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I own a large number of cookery books as both my husband and I prefer to create our own dishes as opposed to purchasing from supermarkets. Whilst quite a few of my books rarely see the light of day, I have a collection written by Gina Steer; all of which are easy to follow and provide wholesome dishes with simple and affordable ingredients. I have previously reviewed some of my favourites with this review discussing Traditional Recipes.
It was the words "Quick and Easy", which are prominently displayed on the front cover that was the deciding factor for me when I was initially drawn to this range of books, which I purchased from The Works quite a few years ago. The hard covered book is slightly smaller than A5 size and offers 352 high quality glossy pages of delicious recipes; all of which are supported by a colour image. I have mentioned in previous cookery book reviews that photos are a must for me when choosing recipe books, particularly as these are my inspiration and I like to know how my creation should appear once complete.
The book offers a huge range of what I would describe as comforting and warming dishes from soups to main meals and desserts. The book begins with an easy to follow contents page where the recipes are placed into different categories such as soups and starters, fish and shellfish, meat, vegetables and vegetarians and desserts. We are then taken through several pages that provide extremely helpful information relating to nutrition where we learn of proteins, different vitamins and carbohydrates. Whilst most people are aware of the nutritional values of foods I found this section considerably helpful, particularly as my husband is a type 1 diabetic and is assists in enabling me to carefully balance his meals.
We are provided with sections on cooking techniques with one discussing potatoes and the other, pastry making, which is handy for those who have little knowledge or the more experienced who wish to brush up on their skills. We are provided with a host of soups and starters for both meat eaters and vegetarians and the ingredients are simple and can be found in the majority of kitchen cupboards. I cannot bear cookery books that list an array of ingredients where I have to scour the aisles of the supermarket in an attempt to look for something I've never heard of before.
Each of the recipes is supported by an image of the completed dish, which is located on the facing page and there are a few images displaying preparation. A point I favour with each of the books within this range is that the number of people the recipe serves is clearly located on the upper section of the page with the ingredients laid out in an easy to follow manner. In addition to metric measurements we are also provided with imperial. All of the recipes are presented in a few easy to follow paragraphs, particularly as they are quick to create and this is one of the reasons why I enjoy using these books, as I am not one for creating dishes with lengthy preparation times and complication directions.
My husband and I have a few firm favourites such as the tomato and basil soup and the potato, leek and rosemary soup; both of which are suitable for vegetarians and are created within just a short space of time. They are absolutely delicious and use affordable everyday ingredients and I tend to make up large batches and freeze for a later date. As I like to ensure that my husband and I are eating at least two portions of oily fish each week, this is one of the books that has helped me to achieve this, as previously I would never cook fish, as I didn't have a clue what to do with it. I'm not a fan of spicy foods and whilst there is a wide selection in the book, there are also many using herbs, which are more suitable for our taste buds. There is a variety of haddock and mackerel recipes, which are two of my favourite fish and I have recreated the dishes on a number of occasions.
The meat section offers a variety of warming comforting dishes such as Lancashire hotpot and shepherd's pie and these are dishes that I enjoy creating, particularly during the colder weather. As my sister is a vegetarian and my mother rarely eats meat, the book has been extremely helpful to me, particularly as I was previously lost on what dishes I was able to cook for them. The mushroom stew has been a real winner as well as the rice filled peppers and I have been asked to cook them on further occasions, so I must have done something right!
The puddings and dessert section offers the most delicious looking dishes; many of which have been created for many years, such as rice pudding, Eve's pudding and jam roly poly. Whilst some of the recipes are extremely basic such as fruit salad, I have been inspired to attempt the delicious chocolate steamed puddings, which are a dish that I'd never created before. The last few pages within the book provide a full index so that each of the recipes can be easily located. This is an excellent book, which I can highly recommend as it is perfect for the beginner and the more experienced. The book offers a range of delicious nutritional meals that will suit all tastes and for that reason it receives five stars from me.
As previously stated, I purchased my copy of Traditional Recipes from The Works and I think I paid £3. At the time of writing, Amazon is out of stock with new copies, but you can purchase a used copy from 1p plus postage and packing.
ISBN - 978-1-84786-455-0
General Editor - Gina Steer
Published by Flame Tree Publishing, London in 2009
I hope you found my review useful and thanks for reading.