Newest Review: ... example of this is a Cawl from Monmothshire. A Cawl is a Welsh Stew made from the neck of lamb and not something I've really got any e... more
There Is A Hairy Biker In My Chicken
The Hairy Bikers' Food Tour of Britain - Hairy Bikers
Member Name: Andy.mack
The Hairy Bikers' Food Tour of Britain - Hairy Bikers
Advantages: Some excellent recipes, very easy to follow
Disadvantages: A little too specialist in some areas for my taste
As my desire to cook more has grown, so has my collection of cookbooks to aid me in my quest of making interesting dishes. One of the first books I bought was the Hairy Bikers Food Tour of Britain after watching the TV series on BBC 2. I liked the look of a couple of the dishes featured on the show and thought that the book would have many more recipes that I could try and add to my repertoire. The series itself had been entertaining in the usual Hairy Bikers way and the book, which I paid £10 for from Tesco, has been quite useful, although perhaps not quite as much as I'd envisaged when I bought it.
The series took in 30 Counties around the country and from each of these Counties the book contains a number of regional recipes. These vary from the Bikers own recipes to those belonging to the local chef they featured on the show. Whilst there is on average 3 recipes for each county a lot of them are particular specialities to that area and not something youd fancy cooking in your own kitchen, a perfect example of this is a Cawl from Monmothshire. A Cawl is a Welsh Stew made from the neck of lamb and not something I've really got any enthusiasm to try cooking at home. This is the biggest problem with the book as a number of the recipes are of a similar nature.
It's Not All Bad Though
Even though I've started by focussing on the negatives it isn't all bad with the book. There are a number of recipes that make it a worthwhile purchase. One of our favourite dishes when we have people over comes from this book so it certainly has something to offer. The problem is that a large portion of the dishes are very specialist or require a certain taste and really are dishes you'd try in a pub or restaurant whilst visiting the various regions, rather than cooking them up for yourself in your own Kitchen.
Whilst I may appear to be quite critical of the contents of the book it does have some very good recipes that taste fantastic. We've now tried about 10 dishes from the book and each of them has tasted far better than we were expecting. My favourite to cook is the Somerset Chicken, which once cooked in the oven has a beautiful blend of tender chicken topped in cider infused sauce. My other personal favourite from this book is the Wild Salmon on a Bed of Lentils from Morayshire. If you get the right piece of Salmon the lentils really compliment it well, whilst the side salad suggested adds a nice accompaniment to a very nicely cooked piece of Salmon.
Now I'm sure if I was to try out some of the more unusual recipes in the book they would come out equally as delicious. Perhaps it's a lack of adventure that's putting me off trying them, but I just feel that there are too many specialist recipes, however really that's what this book is about. It highlights and brings to a much larger audience some of the most delicious offerings from Counties around the United Kingdom. Despite starting this review in a rather negative fashion I do really like this book for the recipes I use and I'm sure some of those I don't really fancy will appeal to many others.
Nice and Easy
As with all of the Hairy Bikers cook books the recipes are very easy to follow. They make the process quite easy to follow and this really helps to build your confidence to try different things. A lot of the recipes are quoted as using local ingredients to that area, however I've found that the supermarket alternatives work out just as well. Each of the recipes allow a little deviation and are suitable for families on most budgets, depending on the ingredients you wish to use.
A Decent Book
Overall I do find that this book is good for those recipes we use. It's not my favourite cookbook due to the high level of specialisation required on some of the recipes but everything we've made from it so far has been delicious. If you're quite adventurous in your eating habits then you'll really enjoy this book. It does have something for everyone. I am determined to branch out and try a few more recipes from the book, just to try a few new dishes and I think when we do I'll be able to up my rating from 4 stars to 5, but for now it's just a little too specialist for me to give it a full 5 star recommendation, despite how good the dishes we've tried have been.
Summary: A decent regional cookbook
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