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Cook in Boots

Cook in BootsCook in Boots – Ravinder Bhogal
Harper Collins – 2009
Photography: Jason Lowe

The book is structured around moods and the foods that Bhogal thinks will be suitable for them – this is a rather unusual way of doing things. I love seeing new ideas for cookbooks but this just did not work for me. I found the sections rather false and it was really hard to find anything with no real structure around either meals or ingredients. The saving grace of this is the fact that there is a full contents page as well as a good index which makes it a lot easier to find a dish the second time around.
The layout of the recipes is excellent – clear and very easy to read through and follow while cooking. Photography by Jason Lowe is fantastic and Bhogal did the styling herself to great effect. The information sections that are included and nice and interesting without dragging on for too long.
Overall I wasn’t a big fan of the recipes and the ones I did like were spread out making it seem like there were fewer than there really were I think. The puddings really let me down – there was only one dish that appealed from the whole book. However it was a corker: Afternoon Tea Pudding, an amazing combination of scones, jam and custard. I didn’t end up with a favourite section because each one had such a disparate grouping of recipes. The recipes that most grabbed me were the Maple Mustard Pork Chop, the Thai Aubergine Salad and the Pomegranate –Glazed Pork. It was actually the pork dishes that really stood out as the winners here, which is lovely to see as it is an oft-neglected meat in recipe books.
On the whole both the writing and the idea felt forced to me and there were too many filler recipes in here without enough stand-out ones to make me want to keep going back to the book. There are certainly enough recipes to make this work though and I found a few rather unusual ones that I am looking forward to trying out. It’s great to see an original idea and just a bit of a shame it’s so hard to use.

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