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Cooking from The Cook's Book


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46 replies to this topic

#31 Adam Balic

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Posted 29 December 2005 - 09:30 AM

Just received this book. Wow. What a great book, I got so excited reading it that I bought a siphon and gas bottles on line within half an hour. Not quite sure how I am going to incorporate this into the normal ethnic/histrorical cooking I like to do, but it should be interesting.

#32 mikeycook

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Posted 29 December 2005 - 09:32 AM

Completely agree with the assessments. Got a copy for Christmas (per my request) and I love it.
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#33 Venusia

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Posted 31 December 2005 - 01:35 PM

I couldn't resist buying this for myself as I was putting Xmas gifts in my basket. Wise move, too, as I made the warm lentil salad for Xmas, and it was a big hit.

I love the presentation (I am a big fan of DK books, I've always been impressed with their encyclopedias for children), but I find the chapter layout counterintuitive. They interspersed the ethnic chapters with the basic technique ones, so that an ethnic chapter is sandwiched between pastry and desserts, and the vegetable technique chapter is halfway through the book.

I would have like more recipes in the vegetable chapter, rather than simply raw vegetable preparation techniques, which make up the bulk of the chapter.

I would also have preferred more variety in the recipes. For example, there are 3 different chocolate mousse recipes (from 3 different chefs, but still...). There are no whole shrimp recipes. There are quite a few recipes which do not specify how many portions the recipe serves.

However, all in all, there are very many inspirational recipes and as soon as I am done with my leftovers I going to go seriously through this book.

#34 Anna N

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Posted 31 December 2005 - 03:12 PM

...  There are quite a few recipes which do not specify how many portions the recipe serves....

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Actually, on page 19 (Useful Information), it does state that "recipes serve 4 unless otherwise stated".

I discovered this only after wondering why this important info had been missed in many recipes. :biggrin:
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#35 Tepee

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Posted 24 January 2006 - 05:31 AM

pg 482/3 Dan Lepard's Yorkshire Pudding. Yummy with Roast/Gravy. My kids say they want this at every meal.

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Edited by zilla369, 25 January 2006 - 09:51 AM.

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#36 Daniel

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Posted 24 January 2006 - 09:39 AM

I have been wanting to make that.. Its looks fabulous..

#37 Daniel

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Posted 25 January 2006 - 03:52 PM

PG 452

Warm Polenta salad with scallops.. I added a red pepper coulis.. It was really good. I served the salad room temp instead of hot as they suggested.. Scallops were just on the grill for a minute per side..

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#38 John DePaula

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Posted 10 April 2007 - 04:13 PM

This is a wonderful book. Topic title says it all: 'Steller; Must Have." I sat down this week to make up a "short list" of items that I'd like to make in the near future and I've got a group of 40. Yikes, I may have to pace myself! :biggrin:
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#39 Chris Amirault

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Posted 28 July 2007 - 06:00 PM

I'm bumping this up because I spent several hours reading TCB while my daughter and her friends ran amok in the Boston Children's Museum. It's quite a remarkable book, and would be, I think, one of the short list of books that would be good introductions for new cooks who might harbor ambitions. The sections by Trotter on vegetables, Herme on pastry, and several others are fantastic.

One significant problem, however: the sections on "ethnic" foods. Some are passable introductions to the cuisine, but most struggle with the impossibility of encapsulating the entirety of, say, Indian, Japanese or Chinese cuisine in a few pages. The ones that work for me include the section on Thai food by David Thompson -- but that section would reduce a novice to tears, I'm sure.
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#40 Chris Amirault

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Posted 23 September 2007 - 07:02 PM

Made Marcus Wareing's pork belly -- an in-process shot by Daniel is above. Here's what mine looked like plated:

Posted Image

Along with halving the recipe, I made a few other adjustments: made mirepoix with the vegetables instead of half-carrots and so on; lowered the oven heat to 275F (from -- yikes! -- 350F) and went for an extra hour or so; strained and reduced the sauce by about 1/2 and then mounted it with butter. I plated it with roasted garlic and white pepper squash puree and very crispy sage potato pancakes. (Not that I'm cracking on Petrus, but their presentation is pretty one-dimensional texturally.)

It's a great dish and a fine technique, especially with a very good pork belly. I think that I'd cut down on the soy sauce by about half, especially if I'm going to reduce the sauce. I'd also not spill extra sauce onto the plate, for that matter.
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#41 Live It Up

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Posted 25 September 2007 - 09:54 AM

I never noticed this cookbook before, but the pictures on this thread are making me think I need to buy it! One question for anybody who might know: do the sections written by the chefs who have their own books contain new recipes, or are they redundant if you already have their books. For example, if I have Ken Hom's books, will there be anything new in his chapter of this book?

#42 Chris Amirault

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Posted 28 September 2007 - 11:26 AM

I had hoped that someone with a more definitive answer would chime in, but I'll take a crack at it. From my reading (and pretty decent awareness of David Thompson's Thai Food), I think that most of the recipes are new. They also tend, as I mentioned above, to be dishes that showcase techniques, ingredients, and concepts, and are in no way exhaustive or even representative.
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#43 danlepard

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Posted 29 September 2007 - 04:34 AM

It's would be hard to give a definitive answer without comparing each chef's published recipes with those in the book. Certainly all the chefs involved signed contracts with the publishers saying that the work is original, but when your talking about generic recipes and methods it gets a bit tricky as you could end up adding a trick or twist for the sake of the copyright agreement. Jill Norman is a very knowledgeable and somewhat tough old-school editor, and I don't imagine she'd let old published recipes slip through no matter how big the ego of the chef was. I noticed a few very polite cc'd emails from chefs to Jill, from chefs not known for politeness, so I'd assume they worked a bit harder on this book.

The original brief each chef was given was to...

embrace the techniques of global cuisines that are finding their way into American, European and Australian kitchens, as well as the more familiar methods drawn from the French tradition... Each chapter should be comprehensive, yet it should also reflect the personality and style of the writer...Cook is aimed primarily at the home cook, although we hope that with the calibre of the contributors, the editorial scope and the superior presentation it will also attract professional chefs.


Now I've got some distance from the project I've become a big fan of it (and others have too; it's sold about a quarter of a million copies worldwide in half a dozen languages) and I've learned so much from the other chefs work in it.

If you bought it and found there was too much overlap with books you already have then I'm sure you'd think of someone to give it to as a starting-out present.

Dan

#44 Chris Amirault

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Posted 29 September 2007 - 05:20 AM

Dan, I'd be very interested to read more about the development of the book from your end as a contributing writer.

Let's take the first six pages of the "Breads & Batters" section, where the simple white bread recipe demonstrates crucial foundational information. It's all provided both via text and images in that very effective DK style. How did the design process work in developing those pages? What was your mandate, and what did Jill Norman and the DK team provide?

Along those same lines, were you asked to provide material for a certain number of pages, leaving the number and selection of recipes to you? Your section seems to be significantly international in a manner that, say, Pierre Hermé's is not.
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#45 danlepard

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Posted 30 September 2007 - 02:08 AM

Hi Chris,

We were all asked, back in September 2003, for a set personal recipes that would fit the chapter heading and that list was then refined once everyone had sent theirs in, so if there were any gaps then ideas could be suggested. I wouldn't have expected a chef from a European country with a strong culinary identity (like France, Italy, Germany, etc) to have an international outlook - so Pierre Herme's recipes were just what you would expect to get from him beyond flavours and combinations. To have a chef from the US devote his life to deeply understanding Mexican food like Rick Bayless has done and sharing that knowledge; I can't imagine (for example) a French chef living in France devoting his life to understanding German cooking and becoming well known in Germany for that. This forum is a testament to the fascination so many of us have for the food of other cultures, far removed from putting curry powder in a baguette dough and treating foreign culinary traditions like mere condiments.

Once the recipes were agreed an overall edit by Jill Norman was done (in April 2004) to get the style right. This is typical on old style book production. However, Dorling Kindersley are one of a type of publisher we call a book "packager" in the UK (like Hachette, Mitchell Beazley, Kyle Cathie, Quadrille etc) who start with a format and commission the content to fit - as opposed to starting with a manuscript and asking the designers to find the best format for the work - and these type of publishers are now very common the book publishing world. From this point on the design dominated the project and everything done to fit with the predetermined format. Text would be run in to the layout, cut to fit by another editor who would then go through the text and suggest the content for the photography.

On the shoots for my section (October 3rd ,4th and 5th 2004) there was a prop stylist to keep with the pale colour theme, a home economist to make sure the recipes followed the text, a text editor from the publisher to check that the steps would fit the words, a junior art director to check that the images matched the specification sent to every photographer around the world working on the project. The final text and image matching was finished by March 2005

By September 2005 we had copies, and by the end of the year it was in the bookshops.

Dan

#46 foodguru8

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Posted 15 December 2013 - 10:58 AM

I have baked the stollen recipe by Stephan Franz from the Cook's Book on page 606.

I came across a few problems:

The hydration in the sponge seems inadequate and was not enough to hydrate the dry yeast which I used.

The quantity of fruit specified in the recipe was too much for the quantity of dough.

The temperature was too high or the cooking time too long which resulted in a dry crumb and a burnt crust.

 

The flavours are very good and I am keen to attempt the recipe again. Has there been any changes to this recipe?  



#47 rotuts

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Posted 15 December 2013 - 11:39 AM

I missed this thread entirely.

 

thanks for the 'bump'

 

it's in my library and i look forward to borrowing it.