Hi! Welcome to my blog. I am a major foodie, with a haphazard cooking philosophy, currently making that transition from cooking and baking for friends and family to 'wonder if I could make this my career'. Follow me for recipes, the outcomes of a few experiments, and general lovely foodiness. Opinions, reviews and recommendations are all my own.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Book Review: 'Freeze' by Justine Pattison

When I agreed to review 'Freeze', I'm not entirely sure what I was expecting. A cookbook dedicated to freezer friendly recipes, obviously, but this filled my mind with images of 1970's cooking, casseroles, stews, and awful vol-au-vents. I remember dusty tombs of freezer recipes in my Mum's cookbook collection, and in the age of super-foods, organic produce, and multi-cultural cuisines, I feared that freezer cooking was a thing of the past.

'Freeze' by Justine Pattison

My first thumb through 'Freeze' immediately put my mind at rest. When I pick up a recipe book, I always leaf through the pages first, eager to see which pictures and recipes leap out at me and grab my taste-buds and imagination. Thai Chicken and Coconut Curry, Moroccan Chicken with Apricots and Almonds, Toad in the Hole, Burritos and a mouth-watering Chocolate Truffle Cake jostled on the pages for my attention, and it is easy to see that this is freezer cooking for the 21st century. 

Stage two then is to sit down, with a cup of tea and a biscuit, and read the introduction. I like to understand the motivation behind the author for writing the book, and know what they are trying to achieve within its pages. It doesn't take long to realise that this book has been a labour of love for Justine, and the book is not just a collection of recipes, but an education. Justine has spent two years researching and developing this book, and in the process has had not one, not two, but four large freezers in her dining room and garage, and even had to serve Christmas dinner in the kitchen!

The resulting book is jam packed with useful hints and tips, storage solutions, freezer maintenance and how to handle different food types. Each of the recipes comes with instructions on how to prepare, freeze and defrost each dish, along with a guide on how long each will keep when frozen. Each dish however can equally be made and served fresh, which makes it an incredibly versatile book, and one that you can pick up and use day to day, not just on a weekend when you want to bulk prepare freezer meals. The content and detail given to each recipe shows that each dish has been tried and tested over and over by Justine and her family. 

Each recipe has a side bar of handy hints and tips for freezing and serving

In terms of recipe content, the book is divided into eight sections of recipes, based on purpose; Quick Fixes, Meals for One, Family Meals, Entertaining, Puddings, Cakes and Cookies, Food on the Move, and Vegetables. The contents of each of these sections really opened my eyes to the unlimited possibilities when it comes to freezing foods, I'm all in when it comes to freezing the core produce, or making batches of soups, lasagnes and curries to save for a busy day, but some of the sumptuous tarts, cakes and even brownies I would never have thought to freeze (although I'm still not convinced they'd last long enough in our house! 

And so onto the recipe testing! Whilst reading through the book cover to cover, I noted and bookmarked several recipes to try out, and decided to start with the Chicken in Creamy Tarragon Sauce. The key thing that I was looking for in the dish was flavour, as freezing food tends to numb the flavour, and therefore can risk being a little bland when reheated. I didn't need to worry in this instance, these recipes have been well road tested, and this dish was beautiful, fragrant with the tarragon, with a strong flavour coming through from the white wine, onions and garlic, and the sauce has a great creamy texture. There is a great twist in the recipe where the chicken breasts are stuffed with a leek and sun dried tomato filling, and this fills the chicken again with a great flavour that carries itself well with the sauce. We enjoyed it so much in fact that I will be making it again this weekend for my Mum's birthday dinner.

You can find this recipe on the By Book or By Cook blog here.

My attempt at the Chicken with Tarragon Sauce! Delicious! 

In summary, this book is packed full of tasty, flavoursome recipes that thoroughly reflect the trends and tastes of modern day cooking. If you are looking for a really good guide to making the most of your freezer, this is the place to come, but equally if you are looking for a great recipe for a family meal you will not leave disappointed. I certainly will be 'revolutionising' my freezer and my habits after reading this book, and heartily recommend you do the same. 

'Freeze' is written by Justine Pattison, and published by Orion Books. You can order the book from their site here

Disclaimer: I was sent a copy of 'Freeze' by Orion Publishing to review, however all the views and opinions expressed here are my own and are not sponsored. 


  1. I am a big freezer fan so this sounds perfect for me. Sadly I am lacking in freezer space at the moment! But it is so handy to make big batches of food then defrost them in portions.

    1. That's why this book is so great! It's even things like, she suggests when you make soup or sauces, to freeze them in a zip lock bag, as you can freeze them flat in sheets so they take up less space. And taking meat out of its supermarket packaging and wrapping it in foil to prevent freezer burn and again take up less space. Genius!

    2. Oh yes I do stuff like that already. I think because I've mostly cooked 'for one' the freezer means I can portion things out. I don't freeze soup, but put pasta sauces in bags etc. Does cause problems when it's a drawer freezer as once have had the bag freeze around the grid at the bottom! That was an interesting dilemma!

    3. Hmm yes I can imagine! I'll be honest, my freezer was pretty much just full of packs of mince until I read this, has honestly changed my life!


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