What a sanctimonious piece of cooking advice. I could really not deal with the author's passive-aggressive "hints" and opinions about everything in a person's home - from the clutter of non-cooking essentials in the kitchen to which pots and pans are acceptable for use. I picked this up from the library because I want to make vegetables and grains more a part of my diet, moving them from side dishes to main events. I did not need a lecture on the morals of animal-based diets or farming. And for someone who insists that her love of cooking made her unsuitable to go to cooking school or become a chef, the author sounds like any other foodie when she harps on only using fresh herbs or a thousand ingredients for her dishes.
The author has a cooking show on public broadcasting television, and you can feel the NPR/PBS-smugness coming off in waves during the introduction sections of the book, which included her background, what kitchen tools and supplies are needed, and what to stock your pantry with (hope your budget can take all her "good" suggestions). What the book lacks in pictures or descriptions of techniques, it makes up for with trying to complicate dishes such as tomato bruschetta or mashed potatoes. The fifteen pictures found in the middle of the book were of the aforementioned bruschetta and asparagus spears dressed in lime juice....nothing from the more complex dishes. There is an abundant reliance on tofu, tempeh, and TVP based dishes, none of which interested me. The very small desert section featured either fruit with honey/maple syrup or some kind of tofu pie. She mentions all the different grains in the stocking the pantry section, then uses pasta for almost every dish in the entrée sections. Bulgar and quinoa each gets one recipe.
I will say the one dessert I liked was a Basmati Rice Pudding (made without dairy or eggs). The recipes I want to try come from the salad and appetizer sections, along with eggplant meatballs (so I can make a vegetarian version of Italian Wedding Soup). Nothing new or original, no pictures, plus condescending tone equals a lackluster effort.
This book has some great looking recipes (we've only tried one so far, the rolled pork loin with Manchego and Membrillo), but it doesn't quite have the relaxed attitude that the accompanying show has. In the show Ramsay seems to be all about "don't worry too much" and if you don't have quite the right utensils or ingredients you can still manage, but the book is more like the Ramsay I know from his previous shows - strict (in that cheffy way that Jamie or Nigella don't have) with the way things must be done - the way to chop an onion, the correct knife to use etc. The book is what I expect from Ramsay, watching the show is a bit weird because he doesn't seem like himself.
Jane Hunt Writer First Steps
Jane Hunt Writer Book Reviews
When I read the blurb for Christmas at Thornton Hall I was intrigued.
Juliet is a professional chef with a clientele that includes the rich and famous. Life seems perfect; right down to the designer corporate lawyer boyfriend who appears to be on the verge of popping the question. Then she discovers her boyfriend isn't exclusive and realises her house of cards is built on shaky foundations.
Christmas alone seems unavoidable so when she is offered a live in job at a country house she jumps at the chance even though it will bring her up close and personal with the residential chef Edward and the man who hired her Jasper the lord of the manor in waiting. Will she survive Christmas?
There are a host of supporting characters who are realistic and enhance the story and a plot with some surprising twists and turns. Christmas at Thornton Hall is a story of country house cuisine and living, self realisation and saucy romance, an enjoyable festive read.
I received a copy of this e-book from Harper Collins Harper Impulse via NetGalley in return for an honest review.