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Potato: The Definitive Guide to Potatoes and Potato Cooking - Alex Barker

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2 Reviews

Genre: Food & Drink / Dieting / Author: Alex Barker, Sally Mansfield / Paperback

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    • More +
      19.08.2011 14:28
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      A very useful cookbook

      When it comes to cooking the one ingredients that I always seem to have are potatoes. They are the sort of vegetable which goes with a lot of different meals and also one of the most versatile. Personally I am a huge potato fan and give me a plate of roast potatoes and gravy and I am perfectly happy! However, there are only so many basic ways of having potatoes before you get bored and as a gift from my dear other half he bought me the cook book called "Potato" by Alex Barker and Sally Mansfield.

      Now I don't know whether his gift was a hint or was actually a nice gesture! However, it's become a cook book I have turned to a lot and comes in very handy and useful. There are only so many meals you can eat with mash or boiled spuds and this cook book really has some great ideas and great recipes to try out and use.

      The cook book is actually quite large and is A4 size so it isn't a book you could easily store away and it isn't a hardback which personally a cook book of that size with so many recipes I would prefer to be a hardback but that's just me! The front picture is a plate of what looks to be potato cakes with the title of the book 'Potato' directly above. The contents page is well laid out and again features a small image of some type of potato dish.

      There are 17 chapters in the book although 8 are solely under the Recipe chapter so they are probably classed as sub-chapters! The book begins with the 'History of the Potato' which although interesting to me its not needed. The chapters after this go through the following topics: Growing Your Own Potatoes, Preparation Techniques, Cooking Techniques, Buying and Storing and Equipment. All useful in their own right and are very well laid out and all feature images which are descriptive and they are easy to understand.

      A large chapter is dedicated to 'Potatoes of the World'. This is quite a large chapter and could really and truly be a book by itself. Now personally this chapter does not interest me in the slightest but it may interest someone else. I just find it slightly pointless and it bulks out the cook book too much and is unnecessary. I'd rather have more recipes than facts about potatoes around the globe. Still. Despite my negatives the information is laid out well and features images to break up the text. At the back of the book there is a vast index which is actually pretty helpful and like the rest of the book it is well laid out and easy to read.

      Finally onto the recipes! They fall under the following sub-chapters: Soups, Starters and Snacks, Salads, Side Dishes, Meat and Poultry Dishes, Fish Dishes, Vegetarian Dishes and Bread and Scones. I have to admit when I read through the recipes I didn't realise just how versatile the potato actually is and was amazed at the range of recipes that this cook book actually has.

      Now before I go on about the recipes I must advise that this Potato cook book isn't just about potatoes. Recipes in the book do all contain potatoes but a lot of recipes just include the potato as an ingredient in the dish although some recipes are just about potatoes. I hope that has made sense and hopefully my examples of some of the recipes which I have used with clear it all up!

      Now as I said the cook book is actually quite large in size and this is mainly down to that each recipe has it's own page and then on the opposite page to the recipe there is a large picture of the dish itself (not in all chapters, smaller dishes may share a page with another small recipe). Now for me this is how I like a layout in a cookbook to be. The ingredients list is well laid out as are the amounts needed. It also states how many people the dish will serve which is useful. The text is basic and simple, certainly nothing fancy. Underneath the title of the dish there is a little info about the dish itself which is a nice touch.

      The recipe method is done by numbers and again each step is laid out and put simply which is useful but what I find even more useful is that they use small images for a few of the steps which is a nice touch and it also helps to make sure you are actually doing it right! At the bottom of the method there is also a 'Cook's Tip' which I have found to be very useful on more than one occasion! Despite the size of the cookbook the images and the easy layout certainly help and of course the large image of the dish certainly makes it quite mouth-watering!

      A variety of dishes I have made:

      Pork Escalopes baked with apple and potato rosti
      Kale, chorizo and potato soup
      Herby potato bake
      Smoked haddock and new potato bake
      Turkey croquettes

      As you can see above the recipes in the cookbook include other ingredients and are not solely about making everything out of potato! The above recipes are only just a selection I have made from the cookbook and so far I have been really impressed with the wide range of recipes the book has to offer. There really is something for any season or time of the year whether you want something hot or cold this book has it - just as long as you like potatoes!

      This recipe book has actually become one of my most turned to books as I can always find a recipe that suits my needs and requirements. Some dishes do take longer to prepare than others but there is a wide variety of both quick and easy to the more advanced recipes so there is something suitable for everyone. It certainly is a comprehensive guide to the potato and recipes and with over 150 photographed recipes its hard not to get hungry whilst having a flick through!

      Overall, I would really recommend this cookbook to anyone. It has plenty to offer in terms of the amount of recipes but I would like to see less blurb at the front as personally that doesn't interest me but the varied selection of recipes is great and would say it is a worthy buy.

      ~ Useful Info~

      Paperback
      ISBN-10: 184038929X
      ISBN-13: 978-1840389296
      Product Dimensions: 29.4 x 22.6 x 2 cm

      According to Amazon:

      Price: Used from £0.01p and New from £4.84 (Aug 11)

      Average Review: 5 Stars

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      • More +
        06.08.2011 13:56

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        A simple book for a simple ingredient

        This might seem slightly too obvious a subject for a cookbook, but surprisingly it offers a variety of interesting and varied recipes using the humble potato.

        I bought this book for two reasons, firstly I really like potatoes and secondly because at the moment they are a versatile and helpful store cupboard ingredient which allow me to make meals when we are close to the end of our week without having to buy more food in.

        This book is an A4 sized paperback with A4 sized photographs of some of the recipes, it is glossy and has simple to use recipes and descriptions. I have found this to be a really useful addition to my cooking routine as previously I had about 7-9 standard uses for potatoes, now I have many more and they are much more exciting.

        I have used the recipes for roast potatoes and other staples which are considered as side dishes but really made use of the items such as the potato pancakes and pizza which make a whole lot of sense and help me to achieve cheap and exciting menus for my house.

        For families who have an abundance of potatoes who are on a budget this book is excellent and I really enjoy using it, I know it is a boring vegetable but so many opportunities arise from this book including Sweet potato bread, good recipes for mash chips and the usual staples and even desserts using sweet potato.

        The book is available for 1p on Amazon and is well worth it, it has a precursory section talking about the history of Potatoes and looks at recipes from around the world, this isn't the flashiest book but with good photos and excellent recipes it is a cheap and useful addition to my kitchen.

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