wester's Profile

From: Soesterberg, Utr Netherlands

Joined: September 24th, 2009

About me: I love cooking, I love eating, I love discovering new recipes. I have so many cookbooks I sometimes lose track of which recipe is where - though this site helps a bit. I have gone low-carb in 2010, so that's different recipes to explore again. This also means I may not agree with my own reviews anymore if they were written in 2009 or before. ------------------ I have a lovely husband and ten-year old twins who also love eating. ----------------- You can also find me on LibraryThing, BookMooch and EatYourBooks, using the same handle.

Favorite cookbook: The Complete Meze Table by Rosamond Man

Favorite recipe: Melissa Clark's Roasted Broccoli with Shrimp

Latest review:

April 4th, 2017

Daond Pasha (Meatballs with Pine Nuts and Tomatoes) from The Complete Meze Table

The meatballs were very tasty, but I did not really like putting all the pine nuts together - it made for fussy cooking and I think I would prefer finding a pine nut here and there instead of finding them... read more >

recipe reviews (741)
book reviews (74)
useful review votes (327)

wester's Reviews

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Cookbook Reviews

74 books reviewed. Showing 1 to 50Sort by: Rating | Title

The 30-minute Cook: The Best of the World's Quick Cooking (Penguin cookery books)

By Nigel Slater, Juliet Dallas-Conte, Kevin Summers
Penguin Books Ltd - 1996

March 29th, 2010

There are a few great recipes in this book, quick, original and very tasty. However, somehow I don't seem to make very many more than just those.

99 x Austrian Cooking

By Verlag Johannes Heyn, Helga Setz
- 1989

November 8th, 2010

Austrian country cooking. Not very elaborate, a bit coarse, but very good if you're in the mood.

The Abel & Cole Cookbook: Easy, Seasonal, Organic

By Keith Abel
HarperCollins UK - 2008

June 6th, 2010 (edited 18th November 2010)

This is a great book for anyone on a vegetable box scheme of any kind.

The summer part is a bit too much BBQ, but the book does have three really interesting recipes for swede, the one vegetable where I'm still looking for a way to prepare it that I actually like.

I also like the relaxed tone, encouraging you to experiment, for instance giving a completely general recipe for soup, and many substitution suggestions.

Sometimes I wish they'd have more definite amounts - how much is a dollop, a glug, or a sprinkle? So far, the dollops tend to be bigger than I thought.

They mention for every recipe if it's vegetarian or vegan, which is practical. This is not a vegetarian cookbook, though.

And don't ignore the bits at the end of each season, where they will give you some more tips on improvising: make almost anything into a soup, salad or juice.

Almost Vegetarian: A Primer for Cooks Who Are Eating Vegetarian Most of the Time, Chicken & Fish Some of the Time, & Altogether Well All of the Time

By Diana Shaw
Three Rivers Press - 1994

November 14th, 2010

A book for people who are (almost) vegetarian for health reasons, and possibly for those with both vegetarians and meat eaters in the family. Also for people who try to eat low-fat.
I'm not convinced yet that the taste survives all this healthiness.

Antonio Carluccio's Italian Feast

By Antonio Carluccio, Harry Green, Graham Kirk
BBC Books - 1996

August 28th, 2010

I don't seem to use this book much - maybe I'm not authentically Italian enough. The recipes seem a bit fussy.

The Balti Cookbook: Fast, Simple and Delicious Stir-fry Curries (Creative Cooking Library)

By Shehzad Husain
Lorenz Books - 1994

November 14th, 2010 (edited 14th November 2010)

I sometimes wonder why I haven't cooked from this book yet. Lovely instructive photos, and it all looks tasty.

And then I look closer and I know again. One, it is very much centered on meat and fish and my cooking usually isn't. Two, it often uses many different ingredients, and that is not even counting the spices, so I have to go shopping before I can make anything.

The Best of Food & Wine: Vegetables, Salads & Grains (ILLUSTRATED)

By Loretta M. Sala, Joanna Roy
American Express Publishing Corp - 1995

March 29th, 2010

Slightly dated, but there are some very good ideas in here.

Book of Middle Eastern Food

By Claudia Roden
Vintage - 1974

November 14th, 2010

Some of the recipes are really good, but many are not too exciting. They look quite authentic.

Book of Tofu

By Zelazny
- 1978

November 8th, 2010

I would have liked a few more recipes on how to cook tofu, not on how to make it, and I would like an occasional recipe without miso. If that's no problem for you, by all means get this book, but it's not my cup of tea.

Bread tomato garlic

By Jill Dupleix
Conran Octopus Limited - 1999

March 29th, 2010 (edited 12th September 2011)

Some nice ideas, but that's basically all. The book doesn't really add anything to the titles of the recipes.

Chocolate & Zucchini: Daily Adventures in a Parisian Kitchen

By Clotilde Dusoulier
Broadway Books - 2007

March 29th, 2010

Good recipes. Somehow, they look very fancy but are quite basic really, and I think I prefer it the other way round.

Classical Turkish Cooking: Traditional Turkish Food for the American Kitchen

By Ayla E. Algar
William Morrow Cookbooks - 1999

October 31st, 2009 (edited 10th June 2010)

This cookbook definitely is inviting - on the first day I had it, I made two recipes from it already. Good selection of vegetarian recipes, too. Some recipes turn out to be very good, some are just OK, but always worth trying.

However, I would sometimes like a bit more detail. For instance, the recipe for ayran does not tell how much salt is needed, and that makes it difficult to make if you don't have a good idea already what ayran is supposed to taste like.

The Complete Around The World Cookbook (The Speedy Gourmet Library Series)

By Johna Blinn, Tom Dorsey, Arthur Friedman
Playmore Publishers and Waldman Publishing - 1987

November 14th, 2010

This one is a bit dated. It tries to use foods that were easy to acquire when it was written, resulting in recipes that make you wonder what ingredients would make this taste best.

The Complete Meze Table

By Rosamond Man
Ebury Press - 1986

October 3rd, 2012

I found this book at some flea market ages ago, and then pretty much forgot about it. Until a few weeks ago it caught my eye again, and I decided to cook a recipe from it. It was very good. I tried another one, and it was very good as well. And another.

The recipes come broadly from the Middle Eastern region, and they are quite simple but flavorful. They are spiced well but not extravagantly, and often regional variations are included ("In Turkey, cinnamon is preferred to oregano"). I am happy I rediscovered this one.

Cook This Now: 120 Easy and Delectable Dishes You Can't Wait to Make

By Melissa Clark
Hyperion - 2011

September 10th, 2013 (edited 10th September 2013)

I really like this cookbook. The recipes are not too complicated for everyday use, but there is always something about them that makes them special.

I also like the month-by-month arrangement - it's not necessary to stick to it strictly, but if I want it to, it does narrow down the question "what do I cook tonight?" to just a few recipes.

I also am very happy that many recipes have a version with cheese and one without, as I like cheese and my husband hates it.

Cook-Off America: Prize-Winning Recipes from the Public Television Series (PBS Cooking)

By Bristol
Bristol Publishing Enterprises Inc - 1999

May 2nd, 2010

Wonderful photographs of different cook-offs. Not all recipes are practical, but there are some intriguing ideas there.

Cooking 'Round the Clock: Rachael Ray's 30-Minute Meals

By Rachael Ray
Lake Isle Press - 2004

May 13th, 2010 (edited 13th May 2010)

I do wish this book had an index so I could actually find recipes. Luckily, I can now (sort of) index it myself.

It does depend a bit much on stuff you get in American supermarkets.

I will review more when I've made some of the recipes.

The Cookware Cookbook: Great Recipes for Broiling, Steaming, Boiling, Poaching, Braising, Deglazing, Frying, Simmering, and sauteing

By Jamee Ruth, Leigh Beisch
Chronicle Books - 2005

November 14th, 2010

The recipe names here are a bit overdone (fearless flapjacks, plentiful paella). Most of the recipes are quite straightforward, although there are a couple of interesting ideas.

Couscous and Other Good Food from Morocco

By Paula Wolfert
William Morrow Cookbooks - 1987

November 8th, 2010

Very authentic, to the point where it gets very fussy and you start to wonder what is the point. Definitely not for beginners.

David Lebovitz


March 29th, 2010

Interesting stories, reliable information (also about kitchen utensils, restaurants and other food-related stuff) and wonderful ice cream recipes.

Eat Your Greens (Network Books)

By Sophie Grigson, Jess Koppel
BBC Books - 1993

December 7th, 2009

This book takes 50 or so common vegetables and gives original recipes with them. Recommended if you like vegetables but are running out of ideas.

The Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking

By Marcella Hazan
Macmillan - 1995

November 8th, 2010 (edited 21st October 2012)

A good one for Italian classics.

The Fannie Farmer Cookbook

By Cunningham Marion
Bantam Books - 1983

May 2nd, 2010 (edited 10th June 2010)

Good basic recipes. Not always exciting, but very reliable.
This is the book I turn to when I need information about cooking times, or oven temperatures, and I've baked a lot of the cookies.

Farm Vegetarian Cook Book

By Louise Hagler
Book Publishing Company (TN) - 1982

November 8th, 2010

This is not so much a cookbook as it is a guide on how to survive on beans, soy beans especially. It includes how to make your own tofu and tempeh. Very seventies.

Favourite Biscuit Recipes

J Salmon Ltd - 2000

April 19th, 2010 (edited 15th May 2010)

Very small booklet with a good selection of classic English cookies/shortbread/biscuits etc. They are usually not complicated to make and they work well. When I want to bake cookies, I regularily reach for this one.

Food & Wine Magazine's 2001 Cookbook: An Entire Year's Recipes

By Food & Wine Magazine
American Express Publishing - 2001

March 29th, 2010

Loads of interesting recipes by many well-known cooks. Nice photos, too.

Fresh at Home

By Ruth Brown
Penguin Global - 2005

April 19th, 2010 (edited 7th November 2010)

A bit too vegetarian for my taste, as in: all tofu/beans/grains, and more attention paid to healthiness than to taste. Also, a lot of difficult ingredients (wheat grass, spirulina, protein powder).

Fresh Start: Great Low-fat Recipes, Day-by-day Menus - The Savvy Way to Cook, Eat and Live! (The great good food series)

By Julee Rosso
Random House Value Publications - 1996

September 6th, 2010 (edited 21st October 2012)

I don't like diet cookbooks, but sometimes they're necessary. And this one isn't too bad. At least it talks about flavor and not about the "naughtiness" of eating too fat. The book is very American, as far as the eating style is concerned.

Great Food Without Fuss: Simple Recipes from the Best Cooks

By Frances McCullough, Barbara Witt
Henry Holt & Co - 1992

March 29th, 2010

There are some lovely recipes in here, by good cooks as well. There are very many variations to the recipes, and basic recipes, and more elaborate ones, and altogether it is not always easy to find the recipe you want.

Great Good Food: Luscious Lower-Fat Cooking

By Julee Rosso
Three Rivers Press - 1993

September 29th, 2010 (edited 21st October 2012)

If you really want to lower your fat intake, you can do worse than this book. The recipes are still reasonably tasty and quite easy to make with normal ingredients - all the dairy is nonfat but you won't have to fill your pantry with diet food.

If you are not interested in your fat intake, don't bother.

Happy Days with the Naked Chef

By Jamie Oliver
Michael Joseph - 2001

May 2nd, 2010

There are some very good recipes in here that I make on a regular basis.

Het grote vegetarische kookboek

By Susan Tomnay
K├Ânemann - 1996

November 8th, 2010

A good book for starting vegetarians, or vegetarians in need of inspiration. A great choice of recipes. Most are easy to make, and if not, they will warn you.

Indian cooking;: With useful hints on good housekeeping

By Kala Primlani
Pearl Publications; sole distributors: India Book House - 1968

April 19th, 2010

Authentic Indian cookbook, good everyday food.

Indian (What's Cooking)

By Shehzad Husain
Thunder Bay Press (CA) - 1998

March 10th, 2013

I almost didn't get this book. I already have a cookbook from the same author that I don't cook from. I already have a cookbook from the same series that I don't cook from. And I certainly have no shortage of Indian cookbooks.

Still, I did get it, and found myself cooking from it. The recipes are simple and they taste good. The book is well illustrated - all recipes have several photos. Not an essential book, but a good one for everyday cooking.

Jamie's Dinners

By Jamie Oliver
Michael Joseph - 2004

May 2nd, 2010

English home cooking, only slightly 'culinarized'.
The recipes I've tried so far were nice, but not more than that. But there are still more recipes in there that do look interesting.

Jamie's Kitchen

By Jamie Oliver
Penguin Books Ltd - 2004

May 2nd, 2010 (edited 2nd May 2010)

Some interesting recipes, but a bit too restaurant-like, overcomplicated, not really home cooking. I'm not going to fill pasta on a regular basis if I have other things to do as well.
I also would have liked page numbers on more pages - sometimes you have to move six pages to find a page number.

Jane Grigson's Fruit Book (Penguin Cookery Library)

By Jane Grigson
Penguin - 2000

November 8th, 2010

Not as indispensable as the vegetable book, but still nice if you are at a loss as to what to do with a particular fruit.

Jane Grigson's Vegetable Book

By Jane Grigson
Penguin - 1998

October 22nd, 2009 (edited 10th June 2010)

If you've ever not known what to do with a vegetable, you need this book. If you have a CSA box or anything similar, it's indispensable.

Not only will it tell you what you can do with a cardoon or hop shoots, but it will also give you 17 ways to prepare cauliflower. The recipes are not spectacular but usually very nice.

Feel free to ignore all serving suggestions - they tend to be overly complicated.

Keeping it Simple

By Gary Rhodes
Michael Joseph - 2005

March 29th, 2010

Not really my style of recipes. A bit too much "meat and two veg".

Klary Koopmans : Alles over eten


November 19th, 2010

In Dutch.
Focusing mainly on vegetables and grains, but the health aspect is subordinate to the taste.

Kohinoor of Rice and Spice

By Rocky Mohan
Roli Books - 2003

May 27th, 2010 (edited 14th June 2010)

The recipes look interesting and authentic. There are some good ideas here, such as the rice with steamed gram flour rolls.
On the downside, some ingredients will be hard to find (khoya, poppyseed paste - and I'm not even counting that you need a really well-stocked spice cupboard). I would also have liked to have the English names/descriptions in the index as well.

Lyndey Milans Fabulous Food

By Lyndey Milan, Michael Cook
New Holland Publishers Ltd - 1999

May 2nd, 2010

The book looks good (nice photos etc.), but so far I haven't been inspired to actually make any of the recipes.

Madhur Jaffrey's Spice Kitchen: Fifty Recipes Introducing Indian Spices and Aromatic Seeds

By Madhur Jaffrey
Clarkson Potter - 1994

September 24th, 2009

If you are going to have only one Indian cookbook, have this one!

It is small, it contains only 50 recipes, but all are very different and all that I have tried are very nice. I tried 10 of them in the first two weeks I had this book, and I usually don't cook Indian that much. The recipes are all very aromatic and need not be hot.

What I really like most about this book is the explanations of how and why to use Indian spices. She will tell you why one spice is added at the very beginning and another at the end, and what effect this should have. This also gives a good idea of what the finished dish will be like.


Masterchef 1996

By Loyd Grossman
Ebury Press - 1996

April 19th, 2010

Some Ok ideas, but often overly elaborate.

Mesa Mexicana

By Mary S. Milliken
William Morrow Cookbooks - 1994

November 7th, 2010

I have not found many recipes in here that look inspiring, and the one recipe I made was not much good. Maybe I'll have better luck with the next recipes.

Mollie Katzen's Vegetable Heaven: Over 200 Recipes for Uncommon Soups, Tasty Bites, Side Dishes, and Too Many Desserts

By Mollie Katzen
Hyperion - 1997

August 2nd, 2010

Vegetable recipes designed for great taste, and if they happen to healthy that's a nice side effect.

This is the kind of cookbook where it's best to follow the recipe exactly, at least the first time you make them, as often it's not completely visible from the recipe why it is designed as it is, and changes can easily upset the balance.


By Mollie Katzen
Hyperion - 2000

April 16th, 2010

I've only made one recipe of this book yet since I got it yesterday, but I think it's my new favorite cookbook.

It's a book about enhancing vegetables (instead of hiding them as so often happens). The recipes are original without being over the top, and I just want to make them all. It's vegetarian in a nondogmatic way, almost accidental. The recipes just happen to be all meatless, but that is because meat does not belong in them, not because it was left out.

The details do matter in this cookbook, so I suggest not tampering too much with the recipes, especially the first time you make them.

And you do need a well-stocked cupboard for this book.

Moosewood Cookbook

By Mollie Katzen
Ten Speed Press - 1992

March 21st, 2011

I definitely wish I had had this book when I was a vegetarian student who was just learning to cook. It would have improved the quality of my food no end.
But now I am over forty and on a low-carb diet, and especially now I know so much more about cooking, it just does not have that much to offer that I don't know yet.
I will probably give it to my vegetarian sister - she will probably enjoy it.

Moosewood Restaurant New Classics

By Moosewood Collective
Clarkson Potter - 2001

August 2nd, 2010 (edited 2nd August 2010)

A good selection of everyday vegetarian recipes (and just a few fish recipes). Not too complicated and tasty enough.

More Vegetables, Please: Delicious Vegetable Side Dishes for Everyday Meals

By Janet Kessel Fletcher
Harlow & Ratner - 1992

March 29th, 2010

Like the title says: Some suggestions for simple but interesting things to do with your everyday vegetables. Many recipes are so simple they are more like suggestions for combinations, but they are still very nice.