Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Gizzi's Kitchen Magic Cookbook Review

This week I thought I'd try my new Gizzi Erskine cookbook, Gizzi's Kitchen Magic. I borrowed it from the library but I knew it had to be mine immediately. I love the design of the book - never judge a book by its cover? Pah! This one has Gizzi sprinkling glitter onto a cake - it must be brilliant!

There are 13 sections in the book, including soups and salads, curry, spice and all things nice and bread and pastry. Each sections starts with hints and tips and some accompaniment ideas, for example there are explanations of different cuts of beef and what they can be used for; then a few recipes for butters to accompany steak. These additions as well as the 'proper' recipes are really interesting and will prove very useful when I continue to make things from the book.

My favourite aspect of the book is the tattoo-esque pictures that appear on most pages, maybe I'm being shallow but a cooking pot with wings makes me very happy! Gives me ideas for more tattoos of my own, and I know that Gizzi herself has a gorgeous whopper of a tattoo on her back. Lovely!As for the vital recipe tests I made the self-saucing lemon pudding and chicken katsu curry. First the lemon pudding. This recipe really stood out as it looked quite simple to make and the ingredients were quite cheap and easy to find. I loved the idea of a self-saucing dessert, I'd seen a similar recipe somewhere else but never got round to making it. Unfortunately it wasn't a great success. The pudding was supposed to contain passion fruit too but I just wanted to make it with lemon. I followed the recipe exactly but after the cooking time elapsed there was no apparent sauce, just a raw looking mixture with a browned top. Very disappointed and thought it would go to waste.

Yet it was saved - hurrah! After hiding the dessert in the fridge overnight I decided to stick it in the microwave to warm it up and try a little. This cooked the bottom and it was no longer a milky mess. There was no longer any chance of it being self-saucing but at least it was cooked and it tasted lovely and fresh. I've even been asked to make it again! If I do make it again I might try reducing the milk to see if it makes a difference, or perhaps like the brownies last week I shouldn't make it in a glass dish. Still, not the best start for such a good looking book.

Here is what it should have looked like:

I wasn't sure how my second dish of Chicken Katsu Curry would turn out after my disappointing dessert. I'm not keen on Indian curries but love the fresher tastes of Thai, Malaysian and Vietnamese food. I absolutely adore sushi and miso soup and would happily scoff ramen noodles all day long. I have however only tried katsu curry once in a London branch of Wagamamas after a great Avenue Q show (mmmm, Daniel Boys!). I really enjoyed the sweet curry sauce and the crunchy chicken and wanted a recipe when I came home. I was thoroughly upset that there was no katsu recipe in the Wagamamas cookbook I promptly bought - surely it's their most famous dish? So imagine my delight at finding a recipe in Gizzi's book.

It was throughly delicious. It was worth finding panko breadcrumbs, surprisingly only 2 minutes away from my work! I was suspicious about the sauce while I was making it but once it all cooked down it tasted just like the infamous Wagamamas dish and a great contrast to the crunchy chicken. The only thing I changed was that I used chicken strips instead of full chicken breasts but it meant more crunchy breadcrumbs and that it cooked quicker so it was fine. Phew, the book is redeemed, and if you wanted to 'sex up' the recipe as suggests just add Japanese pickles. Next time, next time.


Post a Comment