cook book review

Book Review – Cook Fast, Eat Well by Sue Quin.

4 out of 5 stars

I would like to thank Murdoch Books for providing me with a free paper copy of this book in exchange for an open and honest review.

I have to start by saying ‘Cook Fast, East Well’ was a delightful surprise, especially because I received a copy without having requested it first. Yay!

Secondly, as much as I’ve never really been a fan of the 4/ 5 ingredient cook books, I really enjoyed this one! Why? Because the majority of ingredients are whole foods – which is what I like to see in a cook book. Most “only this many ingredients” cook books contain way too much processed, ready mix nasties for my liking. And, yes, there are things like marshmallows and crackers (see the smores recipe) in ‘Cook Fast, Eat Well’ but they are few and far between. Pretty much everything else is like fresh pasta, fresh spinach, double cream, etc… No, I don’t mean every other recipe is just made up of these particular ingredients – give me some credit people! – what I am saying is that the ingredients used in the recipes are good, whole foods and not a tin of this and a packet of that rubbish I find so abhorrent in cook books. It’s not cooking if all you’re doing is opening things and mixing them – that’s just making a meal… and not a very good one either. Just saying. 😉

And – shock and horror – I actually TRIED a recipe and have the photographic evidence to prove it. My kids simply begged me to try the ‘smores – even though they already know how to make them. And, yes, Canadian cousins have pointed out these are not true ‘smores as some of the ingredients are wrong… but I don’t mind. They tasted good and that’s all that matters. Only problem I had was I used imported American marshmallows, rather than the Aussie ones I am used to… and those suckers cooked faster (and were more flammable) than I am used to. Super, super sweet too. Good thing they tasted okay “slightly caramelised” aka burnt. But the fault lies completely with me not paying attention to the griller and ‘Cook Fast, Eat Well’ cannot be blamed at all. It DID warn me to keep an eye on them!

Actually I found this a great little cook book for my eldest (soon to be 13) to add to her collection for when she eventually flies the nest. She has picked up my love of cooking (and cook books) and simply loves the quick and simply whole food recipes shown in ‘Cook Fast, Eat Well’. So definitely one for the beginner!

The layout and format were interesting. I personally found them a little weird as there is no real ingredient list like what I am used to. Instead there is a picture of the ingredients with notes attached to each item telling you what it is and how much is needed. The method too is different where it’s not in a step by step or bullet format, simply a couple of paragraphs explaining it all to you. I am not saying this is bad or makes it a terrible book… it’s just different. But my daughter doesn’t see a problem with it and finds the ingredients easy to read and the method easy to follow… so I guess new generation, new style cook book and I am just an old fuddy duddy set in my ways! 😀

Would I recommend this book to others?

Yes I would, but I would only be recommending it to those new to the kitchen and cooking their own foods from scratch. That is not me being derogatory about the person’s skills or this book – I simply feel ‘Cook Fast, Eat Well’ is an excellent book for beginners or for getting those not too confident with from scratch cooking to get in there and give it a try.

But even an old hand like me can learn a thing or two from ‘Cook Fast, Eat Well’ (like how to NOT burn marshmallows) so maybe it is suited to all levels of cooks? Though, personally, I think it is an excellent starter book for those new to the kitchen and that is how I will be recommending it.

Would I buy this book for myself?

Because I was gifted a paper copy, I don’t need to. Though I will openly and honestly say here and now I have regifted it to my daughter (or so I have been told when she politely snatched it from my hand crooning “my precious”). I, personally, don’t see a need to race out and buy a new copy… If I need to borrow it I will just nick it from her room when she is at school. 😉 But, yes, not a book I would/ do own… but a book much loved by my daughter and budding young cook so I feel it has gone to a good home.
In summary: an excellent simple ingredient whole food cook book best suited to encourage new and inexperienced chefs to get into the kitchen and have a go. Great book.

Until next time,

Janis.

Book Review – The Pumpkin Cookbook, 2nd Edition by DeeDee Stovel.

2 out of 5 stars

I would like to thank Storey Publishing for providing me with a free electronic ARC of this book, via Netgalley, in exchange for an open and honest review.

Okay, as you can guess by the score that I wasn’t such a fan of ‘The Pumpkin Cookbook, 2nd Edition’ as I had hoped to be. I mean, I wouldn’t have requested it to review if I hadn’t thought it looked interesting. And please, don’t get me wrong, I can see this being just the right sort of pumpkin cook book for certain readers and cooks. I feel I am just the wrong person and that is probably due to the fact I cook and eat pumpkin near daily as it’s not a novelty item here in Australia, like it is in the USA and Canada. So, please realise the flaw causing my low score and less than glowing review comes from me the reader not being suited to the book, rather than ‘The Pumpkin Cookbook, 2nd Edition’ being a bad book. It’s not, honest. It has a lot of potential – for the right audience… which wasn’t me.

Though I will also add, before getting into the positives, that I was actually surprised this was a Storey Publishing book as it doesn’t seem to have the usual sparkle they give their work. I mean, the layout was perfection as usual – simple, easy to follow recipes, well laid out formatting and all in all easy to read. What images there were, however, didn’t seem to have the usual Storey Publishing ‘glow’ to them. Oh, and although it doesn’t affect my way of cooking, some modern cooks may not like this book that much as their isn’t a glossy image to go with each and every recipe. Me? I don’t need it so not affected. People more used to the hand held, step by step, must have a picture to compare their work with it reader… they won’t be as happy with ‘The Pumpkin Cookbook, 2nd Edition’ – sorry.

As for the recipes themselves… well, there were some really good ones, some really interesting ones and ones I just wouldn’t try. I am putting it mostly down to the cultural thing again, as in pumpkin isn’t a novelty ingredient here in Australia, it’s a staple. I also found there were just too many recipes that used pre-mades. Things like cereal, pretzels and – the most mind boggling one to me – canned pumpkin. Wasn’t this book all about learning to cook with fresh pumpkin? Again, I am blaming my cultural background on the canned pumpkin thing as I don’t even know if you can BUY canned pumpkin here… it’s fresh or nothing I think.

And, despite there being some attempts to use healthier ingredients, there was still too much refined sugar and the like for my wholefood, unrefined heart.

But I will say the dedication to making such a wide variety of interesting and different recipes where pumpkin was the key ingredient was impressive. Weird thing is the sweets section interested me more than the savoury. As, here, pumpkin is used in both sweet and savoury dishes, but more so in savoury ones.All in all it looked to be a very interesting book that would help the adventurous try using pumpkin in ways they may not have done so in the past. But, again, I feel I must emphasise that I wasn’t the best reader for this book as I am simply in the wrong country. Storey Publishing is USA based and cater to the USA market – which is why the recipes are always only ever in imperial measurements. They were decent enough to allow me an ARC, but I simply wasn’t the best person to review it. Fault all mine.

Would I recommend this book to others?

Possibly. I mean, if any of my friends in the USA or Canada who wanted to do more with pumpkin all year round in all sorts of dishes – then yes. This is a book they should check out. People here in Australia or even over in the UK? No, not one I would recommend. Not the fault of the book – it is perfect for the market it is aimed at.

Would I buy this book for myself?

Yeah, we all know the answer to this, right? This is a great book, a perfect way to allow those in the USA to explore how to use delicious and versatile pumpkin in more meals… but not a book for me. Australia’s see and use pumpkin a lot differently, and that is something I have learned from this book and will remember next time I go looking at pumpkin cook books. 😉

In summary – a cook book that truly allows those who see pumpkin as a novelty ingredient explore other options.

Until next time,

Janis.

100% Real – 100 Insanely Good Recipes for Clean Food Made Fresh by Sam Talbot.

4 out of 5 stars

I would like to thank Time Inc. Books for providing me with a free electronic ARC, via Netgalley, of this book in exchange for an open and honest review.

Regular readers of my reviews will come to know I am very much into wholefoods, local foods, in season foods and eating as a part of life rather than a fad or trend… And so should realise that when I say I really loved this cook book, that it contains all of the above!

So what is 100% Real all about? It’s a cook book (duh!) that helps give a better understanding to just eating real food and enjoying it. And by real it isn’t meaning living off kale, mung beans and organic tofu…. Though hey – don’t knock them until you’ve tried them. 😉

No, 100% Real explains how pizza, pasta, burgers, cakes…. is all real! Well, it CAN be if made from the right ingredients. Ditch the synthetic substitutes, manufactured meat and other rather nasty things. Choose fresh, local, in season fruits and veg, choose good artisan bread free of all the bleaches and preservatives, choose ethical raised and finished meats, choose unrefined sugars. Eat what you like – in moderation of course – but make sure you choose the real version and not the man made fake version.

This is almost identical to my own food beliefs and so I found this book very inspiring, great to read (the non-recipes bits as well as the recipes) and honestly feel this is what cook books should be about today. Actually – cooking books, cooking shows, cooking lessons – they should all be about this simple 100% Real approach to food.

Gluten-Free Shells and cheese with peas – courtesy of Sam Talbot’s Facebook Page.

Though I will say here and now not all the recipes were appealing to me – yes my food intolerances and allergies got in the road. Won’t anyone think of we the allium intolerant? When you are lumbered with needing to cook/eat wheat, barley, rye, dairy, seafood, lamb and allium free (before we get into the fussy food issues) – you can really come across as a PITA (Pain In The Arse) when looking through a cook book.  But I am getting used to it and so know when to skip a recipe or study it for modification to a ‘Janis friendlier’ option. I’m a big girl, I can do it. And so, when I say not all the recipes are appealing to me… that doesn’t mean everyone is going to screw their noses up at them. It just means I am more limited to what I can eat, not that the recipes themselves sucked. They didn’t – it is totally my fault. 😀

TI will have to say there was one recipe that is all about roasting your own veg, making a sauce from scratch, etc… that then calls for a shop bought pre-cooked chicken. And that made me pause a moment. Why? I would much rather buy a local truly free range ethical chook (that’s chicken in Australian by the way) and cook it along with the veg… But hey, it’s not as if I HAVE to buy a pre-cooked chook. I could roast it myself and still rock it at that recipe!

That is what I am trying to say – the book allows to you to be flexible while still showing you how to cook and keep food 100% Real. Yes, follow the recipes to the letter to ensure you get as close to the same results as Mr Talbot as possible. But the recipes also seem to say – cook to suit yourself, as long as you keep it 100% Real. So, to me, this is a very user friendly cook book for home cooks of any level.

Oh, and I will add that Mr Talbot also tries to accommodate for the more main stream food intolerances and allergies and a lot of the recipes listed are gluten free, dairy free, vegetarian or vegan… sometimes a combination of these. So, although it’s not a book written to cater for any specific dietary requirement, they are still considered and easily recognised by the clear symbols at the top of each recipe. The introduction to 100% Real also explains all this – which is why people should really read ALL of a cook book and not just the recipes. Just saying. 😉

As for the review from a layout point of view – it is clear, precise and easy to read and follow, and each recipe has a gorgeous photo of the finished items to entice you into making it. Although the recipes are all in imperial measurements, there are a few different conversion charts at the back of the book so we on the metric system have been thought of. 😉

Would I recommend this book to others?

Yes I would. This really is the sort of cooking and therefore cook book we should all be following. It doesn’t dictate a trend, fad or what I call a “Foodism” – a food faith so out there it comes across as similar to a fanatic religion. No, this book is what the title says it is. 100% Real. And no, you don’t need to be diabetic to buy and use this book! I’m not (yet… genetics indicate type two likely) but love cooking with whole foods, local foods and real foods. I love unrefined sugars, making my own nut butters and all the fun things this gorgeous cook book encourages. This is not a diabetes cook book – it is a cook book on keeping EVERYONE’S food 100% Real. And so a very big YES to me recommending it to people.

Would I buy this book for myself?
Here I am torn as I really don’t know. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I LOVED most of the recipes and if we weren’t in single digits Celsius right now that avocado melon Lassi would be my morning tea! But I am still a very tactile person when it comes to cook books and so prefer playing about with them in paper version (but only half the cook books I am sent are in paper format). So as much as I want to play with the recipes in 100% Real more, and test some of the ones I would need to modify out… I would want to be playing with it as paper form. So, for now, would consider this something I would rather borrow from a library to see how we got along together in my kitchen before I would buy it.

But that is simply due to me being weird, and the amount of recipes I just can’t eat in their current form due to my own food issues. It has NOTHING to do with the quality of the book. This book looks awesome! I just need to get to know it a little better first before giving it a permanent space on my limited physical book shelves. I hope Mr Talbot understands and can forgive me for being so fickle. 😉

In summary: This is what cook books should be like – explaining why foods should be real, local, in season and ethical as well as showing how easy they are to cook with. Great book!

Until next time,

Janis.

Book Review – Wholefood Thermo Cooked by Tracey Pattison.

4 out of 5 stars

I would like to thank Murdoch Books for providing me with a free paper copy of this book in exchange for an open and honest review.

As part of being open and honest let me state here and now I do indeed own a (dun dun da!!!!) Thermomix. No surprise really, if you’ve read any of my other reviews and blog posts as that little baby gets mentioned a LOT!

No I am not about to now go on and MLM (Multi-Level-Market) you into having to go buy one yourself as that’s not my style. But I will say the ‘Wholefood Thermo Cooked’ cook book recipes worked a dream in mine. Actually, I found the cooking instructions so generic that I am pretty sure these recipes would work just as easily with say a Bellini or other Thermo style cooker. But please don’t quote me on this as I have never used a different Thermo cooking device and so am just guessing. And we all know what happens when readers of my work think I’m faking my views as I’ve not TRIED what the book is about first! But hey, I read a lot of crime fiction and murder mysteries, so I am pretty sure my family, friends, neighbours and total strangers who piss me off in the street are happy I don’t try EVERY single thing I read in a book. 😉

Oh and if any Thermo cooking device makers reading my review want to send me one of their babies to test run some of these recipes with… There is a ‘Contact Me’ form. Just saying.

But I can say for certain that you can use a Thermomix to cook the recipes in ‘Wholefood Thermo cooked’ and that I have NEVER made such yummy and easy to make brown rice in my LIFE! So good. Oh, and while being boringly honest, no I didn’t try EVERY recipe. But I played with the book enough to know I was on to a winner and totally in love with what it had to offer.

I mean, yes there were some recipes that I already knew versions of from my years of being a Thermomixer… I have heard it called a ‘Coven of Mixers’ or a ‘cult of mixers’. Just pass me my broom so I can get to my next coven meeting on time, ‘kay? But yes, there were a couple of recipes or recipe variants that I was already familiar with. But they were just the basics and things I feel any good Thermo based cook book is going to cover to ensure you know how to get the best out of the Thermo beast of your choice.

But some of those basics… mind blowing – oh my! Polenta/ cornbread from popcorn kernels? Macadamia pastry? Stock cubes best suited for winter and summer… I could go on but seriously feel you should just go get the book and look for yourself. 😉

I think what blew me away with ‘Wholefood Thermo Cooked’ was that I’d never even considered soaking/ prepping my dried beans in my Thermo device to get them to the same consistency as tinned beans. I mean, I buy dried beans as it’s a more budget friendly thing. I then soak them over night to be soft enough to then cook with…. Until now. Yup, an hour in your Thermo device and those dried beans are as moist and ready to go as a tin of beans… and for half the price! Can you see why I am in love with this book? If I forget to soak my beans the night before, which I often do, dinner isn’t cancelled – Thermo Cooking to the rescue!

Yes there were the usual recipes that my annoying food allergies and intolerance made no go zones… but those recipes were far out-weighed by things I could and have tried.

As for the editing, page layout and all that official stuff? Perfect as usual – if you get a cook book from Murdoch Books, you’re going to get a well laid out, easy to read and follow book! All recipes have highlighted areas at the bottom that show whether they suit certain dietary requirements – vegetarian, gluten free, etc. And all recipes are in both imperial and metric measurements. Score! Internationally friendly, just like a Thermo cooking device.

Would I recommend this book to others?

Yes I would. I loved the freedom that came with ‘Wholefood Thermo Cooked’ as all you need is some sort of Thermo cooking device (rather than a specific one you may need to sign your first born away to afford) and a desire to cook whole foods. And, quite honestly, wholefoods on an everyday budget for most of it too! Definitely a cook book I would recommend to anyone with a Thermo device, or wanting to buy such a device and get a decent cook book to go with it.

Would I buy this book for myself?

As I have been gifted a paper copy of this book I don’t have to… and no one is getting this copy off me any time soon. 😉 We’re meant for each other, leave us be. 😀 But if I had to get a new copy, then I happily would as it is so worth it.

In summary: A great all round cook book for those interested in cooking Wholefood recipes in a Thermo device of their choice and budget. Highly recommend.

Until next time,

Janis.

My Precious…. 😉

Book Review – Healthy Baking: Nourishing breads, wholesome cakes, ancient grains and bubbling ferments by Jordan Bourke.

Healthy Baking

4 out of 5 stars

I would like to thank Orion Publishing Group for providing me with a free electronic copy of this book, via Netgalley, in exchange for an open and honest review.

If I was allowed to name this book, I would really call it the ‘Great Big Baking book of Everything’ as it covers such a wide range of recipes and dishes.

It starts out as I had expected with sourdoughs, yeast breads and other baked goodies that had me want to own my own paper copy of ‘Healthy Baking’. But there is then just so much more to this cookbook than bread, pastries and pizza! Oh so much more. We get into main meals – I am a sucker for roast whole head of cauliflower recipes and so need to try that one. And then into preserves, fermentations and more. I simply loved this book.

And no, no I didn’t get a chance to try any of the recipes… Yet. But from my 30+ years of cooking, making and baking I know how to read a recipe and I know what I would like to make and what I would avoid. I also know a well-constructed and tasty meal idea when I see one. And yes there were a few too many allium rich dishes within ‘Healthy Baking’ to have me want to try everything. But there was enough other ideas to try and I can see myself opening this book and trying them.

Oh, and for the record – whoever tries a recipe in a cook book at the shops before deciding to buy it and take it home? Anyone? Yes, you can see I am still bemused by a recent accusation I can’t really comment on or review a cookbook if I’ve not tried any of the recipes… but hey, I am giving you my opinion as if I saw this book in the shops. I would go through it (not read it cover to cover like I actually did mind you) and judge whether or not it was something I would want to take home and cook from. So those who tell me I can’t review a book without having tried everything in it first… you’re so funny! I don’t kill people before reviewing cosy crimes either, maybe that’s why the comments were left by ‘anonymous’… so there would be no volunteers to ensure I review murder books appropriately too? 😉

Anyhow, back to ‘Healthy Baking’. Loved it, I did say that though. So here is why I loved it. I can’t eat wheat – I have a medically diagnosed wheat protein intolerance (not coeliacs) that means a lot of wheat, barley or rye makes me sick. So a bread book that relies on spelt, dairy free options and unrefined sugars – all how I live and eat – was just a dream come true to me!

Yes there were all the allium issues, but I am just so used to people never thinking of the allium allergies and intolerances I just let it slide. Especially as ‘Healthy Baking’ never states it is a diet specific cook book. It is just a cook book demonstrating… Healthy Baking. Yeah, its title pretty much explains it all – nailed it.

For the formatting side of things – gorgeous, enticing and clear pictures draw the reader in and make us want to see more. A great deal of helpful information is provided for each section and some of the recipes too – I do like those personalised touches as to why a recipe is important enough to the author to appear in their work. And the recipe layout and other essential information was clear and precise too. Being a cook book made in the UK, no conversion to metric issues either.

Would I recommend this book to others?

Yes I would. In fact, I already have been. There are a lot of people out there who aren’t just on the kale drinking, raw vegan, “hippy food” bandwagon as it matches our shoes. We have legitimate allergies and intolerances that seem to be overshadowed by foodisms and gimmicks. ‘Healthy Baking’ is NOT one of those foodism gimmicks. It really does come across as one of the open and honest cook books wanting to help everyone eat better and therefore feel better through whole foods and great recipes. So people with or without food allergies and intolerances will all enjoy this book. Maybe not every recipe… but there are enough there to keep us all amused.

Would I buy this book for myself?

Yes I would. It’s already on my Amazon wish list and I have been shopping around the various online bookstores to find the best deal on where to get it. 😉 Yes, this is really one of those books where I will happily put my money where my mouth is and hope to own my own copy very, very soon.

In summary: This is indeed a great book about Healthy Baking, and then some. Highly recommend.

Until next time,

Janis.

Book Review – Fearless Food by Katrina Jorgensen.

Fearless Food.jpg

2 out of 5 stars

I would like to thank Capstone Young Readers for providing me with a free electronic ARC of this book, via Netgalley, in exchange for an open and honest review.

Sadly, this cook book wasn’t everything I had hoped it would be. Firstly, it is presented as being a child friendly cookbook and worded in such a way as to suggest that children can cook the recipes. Some of them? Yes. Most of them? No. And I don’t just mean young children, there are some I would be wary of my kitchen savvy 12 year old trying without assistance. So, yes it might be a cook book aimed for feeding children, but not a cookbook teaching children how to cook for themselves – despite its childlike appearance and formatting.

Secondly, I know it says in advance it’s only looking at the “big 8” allergies, but stating there are “no major allergies” is rather misleading as some people may take it to mean “this is a safe thing to make” and then feed it to someone with say salicylate or allium issues… and then wonder why they got sick. These might not be part of the “big 8” but they are big issues in my line of food prep and so this book is rather useless to us because of it. Normally I don’t take offence to recipes that use allium. I’m used to it; I know allium allergies and intolerances are thought to be minor league. But to dismiss them entirely? Just put me off this book in the first recipe and I never really recovered enough to like it a heck of a lot.

I mean, yes, there are some good recipes in there, but they are few and far between. Any recipe that calls for a “packet of this” or a “tin of that” while proclaiming it is a healthy whole food cook book also will get the squinty eye from me. This book got the squinty eye.

Okay, I want to say something nice so… The formatting was good – childish, but good. Clear and precise and basic instructions easy to follow (but when you say use a packet of so and so, instructions will be easy). I did find some of the pictures confusing and misleading as they showed images of foods that were for recipes later on in the book… as if they had to advertise things to come to keep you interested. It might work better in paper format, but when reading an electronic copy, it just added a dimension of clutter and confusion.

This book is also marketed for an American audience. No biggie, I am used to that when working with Netgalley and accept it as part of the deal. But it did narrow the field down even more for those who can read, use and enjoy this book. Yes it starts with a great little conversion table at the front, big thumbs up there, but it then uses those pre-mades I’ve mentioned and without knowing the ingredients and being unable to buy those items outside of the USA… those recipes therefore become useless to try. So if pre-mades must be used, add a glossary explaining them maybe?

Please note that I personally feel cook books that try and tackle multiple food allergies as a thing tend to fail miserably. They up sell themselves and then can’t follow through on being THE food friendly cook book. It would have worked much better as a whole food, real food (besides the pre-mades) cook book that offered suggestions on how to make things say dairy free, nut free or gluten free. Trying to cover all those bases just let it down and meant it didn’t really help many of those with food intolerances and allergies. I mean, saying “if you have a wheat/gluten intolerance, use a GF flour” as a tip. Uh, yeah, thanks! I figured that out in all the other books I use containing wheat. How about just cooking without it?

Would I recommend this book to others?

No I wouldn’t, sorry. In this day and age of online recipe databases, there are far better (free) options out there teaching people how to cook foods for those with food allergies, intolerances and similar issues. This book is too sporadic and the wording just too misleading to be something I would recommend.

Would I buy this book for myself?

I’m pretty sure we all know that answer, right? No, I can’t say I would as, again, there are a lot of much better resources available to me that are far more flexible at meeting our dietary needs.

In summary: Yes this book might be helpful to some with food allergies, but not that fearless as I’d hoped.

Until next time,

Janis.

Book Review – The Pho Cookbook by Andrea Nguyen.

Pho cookbook

4 out of 5 stars

I would like to thank Ten Speed Press for provided me with a free electronic ARC of this book, via Netgalley, in exchange for an open and honest review.

You know, I thought I knew a bit about Pho… I did not. I now doubt if I even know how to say or eat it correctly. 😉

Pho to me has always been a really yummy HOT broth with noodles, bits of meat and maybe some greens. And a meal you have when you missed breakfast and just can’t wait for lunch.

So I feel the ‘Pho Cook book’ has filled in a lot of the gaps missing in my education when it comes to this amazing nourishing food source!

I grew up in Darwin, Australia where – back then – Asian cuisine was one of the most common foods available when out and about. So I have been exposed to them from a young age. And I admit now that Pho in a Styrofoam cup with a fork as you walk around the markets is not the traditional way to eat it, but that’s what we did.

This book made me hungry too! How terrible. 😉 We got past the initial recipes, which I felt were at a level I could do (being a bone broth lover today) and the rest of the book became almost like a menu for me than a cook book. I wanted to order almost one of everything.

And, being a book produced by Ten Speed Press, the gloriously colourful pictures were to blame! They always seem to capture the spirit of a book in their tantalising images.

As for the formatting? Well, I will say here and now the recipes clearly show it was written for a North American audience (no surprise as they were!) as all the measurements are in imperial.

Also, the formatting used for the recipes was very typical of what I am used to in the older style Asian cook books. Very similar to authors like Charmaine Solomon where the ingredients and methods and blocked out page for page. Tightly squashed together, not a lot of white space.

Now, I am okay with this sort of formatting, as I am used to it. But I feel it sets the level of who the cook book is aimed for – middle to experts cooks. As your modern newbie cook – who is into a lot of white space, basic step by step instructions and hand holding – isn’t going to like the ‘Pho Cook book’. Sorry, but formatting will put people off. They pick up the book, the flick through it, see it looks so compact and will assume it is therefore too complicated and so put it down and buy a different book.

But what would I know? Just my opinion as part of my open and honest feedback. I loved the book, loved the recipes… would be challenged by some of them, but that just makes all the more fun and enjoyment of trying.

Would I recommend this book to others?

Yes I would. But only to those I feel could handle it. I now admin in a Facebook group where we are helping to teach the unexperienced how to cook real food on a budget. This isn’t a book I would suggest to the newbies. Though it is something I would suggest to the members who had had more experience and were willing to try something outside their comfort zone.

Would I buy this book for myself?

I think I would… but I would prefer it in paper format – as I do most of my cook books – and it would have to wait until I have more shelf space. 😉

In summary: Not for the beginner, but a fantastic cookery book showing you how to make and enjoy Pho… and then some.

Until next time,

Janis.