Lorraine Pascale is one talented woman. Being discovered at age sixteen, she has enjoyed a glamorous career as a fashion model. A couple of years ago, she started looking for a more dependable livelihood. After several far-out stints as a hypnotherapist and a car mechanic, she finally discovered her true calling – cooking. A leap of profession which many would envy!
Since then she has established herself as a renowned cake maker with her own successful bakery in Covent Garden. To top it off, she has taken centre stage in three television series for the BBC, thereby becoming a house hold name in Britain and beyond. Since then, she is a byword for easy, delicious recipes and fresh, healthy food – although she has been known to indulge herself and her audience every once in a while.
One of those hit series has resulted in a great cook book. Like the series, it is smothered in the same cosy hominess and relaxing comfort which has endeared Lorraine Pascale to the general public. In 100 recipes, she showcases just how to cook with big flavours using easy to buy ingredients, to enjoy a fuss-free time in the kitchen and serve an instant hit at your dinner table every time.
Unassuming and intimate, Lorraine succeeds in making beginners feel at home to try new things, while challenging would-be chefs to develop their taste and perfect their old-time recipes. In her one unique, slightly flirty way, she shares her own tricks to cut corners to save time, always showing new ways to stay resourceful and smart in the kitchen.
And I must confess, this giddy unconventional attitude is infectious. Instead of leaving you feeling overwhelmed or outclassed like other cook books can, Home Cooking Made Easy makes you want to get out and buy groceries, and just have an hour’s worth of fun in your own kitchen. Just as its televised incarnation, Pascale’s approach to cooking and baking has an almost therapeutic quality.
And there’s something here for everybody, as she has picked easygoing comfort food which most of us will love, and given them a new spin. From bacon and cheddar straws, hamburgers and beer batter fish ‘n’ chips, to creamy pancetta pasta with mushrooms, her dad’s home-made lasagne, Cornish pastries and spicy Spanish paella, these mouth-watering recipes will always be welcome in your home. And if not, come over to mine.
Still, she saves the best for last. Being a pâtissier at heart, Lorraine went completely overboard in the deserts section at the end of her book, with enough cakes, pies, puddings and fudges to satisfy even the most voracious of sweet tooths. In every case, her personal introductions to the dishes succeed in sharing in her delight in making them, and especially eating them. While in other cook books, the more florid descriptions of recipes might distract from them, you can’t go wrong with extra gooey pecan pie – and trust me, it lives up to its name.
Home Cooking Made Easy strikes a perfect balance, being friendly, up-close and personable while staying downright practical, accessible and foolproof. This makes it the ideal kitchen companion to foodies of all levels. Add to this the tasteful presentation, with beautifully sumptuous photographs of the end result, and Lorraine’s cheerful commentary peppering every page, and you end up with a cook book that will never get the chance to gather much dust on your shelf. One final word of advice: The honey-glazed, spicy spareribs are reason enough to buy this book. So dig in!