Ghillie James, the food editor of Tesco Magazine in the UK, has been published extensively. She owns a gourmet food company in Hampshire, England. She is also the author of Jam, Jelly and Relish.
'Tis the freezin' that will make your food-prep season merry and
bright In The Foolproof Freezer Cookbook, author Ghillie James
offers a stylish roundup of recipes that are special enough for
company, even during the most high-pressure parties of the calendar
year. Baked goods such as scones and muffins can be made now and
frozen for later. Defrost and bake or warm just before serving.
Scones are usually best frozen unbaked, while muffins and quick
breads fare better in the freezer after their turn in the oven.
Breakfast casseroles such as baked French toast and strata are
make-ahead workhorses that can also energize a crowd for a long day
of gift-opening. Soup is an obvious choice for a cold-weather
lunch, and most can be frozen gracefully. James' Spicy Carrot,
Tomato, Chorizo, and Cilantro Soup, swirling in a puree of
vegetables with chunky chickpeas and sweet potatoes, is hearty
enough for a light dinner for overnight guests (James suggests
serving it with slices of bread and manchego cheese). It's also a
good staple to keep on hand during the hectic pre-holiday,
pre-guest days when cooking something fresh just isn't a realistic
possibility. Baked dips and fish or meat pates are surprisingly
strong candidates for prefrozen entertaining starters, as are
phyllo pastry triangles and puffs, tarts, and quiches. Savory
biscotti and crackers can be made and frozen by the batch. For
premeditated main courses, casseroles, stews, and braises are
strong contenders. Jones even proffers an old-fashioned Beef
Wellington, swapping out the traditional pate for prosciutto
slices, with an equally freezable Madeira sauce, an entree elegant
and classic enough for Christmas dinner. Cook a couple of
last-minute sides, or better yet, have a guest bring them, and the
meal is ready. On the sweet side, keeping a few batches of cookie
dough or baked cookies on hand can be a smart strategy for
impromptu guests - and they inevitably show up this time of year.
Most pies and tarts can be assembled and frozen before baking;
cakes can be fully baked and iced before they go into the
freezer.--Elisa Ludwig "The Philadelphia Inquirer, December 6, 2012
This isn't the first freezer cookbook I've seen but it's the most appealing. It has a great chicken stock recipe--essential for anyone with room to store stock--but also some really original recipes using frozen foods, like a Pork Belly with Cracklings, Fennel and Shallots. The photographs by Tara Fisher, a UK-based photographer with whom I was not familiar, are bright and fresh. Nothing is over-styled so all the recipes look approachable and yet elegant. A partly eaten Chicken Ham and Tarragon pie is encased in ripples of puff pastry, with an invitation to dive in. This is a testament to the entire team behind the book. There are also several helpful short sections on how to use up gluts of fruit, how to store and thaw properly, and the top leftovers to freeze. Without a doubt, this is a book to give to yourself if you foresee cooking ahead with frozen fall bounty, either for yourself and your family or for others who need an extra meal here and there.--Sara Kate Gillingham-Ryan, 15 Cookbooks from 2012 That Made Me Love Cooking More "The Kitchn, 9.27.12 "
I welcomed the addition of "The Foolproof Freezer Cookbook" to my kitchen. I needed more inspiration (and more instruction) about what is (and isn't) freezer-friendly. British cookbook author Ghillie James gives recipes and detailed instructions for stocking the freezer with weeknight meals and party food. And parents of young children, take note: There's an entire chapter devoted to homemade baby and toddler food. What I love most about James' approach is her no-nonsense tone and factual information. She gives her many "reasons to freeze," with guidelines on freezing and thawing. You don't need a microwave to thaw frozen food, by the way. I don't use one, I just use the refrigerator. I'm crazy about the idea of freezing as way of preserving the fruit of the season. Who doesn't love the taste of a juicy summer peach on a cold winter morning? And James tells you how to freeze things you might otherwise have thrown out, such as excess egg yolks and white wine. There are flavorful recipes for everything from the more familiar (gazpacho, beef and spinach lasagna, sausage rolls with mustard and poppyseed, and quick double chocolate sheet cake) to the more adventurous (lamb and prune tagine, smoked fish, crab and watercress tart, and mojito sherbet).--Laura Holmes Haddad "Zester Daily, 9.28.12 "
People pickle, can, and preserve foods all the time. The ongoing revival should naturally extend to freezing foods, I think. And James makes the process easy to understand and do with her nine rules, like how it's "best to refreeze previously frozen raw foods once they have been cooked." There's also other useful information that'll help you become more economical in the kitchen: storage times, tips for saving certain leftover foods, and how to make the most of your fruits and vegetables and then freezing the results. The recipes are varied--Custard Sauce, Tamarind and Shrimp Triangles, and Eggplant and Lentil Moussaka are just a few--and easy to comprehend and follow. As a mother, James also touts the benefits of freezing food not only for the busy adults, but for the kids with a chapter dedicated to feeding the youngest family members. But the best part of each recipe is James' instruction on how to freeze, defrost/thaw, reheat, cook, and serve. Yes, it's handholding for me, but for someone who's really at a loss with freezing foods, it's a godsend.--Esther Sung "epicurious, 10.12.12 "