This is another from the presses of Dorling Kindersley that offers great value for money. Here we are again with a cookbook for those who have neither the room nor inclination to own a whole raft of cookbooks. If you have next to no time to cook then chances are you will have even less time to leaf through a shelf or two of recipe books, however gorgeous they might be.
Cook Express is designed with the strapped-for-time in mind. The recipes are quick to make but also quick to find. There are handy recipe choosers to allow you to find just the right dish for your purposes. Fish starter in less than 15 minutes, Meat main meal under 30 minutes, etc. Each entry has a photograph, preparation time and cooking time. Healthy options and suitability for freezing are also indicated.
The Everyday section of the book offers fast food without the need to interrogate the takeaway (take out) flyers. You’ll not need to resort to pre-packaged or frozen ready meals, and you’ll be eating healthy fresh foods that won’t break the bank.
Pasta has long been prized as the instant home-cooked meal so it’s no surprise to find lots of examples in this volume. You’ll not be restricted to eating spaghetti with a bottle of tomato sauce and a black olive for garnish. How’s about Pasta with Crab and Lemon? Only 5 minutes preparation and 10 minutes cooking. Macaroni Cheese with Red Onion has the same 5 minutes for preparation and 20 minutes for cooking, and you’ll be pouring a nice glass of red while it’s reaching bubbling, golden perfection.
It’s often difficult to entertain when time is short so Cook Express devotes about half its space to cooking for friends. Most dishes here can be prepared in 10 minutes or so and the maximum would be 30 minutes. There are some suggestions for feeding a crowd in the Big-Pot Gatherings chapter, with recipes for 8 servings still with only 30 minutes preparation for the most time-consuming.
Desserts can so often be fiddly and long-winded, and to present a semi-frozen Arctic Roll from the box is such an anti-climax. Cook Express has great ideas for cook-and-freeze-ahead desserts for those who are attached to the icebox. Just defrost and reheat. OK, so there might be 30 or 40 minutes of cooking time but you’ll be eating your main course and not watching the crumble brown.
I have been inexorably drawn towards the end of the book where lurks a list of Indulgent Puddings. Chocolate Amaretti Roulade will take half an hour of your time to make and only 20 minutes to cook. The No-Cook Desserts chapter offers Dark Chocolate and White Chocolate Mousse, and Banoffee Pie which only takes 15 minutes to assemble.
Cook Express is a complete one-stop extravaganza for those in a hurry. The 700 recipes in this 500-odd page tome will save you sufficient time for you to reinforce your bookshelf, although this volume is liable to spend more time on your kitchen counter than amongst your personal library. Lots of practical and delicious dishes to suit every taste and budget.
Cookbook review: Cook Express
Published by: Dorling Kindersley
Cookbook review by Chrissie Walker © 2018