When I saw that a cookbook by James Martin was available for review I grabbed at the chance… I know his desserts are brilliant and years of watching “Ready, Steady, Cook…” I knew I was onto a good thing, and I was especially looking forward to his desserts. We were not disappointed…
When I received this book I was stunned by beautiful photography and pages and pages of really quick and easy recipes. The book is in three sections nothing dramatic, nothing complicated and really just an “open and go” ready to use kind of cook book. The recipes are so easy to follow and I have to say they really were fast, when he claims twenty minutes… he means twenty minutes or less… it has been fabulous, not to mention unusual for us, getting dinner onto the table in no time at all…
- Fast Starters: At a glance the starter recipes looked a little out of our league… but look again. The recipes are great basic recipes to have and to hold in your repertoire. Pretty standard pantry ingredients are used in all the recipes, we had almost every ingredient required to test the recipes… What makes the recipe special is usually a small amount of one key, and delightful ingredient. So while we don’t usually eat smoked salmon, or potted shrimps and we have never eaten crab meat… we could see how to make these recipes and then make them work for us.
- Fast Mains: What I love about this book is that the recipes are really fast, I have to say I was skeptical about dinner in twenty minutes… like really!!! But it actually can be done and it can be lovely. Quite a few recipes in this book went straight up to the top of “regular meals” list. That in itself makes this book a fabulous read.
- Fast Desserts: And here the book comes into it’s own… When it comes to desserts you have to say, this chef has some fabulous ideas… his food is fast, fresh, family friendly and fun!!! You can literally make your desserts while your guests are sitting at the table between courses. We were very impressed, that again and again he manages to create beautiful, quick and easy to prepare desserts.
se7en + 1 Recipes We Tried…
- Baked Goat’s Cheese with Red Onion Jam: My husband is a mid-night snacker and to be able to whip this up in about ten minutes in the middle of the night really impressed him. This little feast is one that our family can nibble on and really enjoy and again and again!!!
- Tuscan Bean Stew with Basil: This is the sort of meal that our family just loves… and it is so economical, not to mention hearty and filling and literally took ten minutes… welcome to the new Sunday supper. All sorts of beans quickly tossed together and eaten with some bread for catching the drips…. splendid!!!
- Chicken with Coriander Yogurt Chutney: This recipe went straight onto our menu and we have had it three times since I first made it about a week ago. A firm favourite and a great feature of this book, I have always wanted to know a “honey/soya” sweet and spicey recipe and I have finally found what I was looking for… heaps of chilli, because my family can never get enough of that and we have found a winner. And we will never have a curry night again with out his really easy yogurt chutney… Love it!!!
- Spicy Chicken with Orange and Green Bean Salad: And in case you think every recipe we ever make is a winner… this one wasn’t. Turns out my children, who love beans, think beans are a vegetable and you cannot possibly eat oranges with them… and the spicy chicken wasn’t nearly spicy enough for them… you live and learn – I enjoyed making it and will make it again but will definitely up the heat!!!
- Banoffee Sunday: Banoffee, banoffee… I have heard of all sorts of banoffee recipes but never tried them… most of us love friend bananas so to add, how easy is banoffee cream: pretty much cream and caramel and where on earth have I been!!! just lovely… I think we could eat this for breakfast, lunch and supper!!!
- Instant Strawberry Ice-Cream: And welcome to another favourite, it is strawberry season over here, and we have been making this every day the entire week… life changing, literally stunning instant ice-cream!!!
- Spiced Charred Pineapple with Ice-Cream: If you have’t grilled pineapple, then you need to get onto that, just delicious!!! I have nothing more to say other than just get on with it already!!!
- Warm Chocolate & Marshmallow Cookies: Since it appears that summer has completely forgotten to stop by, and another cold damp day… we needed some comfort food and these filled the gap… really the perfect comfort food cookie. When I made these I still thought… why so many ingredients, turned out they were pretty sublime and well worth the effort. We all loved these and we will definitely be making these as often as we can, in fact they may just become a new food group around here.
And the Se7en + 1th…
And that was our trip through James Martin’s FAST Cooking… not often that you get a recipe book, where so many recipes become family favourites almost instantly. This is a book well worth the read… not just for the recipes, but for the little twists that he uses to turn ordinary meals into fabulous feasts…
I would like to thank Penguin Books South Africa for giving us this book to review, we were not paid for this post and the opinions expressed are entirely our own.