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Great British Dinners - James Martin

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Genre: Food & Drink / Dieting / Author: James Martin / Edition: illustrated edition / Hardcover / 144 Pages / Book is published 2003-08-14 by Mitchell Beazley

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      26.08.2010 15:39
      Very helpful



      Brill book

      When it comes to cooking its something I have a huge interest in. Since having my own flat (I got it in January) the one thing I wanted to do was cook and/or entertain more and so when I chose my flat I did get one with a decent kitchen!

      I fancy James Martin! I think he is right fit, will watch any show he is in and so when it come to the purchase of some cookery books his seemed a top choice for me. I mean not only do I think hes rather hunky looking he puts things across in a way that I can understand and follow and like me doesn't always think food has to appear to fancy and likes heaps of food on a plate!

      This book being about British dinners appealed to me. I was brought up on wholesome and filling foods and hoped this would be full of traditional plus more modern takes on dishes and paying £12.00 for it new from Amazon I couldn't wait to test out a few of his dishes. (This is also available on Amazon in a used condition from as little as £2.76!)

      The Book:

      This is a hardback book published by Mitchell Beazly and contains photographs taken by Jan Cazals and has 144 large pages to it. On the front cover of my book there is a photograph of James Martin munching on something and two photographs, one of a pork pie and one of roast potatoes though you can also get another edition of this same book with just a photograph of the man himself on it. On the back of the book there are a couple of photographs of some desserts and I'm told some of the contents of the book and there is a bar-code on there. Open up the book and again on the inside of the cover we are told what some of the recipes are and that originally the book retailed at £16.99.

      On most of the pages you get one well laid out recipe though on a few pages you do get a couple of smaller recipes. The first part of the book is James Martins introduction and talking about traditional British food with again, a photograph of the man himself. Then the book is divided into sections. The sections are:

      All day breakfasts
      Soups, tarts & terrine's
      Roasts, pikes & bakes
      Stews, pots & spicy foods
      Fish & seafood
      Vegetables & extras

      What I love about this book is that how well explained the recipes are to make up and that the ingredients used in all his recipes are easy to get hold of. Nothing is too poncy or fussy to make thus giving me confidence in my kitchen and some of the photographs of him and the food are beautifully coloured and simple.

      Some of the recipes you can expect from this book is the simple bacon buttie (his Grandma used to make him as a child) and a sausage and ketchup sarnie, 'My Dad's' cheese on toast, gammon with pinapple salsa, kedegree and hot cross buns with blueberries which all fall under the title of all day breakfasts so as you can see just from those recipes this is about wholesome and yummy food. He even talks about hp brown sauce and the likes!

      You also get a great selection of soups to make such as watercress and leek, potato and Stilton soup and then asparagus tart and baked cheese in a box. He goes through roasting a selection of meats such as beef, pork and chicken, tells you how to make a pork pie and Shepperd's pie, steak and kidney pie, corned beef hash and toad in the hole. Then you get to my personal favourite section of which I have tried out rather a few of his yummy recipes such as beef stroganoff, beef stew and dumplings and macaroni cheese. The fish section again is vast with recipes and photographs given of seared salmon with sesame watercress salad, smoked haddock risotto with sautéed black pudding, kipper paste on toast and fish pies plus of course traditional prawn cocktail! The vegetable section of this book really is very helpful indeed and again something I refer to rather often. He tells you how to make the perfect roast and jacket potatoes and how to cook brussel spouts 'properly', how to make homemade mushy peas and how to create garlic mushrooms, pickled onions and his mums gravy!

      His puddings again are really easy to follow and again, I have made a few of these recipes up since owning this book. My favourites to make and bake include apple pie and custard, summer fruit pudding, baked rice pudding and rhubarb and ginger crumble and I'm dying to make up the Yorkshire curd tart asap! The cakes are things like Auntie's sponge, chocolate roulade, chocolate cornflake cakes and carrot and cinnamon cake.

      There is a great mix of recipes within this book and although some sound fancy no diagrams are given as they really arnt necessary and each part of the recipes is numbered in steps and none of the steps take too long. Each recipe tells you exactly how to create it and what it should look like and how many people it should serve.

      I appreciate him telling me how he finds the recipes under each recipe heading and it seems like alot of those recipes came down his family line giving the book a sort of family feel to it and therefore it feels rather personal.

      All in all I love this book and his take on traditional British food. He believes that curry is now a national dish and should be included within his book (it is ) and really, there is something for everyone here. I can now cook up an impressive storm and not look like a novice though shhhh all the recipes I have so far tried have been a doddle and really tasty!

      Great book and it is well presented and I'm very glad to have purchased it and the glossary at the back of the book makes it really simple to use too!

      Available in all good book shops and online etc.


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