Fish pies and french fries, vegetables, meat and something sweet…, by Gill Holcombe, is another no nonsense and no excuses recipe book for excellent family food. I was initially disappointed that there were no glossy pictures but the more I read Gill’s philosophy of food the more I felt liberated; food doesn’t have to be an art work and you can turn out great meals without fancy gadgets. She’s right that convenience food is rarely that convenient, especially when you’re feeding a family, and she has some brilliant easy recipes for tight budgets. That’s not to say that the recipes are dull, from the ‘sausages in BBQ sauce’ to the ‘oriental beef with lime dumplings’, the recipes are simple and good.
Best of all, the recipes are sensitive to how much mess there is to contend with and uses tablespoons as measures where possible. There are so many cheats, substitutes and short cuts that anyone can find dinner in an almost bare cupboard.
This book has everything from bread making to cooking with kids to producing impressive dinners, all on a tight budget without too much fuss. A real Mrs. Beaton for our times.
The author Gill Holcombe is passionate about feeding her kids good food. She grew up before the culture of convenience food took hold – and knows how to cook. Having brought up three children, she says the proof of the pudding is in the eating and has three fit, healthy teenagers with loads of energy – and no fillings! Gill is author of the bestselling How to feed your whole family a healthy, balanced diet with very little money…and hardly any time, even if you have a tiny kitchen, only three saucepans (one with an ill-fitting lid) and no fancy gadgets – unless you count the garlic crusher… and lives in London with her family.
The book is released on 17th July 2009. Reviewed by Mel Patterson.