Cookbook reviews

This is a forum for sharing and reviewing favourite recipes, cook books and new ideas.

There was a long awaited delivery for me at work today – three cookbooks I had ordered from my very long wish list. I was excited. The mailman faired less well having had to cart the package from the basement to my desk. I was dying to tear into the box all day. At 5.30 on the dot, I raced home and at last I managed to rip through the tape and open the brown box of absolute bliss. I plan to do a review of the books and some of the recipes so watch this space (quite literally). For now though, I’m getting back to reading!


I recently watched a programme in this series and I was really impressed with the recipes so I was happy to receive the cookbook as an early birthday present.


While we were being healthy, we opted for homemade fish fingers, chilli-minted mushy peas and spiced sweet potato wedges. It was good. Very good. It was all so easy to make and delicious. The fish fingers were beautifully crisp with a lovely hint of dill. The peas packed a punch in every way. The sweet potatoes created an incredible aroma from all the spices and were perfectly soft and chewy. So far so good.


Next was something a lot less healthy. Hazelnut meringue tower. It was like having the best Ferrero Rocher you could ever imagine. A luscious chocolate cream fills the layers of hazelnut meringue and the top is drizzled with melted dark chocolate. Meringue can be difficult to make but this was so easy and the whole dessert had only a few ingredients. It is a real showstopper so great for a dinner party or at the end of a nice lunch. Once cut though, you won’t be able to stop picking at this so definitely not one for a diet day!

The whole book seems to be full of recipes which you would cook on an every day basis but with the added extras you would expect to get from a chef like Gordon Ramsay. The beauty of this is that you tend to have all of the ingredients and don’t need to spend lots of money buying unusual ingredients. What I most like is that the recipes introduce extra flavour to what could otherwise be very mundane food.

I would highly recommend this book and can already it see it being one that I go to make normal meals a little more interesting.


This is Katie Quinn Davis’ cook book. Katie is the ultimate food stylist and photographer. She is Irish but is based in Australia. The pictures on her blog are incredible. She is up there with my food styling and photography idols. Her book is similarly as arty and is full of flavourful and rustic creations.


One of my favourites is this lovely salad with harissa chicken, pearl barley, courgettes, green peppers, broccoli, rocket and toasted almonds. I love salads to be stuffed full of veg so this is ideal. It is simply dressed with lemon juice which is all that is needed to go with the punchy harissa. The textures in this dish are great from the soft pearl barley to the crunchy green peppers. We loved this so much that we ended up making more to take to work for lunch. You know something is good if you can eat it for five days straight and still have praise for it.

We have also tried the Aussie burgers and the made the pizza base and tomato sauce. Both were delicious. My only tiny gripe is that the recipes all take quite a while to cook. The chicken for the salad had to marinate for at least 30 minutes, the accompaniments to the burgers took over 1 hour to make and the tomato sauce for the pizza had to simmer for 1.5 hours. The food is definitely worth the wait but when you are cooking on a Friday night, you generally just want to eat so waiting 2.5 hours to have a pizza isn’t that appealing. I simply put that out there as a warning though.


1 Comment

  1. Pingback: Recipes and Cookbooks | Isabelita's Larder

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