As much as I enjoy cooking, there are many days when I don’t have much time to spend in the kitchen cooking. Other days I happily spend longer in the kitchen baking our bread, a cake for a special occasion or trying out slightly more time consuming recipes. When time is short I often fall back on a few much loved, simple recipes. Sometimes though I feel stuck in a cooking rut when it comes to quick meals.A few weeks back I was sent a collection of 6 cookbooks that might just be the answer to those evenings when you get home from work, tired and hungry. Hamlyn quick cook books each contain 360 recipes that can be cooked in 30 minutes or less. Each page includes 3 recipes that share a common group of ingredients/theme and is paired with a full colour photograph of one of the dishes. The 3 recipes are always one that can be cooked in 10 minutes, one in 20 minutes and one in 30 minutes. For example I chose to cook crab fried rice which took 20 minutes but if I only had 10 minutes I could have cooked crab and rice salad with lime dressing or if I wanted to spend 30 minutes cooing I could have cooked crab and rice cakes with lime dipping sauce. Each page also contains a unique code that if you type into their website you can download a recipe to print or have the recipe emailed to you (text only) so you could access it on your phone to buy the ingredients on your way home from work for example.
The 6 books I was sent were Budget meals, Family meals, Low fat, Desserts, Vegetarian and Pasta. They are priced at £7.99 each which after reviewing them I feel is good value. The photos of the food are very appealing and the recipes are well laid out. I tested a selection recipes and I managed to cook them all in the specified time. They also all tasted great and I will be making them again soon as well as trying more recipes.
The only downsides I can think of to make this a balanced review, is that in order to fit 3 recipes to a page there is one feature recipe with a full ingredients list and directions and then the other two recipes are sets of directions with the ingredients only listed as part of the directions. Personally I prefer a list of ingredients that I can scan and see what I need to buy etc but I can understand why this is needed to keep the number of recipes to a page and keep the cost of the book at such great value. Also some of the 10 minute recipes required buying ready made or pre-pared ingredients but equally many of them did not.
Thank you to Octopus books for my review copies of these books. Although I received these books free of charge, I was not asked to write a complementary review and all opinions expressed here are my own.