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Cross Over Cookbooks
cookbook reviewscross over cookbooks

Reviews by Jeremy Emmerson

August 2003
The majority of cookbooks are written for the home cook - but some "cross over" to influence the world of professional cooking. With this in mind I checked out four titles from renowned authors to see if their books are worth stealing from my mother's bookshelf...

Nigella Bites: From Family Meals to Elegant Dinners - Easy, Delectable Recipes for Any Occasion
I love Nigella, a classy woman, beautiful food and sexy cookbooks (she can change the word order if she wishes). I cannot imagine that she has any other market in mind than the consumer when she writes her books, but Nigella Bites contains beautiful, simple, stylish dishes - three of which I cooked from the book. Easy Sticky Toffee Desert, Ginger Jam Bread and Butter Pudding and Stove Top Pudding for Emergencies. Here's the resultů

Nigella has come under fire as some of her recipes seem not to work as they should however the Easy Sticky Toffee Desert (which was actually really easy and really tasty) worked well as the Ginger Jam Bread and Butter (recipe from Granny and very delish'). However the Stove Top Pudding for Emergencies was not so good. Don't use this sweet risotto styled dish in an emergency, it takes 45 minutes to make and the recipe calls for three times more sugar than is needed. The idea is good - but needs modification.

Final Thought
Buy this one for yourself. Just tell your friends that you have got a crush on her or you think she's a genius - once they have tasted a couple of dishes they won't argue. Buy It On Line! (Price: $24.50)

Modern Classics Book 1, Vol. 1
Aussie writer Donna Hay's Modern Classics is a dazzler. With a bundle of culinary ideas that are totally stealable for the professional kitchen and executable for the home, Australia's bestselling food writer has produced a winner. The salad section has some great new ideas and some fabulous twists on old ones. Modern Classics is packed with super-large, beautifully shot pictures and the cooking instructions seem to assume that the user has some common sense (which is quite refreshing). On the negative side during the Americanization of the book - changing the ingredients list from European measurements to US there is some confusion - so read the recipes carefully before you start.

Final Thought
Jamie Oliver meets Martha Stewart - minus the fraudulent stock trades. Buy It On Line! (Price $17.47)

Speaking of the man...
Happy Days with the Naked Chef by Jamie Oliver
Some might accuse me of liking Jamie's cookbooks just because we went to the same catering college (cooking school). But truth-be-known, I am more than just a teeny bit jealous of his youthful golden touch - I want to do what he's doing! With my envy pushed to one side I opened his latest (U.S.) title, Happy Days with the Naked Chef. After thumbing through its pages it looks like more energy, thought and creativity went in to this book than his previous two. Happy Days is well laid out, colorful and beautifully photographed. The recipes are lovely - with the exception of a few wacky ideas like "Chicken Baked in Milk". But otherwise Jamie is serving up new ideas from his stylish repertoire of simple dishes. I had a dabble and put together the "Sicilian Roasted Brill" - very cheeky! And when figs are in season I will have a bash at Jamie's "Easiest Sexiest Salad in the World" - Figs, Parma Ham, Buffalo Mozzarella, Basil and Honey Lemon Dressing. The book is further embellished by the inclusion of a "kids in the kitchen" section, always handy even if you don't have or cook for kids - you never know when small monsters might invade your kitchen.

Final Thought
Nice one mate - Jamie you've scored again. Buy It On Line! (Price: $24.47)

Sarah Moulton Cooks At Home
Sarah Moulton's opening line in the book is "read the recipes carefully and follow them exactly." Which tells you right off the bat that this book is not destined for defection. It is light on photographs, but heavy on tips and home friendly recipes.

Final Thought
This one will stay on Mother's bookshelf - but will probably get put to good use! Buy It On Line! (Price:$20.97)

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