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Sunday, 3 July 2011

I Love to Bake by Tana Ramsay

I Love to Bake is the ultimate guide to family baking. Tana's recipes are accessible and affordable, making it easy for everyone to create delicious bakes. There are savoury treats such as Chicken and corn pie and Tapenade-coated rack of lamb. But, of course, the book is also packed with cakes, puddings, tarts and biscuits - many of which are bursting with fresh ingredients; alongside Orange polenta cake or Mango and caramel cake is Apricot tart and Baked cheesecake with rhubarb. I Love to Bake is packed with ideas for inexpensive baking for the whole family throughout the year - from Easter to Christmas, from kids parties to family suppers.

When I hear the name Tana Ramsay, I picture a mother and a business woman who has to juggle the two halves of her life, while also coping with her husband, Gordon Ramsay! In recent years, I have seen Tana Ramsay on many TV programmes talking about issues relating to family life, and preparation of healthy, wholesome meals to feed the family. She has followed this with a number of recipe books promoting healthy, wholesome, easy food for families.

The forward to this book promises simple recipes for satisfying dinners and meals which are quick and easy to prepare. The recipes cover all areas of meals for family life: cakes; biscuits; puddings; chocolates; sweet pies and tarts; savoury pies and tarts; meat bakes; fish and vegetable bakes; bread and a final chapter on Easter, Halloween and Christmas.

In her introduction, Tana tells us that when preparing food for her family it is simple and real food, whose ingredients can be picked up on the way home from work, that do not need to be sourced from specialist retailers. The recipes in the book include some hearty meal ideas, while others are suitable for a light lunch. There are some indulgent recipes and others tempting and easy recipes. Some recipes can be adapted to what is in season. A lot of the recipes can be prepared in advance for busy mums on the run. There are recipes for every occasion. Tana also suggests involving the children in the preparation of the recipes.

There are many things I like about this book: Each recipe starts with a couple of sentences by Tana giving us a reason why it is in the book, what she likes or suggestions for alternatives. It is these introductions that I like to scan when choosing a recipe. There are clear ingredient lists at the start of each recipe and also approximate servings per recipe. The recipe is split into easy steps, written concisely and clearly.

However, there is one negative: not all recipes include full colour pictures of the end result. I do like to see what I should be aiming towards when following a recipe. This is however, only a small point as many of the recipes do include full colour photographs of the final results – there appears to be only a couple of recipes per chapter which does not include a photograph.

The photographs which do accompany the recipes are of a high standard and all the food looks very tempting and appetising. Some photographs also include children helping to make the

recipes – enforcing Tana’s belief in getting children involved.

There are a good number of recipes per section of the book and there is a varied selection of meal suggestions. The recipes will suit many budgets, with everyday, easy to source, ingredients being used throughout. There are ideas for children’s lunchboxes, picnics, light lunches and evening meals and I would think that there is something in here for any occasion.

I would recommend this book as a great addition to any kitchen book shelf and would be a great gift for a busy family wanting new ideas for their meals.

Thank you to Octopus Publishing for sending me this book to review.

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