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After seeing her cook on the good food channel I was amazed how she makes basic ingredients into something that sounds wonderful. She is very down to earth on the show and wanted to cook a few of the different recipes I had seen on the show. This book certainly didn't disappoint it has some lovely recipes. They are all really easy to follow and very reliable there's no complicated cook speak so I don't feel thick while trying to cook. A lot of the recipes are so quick to make you don't actually feel like your cooking as such as you seem to whip something up that's so nice in no time.
There are some great chapters in the book such as childhood favourites, food for romance and for the love of chocolate which I have to say is my favourite, beware though because everything made form this chapter so far hasn't lasted two seconds.
Within the book are your basic recipes such as fillet of steak with brandy sauce as well as some more impressive dishes for dinner parties such as Chocolate Amaretto Cake which I highly recommend it's so yummy and grown up Pavalova.
This book is ideal for someone who loves their food but doesn't have much time or want to learn new recipes. A great book ideal for a present but unfortunately once you've read it you might want to keep it.
Since having had my 2 tiddlers, I have had alot more of a chance to really develope my home cooking skills. I work all weekends, so I never get to see one of my favourite family home cooks, Rachel Allen. She really hasn't reached 'celebrity chef' status, I sort of think almost thankfully. Her food is fantastic home cooking with a modern twist. I have reviewed her 'bake' book which for me has been a fail safe when it comes to baking, so I have been looking at her range of books with real hope and knowledge that her recipes work well!
I got a paper back version of 'Food for Living' for £3.99 from Costco. List price is £14.99, so I think I got a reall bargain.
The book is split into chapters entitled:
Food for Soul
Something to Celebrate
The Lazy Sunday
Am elegant Afternoon
Pleasure without the guilt
Food for Romance
Fot the Love of Chocolate
A really lovely index, its split really well. Although is you are jvst flicking through the book, you do get a pud next to a savoury.
What have I tried?
Italian Baked pancakes. Its like a really scrummy lasagna inspired by Aldo Zilli. Instead of pasta, these light and flavousome pancakes make the basis for this very Italian home table dish...its lovely...very very cheesy, very garlicy and very Italian. Its proper Italian home cooking as far as cam concerned.
The Bacona nd sausage stew, its wonderful! very much the food I have knocking around in the ladar or fridge. Its flavoursome and wholesome. Yummy!
Spagettini with cavier and creme fraiche.
My Husband is Swedish, so we have caviar (ish) in the fridge all the time, so this was a great dish in our house. Its so simple, just a few ingredients!
And my very fave,its so easy its silly,
Bakes Eggs with Chorizo, cream and cheese.
So very simple, and choc full of flavour, simple and perfect for a fancy breakfast or brunch with friends.
So as you can see, its all very simple food, but its well thought out, well layed out and full of flavour.
She also has many classics that are a little more complicated or time consuming like Lamb shanks, Irish stew, full detailed guide into how to make 'A Big Sunday roast' its all got a great twist. Lemony breadcrumb stuffing,root veg mash, glazed carrots, honey roast parsnips with seasame seeds, broccoli with garlic, lemon and parmesan, slow roast chicken with lemon and chilli.....yummy! Slow Roast Spiced Lamb with Roasted root veg....double yummy!!!!
Buy it, its a great little everyday, and special day book that works!
Just after Christmas, when everything was getting back to normal after the festivities I was mooching about in W.H.Smith in my local town when I spotted this book among the reduced display near the door. At first I thought it might be a mistake as Rachel Allen is a superb first class cook and her books arent usually reduced in the vast array of 'sale' books. I took it to the till and yes, I was not mistaken at all, I only paid £7 for this instead of the real price of £20.00.
Now I am a real fan of this gentle lady and her recipes, having watched her on television in both her own programmes and Saturday kitchen, which I never miss if I can help it. She seems to be a very popular TV chef but also, according to the book, teaches regularly at the world famous 'Ballymaloe Cookery School'. She and her husband, Isaac, live at Cork with their two young sons and family dog.
Rachel has written this particular book, called 'Rachel's Food for Living' with friends and family in mind. She has taken all her and her family's favourite recipes and tried to share them with us through this wonderful book.
The book contains over a hundred recipes. Food you would curl up on the sofa with, food you would serve your friends and food for your children. Food, in fact, that builds memories and nostalgia for the future.
Food for the Soul.
Something to Celebrate.
The Lazy Sunday.
An Elegant Afternoon.
Food for Romance.
For the Love of Chocolate.
Obviously I haven't tried more than a fraction of them yet. But those I have tried (i.e Smoked Fish Pie with Hard boiled Eggs), have been delicious.
This delightful book is full of beautiful relaxed photos of her lovely family. Just going about their daily lives, not posed. Kids rolling on the grass etc.
She is wonderful at describing a dish and as a little addition on each page she adds one of her 'Rachels handy tips' (i.e:- If you are worried about flaming the brandy, add the stock at the same time. However, if the flames do get out of control, cover with a fire blanket- never add water)
There are plenty indulgent recipes in here for the foodie, and the homely types who like to potter and cook and eat ad infinitum. But there is also a good array of calorie concious and vegetarian dishes to appeal to the whole spectrum of tastes.
The Making Memories chapter is great. Full of lovely kiddie food like Banana and Chocolate Bread and Butter pudding, which my own grandchildren loved.
I am absolutely dying to have friends for supper soon to try 'Roast Loin of Pork stuffed with Prunes and Apples with a Calvados Sauce' or maybe I could try it for a Sunday lunch. There is so much in here to tittilate your taste buds. The Baking section is amazing. Recipes include:-
Sweet Scone with homemade Blueberry jam (sounds divine)
Iced Vanilla Cup Cakes.
White chocolate buns.
Oaty shortbread (these taste delicious)
Greek Almond crescents. and much much more...........
Last week I made Rachel Allen's Leek, Potato and Blue Cheese Soup. Oh my goodness, this is to die for. I know I will make it over and over again. I served it with garlic bread slices toasted under the grill and sprinkled with just a touch of the cheese. Yum.
What is really nice about this book is that you can have something very simple or something exciting (like Arabian spiced rack of lamb) or just a few traditional British teatime treats.
Rachel's gentle personality seeps throughout the pages of this book. Her gentle Irish lilt and her warm smile seems embedded into it. I have loved what I have made up to now and I know for certain that you would too. Whatever your tastes, likes and dislikes you will find something good here.
Rachel's Food for Living is published by Collins and costs £20.00 at leading bookstores and online prices vary. Some special promotions (as with the book I purchased) will enable you to obtain this at a much reduced price although it is worth every penny of its £20.00.
I will leave you with a quote from Rachel on the back page of her book
'Food has the amazing power to stir many happy memories - it can make us feel uplifted or energetic, nostalgic or loved. Great food is the best gift. I heartily agree with that, how about you?
I have a lot of cookbooks and only a couple that come out time and time again. Rachel Allen's food for Living is one of them. The book is very clearly layed out and has a useful ribbon to mark the page for you.
Pictures are great and help you visualise what the food should look like. It doesn't have too many pictures in like some books. The thing i love about this is book is pretty much 90% of the recipes are one's you would actually do. They are easy to follow, don't use lots of hard to find ingredients and taste fab.
I like the section for afternoon tea as i have the girls round a fair bit and also the food for lovers as due to the credit crunch have taken to cooking a special meal rather than going out.
The book reads like Rachel's Tv show, flows nicely and is cosy, Rachel is a cook rather than a chef.
This cook book is a great investment if you want lots of great ideas that you will use most days of the week rather than the "fine dining" books- however there are some recipes to cover for this. It also has a easy to do sunday roast menue with timings to help.
My greatest successes have been- flapjacks, polka dot cookies, scallops in beurre blanc sauce, white chocolate mousse and mocha kisses. Much loved by the family.
I was given this book by my Mother-in-Law as a Christmas present just over a year ago and immediately took against it because of the oh-so-perfect photo of Allen on the cover. How silly was I? I knew, from her TV series, that Rachel Allen can cook, the recipes always looked lovely but i was younger and foolish then. Anyway, i finally opened the book some time last summer and am very glad that i did. The recipes are clear and very easy to follow. Nearly every one includes a photograph so that you can compare what you are cooking with the end product - this is something i look for in a recipe book. At the moment, the sweet recipes are favourite in this household and i know that any time i want to create some flapjacks or cookies or even scones, i can trust in the recipes. Each one is clearly written and the step by step instructions are easy to follow. the book is helpfully split into sections so that if you want a quick and easy sesame chicken recipe for dinner, you can find it easily, but if you are hosting an afternoon tea party and want some very good recipes for buns or almond cookies then turn to that section. It's a very easy to follow book, the photos are great and i have so far been impressed with each recipe i've followed.