Book Review: 5 Ingredient Fix – Claire Robinson

Title: 5 Ingredient Fix: Easy, Elegant, and Irresistible Recipes
Author: Claire Robinson
ISBN: 9780446572095
Pages: 240
Release Date: October 6, 2010
Publisher: Grand Central Life & Style
Genre: Cookbook
Source: Publisher
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Claire Robinson begins 5 Ingredient Fix by discussing her philosophy about food:  it doesn’t need to be overly seasoned.  Sometimes simple is best because it allows the natural flavors of the food to emerge.  I really liked the idea of this simple, natural approach to cooking, so I was eager to take a look at the recipes and see whether this philosophy actually worked in practice.

The recipes are divided into eight different sections, from breakfast to dessert.  They cover a wide range of genres, though there is an emphasis on dishes with large slabs of meat in the entrees.  For example, flipping through the entrees section, I see Pork Roast with Hard Cider Gravy, Classic Roasted Leg of Lamb, and Ginger and Lemon Roasted Chicken with Braised Fennel.  If, like me, you aren’t a fan of meat with every meal, this section might leave you wanting.  The presentation of the book is really solid.  It’s printed on high quality paper, and most of the recipes have beautiful pictures to accompany them.  It’s superficial, but I love beautifully presented cookbooks, and this one is definitely well put together.

The recipes do each contain about 5 ingredients (not including salt and pepper), but each recipe also has a “what to toss in if you have it” section.  This contains suggestions of what else you can put in a dish above the 5 ingredient mark.  They are very good suggestions and I think the recipes would probably be better if they were included as part of the basic recipe.

The book also contains a section entitled “The Tools Every Kitchen Warrior Should Own” and proceeds to outline the contents of a well stocked kitchen.  It’s not about what should be in the pantry, but what cooking tools a person should have on hand, such as pots, pans and utensils.  If you are stocking your kitchen for the first time, or often find that you don’t have what you need when you’re cooking, this list would really be invaluable.  I enjoyed going through it to see if I had everything that Robinson recommends; it’s a complete, thorough, and useful list.

I made Beef Stew-Stuffed Potatoes from the cookbook, and using the “extra” suggestions was really necessary – otherwise, I would have had stew with just beef and onions!  The stew was good, if a little watery – I used some corn starch to thicken it, which worked much better.  The potato bowls were a really cute idea, if a little impractical – they didn’t hold very much stew, and my husband finally just ditched the potato in order to eat straight out of a real bowl.  Overall, the dish was good, and I would definitely consider making it again.

5 Ingredient Fix wasn’t the best fit for me, but it would be a great gift for a new cook learning how to work with food and spices.  Robinson’s approach is one that I wholeheartedly agree with, but her choice of dishes wasn’t really in line with much of what I cook.  It’s a solid cookbook, and I definitely recommend flipping through it to see if the dishes appeal to you.

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Comments

  1. She looks very persuasive on TV!

    Swapna I am trying to email you with no luck re the south Asian challenge posts. I need help here!!!! My post is ready but I need to know how to link it – or do we just post it on our own blog with the Challenge picture.

  2. She looks very persuasive on TV!

    Swapna I am trying to email you with no luck re the south Asian challenge posts. I need help here!!!! My post is ready but I need to know how to link it – or do we just post it on our own blog with the Challenge picture.

  3. Interesting. I made one of her recipes for New Year’s Eve and everyone was a bit disappointed in it. Her show always looks like a lot of fun, but I think I’m going to pass on the cookbook.

  4. Interesting. I made one of her recipes for New Year’s Eve and everyone was a bit disappointed in it. Her show always looks like a lot of fun, but I think I’m going to pass on the cookbook.

  5. Oh shoot — mean to to wish you a happy new year!

  6. Oh shoot — mean to to wish you a happy new year!

  7. Happy New year first of all! Second, I love beautiful photographs in cookbooks too. This one sounds a little heavy on the meat side of things for me. My husband and I are trying to think of meat at the side dish and not on all evenings. 🙂

  8. Happy New year first of all! Second, I love beautiful photographs in cookbooks too. This one sounds a little heavy on the meat side of things for me. My husband and I are trying to think of meat at the side dish and not on all evenings. 🙂

  9. I didn’t really care for this one either. I got this from the library and copied a couple recipes, but otherwise, it was just sort of lukewarm.

    I actually just like watching her show to watch her than actually get any recipes. She seems like a fun person and her dog Newman is absolutely adorable. I love when he makes appearances on the show.

  10. I didn’t really care for this one either. I got this from the library and copied a couple recipes, but otherwise, it was just sort of lukewarm.

    I actually just like watching her show to watch her than actually get any recipes. She seems like a fun person and her dog Newman is absolutely adorable. I love when he makes appearances on the show.

  11. This one didn’t really work for me, either. I love the idea of 5 Ingredients, but the way she organizes the book didn’t fit into what she said her “cooking philosophy” was. And I have a pet peeve about cook books with cocktail recipes in them–if I want drink recipes, I’ll get a cocktail book!

  12. This one didn’t really work for me, either. I love the idea of 5 Ingredients, but the way she organizes the book didn’t fit into what she said her “cooking philosophy” was. And I have a pet peeve about cook books with cocktail recipes in them–if I want drink recipes, I’ll get a cocktail book!

  13. Happy new year 🙂

    I guess this is a good book if a) you are used to having meat with every meal and b) if you have a hard time throwing something together from the pantry and the fridge… but for me, it doesn’t sound so suitable.

  14. Happy new year 🙂

    I guess this is a good book if a) you are used to having meat with every meal and b) if you have a hard time throwing something together from the pantry and the fridge… but for me, it doesn’t sound so suitable.

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