Tana Ramsay’s Family Kitchen (making my cookbooks earn their place on my shelf)


I know I’ve spent a bit of time slagging off Tana Ramsay cookbooks on this blog; I’ve already evicted two of them but that’s because her later cookbooks had a mammoth of a cookbook to live up to, her Family Kitchen. The bolognaise recipe in the book is legendary. But I haven’t cooked from it in a while (too many new cookbooks to see, websites to go) so it was nice going back, however my memories of the recipes turned out to be a little rose tinted or maybe my tastes have ‘matured’ a little?

Legendary things cooked

The bolognaise of course (not pictured), the secret to this bolognaise, as with all bolognaises, is a lengthy, slow cook and the addition of pancetta. It also has lots of veg in (which can be interchanged depending on personal taste / what you’ve got in your fridge), I only make one slight change, in that if the vegetable is grateable, I’ll grate it, it melts into the sauce more and hides itself from fussy eaters. This bolognaise also doesn’t have any milk in, I know there’s been a trend of putting milk in your bolognaise for a while now but I much prefer it with out.

The danish pastry pizzas were also legendary but as always a complete, messy faff to make, but worth it. They’d be great in lunch boxes but never last that long.

Falling out of the legendary category (neither pictured because they were sort of disappointing)

I used to make the chicken in red lentil sauce all the time when the kids were very little but somehow this time despite following the cooking times I burnt it. That’s a general criticism of the book actually, the cooking times did seem a little out.

The roasted butternut squash soup used to be extremely legendary, it was still ok but I think when I was making it before I must of had this (almost deliberate) mental blind spot about not adding the milk in the last step. I did add the milk this time and it turned it from a gorgeously thick soup to one that was exceedingly run of the mill.

Bakery type things baked

The fresh ginger cake was nice and a first time for me cooking, the apple and banana cake had been made before frequently but it was stodgier than I remembered and not popular with the kids. Also made were some of the most unphotogenic chocolate chip cookies, which were too sweet and they stuck together in the tin, about half of them were chucked out, which is like some sort of chocolate chip cookie crime or something.

There were also the really easy fruit tarts, which were ….. really easy. Popular but they could have done with some sugar.

Also sort of in the baked goods category was the wholemeal pancakes with caramelised apples, which were good because they were pancakes, in the sort of way that even bad pancakes can’t fail.

Other things cooked

The amatriciana was bland and in some desperate need of some garlic (knew I should have trusted my instincts).

So this book is staying, I have a rather sentimental attachment to cookbooks that are as splattered and well used as this one but I think I’ve proved I crave new tastes more than I crave old familiar ones.


2 thoughts on “Tana Ramsay’s Family Kitchen (making my cookbooks earn their place on my shelf)

  1. I also have a sentimental attachment to cook books and find it hard to get rid of them. However, this one I literally hurled out of the door. I found her tone really smug (“we make all the beds ourselves before we leave the house”) but could have put up with that if the recipes had worked or tasted nice. The red lentil chicken was ok but there were other horrors which I have now erased from my memory (one included cabbage I know). Bland is the word I would use. I hope the cat’s charity I donated it to benefited – because I didn’t! Gosh -sorry a bit of a rant – not for your review which is honest (and therefore set me off!)

    1. Lol, I totally agree with a lot of what you’re saying, a lot of the photos in that book are extremely smug, I try not to read the blurb in between the recipes!

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