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Pure Simple Cooking: Effortless Meals Every Day Paperback – April 1, 2009

4.6 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Ideal for the novice home cook in need of a bit of encouragement in the kitchen.”
—Publishers Weekly

"Diana Henry's passion is infectious and her recipes tantalizing."
—Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, author of The River Cottage Meat Book

"Pure Simple Cooking shows that given only a short time in the kitchen, a person can plan on a beautiful and nourishing meal any day of the week--without resorting to dubious tricks or takeout."
—Deborah Madison, author of Local Flavors

 "A new Diana Henry book is an occasion . . . Henry has perfect pitch when it comes to cooking--her recipes are never less than delicious."
—The Spectator

From the Publisher

* An everyday cookbook that expertly blends ease and style from one of the UK's leading food writers.
* In 2007, Diana Henry was named Cookery Writer of the Year in England by the Guild of Food Writers.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Ten Speed Press (February 17, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1580089488
  • ISBN-13: 978-1580089487
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.6 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #334,319 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
British cuisine usually comes up in conversation as a joke, so it's easy to forget about all the incredible UK cooks out there like Gordon Ramsey, Marco Pierre White...and now Diana Henry. I love the visuals in this cookbook and the beautiful, rustic-looking food photography.

The recipes are simple and quick, just as advertised, and the flavors are unique. There is definitely a British edge to the food, which is refreshing though sometimes a bit heavy compared to what we are used to eating in the US.

For example, I don't know anyone who cooks plain -- not Italian -- sausages for supper, though bangers and mash (aka: sausages and mashed potatoes) are a perfectly common meal in the UK. Somehow, Pure Simple Cooking made me want to try it anyway, particularly the vinter's sausages with grapes.

I made the roast chicken with preserved lemon, sweet potatoes, olives and pimentón -- it was incredible -- seriously, incredible. I also tried out the zucchini, herbs and ricotta dish for a dinner party. It went over so well that there were no leftovers (and I always cook with leftovers in mind)!

Henry provides a lot of different options for each of her recipes, which is helpful if you don't happen to have certain ingredients on hand. With basic spices and easy-to-find cuts of meat and poultry, Henry shows you how to create beautiful and easy hour-or-less meals.

Granted, I totally subscribe to Henry's method for meals: I spend the bulk of my kitchen time making a great main dish and then serve quickly-composed sides like green salads along with it. This isn't fancy cooking, but it's still unique and very tasty. A lot of the dishes in it are all-in-one meals, often combining veggies, starches and meats that go into the oven all together.
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Format: Paperback
I knew nothing about this British cook, Diana Henry, until my niece, Maud, made me baked peppers stuffed with bread crumbs, from ``Pure Simple Cooking." Along with the bread crumbs, go toasted pine nuts and the amazingly good combination of chopped mint and chopped basil. (Maud believes that many good vegetarian recipes, including this one, are made even better by the addition of sauteed sweet Italian sausage. I heartily agree. )
Also a big success: pasta with shrimp, lots of garlic, italian parsley, feta cheese, and lemon zest. The lemon zest, like the mint combined with basil, adds some unusual zing to the dish. What Henry brings to the food world: her recipes are easy but really lively and interesting.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have been married for 33 years (how many dinners is that?) and this is the best cookbook I have ever used. I have bought 6 of these and given them as gifts. All of the recipes use items you already have in your house. All of them take about an hour. I have actually "dazzled" my family and friends with the recipes in this. And, I don't even give a crap about cooking.
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I first got this book from the library and liked it so much I bought it - I like the way she makes basic food elegant enough for company in a very simple and quick way, including suggestions for altering the recipe, side dishes and ways to spiff up store bought stuff like ice cream for elegant desserts. Great book if you like to entertain or eat "gourmet" with a real limited time to prepare.
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Format: Paperback
This book was clearly designed by someone who loves good food and appreciates the challenge of getting a great meal on the table after a busy day. These recipes truly are simple - nearly all are designed to be started and walked away from, leaving time for family and friends instead of demanding a cook's full attention be rooted to the kitchen.

I loved that the recipes were heavy on the kinds of food often neglected or overlooked - chicken thighs, lamb chops, fish, beans - instead of the ubiquitous boneless, skinless chicken breast or pound of ground beef. Using mostly ingredients you'll find in a well stocked pantry/ fridge (spices, yogurt, a little wine), Ms. Henry has built an impressive repertoire of recipes. I didn't find anything in here that was repetitious of other cookbooks I have or dull.

Everything is covered - easy starters, sides, main dishes, and desserts. I can't wait to cook my way straight through this!
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Format: Paperback
This is my favorite cookbook--and the photography in it is simply gorgeous. I am not a great cook, yet with this cookbook I was serving restaurant-caliber meals.
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I, like other reviewers, had never heard of Diana Henry. I was browsing in my local Barnes & Noble one day and they had this book as part of a display in the cookbook section. The photography caught my eye right away, but flipping through the book it was the ease of preparation and depth of flavor in the recipes that enticed me to purchase the book. My husband and I have thoroughly enjoyed every single recipe that I have made from this book and it is now the book that I tote with me to the grocery store when deciding what to make during the week.

In the introduction to this book, Ms. Henry explains that her approach to cooking changed since having two children. She, like the rest of us with children, can no longer putter around in the kitchen for hours preparing meals. Rather, she explains, the oven has become her savior. Most recipes in the book use the oven as the primary source of heat or at least the finishing source of heat (i.e. some things are quickly sauteed first and then finished in the oven). I have made mostly chicken and fish recipes from the book, but I will make my way to the lamb and other recipes.

If I have one criticism about the book, it would be that the index, rather than listing the particular dishes individually, will just say, for example, "chicken recipes, pages 8-20." As the book is not voluminous, it is not really burdensome to flip through the entire chicken section, but I do prefer an index that lists the recipes individually.

Other than that minor aberration, I absolutely love this book and wholeheartedly recommend it.
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