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Madhouse Cookbook

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Oh, how Jo Pratt's life has changed over the last few years! Gone are the days of spending a day or two preparing for elaborate dinner parties, using ingredients she hunted down in back-street markets and fancy deli shops. That was all pre-children – now things are very different. She’s a busy mum who has to juggle work, children and all the associated chaos. She lives in Oh, how Jo Pratt's life has changed over the last few years! Gone are the days of spending a day or two preparing for elaborate dinner parties, using ingredients she hunted down in back-street markets and fancy deli shops. That was all pre-children – now things are very different. She’s a busy mum who has to juggle work, children and all the associated chaos. She lives in a madhouse! Bestselling author Jo has devised a cookbook full of delicious and healthy food that addresses one of the most challenging problems experienced by busy parents: finding time to cook meals for their family. The recipes are simple, easy to shop for and quick to make, with shortcuts and prepare-ahead tips. But there’s much more to the book than this – there are also Lifesaver mini-recipes that give you staples for your freezer and store cupboard, and Leftovers mini-recipes too, to show you how to be clever and get more value out of time spent in the kitchen. There are three chapters – ‘Monday to Friday Survival’, ‘Busy Weekends’ and ‘Cling onto your Social Life’. These chapters feature recipes for every meal and eventuality, including weekday kids’ teatime recipes that will go down a storm, dinners that will wow your friends, and Sunday lunches to make the most of those precious moments of relaxation with your family.


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Oh, how Jo Pratt's life has changed over the last few years! Gone are the days of spending a day or two preparing for elaborate dinner parties, using ingredients she hunted down in back-street markets and fancy deli shops. That was all pre-children – now things are very different. She’s a busy mum who has to juggle work, children and all the associated chaos. She lives in Oh, how Jo Pratt's life has changed over the last few years! Gone are the days of spending a day or two preparing for elaborate dinner parties, using ingredients she hunted down in back-street markets and fancy deli shops. That was all pre-children – now things are very different. She’s a busy mum who has to juggle work, children and all the associated chaos. She lives in a madhouse! Bestselling author Jo has devised a cookbook full of delicious and healthy food that addresses one of the most challenging problems experienced by busy parents: finding time to cook meals for their family. The recipes are simple, easy to shop for and quick to make, with shortcuts and prepare-ahead tips. But there’s much more to the book than this – there are also Lifesaver mini-recipes that give you staples for your freezer and store cupboard, and Leftovers mini-recipes too, to show you how to be clever and get more value out of time spent in the kitchen. There are three chapters – ‘Monday to Friday Survival’, ‘Busy Weekends’ and ‘Cling onto your Social Life’. These chapters feature recipes for every meal and eventuality, including weekday kids’ teatime recipes that will go down a storm, dinners that will wow your friends, and Sunday lunches to make the most of those precious moments of relaxation with your family.

30 review for Madhouse Cookbook

  1. 4 out of 5

    Shelleyrae at Book'd Out

    I have four children who are 8, 9, 11 and 17 years old. One will eat almost anything, or at least give it a try. One won’t eat red meat, two won’t eat fish, another two start gagging when forced to eat pasta, one refuses chicken and getting them all to knowingly eat vegetables is an endless war with every single one of them (my husband included). As such, planning dinner seven nights a week is a bit of a nightmare, and not made any easier as I also have to take into account after school/evening s I have four children who are 8, 9, 11 and 17 years old. One will eat almost anything, or at least give it a try. One won’t eat red meat, two won’t eat fish, another two start gagging when forced to eat pasta, one refuses chicken and getting them all to knowingly eat vegetables is an endless war with every single one of them (my husband included). As such, planning dinner seven nights a week is a bit of a nightmare, and not made any easier as I also have to take into account after school/evening schedules which include gymnastics classes, basketball and football training, scouts and cub meetings, etc, etc. Monday and Thursday nights in particular are mayhem and the only way to make sure everyone eats is to prepare meals in advance, either on the weekend or the morning of, or stick with something simple like omelettes that can be prepped, cooked and eaten in a half hour. I’m always looking for new ideas though and when I spotted Jo Pratt’s Madhouse Cookbook I was hoping to find new recipes to add to my collection. The prep and cooking time for the recipes Pratt lists in the Monday-Friday Survival/The Need for Speed section are great – generally less than 30 minutes each. I’m already familiar with the simpler recipes such as Chicken, Cheese and Corn Quesa-d-easies, Crumbed Chicken Breasts and Fish Stick Tortillas. Unfortunately few of the other recipes would suit my fussy children, there is little hope of them even sampling Lemon Linguine with Walnuts, Spinach and Blue Cheese and it’s even less likely they would try a Pepper and Feta Fritatta. Several of the recipes require quite strong tasting ingredients like chilli, olives and marscapone cheese which also wouldn’t appeal to my children’s unsophisticated palette and there are half a dozen recipes or so based on salmon, which at $28/kg is not in my grocery budget. I did pick up a few tips though. I really like the idea of making up a Savoury Crumb mix that can be stored in the freezer and used as needed for coating fish or chicken, or to add to meatballs, for example. I usually make a standard mix of breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese and mixed dried Italian herbs as needed, and though its simple to do, having some ready at all times would be convenient. Similarly Pratt suggests making a Vegetable Starter mix, called soffrito. Essentially, use a food processor to finely chop a mix of vegetables such as onions, carrot, capsicum (bell peppers), celery, garlic and mushrooms. Fry gently in a bit of oil til soft. Cool, divide and then store for up to 3 days in the fridge or 3 months in the freezer. You can then toss the mix into soups, pasta sauces, casseroles etc as needed. There are quite a few delicious sweet recipes included, such as Sticky Toffee and Banana Pudding, though I rarely serve dessert at home. But I do really like Pratt’s Mix and Match Fruit Crumble recipes which can be sprinkled over icecream, yoghurt, custard or stewed fruits. The Madhouse Cookbook also includes a selection of recipes for entertaining at home that are quick to prepare including appetisers, mains, desserts and drinks. If your child is an adventurous eater and you are a busy mother looking for some interesting recipes to try without spending hours slaving over the stove, then the Madhouse Cookbook may well be the perfect resource for you, but really I think most of the recipes would be more useful for a busy single person wanting to throw together a simple but elegant meal for one, or maybe two, after a hard days work.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Pam

    A cookbook with a very clever name that all busy moms can relate to. This is a bright, cheerful book, directed toward moms who may have full schedules and often chaotic days but continue to value healthy, home cooked meals for their families. It's divided into 3 sections: Monday to Friday Survival, the quickest to prepare; The Busy Week-end, family meals that are a little more relaxed, as well as a few more adult meals for Saturday night which aren't labor intensive but are a notch above what ap A cookbook with a very clever name that all busy moms can relate to. This is a bright, cheerful book, directed toward moms who may have full schedules and often chaotic days but continue to value healthy, home cooked meals for their families. It's divided into 3 sections: Monday to Friday Survival, the quickest to prepare; The Busy Week-end, family meals that are a little more relaxed, as well as a few more adult meals for Saturday night which aren't labor intensive but are a notch above what appeals to the kids; and Cling Onto Your Social Life, with simple but elevated recipes to quickly put together any combination of drinks, appetizers, main dishes, and desserts for friends. Throughout the book, the author offers many tips to keep the freezer and pantry ready with all that's needed for both "instant" meals and those that can be prepped quickly but require longer cooking. She gives suggestions on using leftovers so they can be easily transformed into a new dish. She also includes valuable basic instructions for simple additions that make a big difference to the quality of a dish...how to successfully cook basmati rice, how to make "super caramel" to top off a dessert, how to freeze cream cheese frosting to have on hand. As with every cookbook, not every dish will appeal to every child or family, but there are some real treasures here and suggestions for organizing and approaching meals to eat much healthier in less time. I especially love the special touches for children, such as putting a few candies at the bottom of "Fruity Fools," a healthy dessert made with yogurt, fruit puree, and cream. A little touch of "magic" makes a difference. This is a book to encourage moms to continue to cook for their children and share the love and comfort that comes from the kitchen. I was very pleased to receive this book from the Goodreads First-Reads program.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Darren

    A book written for busy parents who often struggle to find time to cook good, wholesome and tasty food for their family but in reality this is equally suitable for anyone with a hectic lifestyle or for somebody who just wants to get started with this cooking lark. Despite speed and simplicity being the key for recipes in this book, quality is not sacrificed and neither are the recipes a variation upon a theme, using a mass of pre-prepared and pre-packaged ingredients. Of course, some shortcuts an A book written for busy parents who often struggle to find time to cook good, wholesome and tasty food for their family but in reality this is equally suitable for anyone with a hectic lifestyle or for somebody who just wants to get started with this cooking lark. Despite speed and simplicity being the key for recipes in this book, quality is not sacrificed and neither are the recipes a variation upon a theme, using a mass of pre-prepared and pre-packaged ingredients. Of course, some shortcuts and prepare-ahead tips are provided but they still conform to the author's core values. The book is split into three key parts - Monday to Friday Survival, The Busy Weekend and Cling On To Your Social Life - with many chapters giving great advice and recipes in a chatty, informative, light style. No long navel-gazing essays here! Full praise is due for how the recipes are presented! Someone has been listening! Measurements in both imperial and metric, a clear guide to portion sizing and even an estimation of preparation and cooking time. An essential pre-requisite for the stressed, harassed cook. Information boxes are spread throughout giving even more hints and tips to save time, save ingredients and to save money too. Photography used within is of a high quality and engaging, it is just a shame that not every recipe gets its own photograph. Just browsing through the recipes finds some old favourites and some rather curious new things to try as well. One-Pan Hot-smoked Salmon Biryani or Ricotta, Parma Ham, Avocado & Chilli Croissants anyone? Make no mistake, whilst these recipes are family friendly they are absolutely not just recipes for children. You could serve many of these dishes for friends at an informal gathering too. The index at the end of the book also works well if you want to look up a main ingredient you have and don't know what to do with it - it is so much more than just a listing of recipes. Once you start getting through this book and have been actively cooking for a while, you may start to wonder why you've been wasting money on pre-packaged foods from the supermarket for so long. Hopefully the author is already working on further books with even more recipes in the same vein. This is really a winning format. One final thing, this is not a dumbed-down beginners book - even the more accomplished cook may find these time-saving, tasty recipes of interest to add to their repertoire. Madhouse Cookbook, written by Jo Pratt and published by Watkins Publishing/Duncan Baird Publishers. ISBN 9781848990630, 224 pages. Typical price: GBP20. YYYYY. // This review appeared in YUM.fi and is reproduced here in full with permission of YUM.fi. YUM.fi celebrates the worldwide diversity of food and drink, as presented through the humble book. Whether you call it a cookery book, cook book, recipe book or something else (in the language of your choice) YUM will provide you with news and reviews of the latest books on the marketplace. //

  4. 4 out of 5

    Sandra Lassiter

    I was really looking forward to this cookbook. I love British cooking, I'm a mother of four so I understand the whole "madhouse" concept, but it fell really flat to me. I realize this is Britain and they do things differently, but I had a real problem with cooking for the kids and adults separately--make this for the kids, get them in bed, then cook for the two of you alone. That's half the problem with families these days. People don't sit down and eat together as a family. It's also based on t I was really looking forward to this cookbook. I love British cooking, I'm a mother of four so I understand the whole "madhouse" concept, but it fell really flat to me. I realize this is Britain and they do things differently, but I had a real problem with cooking for the kids and adults separately--make this for the kids, get them in bed, then cook for the two of you alone. That's half the problem with families these days. People don't sit down and eat together as a family. It's also based on the mom working, kids in school, etc. As a homeschooling mother, that doesn't really fit our family. I realize the importance of children eating their vegetables, but it was insane the number of recipes she was sticking in either corn or peas. Some of them just sounded nasty! Here's a novel thought--why not just teach your children to obey you and eat their vegetables?! Worked great for us. I don't mind some recipes that use fruits/vegetables to replace unhealthier alternatives (unsweetened applesauce for oil, thin slices of squash for lasagne noodles, etc). Some people consider this "hiding" healthy foods for their kids to eat without knowing it. I think it's just healthier cooking. I don't hide from my kids what I've done. Sorry, that's just a personal opinion. This may seem small, but to fit the "Madhouse" title, some of the recipe names are a weird mix of uppercase and lowercase letters that, to me, were just annoying. However, this is a digital edition--it could be different in the print edition when it comes out. I received this book from Watkins Publishing, Ltd through NetGalley.com for my honest opinion. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Sonja

    I won this book from a contest on here and was planning to give it to my sister in-law. My brother has four kids so to say their place is a madhouse would be an understatement and I thought this could be good for them. Of course, first I wanted to go thru it for myself. And it's probably good that I did. I am not sure who exactly this sort of cookbook was aimed for, but there were pretty much no recipes that those kids would eat in it (aside from desserts of course). Not only that, there is no w I won this book from a contest on here and was planning to give it to my sister in-law. My brother has four kids so to say their place is a madhouse would be an understatement and I thought this could be good for them. Of course, first I wanted to go thru it for myself. And it's probably good that I did. I am not sure who exactly this sort of cookbook was aimed for, but there were pretty much no recipes that those kids would eat in it (aside from desserts of course). Not only that, there is no way that any family with such a fixed budget could afford a lot of what was necessary for these meals. Needless to say, I will not be giving them this book. I am admittedly a picky eater, so it might be predictable that I did not care for a single recipe in this book. The only one that I will try is actually for a snack, the oat bars. Most of the meals were just WAY too different than anything I've ever eaten or would ever eat for that matter. I don't want to say they're a more refined taste, but they certainly aren't what I would consider home cooking or even family food. And I just gotta ask, if your house is crazy and you need to bake a cake...how is making one from scratch quicker or easier than just throwing some oil and a couple eggs in with a box mix? I'll probably go thru it one more time, but most likely for just the side notes and extras to see what I might have missed. It's unfortunate because I'm always looking for new recipes, but this book left me completely disappointed.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Naomi

    Read my full review @ http://bit.ly/UGdaz0 My opinion: I have to be honest and say I found a large handful of recipes that I felt would not be kid friendly in this book. Having raised a son, there are recipes included that I know I couldn't have gotten him to eat even if I had tied him down and force fed him. This included recipes based with lamb, pork belly or curry based recipes. Now, this author is British, so eating habits are a tad different, but speaking to a number of American parents/gran Read my full review @ http://bit.ly/UGdaz0 My opinion: I have to be honest and say I found a large handful of recipes that I felt would not be kid friendly in this book. Having raised a son, there are recipes included that I know I couldn't have gotten him to eat even if I had tied him down and force fed him. This included recipes based with lamb, pork belly or curry based recipes. Now, this author is British, so eating habits are a tad different, but speaking to a number of American parents/grandparents of young kids, they confirmed what I had gone into this review with. To be honest, there were a couple of recipes in there that I wouldn't have eaten and I consider myself pretty open, but with a large handful of the recipes being lamb based, I don't eat lamb and felt the author focused too much on this meat. Because a chunk of the recipes are Middle Eastern based, I think there are a large number of ingredients that might be difficult for a cook to find unless one lives in a large urban area. These include galangal, lemon grass stalk and kaffir lime leaves. Finally, when I review a cookbook, I place it on my computer for optimal viewing. One thing that I am really particular about is photograph quality. What really stood out to me was that the photographs were highly pixelated and blurry. On that note, she had some rockin' recipes in there, particularly in the dessert area, that really saved the cookbook for me.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Aleece

    A cookbook for people who are in a hurry and need something good to eat in not a lot of time. While this is mainly for families I feel that this is a good cookbook for anyone that is on a tight schedule and needs a nice delicious meal quick. The book is broken down into different parts of your life. The Monday to Friday schedule, the weekend schedule and a "cling onto your social life" schedule. These are not just evening meals but meals that can be made for breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert and A cookbook for people who are in a hurry and need something good to eat in not a lot of time. While this is mainly for families I feel that this is a good cookbook for anyone that is on a tight schedule and needs a nice delicious meal quick. The book is broken down into different parts of your life. The Monday to Friday schedule, the weekend schedule and a "cling onto your social life" schedule. These are not just evening meals but meals that can be made for breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert and snacks. This cookbook has it all. Almost all of the recipes within this book look super easy and a lot of the ingredients can be found in the fridge. While some ingredients will not be as traditional they are sure to make your tastebuds happy. What I especially liked that with almost every recipe was a suggestion on what to do if there was leftovers of certain ingredients that you used in a recipe. This way you have two recipes that are completely different and a brand new meal for a different day. No more boring leftovers, they got a whole new twist. I received this advanced copy from Watkins Publishing Limited (Duncan Baird Publishers) through Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Lissa

    I had just read Weelicious and hoped for something that awesome. This cookbook marketed to parents/moms isn't it, at least not for me. The introduction was decent--parents are busy, we don't always make it to the store or have much time-- but the recipes are involved, the ingredients lists are long and sometimes specialized. The text accompanying the recipes instructs me to make separate dinners for my husband and I after I put my kids to bed instead of eating with them. What? There is little em I had just read Weelicious and hoped for something that awesome. This cookbook marketed to parents/moms isn't it, at least not for me. The introduction was decent--parents are busy, we don't always make it to the store or have much time-- but the recipes are involved, the ingredients lists are long and sometimes specialized. The text accompanying the recipes instructs me to make separate dinners for my husband and I after I put my kids to bed instead of eating with them. What? There is little emphasis on healthy choices and few of the recipes had vegetarian options. And then a huge portion of the book is devoted to fancy dinner party recipes so that I don't neglect myself by not having three other couples over to visit (everyone's kids are suspiciously absent in that third of the book.) I consciously try not to judge other people's parenting choices, but this author uses the term "madhouse" to describe a life that is by design and her instructions and recipes much more complicated than mine. This book wont help me simply anything. I could give her a few tips to calm down the "madhouse"--- but I think I'll pass on her recipes though--I don't need more madhouse in my life!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Shannon

    I liked the concept of this book and how the recipes were divided into sections: speedy family recipes for Monday - Friday, family recipes for the weekend, and then recipes for adults only. That said, I was not a huge fan of the recipes themselves and the speedy recipes seemed overly complex to me. Not that they were difficult to make but that there were too many ingredients. As a mother who meal plans and shops on the weekend for the entire week, my grocery list would be ridiculous if I were to I liked the concept of this book and how the recipes were divided into sections: speedy family recipes for Monday - Friday, family recipes for the weekend, and then recipes for adults only. That said, I was not a huge fan of the recipes themselves and the speedy recipes seemed overly complex to me. Not that they were difficult to make but that there were too many ingredients. As a mother who meal plans and shops on the weekend for the entire week, my grocery list would be ridiculous if I were to follow Jo Pratt's recipes. Another issue I had was with the way the recipes were organized. I suppose the organization was a bit of a madhouse. The recipes bounced back and forth from Asian, to Italian, to Mexican, to who knows what... The author did not seem to be much of an expert on any palate. As for the adults-only recipes... If I were hosting a dinner party without kids, I would turn to my favourite cookbooks and make something more refined. None of the recipes stood out to me. Finally, I wish the book had more pictures. I am more likely to make something if I can see what it's supposed to look like.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Samantha

    The Madhouse Cookbook has mainly been written for busy parents who often struggle to find time to cook wholesome and tasty food for their families, though the book is suitable for anyone. The book is split into three parts - Monday to Friday Survival, The Busy Weekend and Cling on to your Social Life. With these parts in mind, this book is not just recipes for families with children. You could cook many of these dishes for friends and family at a social gathering. Speed and simplicity are the ke The Madhouse Cookbook has mainly been written for busy parents who often struggle to find time to cook wholesome and tasty food for their families, though the book is suitable for anyone. The book is split into three parts - Monday to Friday Survival, The Busy Weekend and Cling on to your Social Life. With these parts in mind, this book is not just recipes for families with children. You could cook many of these dishes for friends and family at a social gathering. Speed and simplicity are the key to the recipes for this book, with quality not being sacrificed using pre-prepared and pre-packaged ingredients, though there are some shortcuts and prepare-ahead tips provided. There is a clear guide to portion sizing (being 2 adult or 4 children portions) with an estimation of preparation and cooking time, which is essential when selecting recipe. It would be helpful to have a photograph of each dish created, though the photographs throughout are wonderful

  11. 5 out of 5

    Vanessa

    I really did not care for this. The organization wasn't very good. The idea of making separate meals for kids and adults is kind of a hard sell, especially when it seems more practical to think of ways to serve the same meal different ways. I like the idea of the leftovers section, but some of the things are stuff that I would usually not have leftovers of.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Thompson

    Wow, I received this cookbook through a Goodreads giveaway and my expectations were high. And this cookbook lived up to them! It really is amazing! There are so many recipes that kids love, and adults too, not to mention that they are all relatively easy to make. Even a disaster in the kitchen like me can follow along!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    I enjoyed this one. There were kid friendly recipes that looked delicious and there are elevated recipes that look like they could be served in a good eating place. Yum! I found quite a few recipes that i want to try.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Tera

    Not a bad cookbook but never going to be a favorite or much used if at all. Yes i did see a few recipes that either sounded good or that family would really enjoy. Does have a well rounded selection, including foods that more adults than kids are likely to eat normally.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl Sanders

    This is a fantastic cookbook for the busy household. It is all about time management and creativity. Great recipes with outstanding desserts. I received a copy in exchange for an honest review.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Maureen

    Good recipes, lovely pictures

  17. 4 out of 5

    Alison Muir

  18. 4 out of 5

    Katie

  19. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

  20. 5 out of 5

    Angela Hiscott

  21. 5 out of 5

    carol thomson

  22. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth B

  23. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Jervis

  24. 4 out of 5

    Kate

  25. 5 out of 5

    Malin - Nilmas Bokhylla

  26. 5 out of 5

    c_in.a.bubble

  27. 4 out of 5

    Mrs Helen Whitehead

  28. 4 out of 5

    Mrs S L Howe

  29. 5 out of 5

    Rachael

  30. 4 out of 5

    Alison Gittings

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