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Cooking With Mrs Simkins

Cooking With Mrs Simkins
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"Good straightforward instructions"

My first reaction to the book was 'ooh pretty cover', my second was 'lots of recipes that look quite simple' and my third 'ah - no pics'. Having looked through it in a bit more depth now, I can confirm that yes it does have a lot of recipes, and they are quite straightforward, but this is good. I'm not a fancy cook. In fact I'm barely a cook at all, so the idea that it is full of simple ideas is good. I actually dont mind it not having pictures as they're unecessary for most of the recipes - I know what it should look like. So they would just clutter the book. I do find the tone, whilst helpful, a little condescending. The fictional dialogue about a rubbish cake maker for instance. I'd be happy for that to be left about, but I suppose the author was trying to make a point. Well about that - I made the chocolate cakes with drinking chocolate and they were fine :) In fact, my book has gone already - my stepmum came over the other day (and believe me - she does not do cooking) and commented on how interesting it looked and could she borrow it as she was interested in the stewing fruit section. Im just hoping I get it back!

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"Good for the novice cook but otherwise nothing that hasn't been done before"

I grew up learning how to cook from three generations of women. I don't have a problem throwing together a reasonably good meal in the evenings but I'm not too great at following a recipe as I like to experiment, to add and take away, to make something better. What I don't like about cooking is the time it takes, especially as I now have less of that time than ever. Cooking With Mrs Simkins holds a variety of recipes focusing on wholesome family meals and cake baking. There book also gives quite a bit of instruction on cooking in general including a cake surgery that has helped me to understand why some of my baking experiments were failing. For the most part I tried the cakes as we've already got a large list of main meals we choose from at dinner time. The recipes were fairly standard but did have the advantage of being made by throwing the ingredients into a mixer and mixing in one. Delia, you can't beat that for time saving. That said, the cakes were pretty much what I could have made from any cook book. I also tried a few main meals, incorporating the differences in ingredients and methods into my own and with shepherds pie especially, we really noticed the difference. What did disappoint me was the lack of images in the book. One of the best things about browsing through a cookery book is salivating over the pictures of perfectly made food and deciding what you're going to try next. Unfortunately the only pictures in Cooking With Mrs Simkins are black and white illustrations. I will admit that had there been photos in the book, I may have been more encouraged to try some of the other recipes. I also would liked to have seen a more kitchen-friendly cover as once ingredients splash on this one, they're not going to be wiped clean easily. For someone who already owns a number of cookbooks you won't find Cooking With Mrs Simkins to be anything that hasn't been done before. For someone who regularly cooks and has enough of an idea to get by, unless you're interested in trying new things the book probably won't be of much use to you. However, if you're a novice cook and are looking for a good all round book to get you started then you can't go wrong with Cooking With Mrs Simkins.

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"great value for money"

As a young mummy I used to be on the phone to my mum asking her how to cook this and that and how long to cook for etc etc. After receiving this book I will no longer need to! I have been experimenting with new foods from the book and have been baking cakes with my son. The book is easy to use,Gives a list of ingredients for each recipe so you can then pop them on your shopping list. Definitely a Must For all families out there.

Score Sheet

"basic with lots of new ideas"

I chose this book as it looked like it would hold a wealth of information on basic but wholesome meals for my growing family. I was looking for a book with simple recipes that are varied from the normal meals we ate each week. I found this book to be a very simplified and basic cook book, perfect for the mum/dad at home but not quite what I looking for. I didn't find it very easy to navigate the book and find the type of recipes that I wanted. I also found that as a vegetarian I usually manage to replace the meat in meals with my veggie option but I didn't find it easy to do this with the way the recipes were laid out or the ingredients used as there were lots of meat in the meals, in fact veggie options were very limited in this book, as are meals that my children would like to try due to the descriptions, they didn't like the sound of them. I don't like that fact there are no pictures to see what a cooked meal looks like or how to prepare the meal as some of the preparation was new to me, like skinning fish!. I think the cooking instructions are basic and don't make it easy to follow step by step as I would have liked if I were cooking something for the first time. There were however some great new quick recipes that would never have thought of like using tinned soup and curry powder added to fried chicken (or quorn) served with rice to make a very quick dinner. Overall, a basic cookbook with lots of ideas especially for the meat eater. There are lots of puddings,cakes and pastries to try that are quick and tasty, and again some you would never have thought of like summer haystacks made from shredded wheat and chocolate mmmmm. A good book for those who love meat, have some knowledge of cooking and preparation of food and who want to try new and unusual meals.

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"For those of us who were never taught the basics of cooking from scratch"

This book at first glance appears to be full of the 'obvious' (how to make a boiled egg, cheese on toast..) but then I realised this is only obvious if someone has shown you how. There is lots of useful advice about kitchen equipment, ovens, baking etc and while a lot of the recipes seem fairly self explanatory there are some lovely recipes in this book. Also good for some new inspiration for easy home cooking if you are stuck in a rut. I think this would make a brilliant gift for a student or someone moving out of home for the first time.

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