Michele Cranston is the heart, soul and creative mind behind the popular marie claire cookbooks of the past 10 years that all center around “real and simple” food.
Just in time for Valentine’s Day, 14th February 2013, Ms. Cranston’s 10th marie claire book will be available from Murdoch Books – it is titled: marie claire 10 years of great food with Michele Cranston.
In this 385-page gorgeous book, Michele and her team of editors, designers, food, stylists and photographers have put together a compilation of 250 of her favorite recipes from the last 10 years and previous books.
Michele has added her personal comments on the inspiration for the recipe, why it is a favorite, what memories it conjures up, in form of hand-written “post-its” added to the photography pages.
The book design is delightful, the photographs concentrate on the food and definitely reproduce that glossy magazine feeling even on mat paper. The layout is clean with light backgrounds and discreet designs; the recipes are sorted by seasons and each season into 2 sets of recipes.
The usability of such a large and heavy book has been greatly improved by the double cloth covered rubber band that holds both the book together when stored on the shelf, as well as holding the page open when using a recipe. The addition of notepaper and post-its in different sizes and colors including three preprinted ones titled: favourites, quick & easy, special occasions are a blessing for “navigating” within the book, say if you were planning several courses and needed to quickly flip back and forth.
The tasty recipes include all classic types of ingredients in all food categories, a handful of drink recipes are also included. Although simple they are made more appealing by the luscious photograph and the flavor combinations. I particularly like the use of spices in the recipes. All those who looked through the book, quickly found a few recipes that appealed to them.
I cooked two dishes from the book:
The first was a fish dish of which there are plenty of recipes to choose from in Michele Cranston’s cookbook:
Fish filets receive a paste of ground roasted spices are then fried to create the crust and spend the last 5 minutes in the oven – served with mashed potatoes and lemons slices our tasty meal was ready from start to finish in just 35 minutes and would have been perfect for a dinner party too. Added plus: it looked almost exactly like the picture in the book!
The second was more of an appetizer but made a main meal for three to which we added white asparagus salad with tarragon vinaigrette and crusty bread:
layered ricotta bake
I halved the recipe so it would fit into my stainless steel terrine and used goat ricotta as I am lactose-intolerant and it worked just fine. It was firm but moist, had a pleasant blend of fresh flavors and was simple and the most time-consuming was the baking time of 1 hour. Minus: it looked nothing like the beautiful terrine in the picture unfortunately but rather very white und not very appetizing. But the most important thing was: it tasted delicious!
The bottom line:
Who is this book for?
Everyone! No limitations, anyone would love it as a present and to have on the cookbook shelf and often even on their coffee table. The completeness of the types of ingredients used leaves little to miss amongst the 250 recipes chosen.
Yes. My lady friends and I found the font size and type used in the recipes very difficult to read especially in the ingredient part, we had go move in very closely, in poor lighting we would have possibly had to use a magnifying glass.
marie claire – 10 years of great food with Michele Cranston is a perfect gift for Valentine’s Day or any other occasion. It is a tresure for people who like to cook and delight in a multitude of simple, real food recipes for every season accompanied by luscious food pictures all in one book.
Publication date: 14th February 2013
Murdoch Books, Hardback, £ 25.00
P.S. I received this cookbook from Murdoch Books UK with the media release letter – all comments are mine exclusively and were not remunerated or influenced in any way.