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Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Mince It! (The Australian Women's Weekly)

Minced meat has always been popular, but most people do have a limited repertoire of recipes! Here are 100 recipes to show how you can create delicious and inventive food from one of the cheapest cuts of meat. There are chicken and turkey mince recipes for pies, curries, tacos, stir-fries and pasta. The beef mince chapter includes some of the classics - bolognese sauce, meatloaf, meatballs and cannelloni, as well as some inspired recipes for pizza, dumplings and bakes. Pork and veal mince has a wonderful rich flavour and lamb mince can be used to evoke the fragrant food of Greece and the Middle East. In every chapter there is a special feature on sausages, along with a page of moreish burger and wrap recipes.

On opening the book, the first thing i noticed was that inside the front (and back) cover are two very informative pages. There was a section called 'know your potatoes' with pictures and short descriptions of fourteen different types of potatoes: what they looked like, what they are good for etc. Another section was entitled 'Knife Skills: choosing the right knife for the job' - pictures and descriptions of the different knifes most commonly included in a knife block. The last section on both the front and back covers were photographs of some of the main ingredients used in the recipes and also descriptions, which parts can be eaten, how you would be likely to buy them (jarred, tinned, fresh etc). I thought these were very useful pages, and would love to see them included in other recipe books. However, this is an Australian book and I think that some of the names of ingredients are different down under, and while many of them have a few names given, some may not be available in the UK. There is also a half page of conversion charts; oven temps; liquid measures; length measures and dry measures.

The book is dedicated to minced meat and the book gives recipes for chicken and turkey; beef and sausage; lamb; and pork and veal. The pictures jump out of the page, full of bright colours, beautiful looking food and there are some recipes I would love to try: turkey and cranberry meatloaf to name a few. However, there are some I have no idea about:arancini with tomato and balsamic sauce or lamb spanakopita. 

There are cold meals, curry, pasta meals, pastry pies etc, something for any taste or occasion. However, I was unsure as to many of the ingredients or flavours featured in the recipes.

The book as a recipe book is one which looks very easy to use. Each recipe has a colour photograph ( most recipes have one page dedicated to it, however at the end of each chapter there are two pages which have three recipes per page, these recipes are very easy and simple). There is a clear ingredient list for each recipe and the recipe is split into clear, manageable steps (3-6 steps). At the end of each recipe there is details prep and cooking time (combined) and average servings. There are also nutritional count per serving (total fat. saturated fat, calories, carbohydrates, protein and fibre. This is very useful and a definite plus to this book - more cook books should include this information!

I like the book as a template for recipe books - great layout, useful nutritional values per recipe, photographs for each recipe, clear layout of recipes etc however I am unsure of how much I would use this book for its recipes. This is my personal opinion and I will admit that I am not adventurous with cooking or new tastes, however I think that is a book that you need to look at before you buy it for the recipes that are included, to see if they are to an individual buyers taste.

Thank you to the publishers, Octopus Publishing, for sending me the book to review.

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