Book reviews - cookery books

It's a great idea to get children into the kitchen, enjoying cooking. Cooking is a fun activity which can be enjoyed by parents and children alike and it's a super way to spend some time together. It helps children to know where their food comes from and is an excellent way to teach about healthy eating.

Science You Can Eat: Putting what we Eat Under the Microscope​ from DK

When we think about it, it's obvious that so much science is involved with cooking, and it's a great way to help children understand the basic principles. Explore the science of food, and change the way children think about food and eating through the fun food experiments in this unusual book. It's a fascinating look at the way the chemistry of cooking can trick our taste buds; the book looks at some very strange flavours to prove this. Readers will learn why popcorn pops, why chillies are so hot, how to find out if an egg is fresh, how to make gum disappear (eat it with chocolate!), how to prove there's iron in cereal and many more absolutely fascinating facts. There's a scientific basis for them all, and this lavishly illustrated book will really encourage children to explore the science behind it all. The book also explores the future of food. Engagingly written, this is a book that will really enthuse children to investigate their food, and they will learn a lot while they do so.

Fit Food for Kids: A Healthy-Weight Diet Plan & Cookbook by Kim Davies

This is an interesting combination of healthy eating recipes, exercise routines and guidance on weight management, showing how they inter-relate. The book is in three sections, starting with information about food, diet and healthy eating - this is all information we need to know to make sensible life choices. This is followed by a section on getting active, with a great range of ideas for the whole family to enjoy together. The recipes are well thought-out, will appeal to children and are clearly and attractively presented I have slightly mixed feelings about this book - I totally support the need for us all to have a healthy diet. With that, weight control should come naturally, so I would prefer that this was not emphasised on the front cover; our young people suffer enough body image anxiety as it is. Despite that, though, this is a practical and useful book.

The Star Wars Cookbook: Han Sandwiches and Other Galactic Snacks by Lar Starr

Complete with two Star Wars themed cutters this unusual cookery book includes sandwiches (hyperspace energy sandwiches, for example) to snacks (Bantha buns) and desserts (Mimban mud pies). The recipes are easy to follow and the book includes many iconic scenes from across the saga., with photographs featuring Star Wars figurines re-creating epic moments from the films providing an extra helping of humour. The cutters make the sandwiches perfect for Star Wars-themed parties, and they're fun for lunchboxes too; the cutters should encourage children to make their own sandwiches, and perhaps dream up their own Star Wars recipes. Please be aware that this is a US publication, so the recipes feature ingredients measured in cups rather than being by weight.

What's on Your Plate?: Exploring the World of Food by Whitney Stewart

In terms of the variety of foods available to us, we really do live in a fantastic age - and children can learn so much from finding out about different foods and extending their comfort zone. With 14 countries covered, and 14 simple recipes included as well as polular foods from the country, this book is a great opportunity to learn how people from around the world prepare, eat, and even think about their food. The book gives an insight into different cultures through stunning photographs and clear illustrations. Usefully, the book includes pronunciations and an illustrated map of each country, featuring key foods and where they grow. Beautifully presented, this is a fascinating journey through food. Published by Sterling, July 2018, ISBN 978-1454926726.

Foods of the World by Libby Walden

A lovely chunky landscape format hardback book, complete with cloth spine, which is well illustrated by Jocelyn Kao. The book takes young readers into kitchens around the world and introduces food from around the world. There are three main sections - Customs and Traditions; Playing with Food; and Celebrating food. Discover tasty treats, unique utensils, and fascinating food facts as readers experience the diversity of food from around the world. Fascinating facts such as rude food, unhealthy foods and unusual tastes will enthrall children. The book gives an excellent insight into different cultures, as food is so much at the heart of people's lives. A great read.

Chef Academy: Are you ready for the challenge? by Steve Martin

Both aspiring chefs and children with an interest in cooking will thoroughly enjoy this interactive book which really involves the reader. The book starts off by teaching children about food, with practical aspects such as how to follow a recipe - and plenty of hands-on activities. Then they find out how to run a kitchen and finally how to run a restaurant and create imaginative food. Throughout, there are fun activities to enjoy, such as designing the perfect three-course meal, making a chef's hat, decorating cakes from the templates included, and plenty more. The book is designed to be completed by the reader, so they have a lasting record of what they have achieved and plenty to look back on in this attractive book. With the current high level of interest in cookery programmes on TV, and the on-going emphasis on healthy eating, this fascinating book is set to be a winner; it's a series I love and highly recommend, practical and well laid-out for easy reference.

Living on the Veg: A kids' guide to life without meat by Clive Gifford and Jacqueline Meldrum

We should encouage our children to make their own healthy eating choices - but those choices need to be well-informed. So many books about vegetarianism are written for adults, so it's great to find a book which is written from a child's perspective, giving a balanced and unbiased view of the topic, helping them make a sensible choice. It describes why people give up meat and how a healthy diet can still be enjoyed. Key terms are explained, making this a good book just to increase knpwledge, even if not considering becoming vegetarian; small changes may well be made after reading this book. On a practical level, it looks at the costs and benefits of this change in lifestyle with information about food groups and adequate nutrition. There are also plenty of easy-to-follow recipes which show how varied and tasty a vegetarian diet can be. An excellent introduction.

Star Wars Cookbook: BB-Ate: Awaken to the Force of Breakfast and Brunch by Lara Starr

This is an interesting take on cookery books; with its Star Wars link, it may well attract a whole new set of children into the kitchen. What I really like though, is the fact the recipes focus on breakfast and brunch, and we know how important it is that our children get their days off to a good start, so this is brilliant. There are 29 intergalactic breakfast recipes, all wonderfully named to entice children - how about phasmatic potato packets or admiral ackbars? The recipes are easy-to-make, with clearly listed ingredients and step-by-step instructions, the ring binding is practical too. The photos which accompany each feature characters and scenes from Star Wars along with images of the completed recipes - cleverly done. Great recipes and a super gift for any Star Wars fan.

This Cookbook is Gross: Revolting recipes to freak out your friends by Susanna Tee

Don't be put off by the cover! Children will love it but parents may not be so keen!Don't worry though - the recipes may look gruesome but the recipes are actually surprisingly wholesome! As well as recipes, there are accounts of some really gross foods eaten around the world - baby bird embryos anyone? From squiggly, jelly ‘earthworms’ to revolting, gooey ‘snotcorn’, this will definitely spark an interest in cooking, and children will love to freak out their friends by preparing them a feast... just be prepared for the reaction to dishes such as dirty worm hash and human brain. Seriously, though, this book is an excellent way to encourage children into the kitchen. The recipes are clearly explained, the ingredients easily sourced and the illustrations are suitably disgusting.

Nadiya's Bake Me a Story: Fifteen stories and recipes for children by Nadiya Hussain

This unique combination of storybook and cookbook is brought to us by Bake-Off winner Nadiya, who has become a hugely popular star. Her love for baking shines through, along with her passion for encouraging children to enjoy cooking, all based on her own home experiences; her children inspired the book. The recipes and stories are all devised and written by Nadiya and they are designed to bring families into the kitchen to spend time together sharing stories and cooking. Read about the Gingerbread Guy and then make Star Anise Gingerbread Men; enjoy Vanilla Baked Custard while reading the story of Kindness and Custard; Snow White and the Apple is accompanied by a recipe for French apple tart. The recipes are well-written and easy to follow, and the whole book is stunningly illustrated with photos and colourful drawings. A glorious celebration of stories and cooking.

Gruffalo Crumble and Other Recipes

A brilliant way to encourage children into the kitchen as they enjoy a range of recipes from the deep dark wood - 24 in total. Arranged in four sections, there are scrambled snakes and other breakfasts; deep dark wood dips and other snacks; turned out toes and other meals; and Gruffalo crumble and other sweet treats - who can resist? Each recipe is clearly explained, with instructions broken down into single simple steps, perfect for children to follow alone (of course, children should always be supervised in the kitchen). Useful tips, tricks and twists accompany every recipe and these will transfer well to any cookery. Of course, every recipe is illustrated by Axel Scheffler. Very pt=ractically, the book is spiral-bound so it lies flat for ease of use; thick paper makes the pages durable. An excellent first cookery book with lots of unusual and inspiring recipes.

BAKED: Amazing Bakes to Create With Your Child by Adelle Smith

Lifestyle ideas combine with exceptional photography to bring us a book gives the reader ideas for creating and styling children's parties. Over 20 recipes are included, along with easy-to-follow cake and biscuit decorating projects. All levels of skills are covered, from simple Oreo Chick Pops and Minibeast Sugar Cookies, to more challenging Rainbow Unicorn Cupcakes and Gingerbread Houses. All the recipes have been tried and tested in Adelle's bakery .Adelle Smith founded children's baking company BKD, so she has plenty of experience n knowing what will appeal to children, and how to encourage them to cook - and that comes over powerfully in the book, which is an excellent way to interest children in cooking. A somewhat unusual but very inspiring book.

The Kew Gardens Children's Cookbook: Plant, Cook, Eat by Caroline Craig

I really like the way this book links growing with eating - it provides children with real satisfaction as they gain the pleasure of cooking and eating with their very own produce. This fully illustrated kitchen-garden cookbook is produced in association with the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, giving it real authority; a book you can rely on for good advice. It contains step-by-step guides, starting with planting and growing techniques, as well as cooking tips. The book shows show how easy it is to grow peas, beans, potatoes, cabbages, carrots and more in your garden, in patio containers or in window boxes or on an allotment - so there's no excuse not to get growing! Linked with the growing advice are step-by-step recipes with plenty of photos to accompany clear instructions. It's the perfect way to encourage healthy eating habits, as children relish the fruits of their labours. A really encouraging book which makes it all simple and positive.

Eat Your Greens Reds Yellows and Purples from DK

Encouraging children into the kitchen to share in the preparation of meals is one of the best ways to help them understand the importance of healthy eating and to take a measure of responsibility for their own food choices. This colourful guide to delicious and nutritious vegetarian food for kids makes healthy eating really attractive and showcases the super variety of vegetables available to us. There are lots of nutrition facts, and these will be very useful for school studies. The 25 vegetarian recipes cover a wide range and include soup, salad and stir-fry as well as treats such as a muffin, cheesecake and cupcake. The recipes, which are divided by the main vegetable colour, have step-by-step instructions and photos, plus a clear ingredients list; a symbol indicates steps for adult assistance. Children will learn about vitamins, minerals, and all the amazing things that colourful fruit and vegetables can do - from how carrots help your vision to why peppers boost your immune system. An enticing book, packed with information and super recipes.

The Forest Feast for Kids: Colo(u)rful Vegetarian Recipes That Are Simple to Make by Erin Gleeson

Foster children's interest in vegetarian cooking with these quick, easy, and fun recipes. As well as recipes, the book includes instructions on cooking techniques, how to set a table, ideas for fun and crafty table decorations, guides on how to use utensils safely and a glossary of culinary terms, making it a wide-ranging and comprehensive look at many aspects of food preparation. Vibrant photographs of the dishes and children making them are complemented by watercolour illustrations and hand-lettering. Please be aware that this is a US book, so measurements are imperial/cups - I did find the use of uppercase T for tablespoon and lowercase t for teaspoon a little confusing. There are some really original ideas here and many of the recipes need no cooking, so children can prepare meals without adult help. A beautifully presented book that will help us all, vegetarians or not, to use vegetables more in our cooking.

Children's Chocolate Cookbook (Usborne Cookbooks) by Fiona Patchett

Yum! Packed with temptation, here are lots of simple, delicious chocolate recipes including chocolate cinnamon fondue, rocky road, white chocolate cheesecake, truffles, chocolate cupcakes, choc-mallow ice cream and many more. The recipes are simply explained and set out step-by-step with illustrations accompanying every step. It includes straightforward, jargon-free text and plenty of useful tips, including melting and decorating with chocolate. Usefully, there are clear instructions for altering recipes and swapping ingredients to adapt to personal taste, or for food preferences or allergies; this adds a lot to the versatility of the book. It also includes fascinating features on what chocolate is, how it is made from beans into bars, and the history of chocolate from 3,000 years ago up to the present day. The practical spiral binding and sturdy pages are ideal for the kitchen. A tempting book with very practical recipes and ideas.

Super Skills: How to Cook in 10 Easy Lessons by Wendy Sweetser

This practical spiral-bound book is ideal to encourage children to enjoy cooking and to produce meals for the whole family to enjoy. It focuses on 10 key skills, starting with using knives and including crushing and juicing, making sweet and savoury sauces and mixing, folding and kneading. Each skill is explained with clear diagrams, based on using the skill in a number of key ways; for example, knife skills includes cutting a tomato, slicing an onion and cutting carrots. This is a really good approach as it goes beyond just giving one technique and takes account of different ingredients. The techniques are followed by recipes which make good use of each technique, giving the opportunity to put learning into practice. This excellent format is followed for all 10 techniques, with clear step-by-step instructions and plenty of diagrams. There's plenty of variety, with recipes to appeal to every taste. An excellent cookbook for children. With easy-to-follow explanations accompanied by clear, step-by-step graphics throughout, this is much more than just a recipe book, and is a great tool for young readers keen to find their way around the kitchen and give cooking a go.

The Snow Princess Cookbook by Barbara Beery

Here is the perfect cookbook for children (and this book will, of course, appeal primarily to girls) who like all things frozen and fun. Focused on Frozen Treats, Party Eats and Treats, Sipping Treats, and Party Crafts, The Snow Princess Cookbook is packed with ideas for making fun snacks or for showcasing the perfect confection for that Frozen®-themed party. It's really a book for the summer, and the recipes are ideal for summer parties and family get-togethers. Each recipe has clear step-by-step instructions and is illustrated by an excellent photo which shows the finished creation to inspire you. On a practical note, the book is spiral bound for easy use. A lovely collection of recipes, with some unusual ideas.

Let's Bake by Cathryn Dresser

The increase of interest in baking has been huge in recent years - and we all know the reason why! Capitalise on this and enjoy spending time in the kitchen with your children, encouraging their interest and producing some great results. There are 52 easy and tasty recipes which will be enjoyed by all the family, and which are perfectly achievable by younger bakers, perhaps with help for some of the recipes. Step-by-step instructions are accompanied by mouth-watering photos and lively introductions. The book is divided into recipes for each season and there are plenty of sweet and savoury recipes - something for every taste with twists on old favourites and lots of new ideas; the recipes are lovely for children with ideas such as malty moon custard biscuits and white rabbit cake. It's beautifully presented and will really encourage adults and children to get baking.

Children's Book of Baking Bread (Cookery) by Abigail Wheatley

Baking bread is one of those things I would love to do but never seem to get round to. I think this super book could be as inspiring for adults as it is for children. The book is highly practical with a lie-flat spiral binding which really works - don't you just hate it when books have to be held open? The range of recipes is excellent - far more than just basic bread. You will find dips, muffins, brioche buns and far more, including yummy-sounding chocolate bread. After a useful introduction, each recipe is on a two page spread, with step-by-step instructions wit h diagrams and a photo of the finished product. Clear and easy-to-follow, this attractive book is an excellent way to get kids (and adults!) into the kitchen and enjoying cooking.

Great British Things to Bake and Do by Sally Morgan 

Full of recipes but also packed with far more ideas to extend the interest and to encourage children to present their food beautifully - especially good for gifts. The recipes use everyday ingredients and give simple step-by-step instructions so children can produce some really good results with the minimum of help. As well as the recipes, there are plenty of things to make, including cake stands, doilies and gift boxes - all with a British theme. There are plenty of fun activities too, including puzzles, stickers and colouring. A super book which offers so much to amuse, teach and entertain children.

Big Meals for Little Hands by Virginie Aladjidi

The first thing that struck me when I flicked through this book were the charming illustrations by Marion Billet - and then I realised that the recipes are somewhat different from the run-of-the-mill recipes for children. They have all been created by a top French chef and make the best use of fresh seasonal ingredients. It's a great way to encourage your children to love cooking with the very best produce available. The recipes will encourage children to look beyond traditional ingredients and the end results will delight the whole family. A lovely book.

My First Cookbook from CICO Kidz

What better way to encourage family mealtimes than to sit around the table sharing food your children have cooked? After a useful section on equipment and techniques, the book starts with snacks and light meals before moving on to proper meals, desserts and party food. A real feature of the Cico Kidz books is the excellent layout and step-by-step instructions and illustrations which combine to make all the activities easy to follow. There is an excellent variety here with recipes ranging from the simple to more complex. So what are you waiting for? Get your children into the kitchen and enjoy cooking and eating together.

Food for Kids with Allergies from The Australian Women's Weekly

Renowned for their carefully tested recipes, the Australian Women's Weekly name guarantees successful recipes. Allergies seem to affect an increasing number of children so this practical book will be welcomed by many. The recipes are suitable for everyday use and will be enjoyed by the whole family, so no issues over cooking separate meals. The recipes cover gluten-free, dairy-free and egg-free dishes and each recipe also notes whether it is nut-free, wheat-free and yeast-free. All meals are covered and there is practical advice on cooking techniques and ingredients. The recipes are clearly laid out and the nutritional information is comprehensive. The stunning colour photos most definitely whet the appetite!

Recipes from Italy (Global Cookery) by Dana Meachen Rau

Pizza, pasta, pesto, pannacotta - just some of the recipes in this easy to follow little book. Italian food is colourful and appealing and we all know that a Mediterranean diet is recommended as being healthy, so this book will definitely be well received. As well as providing interesting recipes, we are given an insight into Italy and its food as well as helpful tips about cookery, healthy eating and kitchen safety. Quick tips and variations give an added level of interest and the photos show recipe stages and how the finished dish should look.

Gruesome Grub and Disgusting Dishes by Susan Martineau

A great title to encourage kids into the kitchen! The ingredients are all perfectly normal but the end results are decidedly yucky! Mashed potato with cheese becomes yeti feet; a jelly becomes a beheaded alien. The clear step-by-step instructions are accompanied by suitably revolting pictures to make a cookery book that children will love. The book starts with some practical cooking advice and there are sweet and savoury recipes. The ideas would be perfect to use for themed parties, such as monster or alien parties.

Dinosaur Dishes and Fossil Food by Susan Martineau

It's so important that we encourage children into the kitchen and get them interested in cooking and what better way to do that than with these enticingly titled books? The recipes all have a prehistoric theme so they will have great appeal for dinosaur fans - how about a dinosaur themed party? You could offer your guests dead dinos, an ice age bowl and even dino dung! The recipes are easy to follow and the ingredients will be readily to hand. The illustrations help children learn simple cooking techniques such as rubbing in and these will be useful for the future. There's also lots of information about prehistoric creatures.

Party Cakes to Bake and Decorate by Abigail Wheatley

Cake making is hugely popular at the moment, with the interest in cup cakes and The Great British Bake Off and this book is just right to get children enthusiastic about baking from a young age. There are 18 cake recipes which will make really unusual and eye-catching celebration centrepieces. The recipes are explained with step-by-step instructions and accompanying diagrams that make the recipes fool-proof. The explanations are carefully chosen to be easily understood by children but I can see adults enjoying making these recipes too. The lie-flat binding is a big asset too. I like the inclusion of extras such as allergy advice, how to create special decorative effects and paper decorations. A book full of inspiration.

Noodlemania: 50 Playful Pasta Recipes by Melissa Barlow

Pasta is healthy, fun, easy to cook and can be used to produce food to appeal to all tastes. Just look at the cover picture to see what fun this book is! This book is an excellent way to encourage children to get into the kitchen and to take an interest in food and nutrition. The recipes can't fail to appeal to children - how about robot parts, green martian doodles, curly worms or green stink bugs? The 50 recipes even include some sweet desserts. They are easy to follow and there are plenty of mouth-watering photos. The book also includes some interesting pasta facts.

Cook It! Amazing Recipes for Kids

22 recipes perfect for encouraging children to get into the kitchen, all clearly presented with easy-to-follow instructions. Meals, snacks and sweet treats are all included and children can give marks out of ten on each recipe. Some of the recipes need quite a few ingredients but most are store cupboard items. Step-by-step photos show children clearly what the recipe should look like at each stage. Cooking utensils and techniques are explained and this is an excellent first cookery book.

Kids' Kitchen by Fiona Bird

The 40 colourful cards which make up this set are ideal for use in the kitchen. Generously sized and on wipeable card, they are colourful and easy to use.. Each card is colour-coded to reflect the government guidelines on food categories, and this makes the cards a valuable resource to use in school as well as at home. The categories are Grains, Fruits, Vegetables, Oils, Milk, Meat and Beans, and there are recipes for each, all clearly explained to suit young cooks. There is also a useful leaflet on safety in the kitchen. There is a good balance of dishes from simple to more challenging, which means that the set will get many years of use, and the range is unusually wide for a children's recipe collection. Excellent!

Do Try This At Home: Cook It! from Punk Science

Science can be fun and some of the best people around for putting the fun into science are Punk Science from the Science Museum.  Cooking is science - just think of some of the reactions that take place, like  why beating eggs and using baking powder makes cakes rise. On one level, it's a great kid's cookery book, full of varied recipes (30 in all), all clearly explained and photographed, with tips on healthy eating too. But it's much more, as most recipes have 'The Science Bit' which gives the science behind the recipe - it's a great way to encourage children to enjoy science and want to know more. The fun quiz at the end reflects the light-hearted feel of the book.

Princess Poppy's Cookbook: And other Special Gifts to Make and Share by Janey Louise Jones

A lovely girly cookery book which is the perfect way to entice girls into the kitchen, and which would make a super gift for any aspiring cook. It's charmingly decorated with lots of lovely pastel images - and pictures of the food, of course. But it's more than just a cookery book - there are some fun crafts too including a gift box and a friendship bracelet. Learn how to create tiaras and finger food for your Perfect Princess Party, or get ready for the festive season with some wonderful Winter Wonderland recipe and gift ideas!

Cook It Step By Step from DK

We all need to learn the basics of cookery before we move on to more complex recipes. A good grounding in the basics opens the door, not just to cooking from recipes, but also to having the fun of inventing your own.  We have come to expect high standards from DK and their trademark clarity and excellent photography make this a great first cookery book. Basic techniques are covered with step-by-step guidelines and photos. Once these are mastered, children can progress to  breakfast, light bites, main meals, sweets and preparing for events - a section for each. The recipes come with helpful tips, alternate ingredients and symbols indicating time, level of difficulty and serving numbers. The recipes vary from the very simple to more complex, so the book will give children many years of happy cooking and hopefully foster a life-long interest.

Incredible Edibles: A Science Flavoured Cookbook by Stefan Gates 

This is a fascinating and unusual approach to cookery and certainly one that will appeal to those who think cookery books are boring - especially boys.  Eye-catching photographs, well-written text and a wide selection of recipes, from the everyday to the bizarre, ensure that this book will intrigue children, with its facts about all sorts of strange foods; the 'Weird Food Stories' are equally fascinating. The book concludes with a section of weird and wonderful experiments, all based around food. It is based on the equally fascinating TV series and it's great to have these ideas in printed form to enjoy in the kitchen - and children will be learning lots about science at the same time.

My Cook Book of Baking by Laura and Jess Tilli

30 tasty recipes attractively presented in a way that will encourage children to try some baking - and encourage parents to get their children into the kitchen. There are four sections - Little Bakes, Big Bales, Quick Bakes and Bake and Take - these last are ideal for those PTA stalls and other school functions. The recipes are graded for difficulty, each has a clear list of ingredients and utensils and the step-by-step instructions with accompanying pictures are easy to follow. Enjoy 'Tilli's Tips' too! Cooking together is such a lovely family activity, so give it a try and enjoy the tasty results! Try  My Cook Book of Cakes for more great recipes.

The Great British Street Party Cookbook by Nancy Lambert

Perfect for this Jubilee Year, this book is packed with 50+ recipes for food to share. But its value doesn't end there - the recipes will be great for parties and other celebrations. Each recipe is illustrated in full colour and contains clear step by step instructions. There are some unusual ideas -  chicken towers, salad faces and pineapple punch all sound delicious. The crown cookies are very attractive and the idea could be adapted for other occasions. Plenty here for all tastes, sweet and savoury and the selection is well balanced. Nancy Lambert's cook books are great for children and adults - the recipes are simple enough for children to follow, but the end product is something any adult would be pleased to produce. 

Bake (Make and Do) by Kathleen King

Priddy Books excel at producing colourful and practical books and this is no exception. The book opens up to stand like an easel, so it is perfect to use in the kitchen - no sticky fingerprints all over the book! And if the pages do get ingredients on them, the shiny finish means they will simply wipe clean. There are 20 recipes for all sorts of cakes and cookies, with clear step-by-step instructions and mouth-watering pictures of the finished product. The difficulty level and the time needed to prepare and cook are clearly indicated, so parents can help their children choose an appropriate recipe. Or parents may decide to cook the recipes themselves! There are some unusual recipes, like cream cheese brownies, that I would love to try!

Mind-Blowing Bakes (Professor Cook's... ) by Lorna Brash

Judging by the number of cookery programmes on TV and the huge public interest in them, there is plenty of enthusiasm for cooking at the moment - so capitalise on in and get you children into the kitchen where they can have fun cooking and learn about the science behind it at the same time. How about stained glass cookies or kitchen sink pot pies? Presented in a jazzy format that will appeal to children, with step-by-step photos, this is a series which will appeal to children.

Fascinating Fruits (Professor Cook's... ) by Lorna Brash

We all know that fruit is good for us, but we don't always manage to eat the recommended amount. That might change with this colourful book - how about tie-dye ices, ice bowl fruit salad or sticky licky banoffee cones? The science behind the recipes is explained and with this knowledge, hopefully children will go on to try more experimenting in the kitchen.

Smashing Snacks (Professor Cook's... ) by Lorna Brash

Part science book, part cookery book, this is one in a series exploring basic principles of everyday foods in a fun and humorous way. Offering a range of delicious recipes that children will enjoy making including popcorn, lemonade and even ice cream in a bag, this is one in a series which examines the science behind our food. Colourful and appealing, this is a great way to get reluctant youngsters into the kitchen and trying things out.

Dynamite Dinners (Professor Cook's...) by Lorna Brash

Cookery is really made fun through these brightly coloured books - designed to appeal to today's young [people, they are bright and zingy - no dull old recipes here! These are cookery books to appeal to both boys and girls. This title contains plenty of ideas for main meals - some popular, some more unusual. The recipes are clear, ingredients listed, and the fun bit comes with the explanation of the science behind popular foods.

Get Cooking! from Dorling Kindersley

50 tasty recipes - start the day; supersnacks; main meals and sweet stuff - make up this colourful and easy-to-use book. One of the best ways to get children to take an interest in food, where it comes from and what makes healthy eating, is to get them into the kitchen cooking for themselves. I particularly like the pictures of all the utensils - it's easy to tell a child to 'get a masher' but they may not know what they are looking for. The recipes are clearly laid out with photos of children demonstrating each step. Useful facts are included and there are ideas to try out in the kitchen. The layout is easy to follow. The recipes are healthy but still appealing and the photos are very appetising! 

Party Food (Make, Bake and Create) by Nancy Lambert

This is a great series from Top That! Publishing - designed for young cooks, but I think the recipes are good enough to inspire all cooks!  There are over 50 scrummy recipes here, for all kinds of parties. Get your child involved in preparations for their own party with easy to follow recipes for pizza baguettes, cheesy ham potato skins, dippy mozzarella sticks and much more. Each recipe is illustrated in appetising full colour and there is a 'Top Tip' for each recipe which help with cooking or give further advice. The recipes are easy to follow and the variety means there is something for every taste.

Sweet Treats (Make, Bake and Create) by Nancy Lambert

This book has me heading straight for the kitchen! Packed with over 50 sweet recipes, this book may not be good for you, but it's very tempting! As with all the books in the series, the recipes are presented in easy to follow step-by-step format, with the utensils and ingredients required set out at the start of each recipe.The full colour illustrations are very tempting - I love the brightly coloured macaroons! The range of recipes is wide-ranging and includes cakes, sweets and puddings. Make, Bake and Create is a very attractive and collectable series - buy them all for the keen cook in your life and you will be guaranteed lots of delicious treats. See the rest of my reviews further down this page.

Start to Cook by Jane Chisholm

Get your children enthused to get into the kitchen and get cooking with this colourful and practical book from Usborne Books. It is a practical design, with a spiral binding allowing the pages to lie flat; tabs mark each section, and the pages are sturdy enough to withstand a few splashes. Each section is introduced with basic principles and then there are plenty of tasty recipes with step-by-step instructions and pictures showing every stage of preparation. The inclusion of allergy advice is helpful. An accessible and encouraging  book for young cooks who will find they can produce results of which they can be proud. It would make an excellent gift.

Twist It Up by Jack Witherspoon

What better way to inspire children to get cooking than a book by a boy who obviously really enjoys cooking? The book includes breakfast; lunch; school-night dinners; weekend meals; appetisers and sweets so there is something here for every young cook. The recipes are clear, perfectly pitched for their market and easy to follow, with mouth-watering pictures of the completed dish. The 'Twist It Up' box on each page give added ideas. Jack's introductions to each section show him as just an ordinary boy, with all the interests common to boys, so children will readily identify with him. 10 year old Jack is a two-time leukaemia survivor and the spokesperson for the Beckstrand Cancer Foundation.

Top 100 Pasta Dishes by Annabel Karmel

Another practical recipe book from the family eating expert. This time, Annabel turns her attention to meals based on pasta which is both easy to prepare and a healthy option. The first recipes are suitable for 7 months on and recipes for toddlers follow. Some of the toddler recipes can be adapted for the family, and after that section the book goes on to poultry, meat, fish and vegetarian recipes, all perfect for the whole family to sit down and enjoy together. Preparation and cooking times are given, along with number of servings and suitability for freezing. The ingredients are easily come by and the instructions straightforward. I like the fact every recipe is illustrated, so you know what the finished result should be! A really attractive and practical book which every family will find helpful. 

 Whoopie Pie Fun by Claire Ptak

This book may well have you heading straight for the kitchen! I didn't realise that whoopie pies could come in quite such a wide-range of varieties. The book starts with basic recipes and goes on to more complex recipes with some innovative flavours you may not have thought of, such as rhubarb and custard, and frozen whoopie pies. There are lots of ideas for fillings too, and these would be useful for all kinds of cake-baking. The instructions are clear and easy to follow and the colour illustrations are truly mouth-watering.

500 Baby and Toddler Foods by Beverley Glock

I was instantly attracted to this book by its chunky feel, attractive layout and appetising pictures. The book starts off very practically, with advice on weaning and an interesting section on foods to avoid, followed by advice on equipment and food safety. The recipes themselves are split into four age-appropriate sections. Each selection has a wide selection of recipes, all accompanied by photos of the completed dish. The recipes are clear and easy to follow and appetising for the whole family. At the end of each section there is an extensive list of variations on the basic recipe. This is an excellent book to be used for all the family, with a wide variety of straightforward recipes which will appeal to all tastes and encourage eating as a family. 

Top 100 Meals in Minutes by Annabel Karmel

Perfect for busy parents, this collection of brand-new recipes ensures you are secure in the knowledge that your little ones are eating healthy, well-balanced home prepared food. It starts with simple purees and finger foods, then moves on to introducing new flavours and textures. The book then gives practical recipes which can be enjoyed by the whole family, including some sweet treats. After the simple purees, some of the recipes are quite complex, but they are clearly explained so inexperienced cooks can develop confidence. Clearly laid out, with mouth-watering pictures, this is a practical guide to use from weaning onwards. I shared the book with the mother of a 6 month old, who was most impressed with the appetising pictures and the fact that the recipes can be used for the whole family and are really tasty, not bland baby food.

Do Try This At Home: Cook It! by John Milton

Children love to spend time in the kitchen and this entertaining and practical book will encourage this. Clear, step-by-step instructions, with comprehensive lists of ingredients and materials required, plus timings and difficulty level make this easy to use. Plenty of scientific facts are learnt along the way - and some jokes too! This is one in a range of books produced by Macmillan in association with the Science Museum, so you can be sure they will be high-quality and reliable - try Do Try This At Home!  as well. The three members of the Punk Science team present this book with great humour and I found the photos of them throughout made the book feel very personal.

What To Feed When by Annabel Karmel

New mums have so many questions and so many concerns about feeding their baby that they will welcome a new book from such a respected expert in the field as Annabel Karmel. This is such an attractive book that it is a pleasure to read, with its pastel backgrounds to every page and clear Q and A layout - over 300 questions are answered. Five sections - 0-6, 6-9, 9-12, 12-18 and 18-36 months cover the key stages in feeding little ones. The advice is practical, easy to follow and shows a real awareness of mums' concerns. Reasons are given for the guidelines and these make practical sense and give parents a good basis for making their own decisions. There are recipes for each age group which ensure important food groups are part of the child's diet. An excellent book.

Cooking with Chocolate by Nancy Lambert 

This book had me wanting to get straight into the kitchen! More than 50 super recipes, all based on chocolate. The book starts off with tips on equipment and safety & hygiene. Each recipe is illustrated in full colour; there is a clear list of ingredients and the equipment needed; and the recipes are clearly described step-by-step. Showing the care used in ensuring the book is suitable for children, each recipe clearly indicates where adult help is needed. There are biscuits, cakes, desserts and sweets and many of the recipes will appeal to adult tastes as well as children's. A well thought-out and attractive cookery series from TopThat - I hope there will be more!

Make, Bake and Decorate Fabulous Cup Cakes by Nancy Lambert

Cup cakes are really popular and so pretty to make - just look at the cover of this book to be enthused! There are, unbelievably, over 50 cup cake recipes in this book - I was amazed there are so many! Some are quite inspired - the spring cupcakes and football cupcakes for example - the football ones are great to encourage boys as well as girls into the kitchen. Try pirate cupcakes, under the sea cupcakes, jelly bean jam cupcakes and daisy cupcakes - just some of the unusual ideas. Children will be really proud of the results when they use this book. As with the other books in the series, there are clear step-by-step instructions and ingredients lists, together with guidance where adult help is needed.

Make Your Own Ice Lollies by Nancy Lambert

A huge range of ideas to create some lovely frozen treats - ice cream mousses, lollies and sundaes. The pictures are so mouth-watering, children will be inspired to get into the kitchen and produce some lovely summery treats. As with the other books in the series, there are clear step-by-step instructions and ingredients lists, together with guidance where adult help is needed. The only things I would like to see added to this excellent series would be an indication of the level of difficulty and the anticipated time required - and possibly a calorie count, although I appreciate there is a difficult balance to be achieved between this and ensuring that children do not obsess about calories and weight.




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