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Claire 4th January 2006 07:04 PM


What recipe books or other food books do you actually use a lot to cook with? What do you own and never, ever use?


Am I alone in enjoying reading recipe books in bed sometimes?? Not the ones that just list ingredients and give instructions, but the ones that tell you a bit more about the how and the why?


Does anyone actually cook from any of those glossy, celebrity chef endorsed books?




Flingo 4th January 2006 07:30 PM


We have the Good Housekeeping anniversary edition, and have used it regularly for the last couple of years. It takes you back to basics but at the same time isn't patronising - which is nice for those of us who were not taught to make anything else at school than bread rolls and lemonade!


I own the BBC Nations Favourite Food, and I do read that one, but am yet to cook anything from it!


People seem to give me Pasta cookery books lots - I'm not too sure why! I have used a couple of recipes from them, but they certainly would not be highly recommended by me!


I don't read cookery books in bed though! i would end up dreaming about food, and be sooooooo hungry when I woke up!




Adrian 4th January 2006 07:48 PM


Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's book on Meat is good reading, and is much more than just recipes. The photographs help the book a lot.


For actual cooking with, I tend to tear recipes out of the papers / magazines rather than using a recipe book. I'm thinking on getting one and am looking retro: Mrs Beeton or one of the Grigsons or Elizabeth David.




megustaleer 4th January 2006 09:57 PM


I heard/read once that people generally used regularly only two recipes out of any cookery book. Being the owner of well over 200 cookery books/booklets (at the last count, over 5 years ago) I find that it seems to be a fairly accurate statement.


As the memory is failing I have taken to copying favourite recipes into a hard-back notebook, as I can never remember which book/ leaflet/ folder/ envelope full of magazine cuttings they can be found in!


I was given an Elizabeth David cookery book for Christmas 2004, in its own little box. Far too posh to cook from, but with my TBR pile the size it is, it isn't likely to become bedtime reading either!


I bought some Delia on special offer about 18months ago, but would generally not bother with 'celebrity chef' books.Too many glossy pictures and not enough basic instruction for my kitchen.




Cathy 5th January 2006 09:58 AM


The cookery book I keep coming back to is the Bero book of baking - so ancient and tattered, and without a cover that it has been nominated for the bin several times but always rescued by me. I have a Good Housekeeping one which is handy too and has a pizza recipe i keep coming back to. From Hugh F-W's Meat book, I'd recommend 'Boston Beans' - its delicious!

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Continued Page 1 of 3



Mungus 5th January 2006 01:08 PM


It may not be very fashionable, but I reach for Delia's classic cookery book (the big original one) for the basics and her summer and winter collection books for top recipes. Apart from that, my husband uses the Good Housekeeping tome and Jamie Oliver's original Naked Chef are best used. In theory, I like Nigel Slater and Nigella Lawson, their styles appeal, but in practice, they are more books for reading rather than cooking from.




Red Fox 5th January 2006 02:30 PM


The Student's Cookbook by Jenny Baker is a firm favourite. It contains simple meal ideas, but more importantly, basic information on things like vegetable preparation and cooking times.


My most used cookery book is (picked up ages ago in The Works budget bookshop for about £3) called 500 All-Time Great Recipes. I couldn't function in the kitchen without this book.


I own some 'celebrity' chef cookery books, two by Hugh F-W (entertaining to read yet somehow never inspired me to make anything from them), Delia's Winter Collection (used often, but too complex and rich for everyday), Nigella Lawson's How To Eat (very nice recipes, good book but I find the layout difficult to use) and Gary Rhodes' British Classics (loved the tv series, hate the book). Lastly, Ainsley Harriot's Low Fat Meals in Minutes (all good stuff, yet I never seem to have the ingredients to hand).




megustaleer 5th January 2006 07:58 PM


The cookery book I keep coming back to is the Bero book of baking -


Love this little book, my mother used to use it, 50 years ago, and she made the most delicious shortcrust pastry. I only have a photocopied version, which is not the same, not having those creamy coloured pages (and the grease marks!)


Nostalgia burst over!!




Claire 6th January 2006 08:19 PM


I've got a Bero book as well, although it's a much more recent one.


I tend to refer to Delia a fair bit - her Complete Cookery Course, which we were bought as a wedding present, (it was from someone I'd shared a house with for a year, so it was a definite comment on my cooking :D ) I don't tend to use the recipes much, but it's good for reference - how long to boil an egg for, what trimmings to do with a roast chicken and how to do them, what different herbs and spices go with, that sort of thing.


I've got a shelf of recipe books - but use a handful very often and the rest hardly at all. I've got a decent freezer book and a microwave book that are good for reference, too.




Opal 7th January 2006 10:39 AM


I have a student-style cooking basics book which my mum gave me when I left for uni. It think it was partly a joke but I do actually use it quite a bit! I also use a book I borrowed from my boyfriend called Food For Flatters. Apparently it's part of some big series in New Zealand and you can't get it over here, which is annoying cos I like it and he keeps asking for it back... :P




Adrian 7th January 2006 12:54 PM


I have a student-style cooking basics book which my mum gave me when I left for uni. It think it was partly a joke but I do actually use it quite a bit! I also use a book I borrowed from my boyfriend called Food For Flatters. Apparently it's part of some big series in New Zealand and you can't get it over here, which is annoying cos I like it and he keeps asking for it back...

I lived on 3F years ago. If you really need a copy send me a PM, as it's really common in the second-hand book stores here.




Thumbsucker 7th January 2006 05:16 PM


I have the Be-Ro Flour Home Recipes - 40th edition. I've looked in the back and it says that if you want to obtain anothr copy send a cheque or postal order for £1.25 payable to 'Be-Ro Recipe Book' and send to:


The Be-Ro Kitchen

PO Box 100,


Lancs, BB0 1GR





megustaleer 7th January 2006 10:44 PM


Thanks for that, Thumbsucker.

I'm sure I could add my own grease marks!



Starry 8th January 2006 11:47 AM


I don't have many - Delia's How to Cook series, bought for me by my parents which I use frequently and a Good Housekeeping Guide which I haven't used yet and can't remember where it came from. I also have a little book full of recipes from lawn bowlers, one of those collections to raise money which is useful because most of the recipes are old-fashioned and use basic ingredients you can buy cheaply. But my favourite is Nigella Lawson's How to be a Domestic Godess because I love cakes and biscuits and they are a real treat to make :)




Mrsmouse 8th January 2006 01:10 PM


I own nigella lawsons how to be a domestic godess (husband bought me this!!!!), how to eat and feast. I use them occasionally, and love the chocolate cake recipes. My son just got kids kitchen by Amanda Grant for christmas so i think this will be put to use quite soon.

I have a few more books think one is on asian dishes - never used but flicked through, one on chocolate not used but dribbled in!!!!Cant remember the names of the others.



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  • 3 months later...
Those were mostly been-doing-them-for-years-and-can-cook-them-with-my-eyes-closed meals.

I fancy finding new-and-tasty-that-don't-take-too-much-work recipes for a bit of a change :D



Gets harder all the time doesn't it. I recently bought 50 recipes to Save your life (or something like that) and wish I hadn't bothered. Am tempted by Gordon Ramsay's quick and easy book tho! (and by Mr Ramsay :o )

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Those were mostly been-doing-them-for-years-and-can-cook-them-with-my-eyes-closed meals.

I fancy finding new-and-tasty-that-don't-take-too-much-work recipes for a bit of a change :D


I like the BBC Good Food magazine for those sort of recipes.


Best of all, you get a new set of ideas every month!

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Those were mostly been-doing-them-for-years-and-can-cook-them-with-my-eyes-closed meals.

I fancy finding new-and-tasty-that-don't-take-too-much-work recipes for a bit of a change :D


Have you used Nigel Slater's 'The 30 Minute Cook'? I have bought this book for a number of people as it is a collection of diverse recipes that work well and that do take half an hour or less... The Moroccan Flash Fried Chicken, Sausage with Lentils, Lamb Chops with Onions Mustard and Chick-pea puree are all wonderful... And his writing is so good too...


Highly recommended!

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  • 6 years later...

Hello, I am a student and I am looking for a cooking book. I would like to cook more but I never have ideas. I am looking for good meals but not expensive. I know it is not easy to make goods meals with a little budget but I am sure it is possible. Moreover I am looking for a good recipe of duck with orange sauce. It is the favourite meal of my mum and I would like to make it for her for her birthday (in July). So you have one month and a half to let me know if you can help me or not. Thank a lot! 

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Hello lexpot, welcome to BGO

Save With Jamie by Jamie Oliver is a  useful cookery book which concentrates on making good meals within a budget. There is a thread on it here and I believe it is often available at a fairly cheap price in UK now.


Your mum is lucky to be spoiled with such a yummy birthday treat.  :)  There are plenty of recipes for Duck with Orange Sauce around if you google, some quite complex but others more straightforward . Maybe you could read some and see which you like best and also whether or not you are going to use a whole duck or breast fillets.   If you plan to use duck fillets here is a very straightforward  step by step video  with a tasty recipe which may be helpful. 



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Hi lexpot and welcome to BGO. When our daughter was at uni our son bought her a student cookbook. I cannot remember who produced it I am afraid but I am sure that if you look around your local charity shops you will find many of them. Our daughter cooks and bakes a lot and swears by the internet for her recipes rather than actual books I must admit. If you are looking for a particular recipe using particular ingredients this might be the way to go.

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