again and again but I mainly use this book for inspiration and now that I have gained more confidence in the kitchen I use it as a basis and change bits here and there to suit my taste.
BBC books has published a whole host of these GoodFood Magazine 101 recipe books. This 101 best ever chicken recipe book, is the second I currently own of these. I brought mine from a Bookclub where I work for £3 but I have seen them since in WH Smith for £4.99 which is the RRP or Amazon for approx £3.43. At 215 pages and 101 recipes a bargain I thought.
Not being a big lover of red meat my family does eat a lot of chicken dishes each week, hence why I decided to purchase this book and as I found the 101 pot recipe book so useful I would be happy to purchase more of this range at £3 or just over. Not sure I would pay the full price of £4.99 though.
The book is separated into 6 chapters after an quick introduction and 2 pages of notes and conversion tables.
Chapter 1 :
Suppers for one, two and more.
I cook from this chapter when hubby is out for the evening at football and I want a decent meal rather than an uninspiring microwave meal. I would highly recommend tangy chicken breasts which is basically grilled chicken with barbeque sauce brushed on it with a rasher or 2 or streaky bacon topped with grated cheddar cheese then I do half a plate full of different vegetables. The recipes in this chapter do exactly what it says, you can take one chicken breast out of the packet and cook or several and the recipes aren't just for dinners but lunches also such as chicken Caesar sandwich.
Light and healthy
The chapters aren't separated very well as you can only tell when you stray into another section by the chapter title written in small at the bottom of the page, hence I have cooked meals from this section without realising they are meant to be healthy. The recipe I did was pesto chicken which is frying a chicken breast then adding cherry tomatoes, crème fraiche and pesto, doesn't particularly sound healthy to me just a nice quick easy meal. Each recipes comes with nutritional guidelines but I would treat as a very basic guide as surely the book doesn't know exactly which cream you will buy from the supermarket? If on a diet I don't think this will be accurate enough for you if counting calories etc. The recipes do lend themselves well to putting on your twist on them tweaking the ingredients here and there either to make them healthier or just take out something you don't like. So in summery I think just use your common sense.
Hot and spicy
To be honest I have only made one dish from this chapter. All the recipes seem to have a very long ingredients list and look for complicated or time consuming than the rest of the book. Confident and accomplished cooks would probably enjoy this section. The only quick recipe in this part is chicken nacho grills but as I'm not keen on tomatoes salsa and soured cream I haven't tried it but it looks incredible easy and quick to do. As the name suggests there is a lot of Indian and Chinese inspired dishes in this chapter.
Suppers in 20 minutes or less
This chapter is the biggest let down. Not because of the actual recipes but the fact you are meant to be able to prepare and cook in 20minutes. Just like Jamie Oliver's 30 minute meal cook book it can take me 20-30 minutes to do all the prep work! On the positive side there is a gorgeous sticky chicken with mango couscous I do from this section but I tweak it by adding a variety of vegetables and on one occasion did with boiled rice instead as a friend came over who doesn't like couscous.
Dinners to impress
No less than 6 roast chicken recipes in this section I think it would be better suited to call this chapter family dinners instead. Saying that there is a nice chicken skewer recipe that I tweaked for the barbeque last summer that turned out well but I won't say it was actually a dish to impress.
Classics from around the world
Includes dishes from Ghana, Russia, France, America, China, Japan the list goes on....
Attempted the chicken Kiev dish and decided to stick to shop brought Kiev's as the hassle wasn't worth it but certainly some interesting recipes included such as Jewish soup and Persian chicken pulao!
Then to finish of the obligatory index of recipes to help quickly find a repeat recipe, I use indexes quite a bit as I can never remember which cook book has which of my favourites in and I have a lot of cook books.
The size of the book is quite small compared to all my other recipe books as this is less than half the size of an A4 piece of paper (less than A5 I think the next size down is called) but it is reasonably thick. I don't find it stays open on the page we need which is a little bit of a nuisance but as they are easy to cook recipes this isn't a major problem. It's a paperback which is possibly why it doesn't stay open but the cover does wipe clean when my dirty mitts have got flour etc over it!
The recipes themselves are all accompanied with a colour photo, a must for me I need to see a dish before I will attempt it! The instructions are quite short but detailed enough for me to follow, nothing overly complicated is included so a good book for novices and intermediates but not for those looking to be challenged. Overall fantastic value for money even if book is a little small.
I have a shelf full of complex cook books that have huge ingredients lists and are just sat gathering dust so was a bit dubious about buying another cook book, but I decided to give it a shot and bought 2 from this range from WHSmiths on a buy one get one half price deal, and I have never looked back!!! I have since bought a further 6 books in this range and am recommending them to everyone (even bought 4 for my mum). What fantastic books.
So what is so good about this range of books:
Big clear pictures of EVERY recipe
Short ingredients list (most ingredients are used in several dishes so will not go to waste)
Short, concise instructions
Most meals take about half an hour from start to finish
Nutritional information is given for each recipe, including calories, fat etc
Small size so easy to travel with/take on holiday
I asked my children (age 4 and 6) to choose 7 meals they liked the look of (from piccies) and each day they would take it in turns to help me cook them. Now they are bragging to their friends about my wonderful cooking :) Even my dear hubby who is not a fruit/veg fan is trying all sorts of wonderful ingredients (and loving them).
With regard to this book in particular, it is split into the following sections:
Suppers for One, Two and More
Light and Healthy
Hot and Spicy
Suppers in 20 Minutes or Less
Dinners to Impress
Classic from Around the World
If you are a chicken fan, this book is heaven. There are recipes to suit all tastes, from Chicken Salads, through to Soups and Curries. Lots of very tasty, quick, low calorie dishes, such as Soy Steamed Chicken (a family favourite for a quick meal on rush day). There are also some more traditional family favourites like Chicken burgers, showing how to make a tasty coating to please the kids. Timings vary greatly within this book so a good all rounder I think.
I would highly recommend the Persian Chicken Pulao :)
These books can be found very cheaply on Amazon. Take a look :)
Good Food books are found in every bookshop usually on their own shelf with their massive extensive range. From 'One-Pot Dishes' to 'Cheap eats', 'for kids' to this '101 best ever chicken recipes edition. All books are priced up at £4.99 but WH Smith often have special buy one, get one half price deals if your lucky enough to find them.
The principles of the book are that, as a nation, we love Chicken and that this book gives a variety of tried and tested recipes for everyone to enjoy. Whether its a curry, a healthy snack, big family meal like a sunday dinner, this book has them all; well at least 101 ideas.
The book is laid out in a simple way; Ingredients and cooking instructions on the left hand side page, with a colour picture on the right. The left hand side is where all the info is and the right hand side is your guide to place your effort up against when you have finished - a sort of, "if it looks like this then you have done good!"
On the left page lies the cooking instructions. A list of ingredients with amounts next to them also gives the summary of how many this will serve and how long it will take. Next to it there are numbered instructions to make it as easy as possible to follow. Down below the instructions is another summary; this time of calories, protein and all the stuff that as a male I neglect to be bothered to read.
The recipes are well thought out and give scope for many meals that you may have not thought of. 'Tangy Chicken breasts' only features 4 ingredients, 25 mins to cook and 321 calories. The recipe was easy to follow and easy to execute. Others, like 'roasted ratatouille chicken' follows suit in the stakes of easiness but there are others to stretch your culinary skills like 'chicken and pesto roll ups'
I like the book for the easiness of the recipes, the layout and the success I have had with a number of the recipes. Recipes like 'spicy chicken and bacon pasties' would not be something I would have previously thought of as a good meal but both hot and cold, its a decent meal either at home, or taken cold to work. I like my curries too, and this book has a number of curries to try.
Difficult to pick out bad features, especially when you consider the low price but I guess its the over complicated recipes that let the book down. I think the target audience for this book is more people who like to cook but aren't necessarily the best. Those that are more passionate, or skilled, at cooking would probably plump for the books of Nigel Slater, or Oliver, so when you see 1000 ingredients and 6 steps to achieve the well set out picture on the right page, you perhaps lose interest.
At £4.99 you cant fail to get value for money for this book. I guarentee you will try at least a dozen recipes from the 101 on offer. I would strongly think that there would be a high chance of these being successful in regards to what you want to achieve.
some of this review (in intro) was taken from my other reviews of the 101 collection, also as dtait09