As a child I rarely did any cooking. This was not because I did not want to but because my mum was convinced I would make loads of mess. So when I moved into my own place I couldn't wait to experiment. Trouble was being on my own I had no one to appreciate my new found skills and the joy of baking just wasn't there.
A few years later when I got married I was so happy that I could finally have a chance to get cooking. Problem was a few weeks into our marriage I fell pregnant with twins. Cooking was the last thing I felt like doing and all I craved was macaroni cheese.
So finally, about a year later and with a bit of time on my hands, I decided it was time to get my pinny back out.
I saw this cook book at a Dorling Kindersley book party and thought it was just what I needed. I paid around £10 for the book. It has been worth the money however I am sure that it could be purchased for much cheaper as there are many places offering books at discount prices.
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This hardbound 168 page book is not just a cookery book. It also teaches you all you need to know about food. It is like a cookery course and cookbook all rolled into one.
The book starts by introducing you to the book and its contents. It tells you how to use and benefit from each section.
There are five sections in this book, and they are as follows:-
This part of the book gives details on how to create a stock of useful ingredients that will be used in most recipes. This is split into 5 sections and then each of those sections is split again. I won't go into every section, but everything is covered from pasta, pulses, and grains, to spices, herbs, oils and preserved foods such as ketchup and mustard.
Again split into various sections. Advice on all the equipment you need in your kitchen including knives, pots, gadgets, and what each is needed for. It will also tell you what you won't need to buy which could save you a fortune.
Here you will learn about the basics. All that will are necessary for moving on to create some delicious dishes.
~Eggs. Every way possible to cook them is explained and each is given in good details with excellent photos. Instructions on how to separate eggs, whisk whites and make a perfect batter mix can be found here.
~Rice and Pasta. How to cook rice and pasta, check that it has cooked properly and how to serve it.
~Grains and Pulses. All varieties are explained, with ways of cooking them for the best results.
~Fish and shellfish. How to choose, buy and prepare fish and shellfish.
~Poultry. All the various cuts of poultry are shown and explained, with explanations on how to prepare, roast, and carve. There is also advice on how to make a good stock from the carcass ..like grandma used to!
~Meat. Which cuts to buy for what recipes. How to prepare the meat and tips on the perfect roast.
~Vegetables and Fruit. All the popular, and not so popular varieties are covered here. Along with all the advice you could ever need.
~Pastry. All you ever need to know.
~Sauces. White, custard, mayonnaise and French, all the beginnings of a delightful dish.
The recipes here are quite basic, but are perfect for a beginner. Each is given in very clear, easy to follow steps with very clear photographs. Twelve master recipes are given and all points covered will have been explained in the previous sections. Leek and Potato soup, chilli con carne, followed by Apple Pie, all you need for a three course meal.
The book then goes on to give several recipes, each split into the sections as before, starting back with the eggs, rice, pasta etc.
The book finishes here. The pages are scattered with charts that tell you all the cooking times and temperatures you will need when cooking. They are given for both gas and electric. On the next page you will find conversion charts for weight, volume and measurements.
Nearly ten years on and I still use this book. Like most busy mums I am not able to make gourmet meals each day so the 'everyday recipes' are very useful. The conversion charts and cooking guides are a godsend, especially when we recently moved and I swapped from cooking with gas to electric.
The Layout of the book is very simple and clear and the pictures make it so much easier to understand.
This book would make a perfect present for anyone leaving home and setting up on their own. But also very good for someone who struggles with lumpy sauce and soggy cauli.
This is one book that I would thoroughly recommend.