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Old 03-08-2015, 07:35 AM   #1
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Some help with my cookbook please

I have recipes for my book, I have lots of tips, lots of info on substitutes and lots of notes and a good camera.

The book will feature tips, trick and substitutes and will contain around 20 recipes using them.

What is holding me back is how simple or complicated the recipes should be.

I was going for the idea of what I considered simple recipes and sent a poached salmon recipe to my daughter.

I asked her if people wanting a book with simple recipes would consider the recipe simple.

She replied that the recipe was very straightforward but people would not want to cook it because of pin boning the salmon.

Somebody else told me that the trend now is for very simple and quick meals such as pouring boiling water into a cup and adding some vegetables to it.

Well I don't think that people who eat such things need a cook book, and I don't want to write about how to create a fried egg on toast.

I think maybe meals such as spaghetti Bolognese with a tip on how to cook the actual pasta.

Chili con carne explaining whether or not to strain and rinse the beans and how to seal the lid of the pan with parchment paper.

Ratatouille?

What do you think?

What difficulty of recipes?

And maybe some recipes suggestions: not the recipes themselves ;-)

Any feed back and help with this would be much appreciated

Michael

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Old 03-08-2015, 08:07 AM   #2
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If you have a Facebook account then http://goo.gl/Piwg77 will take you to my food album. Most of the images have the recipes.

Probably 90% of the images are mine but I shot them with my phone so they're not good enough quality for the book.

Just bought a very good camera and will have to reshoot photos of the recipes that get included.
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Old 03-08-2015, 09:26 AM   #3
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I think that simple is a brilliant idea. If someone is interested in wanting to turn out great and well cooked food then one has to know the basics. I do not wish to come between you and your daughter but if someone is wanting to serve Salmon for instance, then it is vital that they know how to remove the bones and you are right to tell them how to do it.When a budding cook has gained the confidence that you will surely give them then they can move on to more advanced cookery books and good luck to them. I am sure that your book would be most welcome to many people.
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Old 03-08-2015, 09:30 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by menumaker View Post
I think that simple is a brilliant idea. If someone is interested in wanting to turn out great and well cooked food then one has to know the basics. I do not wish to come between you and your daughter but if someone is wanting to serve Salmon for instance, then it is vital that they know how to remove the bones and you are right to tell them how to do it.When a budding cook has gained the confidence that you will surely give them then they can move on to more advanced cookery books and good luck to them. I am sure that your book would be most welcome to many people.
*Thanks for the reply*

The main issue is that the focus of the book is on Tips, Tricks And Substitutes and not on the recipes.
We are almost drowning under recipes.
I want to introduce people to brining, condition pans, how to keep pyrex clean, how to check if a potato is for baking or boiling, how to crack an egg etc etc
Most people that do a lot of cooking would already know most of these things and many people of Facebook tell me that they want to cook tasty food but don't have a lot of time.

Just quickly put together this rough list together of relatively easy foods.

Spaghetti Bolognese, Ch​ile con carne, cottage pie, ratatouille, roast chicken and pastina, eggplant parmesan, breaded chicken breasts, baked pork chops with apples and onions, balsamic lamb chops, roast potatoes, best hamburgers, Braised Fish With Orange Concentrate And Soy sauce, Cabbage Leek And Potato Soup, Cucumber salad, Flash Fried Brussel Sprouts, how to fry bacon, Greek island salad with chicken & avocado, Spanish omelet, Mikes Moussaka, NY Strip Steak - Seared And Then Roasted, non-slimy okra, Poached chicken breasts, potato salad, Purée Of Potatoes Turnips And Carrots, Sautéed Lyonnaise Potatoes .. and maybe french fries like McDonald's makes

Just some ideas.
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Old 03-10-2015, 11:30 AM   #5
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Not in any order:
Choose your theme and stick to it.
Keep the advice very simple. Think about who has likely received your book as a gift. And why.
These are your demographic.
Organize your tips alphabetically. I have a Sicilian cookbook which has a clever index. You can find a specific recipe in the index by looking for key words. In some cases the recipe is listed six times under different starting words.
Not to sound condescending but image the reader is very inexperienced and 'dumb'.
"Simple Kitchen Tips For Dummies". Sound familiar? LOL
Lots of excellent 'food porn' quality photos. Fills the book up and a picture is worth a thousand words. Right?
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Old 03-10-2015, 11:54 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by puffin3 View Post
Not in any order:
Choose your theme and stick to it.
Keep the advice very simple. Think about who has likely received your book as a gift. And why.
These are your demographic.
Organize your tips alphabetically. I have a Sicilian cookbook which has a clever index. You can find a specific recipe in the index by looking for key words. In some cases the recipe is listed six times under different starting words.
Not to sound condescending but image the reader is very inexperienced and 'dumb'.
"Simple Kitchen Tips For Dummies". Sound familiar? LOL
Lots of excellent 'food porn' quality photos. Fills the book up and a picture is worth a thousand words. Right?
Thanks for all the tips.

Just bought a really good camera and it arrived about 1hr ago.

This is the first recipe that I intend to put in the book.

My daughter asked why a frying pan and a pot are needed.

The image was from my phone and is not properly in focus but it will look much better with the Nikon.

What do you think of the recipe? Easy-intermediate?

Thanks.

Michael

Made enough of this for two meals so I'll enjoy it again tomorrow.

I noticed that the focus is not as good on my phone if I don't use the flash.

Beef Potato Carrot And Celery Stew

Prep: 15 min
Cook: 2:10 min - depends on tenderness of the meat.
Total Time: 2:35 min

Serves 4 to 6

Level: Intermediate

Ingredients

1 kg / 2 1/2 lb of beef chuck, cut into 2" cubes
600g / 1 1/4 lb of medium red potatoes, quartered
4 medium carrots, cut into 5cm / 2" pieces
2 celery stalks, cut into 5cm / 2" pieces
2 medium onions, cut into 6ths
7-8 whole, peeled tomatoes, lightly crushed
About 1/3 cup of all-purpose flour
Beef or vegetable broth
5 cloves of crushed garlic
1 tbsp of tomato paste
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 sprigs of fresh parsley or two tsp of dried
6 sprigs of fresh thyme - or 3/4 tsp of dried
2 bay leaves
2 to 3 teaspoons red wine vinegar, or to taste
Olive or vegetable oil, for searing

Optional - 2 tbsp of unsalted butter

The Method

Season the beef with the salt and pepper and fry in a pot over a medium high heat until brown on all sides.
In a separate pot fry the the onion over medium heat in either olive oil or oil and butter if using until lightly browned, about 5 minutes.
Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until it's fragrant, about 1 minute more.
Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring for a minute or so more.
Add the beef with its juices, sprinkle enough flour to lightly coat the top of the meat, and cook stirring for another two to three minutes.
Add enough water or broth to cover about one half of the meat and bring to a simmer.
If using fresh herbs, then tie the parsley, thyme, and bay leaves together with a piece of kitchen twine and add the bundle to the pot.
Or add the dry herbs and the bay leaf.
Season with 2 teaspoons of salt, and some black pepper, to taste.
Cover the pot and simmer for around an hour, checking to see if you need to add more stock or water.
Check the tenderness of the meat, and continue cooking unless it's it's fork soft but not breaking up.
Add the potatoes, carrots, celery and tomatoes, and bring to a simmer.
Cook, covered, stirring occasionally, for around an hour more.
Remove the lid and increase the heat until the liquid thickens and the vegetables are tender.
Discard the herb bundle if you used fresh or remove the bay leaf if you used dry.
Stir in the vinegar and season with salt and pepper, to taste. You will probably need a little more salt because the potatoes will have neutralized any previous salt.

* Extra virgin olive oil burns more easily and is much more expensive. Regular virgin olive oil is fine.
* Many tomatoes can cause a bitter taste, so if the sauce tastes bitter then add a touch of bicarbonate of soda or sugar or both.
* Brining the meat will make it much more tender and cut down cooking time

- justpaste.it
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Old 03-10-2015, 12:52 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redmike View Post
Thanks for all the tips.

Just bought a really good camera and it arrived about 1hr ago.

This is the first recipe that I intend to put in the book.

My daughter asked why a frying pan and a pot are needed.
They aren't. Plus you didn't specify a frying pan.

The image was from my phone and is not properly in focus but it will look much better with the Nikon.

What do you think of the recipe? Easy-intermediate?

Thanks.

Michael

Made enough of this for two meals so I'll enjoy it again tomorrow.

I noticed that the focus is not as good on my phone if I don't use the flash.

Beef Potato Carrot And Celery Stew

Prep: 15 min The prep would take way more time than that, especially for a beginner.
Cook: 2:10 min - depends on tenderness of the meat.
Total Time: 2:35 min

Serves 4 to 6

Level: Intermediate

Ingredients

1 kg / 2 1/2 lb of beef chuck, cut into 2" cubes
600g / 1 1/4 lb of medium red potatoes, quartered
4 medium carrots, cut into 5cm / 2" pieces A beginner might need to be told to peel them
2 celery stalks, cut into 5cm / 2" pieces
2 medium onions, cut into 6ths 6ths is sort of a confusing concept, plus depending on what direction you cut the pieces could be big
7-8 whole, peeled tomatoes, lightly crushed Fresh? Canned? Beginners would have to be told how to skin a tomato. If canned how would anyone know how many tomatoes are in a can.
About 1/3 cup of all-purpose flour That seems like a lot to me
Beef or vegetable broth How much? They need an exact amout if they are a beginner. Both to make the recipe easier to follow and to know how much to buy at the store.
5 cloves of crushed garlic Beginners need to know what "crushed" garlic is
1 tbsp of tomato paste
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 sprigs of fresh parsley or two tsp of dried
6 sprigs of fresh thyme - or 3/4 tsp of dried
2 bay leaves
2 to 3 teaspoons red wine vinegar, or to taste
Olive or vegetable oil, for searing

Optional - 2 tbsp of unsalted butter

The Method

Season the beef with the salt and pepper and fry in a pot over a medium high heat until brown on all sides.
In a separate pot fry the the onion over medium heat in either olive oil or oil and butter if using until lightly browned do you really want to brown the ojnions or sweat them? Don't you season them?, about 5 minutes. You don't need a separate pot. Just remove the beef and juices from the first one and proceed.
Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until it's fragrant, about 1 minute more.
Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring for a minute or so more.
Add the beef with its juices, sprinkle enough flour to lightly coat the top of the meat, and cook stirring for another two to three minutes.
Add enough water or broth to cover about one half of the meat and bring to a simmer. "cover half the meat" is sort of unclear. You are better off giving an exact measurement.
If using fresh herbs, then tie the parsley, thyme, and bay leaves together with a piece of kitchen twine and add the bundle to the pot.
Or add the dry herbs and the bay leaf.
Season with 2 teaspoons of salt, and some black pepper, to taste.
Cover the pot and simmer for around an hour, checking to see if you need to add more stock or water. If the pot is covered you shouldn't have to add liquid but if you want to include this tip you might want to be more specific about what "more" liquid is
Check the tenderness of the meat, and continue cooking unless it's it's fork soft but not breaking up. "fork soft" would be confusing to a beginner Aren't you assuming that it has cooked for an hour?
Add the potatoes, carrots, celery and tomatoes, and bring to a simmer.
Cook, covered, stirring occasionally, for around an hour more.
Remove the lid and increase the heat until the liquid thickens and the vegetables are tender. The vegetables should already be tender after an hour and the liquid thick.
Discard the herb bundle if you used fresh or remove the bay leaf if you used dry.
Stir in the vinegar and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Its always better to season up front rather than at the end, especially in a braised dish. You will probably need a little more salt because the potatoes will have neutralized any previous salt. Not true. Potatoes don't neutralize salt

* Extra virgin olive oil burns more easily and is much more expensive. Regular virgin olive oil is fine.
* Many tomatoes can cause a bitter taste I have never found that to be true , so if the sauce tastes bitter then add a touch of bicarbonate of soda or sugar or both. Bicarbonate of soda neutralizes acidity, not bitterness.
* Brining the meat will make it much more tender and cut down cooking time You generally don't see wet brine (as opposed to aggressive pre-salting) recommended for red meat. And you definitely don't need to brine meat that is going to be braised. Also I am not sure where you got the idea of brining cutting down on cooking time -- do you have a link? - justpaste.it


Hope this helps!
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Old 03-10-2015, 02:30 PM   #8
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No offense but given the advice/tips you offered re the stew I don't think you are ready to offer advice to newbie cooks.
For instance: Using whole skinned tomatoes includes using the seeds. They add a bitter note to any dish they are used in. Nothing you can add will remove the bitter note.
I've been home cooking and for a while professional cooking for over fifty years. I consider myself an excellent cook. I don't think I could add anything to the millions and millions of pages on offer online for free.
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Old 03-10-2015, 03:39 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by puffin3 View Post
No offense but given the advice/tips you offered re the stew I don't think you are ready to offer advice to newbie cooks.
For instance: Using whole skinned tomatoes includes using the seeds. They add a bitter note to any dish they are used in. Nothing you can add will remove the bitter note.
I've been home cooking and for a while professional cooking for over fifty years. I consider myself an excellent cook. I don't think I could add anything to the millions and millions of pages on offer online for free.
Thank you for bringing my attention to this and I will amend my recipe from saying tomatoes to Roma tomatoes.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roma_tomato

There are so many recipes on line and in books and my intention is not to create another one.

I moved to Portugal 18 months ago and there a very few spices available so I have learned to created substitutes.

My kitchen is a very modest one so I have developed a great many tips.

Not trying to become famous or make a lot of money but merely want to pass on what I have learned.

A slight sprinkle of bicarbonate gets rid of the bitterness in tomatoes instantly.

My book is about, Tips Tricks and Substitutes

It will include around 20 recipes but their intention is to allow me to include the tips etc.

Michael
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Old 03-10-2015, 04:51 PM   #10
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So what are your credentials? We all know how to cook, and we all have useful quick tips that we share with each other.

So why would someone buy your book? What skill, experience, or training do you bring to the book that others don't?

The answer may be a lot, or not so much. But whatever it is, you need to focus on that. If you're just another guy/gal giving tips, you should put them on a blog. If you bring something special that most of us don't have, then don't be concerned with the degree of difficulty; concentrate on your skill set and write your book accordingly.
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