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I've never been a huge fan of Jamie Oliver's books; they use too many fresh herbs and odd ingredients that just sit in my cupboard for months afterwards until I bin them. My Husband got given this book for Christmas and seeing as it's me that does the cooking I thought I'd give it a go and I found it to be very different to Jamie's other books, although it still uses a lot of fresh herbs!
When the Second World War started the government set up the Ministry of Food in an attempt to stop the food shortages and malnutrition that occurred during the First World War. The main reasons for setting up the Ministry were to make sure there was enough food to go round and to educate people about food and nutrition. Jamie took great inspiration from this and decided to teach ordinary people to cook good, nutritious meals and then, most importantly, PASS IT ON.
Pass it on is the pledge the people on the Ministry of Food TV programme made and the pledge you are asked to make on reading the introduction to the book. To learn one recipe from each section of the book and then teach them to four other people.
As the above suggests this book's designed for people who have never cooked before, or who cook very little. With that in mind the recipes are pretty idiot proof.
Aside from the introduction the book is split into 15 main sections; an essentials section that tells you the must have equipment and what foods to keep in your cupboard and 14 sections of recipes, these sections include soups, stews, pasta, roasts and twenty-minute meals.
I have so far cooked about a dozen of the recipes from this book including a chicken Korma, basic tomato pasta and beef Wellington. All of the recipes use easy to find ingredients and simple instructions of what to do to turn them into a delicious meal.
I would recommend reading through the recipe first before you start and getting out all the equipment you'll need as a lot of the recipes are quick and you have to be able to keep up with the cooking. Other recipes, such as the Beef Wellington and the Spaghetti bolognaise that take a surprisingly long time so check before you decide to cook Spag Bol as a quick meal like I did!
I've not reviewed every recipe I cooked because everyone's tastes are different. However I can say that most of the recipes I've tried, such as the Beef Wellington, Asian Chicken Noodle Broth and most of all the Chicken Korma have not only been easy but have come better than I've been served in many restaurants.
Some of them I've thought were not so good such as the Classic Tomato Spaghetti and the Spag Bol that haven't been so good. Jamie does suggest things to add to the Classic Tomato Spaghetti which does make it a bit more substantial and it has the advantage of being a quick meal. I've only made the Spag Bol once and it came out very watery, this may have been the type of tinned tomatoes I used but I suspect the quantity of water listed in the recipe was too much, I will reduce this next time.
Overall this book has been great and I use at least one recipe out of it every week. It has even got my husband into the kitchen! We've also started to 'pass it on' to our friends who have been really impressed with the recipes we've taught them.
I'd recommend this to anyone who wants to do more cooking, or wants to learn to cook. I'd even recommend it to the seasoned cook who wants to make life a little easier.
The list price for this book is £25 but you're sure to find it reduced.
P.S. Don't forget to pass it on!!
I was really looking forward to Tasmina Perry's second book but I read so many bad reviews of it that I decided to skip straight to the third. However, I got this book for Christmas so I gave it a go, I'm always desperate for books to read on the train.
I had low expectations of this book and I have to admit it did feel a little rushed, as if her editor was pushing her to finish it so they could ride on the success of her first book. She could also do with finding herself a new copy editor, the mistakes in this book are appalling and quite distracting to the story at times. One of the characters even used the wrong name at one point!
Despite these things the story was still very entertaining and the characters engaging. It took longer for me to read than Tasmina's first book as I couldn't get so engrossed in it, but not necessarily a bad thing when reading on the train!
If you enjoyed Daddy's Girls I certainly say give this a read but don't expect it to be of the same standard. If you can get past the spelling and grammar mistakes it's still a reasonable read.
I picked this book up in a book shop in the airport on the way for a holiday in the sun. I was hugely surprised by this book, it's sharp, it's witty and it's all engrossing which is exactly what I wanted from a beach read, I didn't have to think too hard but still got a lot out of the story.
I couldn't put this book down and after it was finished I was left thinking about the characters and the story line for days afterwards, which for me is always a good thing about a book - truly memorable.
Afterwards I was really looking forward to Tasmina's next book, she's the kind of author who you'll be hooked to for a long time.
This book is brilliant offering from a debut author and I thoroughly recommend it for anyone who enjoys the likes of Penny Vincenzi and is looking for a relatively easy read with huge entertainment value.