A guest review by my friend Veronica
Leon family and friends is, as the name suggests, a cookbook aiming to provide unpretentious recipes for feeding your nearest and dearest. It’s co-written by one of the founders of “healthy fast food” concept restaurant Leon (an establishment which I most admire, incidentally)
It’s a very appealing book, lavishly illustrated with photos of the authors’, er, family and friends, but in a way that’s charming rather than irritating. Some great ideas on children’s cooking, both for things they’ll enjoy making and for heathy dishes they might actually eat. Examples include pesto chicken, fish finger wrap (actually a posh fish finger sandwich but made me laugh), and showing kids how to make fresh pasta and pizza, to name but a few.
Difficulty rating is mild to moderate – even the most inexperienced cook will find plenty to get stuck into.
There are lots of digressions into snippets of nutritional info, which are entertaining and informative. The book is divided into three sections: Today – which covers breakfast, brunch and quick meal ideas for tired kids in the evenings; Tomorrow – cooking for special occasions where some planning might be required; and Yesterday – indulging in the authors’ nostalgic family food memories and which contains such classics as Crepes Suzette and Coq Au Vin.
The book spans a wide range of cuisines and dishes,- I guess a lot of which passes for British these days with plenty of both Asian and traditional English recipes. Among other digressions, there’s also a useful and inspiring chapter on quick meal ideas from the tins and packets languishing in your store cupboard.
Some quite creative categories – “A walk in the park” which are things you can leave in the oven for an hour or so and go out, and they’ll be done when you get back. Recipes are very clear and well laid out.
I tried out a couple of the pasta dishes – the Ragu a la Toscana for entertaining friends – and the chill crab linguine when I had some over-ripe cherry tomatoes to use up, and both were absolutely delicious.
I’m going to give this book four stars, with the caveat that if you already possess the Nigels, the Nigellas, the Jamies and the Delias there might be little new for you in here, but as a good all-round family cookbook you could do a lot worse if you’re just starting to build up your library.
Fuss Free Rating
Leon Family & Friends Book 4 : ****
Leon Family & Friends Book 4 is published by Octopus, cover price £25
Fuss Free Flavours received a complimentary copy for review. All opinions are our own, we were not required to write a positive review