Wednesday, 2 November 2011
Wednesday, 19 October 2011
A lot of the recipes come from different diners across America and there are black and white photos from many of them. There are no photos of any of the recipes which is a shame. A lot of dishes are familiar but it's a case of googling some of the recipes to see what they might look like, for example a Blackberry Slump or Chicken Tetrazzini. There are ocassionally some ingredients that a little mysterious such as Au Jus Mix (looks like it's beef stock mix) but I think most things can be worked out. There are over 450 recipes to choose from so there is always another dish to try and to be fair the book was produced for an American market so the recipes weren't catered towards British ingredients and measurements.
There's a great selection of recipes, chapters include Breakfast At The Counter, Sandwich Platters, Blue Plate Specials and What's For Dessert? There are pies galore as you would expect, as well as plenty of drink recipes like sodas and milkshakes.
So I'm pleased I finally made some use of this book and I'm really glad I have it. It's selling for a stupid price on Amazon Marketplace now but it is available of Kindle if you're super modern!
Tuesday, 4 October 2011
There are photos for most of the recipes which are full-page and I think they're really great. There are nice big close ups and most of the photos are of slices or the whole dessert with a piece taken out so you can really see what the cake/tart/pies etc looks like inside. It's really useful when you're baking to compare your efforts to someone elses. It also makes it looks like everything must be delicious as there is a bit missing with crumbs around the edges of plates!
The book has a short 4 page technique and equipment section at the start which would be very useful for the novice baker. The book is then split into 10 chapters including Biscuits, Fruity Cakes, Breakfast Goods and A Cup of Tea and a Bun! I'm pretty sure everyone would find something to make from each chapter.
As for the book, I can really recommend it if you're looking some traditional baking recipes that will turn out perfectly every time. I initially thought it would be too traditional for me but there are some great biscuit recipes and all the icings and frostings sound lovely, I think nearer Christmas the clementine icing will be used on something. I want to try out the pastry recipes too as I feel like anything I make from this book will be a success - fingers crossed!
I like the idea of having goth versions of food! When I can eventually have my own garden I'm going to try and grow lots of dark plants!
Tuesday, 27 September 2011
If you've ever been to the shop or seen it online then you'll know that the book design matches perfectly - very neon and camp. There are recipes for 'Cheeky Cupcakes' and 'Titty Cupcakes' which are slightly disturbing! These sit side by side quite uncomfortably with 'Hedgehog Cupcakes' and 'Bunny Cupcakes'. Not sure why you'd include children's cupcakes into such a book, they might as well stick with their theme rather than sticking something in the book for everyone.
The book is split into 7 chapters including 'Nutty and Chocolatey Cupcakes', 'Rich and Spicy Cupcakes' and 'Styling Cupcakes'. There are some really tempting flavours and there are full page photos for most recipes. One thing that drives me mad about this book is that a lot of the pages are black. Looks really stylish until you start using the books and you get greasy fingers marks everywhere! I like my books to stay quite prestine so this is an issue!! Must be a librarian thing!
The decorating section is informative and there are lots of little pictures showing you step by step instructions. This definitely makes some of the mould work and piping look more feasible, plus now I know where to get a skull and crossbone chocolate mould from! Woo! There's an effect I definitely want to try with bubble wrap and chocolate - impressive honeycomb patterns once the chocolate sets. Brilliant!
Overall I really liked the book. I was afraid it would be style over substance but I was much more impressed by the recipes than the design. I think the childish elements should be removed and maybe fewer black pages. I'll be interested to see if another cupcake recipe makes the same amount of cakes. The variation of flavours makes this a really great book for someone wanting to try something more interesting than a vanilla or chocolate cupcake. How about Apple Crumble, Pistachio & Praline or Liquorice? Yes please!
Tuesday, 30 August 2011
There are photos for around 2 thirds of the recipes I'd say. Nice big portions of everything, it looks like you could easily achieve everything at home which is great. Food to eat rather than admire. Not all the recipes from the show are in the book which is shame. No steak and perfectly cooked chips or roast chicken. I'm not sure how many people who watched the show would make Salt Ox Tongue or Roast Teal. The desserts are non-fussy, the marmelade sponge with cointreau custard sounds particularly lovely. The first dish I made was the Homemade gravadlax and Mustard Sauce, using the mustard sauce for a potato salad. It has to be started 2 days before you want to eat the salmon but I was quite impressed by the final result, though the fish still stayed rather salty even after washing the coating away carefully. The dill wasn't overpowering and I thought it looked really pretty. I'd like to try this dish again.
Next I made the lentils from the Cotechino Sausage, Lentils and Mustard Fruits recipe. It was a nice accompaniment for confit duck. I usually use mustard and cream with lentils so this was a good change. I always like to find new accompaniment recipes and this one will be used again - but I still rather like the cream and mustard version!I also made the Chicken Liver Mousse and I can safely say that I will never be making it again. It is such a disgusting process!! By the time I'd made it I really didn't fancy eating it, plus it was horribly pink, probably as I put a little too much liver into the mix. It tasted right but the texture was a little too soft even though I cooked it for longer than needed. We had a little one of ramekin but the rest went to the cats - who mostly turned their noses up too! Oh well, I've learnt to buy this instead, once I've blocked out seeing the horrid bloody cocktail you need to make it! Bleurgh! Sorry if I've put anyone off this dish!
Not sure I'll be buying this as most of the dishes I like were featured on the show and therefore are on the BBC Food site. A few of the other recipes I have in other books so I think my money is going elsewhere. Plus I recieved 5 new cookery books for my birthday yesterday (woo!) and another on it's way from Amazon as a little gift to myself!Apart from being sickened by chicken livers I also had a food request from my brother - Corn Dogs. Unhealthy, not the greatest quality of ingredients but god did they taste good! Simon Rimmer made them on Something For The Weekend a few weeks ago and they looked easy enough to make. We didn't have the sticks so we completely coated the frankfurters. The polenta batter was absolutely identical to other versions I've eaten and they were just so wrong and so right! Yum.
I also made the Pulled Brisket Chilli from Jamie's Summer show on Channel 4 which was delicious. The meat completely fell apart, I added a dried habanero chilli for a little depth. The sauce was really liquid so I wouldn't have been able to serve it in tortillas like Jamie did but I have happy to have it with rice anyway. Lovely.
Sunday, 28 August 2011
Also saw some beautiful flavours of macarons at the Real Food Festival on the Southbank from Cafe On, really interesting combinations.
Saturday was Flying Saucer day which was a lemony sponge with a sherbert frosting. I couldn't really tell there was sherbet in the buttercream but I found lovely bits of lemon zest and it was really tasty and a light flavour. I think their sponge is second-to-non and always consistent. I'd love to be able to produce cupcakes like this, mine are way too hit and miss.
The flavour I missed out was Rosy Apple which I'm sad about as they're my favourite sweets along with Pear Drops (I think they missed a trick there!). I don't think I did too badly on the cupcake front though, maybe one more cupcake would have made me burst in some sort of horrendous cake-eating explosion! Nice!
Saturday, 6 August 2011
On our last day we ate at Graveley's, alas no photos as I'd taken so many pictures of the Abbey I ran out of space on my memory card! The staff were lovely, as everyone had been on our whole trip. More lobster and crab was eaten which were great. Strangely the dishes came with a small portion of pasta salad as well as coleslaw and a green salad. But oh, the chips were amazing! You could taste they'd been cooked in beef dripping and they were absolutely perfect. Get rid of the pasta and give more chips!
We found a great local shop called The Shepherd's Purse who sold loads of wholefoods, local cheeses and most importantly for me - loose teas and spices. Bought some dried spearmint which I'd not seen before and some sumac and sweet paprika. It's great to be able to buy as much or as little as you want. I wanted to bring back some kippers from Fortunes but I'm not sure how they would have done on a 4 hour train journey, and how much other people would have appreciated the smell! They looked great though.