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

Search Reviews:

741 recipes reviewed. Showing 1 to 50Sort by: Book Title | Date | Rating | Recipe Title

Website: 101 Cookbooks


9th October 2010

Double Broccoli Quinoa

Garlicky, cheesy, crunchy. Lovely texture.

This was the first time I tried quinoa, and I loved its texture. Its taste got lost a bit in the assault of other flavors. Especially the garlic was a bit much - I'll take a bit less next time. I will also keep more broccoli in florets, as those big chunks are very nice.

If you prefer weighing to volume measuring (as I do): the amount of broccoli given in the recipe is about 400 g.
I needed quite a bit more oil to make the pesto liquid enough to blend.
I added some pecorino to the pesto as well, which works well. However, I didn't much care for adding feta and that may be because of the pecorino. Maybe one kind of sheep's cheese is enough.

useful (3)  

Website: 101 Cookbooks


23rd December 2010 (edited: 20th July 2011)

Sparkling Cranberries

These look great and taste lovely - a very sweet first bite, followed by an explosion of cranberry tartness. Like cranberry sauce, but with a much better texture. The children (4 years old) devoured them.

I found it difficult to find the right cooling time for the sugar syrup. I waited 6 or 7 minutes and still some of the cranberries made a popping sound, although I found no burst berries when they were finished. Next time I'll wait at least 10 minutes before adding the berries. And do drain them very well of the sugar syrup, or they will be quite difficult to dry.

useful (2)  

Website: 101 Cookbooks


16th May 2011 (edited: 29th May 2011)

Spiced Coconut Spinach

Nice, but not very spicy, even though I doubled the amount of cumin given. It was necessary to increase the spices to a heaping teaspoon of both spices to taste them properly.

useful (1)  

Website: 101 Cookbooks


8th September 2011 (edited: 8th September 2011)

Magic Sauce

Not so much a sauce as a highly flavored oil, but very good. I made some lovely scrambled eggs with it, and a salad with rocket and feta. Very versatile indeed.

The salad was a bit too salty as both the sauce and the feta contained salt. I think I will make my next batch without added salt. I also think I overheated the oil a bit, as the garlic sizzled a bit when I added it. It was still good.

useful (2)  

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

25th September 2009 (edited: 20th July 2011)

Chicken livers with vinegar and onions

My favorite way of cooking chicken livers, very tasty. I do usually cook the onions for a bit longer than he suggests.

I usually serve with oven potatoes and a salad.

useful (1)  

25th September 2009

Pasta with Sardines

A heavily bastardized and therefore much easier to make version of a Sicilian pasta dish (I have seen a much more complicated dish with exactly the same ingredients in The Silver Spoon, I suppose that's the original). A wonderful and very unusual combination of flavors and textures.

useful (2)  

A good rich pasta dish.

useful (0)  

13th February 2011 (edited: 31st July 2011)

Herbed Salmon with Garlic Cream Sauce

Extremely quick, very simple, and it does look like the photo.

useful (0)  

28th February 2011 (edited: 31st July 2011)

Grilled Mackerel

The spices did not do as much as I thought/hoped they would, but that may be because my pestle had disappeared and I had to chop the garlic instead.

useful (0)  

A nice idea, but the way his recipe is described, it would be a bit too salty and a bit overcooked. I barely blanched the cauliflower, and halved the second cooking, but I would shorten even that.

useful (1)  

A nice combination.
I thought a dressing of just orange and olive oil was a bit flat, so I added about a teaspoon of red wine vinegar.

useful (0)  

Very nice. Maybe a bit too spicy to accompany "almost anything".

useful (0)  

11th June 2013 (edited: 11th June 2013)

Hot aubergine and cheese sandwiches

This was a nice idea, using slices of aubergine like sandwich bread.
I thought the garlic was a bit too sharp. Next time I will leave it out, or blanch it along with the aubergine, or fry it.
Drying the slices with kitchen paper took a lot of paper, and it was just water. Next time use a towel.

useful (0)  

99 x Austrian Cooking

By Verlag Johannes Heyn, Helga Setz
- 1989

7th November 2010 (edited: 31st July 2011)

Hot cabbage salad (Warmer Krautsalat)

Sauerkraut-like. Good winter food.

useful (0)  

The Abel & Cole Cookbook: Easy, Seasonal, Organic

By Keith Abel
HarperCollins UK - 2008

8th June 2010 (edited: 31st July 2011)

Slow-Braised Chicory

Nice way of preparing chicory. Sweet and bitter balancing nicely with just a hint of acidity. And the fennel seeds are good here.

Next time I will take more fennel seeds and more sugar - I thought a pinch and a sprinkle were quite small amounts, but the book clearly disagrees on that.

In the photo, I used red onions, so that's the red stuff you see there.

useful (0)  

14th September 2010 (edited: 14th September 2010)

Swede Chips with a Mug of Mustard Mayo

I'm happy with any recipe that makes swede palatable, but it still doesn't make me smile to find one in my CSA box (groententas).

Be careful not to put too much yogurt in the mayonnaise and not to overmix, else the sauce gets very runny.

useful (0)  

15th September 2010

Roasted Beetroot Penne

Surprisingly good. It looks spectacular - the penne turns PINK, the beetroot is dark red and the parsley adds a lovely green contrast. The walnut adds some crunch and combines well with the other earthy flavors. It's sweet, creamy and crunchy in the right combination.

To me, the parsley (or basil or dill) is not optional, but the Parmesan is. And be careful not to add too much cream, as I fear that would upset the balance.

useful (1)  

1st October 2010

Balsamic Carrot Salad

A good basic salad. I will make this again.

useful (0)  

3rd October 2010

Swedeaphobia Cure

I think this is the best swede recipe I've found so far - as it says, creamy and slightly spicy. I'm still not exactly enthusiastic about the vegetable, but I won't mind getting one next time. Even the children were OK with it.

Three potatoes were not enough to line even a small baking dish for me, so the potatoes he means must be quite large. But actually, I think the recipe doesn't need them at all and I might make it without them next time.

useful (0)  

17th November 2010 (edited: 31st July 2011)

Fruity Rooty

I can definitely think of worse ways to get your vitamins in winter than by this drink. Very sweet and still quite fresh. The colour is beautiful too, a creamy orange.

I would like the parsnip to be a bit more noticeable, I'll use a big one next time. The carrots and clementines, other other hand, were a bit too noticeable. I might halve the amount of them next time.

useful (0)  

18th November 2010 (edited: 31st July 2011)

Kiss Me Baby (or Maybe Not)

A very corny name and a quite pleasant juice. Slightly sweet, slightly creamy, with a hint of garlic (which will stay on your breath, yes). Beautiful pale green color, although I fear it might discolor easily if left too long.

useful (0)  

18th November 2010 (edited: 18th November 2010)

Shredded Brussels and Bacon

This was quite good, but it probably would have been better if the book wasn't so vague about the amounts. How much is a small bag of sprouts? A pack of bacon? I estimate an optimal ratio would be about bacon:carrots:sprouts = 1:2:4. On my first attempt I had too much carrot. And the "glug" of olive oil can be quite small, as the bacon and the butter will provide more fat.

useful (0)  

23rd November 2010


Not my thing at all. There are so many better things to do with these ingredients.

useful (0)  

29th January 2011

Vanilla Swede Purée

This was OK, but not as good as the swedeophobia cure. And it still seems weird to put vanilla with something I don't like all that much anyway.

useful (1)  

29th January 2011 (edited: 31st July 2011)

Michele's Magic

Sweet and spicy. Don't overdo the ginger on this one - a subtle effect is much nicer than a hard hit.

useful (1)  

A nice combination of ingredients.

The gherkins actually taste sweet here, which is good - it must be some kind of contrast effect. There was a sharp edge to the flavor which I didn't like that much - I will go easier on the garlic next time, I might even leave it out altogether. 

useful (0)  

The Anatomy of a Dish

By Diane Forley, Catherine Young
Artisan - 2002

30th May 2011 (edited: 31st July 2011)

Spicy green salad with strawberry vinaigrette

This was OK. The dressing was sweet, creamy and aromatic, but somehow it didn't really work with the greens.
It made a lot of dressing, about twice as much as I needed.

useful (2)  

2nd July 2011 (edited: 31st July 2011)

Mackerel with paprika sauce

Not bad, but it was the kind of dish I could have thought of myself as well, nothing surprising at all.

useful (1)  

30th July 2011

Steamed artichokes

This was quite basic, but it worked fine.
My artichokes needed quite a bit longer, but then they were big ones.

useful (0)  


By Janet Hazen
Chronicle Books - 1993

Excellent combination of flavors.

The cooking time given was much too short, I needed 15 minutes. I also used much less fish sauce.

I subbed red bell peppers for the chili peppers to make it suitable for children. I didn't have Thai basil so I used all ordinary basil. This was fine, but I can imagine this tasting even better with both basils.

useful (1)  

Website: BBC Good Food


Very good, very quick.

Pita bread worked well for me, it even got crunchy. I think I will try this with feta instead of mozzarella as well, for a bit more tang.

useful (0)  

Website: Belleau kitchen


This was well received by everybody, but I thought I should have taken a fattier cut of meat for a bit more depth to the flavor profile.

Very easy as well. You do have to start 24 hours before, but there is very little hands-on time - a few minutes for rubbing the meat with garlic, and then putting it in the oven the next day.

I will definitely make this again.

useful (0)  

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

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

28th September 2009 (edited: 31st July 2011)

Baked fennel and boston lettuce

I usually make a heavily adapted version of this, with only fennel, lettuce and chicken stock. But the combination is brilliant, the slight bitterness of the lettuce perfectly complimenting the softness of the fennel.

useful (0)  

Okay, I guess. Just slightly too many ingredients with no particular synergy.

useful (0)  

3rd November 2009 (edited: 31st July 2011)

Warm cabbage salad with bacon

Not original but well executed. Very sauerkrautlike.

It really does not need more than mashed potatoes, but if you're a real carnivore, have some sausage with it.

I do not see the point of throwing away the bacon fat to replace it with olive oil, so I didn't. The cooking time given for the cabbage is much more than I needed.

useful (0)  

15th June 2010 (edited: 31st July 2011)

Spicy black-eyed peas

This recipe is by Madhur Jaffrey, and it shows. The beans are seasoned three times: first by spices that are boiled along with the beans, then a tarka (spices cooked in oil separately and added at the end of the cooking) and to top it, a chile/cilantro salsa. Together, this produces a well-rounded, fragrant and not overly hot dish.

The fact that the salsa is added at the last moment also gives opportunities for individuating the flavour: for children, you could make a salsa without chiles, even without onions, and move some of the chiles in the other seasonings to the salsa for adults. For the cilantro-averse, you could make it with parsley, etc.

Serve with rice.

useful (0)  

8th April 2014

Green beans in aquavit

A good robust salad that didn't taste as weird as some of the ingredients suggest.
Adding some tomatoes, as well as or instead of the potatoes, works well too.

useful (0)  

Website: Blue kitchen


I just made the sriracha mayonnaise, which was good. I served it with hard-boiled eggs.

useful (1)  

Book of Middle Eastern Food

By Claudia Roden
Vintage - 1974

15th April 2010

Filling for vegetables V

Nice but not very brilliant. Could use a bit more spice.

useful (1)  

Nice "omelette".
I did not manage to turn it out into a serving dish, it was a bit messy. But it tasted good.

useful (1)  

27th May 2010 (edited: 30th January 2011)

Rhubarb Khoresh

First a warning: this dish contains rhubarb but no sugar, so only make this if you like things really tart!

This dish got a very mixed reception at my home. I quite liked it, my daughter (of 3) devoured it, my son (3 as well) hardly touched it, and my husband thought it was ridculous, a waste of both rhubarb and lamb.

I combined this recipe with the recipe in Jane Grigson's Fruit Book. I included all herbs and spices, used lamb, and used water to cover it with.

I thought the taste was very different and interesting, but also really tart. If I make this again I might add some raisins to counter the tartness. Not sugar, I think that would change the character of the recipe too much.

useful (2)  

15th September 2010 (edited: 31st July 2011)

Yogurt Drink

Also known as ayran (or abdug, or laban, according to the book).
The amount of salt needed is not given. If you haven't had it before: you should just be able to taste the salt, it should not be really salty.

useful (0)  

4th November 2010 (edited: 4th November 2010)

Meat with Zucchini and Chickpeas

A simple stew, but it did have everyone asking for seconds, and thirds, ... It smelled lovely, too. It seemed like a lot, and it was, but not as much as I thought. I guess it would serve about 5-6 people.

The liquid did not get absorbed, but that was fine, as it was very tasty. It just was a rather soupy stew.

I used lamb, and that worked very well. I don't think it would have been as good with beef. I served it over rice, which was perfect. Alternatively, it could be served with good white bread.

I added a bit of lemon juice at the end, a bit less than half a lemon.

This recipe makes me want to try the Meat Stew with Eggplants on p. 236 as well, as that is quite similar.

useful (2)  

Boring. Won't make this again.

useful (0)  

18th November 2013 (edited: 18th November 2013)

Eggah bi Lahma (Meat eggah)

This is a very nice way to stretch ground meat - I fed 4 adults and 4 children on less than a pound of meat.

Personally, I did not find the taste very exciting, but everybody else liked it and the guests asked for the recipe.

I cooked it on pretty low heat but not very low as she says, I think else it would not have been cooked through in 20 minutes.

Next time, I think I will add the eggs to the meat one by one, instead of beating them first and then mixing. I think that will make it easier to mix everything together.

useful (1)  

The Borough Market Cookbook: Meat and Fish

By Sarah Freeman and Sarah Leahey Benjamin, Rachel de Thample, Emma Lofstrom, George Nicholson
Civic Books - 2007

14th August 2011 (edited: 24th September 2012)

Lamb meatballs braised in a saffron tomato spinach broth

I ignored several explicit directions in making this recipe. I used tinned chick peas. I didn't use high quality bread, as I didn't use any bread at all. And I used frozen leaf spinach instead of fresh.
All the same, the dish was excellent. Chunky meatballs and chickpeas, silky green spinach, all submerged in a broth of the brightest orange. And the smell was excellent, as was the taste. Exactly at the border between refined luxury food and coarse peasant food. It wasn't as much work as I had feared either. It did need a few drops of lemon juice to really finish it.

useful (0)  

The combination of gurnard and an avocado salsa worked very well.

useful (1)  

A solid recipe, with all the things that are good with lamb: garlic, rosemary, anchovies... I actually wouldn't have minded a bit more of all of these, but if you want things subtle I suppose it's fine. The lamb was very tender.

I'm not sure the stuffing of all the flavorings in slashes is worth the work, especially at 11 am. I think next time I will just throw all in the pot and let it infuse in the oven. Browning things properly probably is worth the time though.

useful (0)  

I made this without the beans (too starchy for me). I'm quite sure it would be even better with them.

This was simple and very tasty. I let the kale cook for 10 minutes more, as I like it really soft.

useful (0)  

Bread tomato garlic

By Jill Dupleix
Conran Octopus Limited - 1999

29th December 2009 (edited: 12th September 2011)

potato tuna olive

Good combination, well executed.

The amount given is as a side salad, as a main dish you could double it.

I might add red onion or hardboiled eggs, although it does get very close to a salade Niçoise that way.

useful (0)