Foolproof cooking

New cooks need some hand-holding, and Jane Hornby wants to be right there in the kitchen with them. Her latest cookbook, “What to Cook and How to Cook It” — featuring 100 favorite recipes and, more importantly, 850 clear, step-by-step photographs — allows her to kind of do that.

“The look-and-cook method is useful for people who haven’t any background in cooking, or haven’t stood in the kitchen with their mum and dad,” explains the British food writer and cook, adding,  “I’m far more likely to cook a recipe with an image.”

And while most cookbooks show one image per recipe, Hornby’s book features an average of eight per dish. The visual concept is a response to people’s refound interest in making their own meals.

“The last few years have been a food revolution,” says Hornby about the plethora of new cooking shows and magazines.  But instead of watching  meals being prepared on TV, Hornby wants people to pick up their knives. “It’s simple to cook your own pasta, she says. “It’s healthier, will save you money and mainly is just satisfying.”

Hornby’s tips for novice chefs

“Get a couple of basic knife skills under your belt,” says Hornby. She explains that if something is cut correctly, it will cook at the right speed, thus increasing the chance of your dish being a success. She also recommends reading a recipe from the beginning to end before cooking it — and taking your time. “Don’t act like some super chef,” she says. “You want to perfect the dish and make it part of your repertoire.” 


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