Sunday, November 25, 2007

Cookbook of the week #16: The Big Ready Steady Cook Book

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When I have access to BBC Prime I always try to catch Ready Steady Cook. As a rule I don’t particularly like cookery shows, especially the kind with a cook/chef making one or several dishes and telling the audience how easy it all is and how wonderful it tastes, etc. Jamie Oliver’s chirpiness gets on my nerves, Delia Smith’s voice annoys me and I think I have developed an allergy to Giada De Laurentiis and motormouth Rachel Ray (in Giada’s case after one episode). I can just about watch an episode of Nigella Lawson’s show every now and then, but I try to avoid it because it makes me hungry, even right after a meal – something none of the other abovementioned cooks/chefs have managed to do. But shows like Ready Steady Cook and Can’t Cook, Won’t Cook interest me, because they are mostly unscripted and because they show people who are not food professionals cooking and interacting with chefs.

This cookbook was first published (by the BBC) in 1997 and seems to have been quite popular, going through two editions and 7 reprints up to the one I have. The recipes do not seem to be ones that were created on the show, but rather a showcase of the creative talents of the chefs.

I decided to choose one recipe from each of the 5 chapters, and one of them or one more as recipe of the week. As those who regularly watch the show know, the recipes often have original punning titles, and some of the recipes in the book do too. For copyright reasons I can’t publish those recipes under their original artistic titles, but I will include the page number and name of the creator so they can be easily found in the book.

I found a number of recipes in the book that I would like to make, but unusually for me, the dessert recipes were the least interesting of the lot. The most difficult to choose from were the meat recipes, as this is the first of my cookbooks of the week that has a really good choice of tempting recipes that feature lamb. I have not yet chosen the recipe of the week, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it will be one for lamb, but I will have a very busy weekend, so I may end up making a dessert. I usually don’t know my choice until Friday.

Most of the recipes have a long list of ingredients, but do not seem to be fiddly to put together.

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