Book review and chance to win: Aggie’s Family Cookbook

Aggie's Family CookbookI think most people recognise Aggie MacKenzie as the sensible Scottish one from TV Show How Clean Is Your House. I’ve never seen the racy blonde one Kim in the same way again after she got totally slozzled on Celebrity Come Dine With Me a few years back and completely shamed herself – pure TV gold. Anyway, I digress!

However there’s more to Aggie than wearing white coats and finding bacteria in people’s fridges, she is incredibly experienced in the field of food. Professionally having worked on food magazines and indeed becoming the head of the Good Housekeeping Institute for many years; and as a family cook for over 20 years.

Her latest publication Aggie’s Family Cookbook (Save time, save money) is really a chance for her to publish everything she’s learned in this time and pass it on to us family cooks trying to make our way in the harsh world of feeding our hungry troops on tighter and tighter budgets.

Who is it for?

Busy parents who are perhaps struggling with staying on top of cooking family meals week in, week out, maybe stuck in a rut for ideas and need a bit of guidance. People who don’t have much experience in the kitchen or much love for it would find this book hugely helpful.

There’s a HUGE introduction full of very sensible tips, and a pretty impressive meal planning section which gives you four weeks’ worth of meals using recipes from the book, plus handy weekly shopping lists. If you’re superbusy then things like this can really help.

And of course, Aggie being Aggie, there’s a section on how to clean your kitchen. I found that a tad patronising. Kind of like in Gina Ford’s baby manual where she suggests you use a portion of the day for cleaning windows….

The book seems to be written for Americans as there’s lots of translations in brackets after British words like taps and aubergine (faucet and eggplant) which was a bit weird.

Easy to follow

Once you’re past the gigantic intro, you’re into the recipes. Pretty clearly laid out – although the method steps can be a bit long. I prefer them to be short and numbered so I don’t get lost.

I like the tips on each recipe but would like to know if I could freeze each dish, as she doesn’t always mention it.

The chapter headings are a bit vague. Food on the run – has it committed a crime?! Bits and pieces that make life so much better – sounds like an ad for B&Q!

Family friendly

Definitely aimed at the family audience with crowd pleasing recipes that aren’t too off-the-wall. Her eldest son Ewan gets a mention in quite a few of the dishes, so he’s clearly a chip off the old block in the cooking department.

Vegetarian friendly?

She does mention in the intro that we should be cutting down on meat for health reasons, but there’s no quick reference guide in the index for the vegetarian recipes which I find annoying.

But this is possibly because most of the recipes do revolve around meat, so she’s not really taking her own advice.

There are a handful of meat-free meals to try like vegetable empanadas, veggie curry and the most tempting no-hassle gnocchi with sage and butter.

Most likely to cook

The vegetarian meals (obviously) but also some of the sweet stuff like Scotch Pancakes, Brownies and Trifle. The Onion Bhajis look delicious. I also had a go at making the Pork, Chorizo and Chickpea stew which was a real winner.

Least likely to cook

Braised Oxtail anyone – yeeeeeeshk!

Would you buy it for a friend?

Probably not actually – it’s a bit too mumsy. It’s the type of book we should buy as it’s so practical, but it’s just not very sexy or aspirational.

Rating out of 10

6 – it’s like a pair of sensible shoes.

Published in hardback by Pavilion, priced £20



I have two copies of Aggie’s family cookbook to giveaway….

1. For your main chance to win please comment on this post telling me how you save time and money in the kitchen.

2. For a bonus second chance to win please tweet this post Win Aggie’s Family Cookbook @cookingkt  #win #prize and comment HERE telling me you have done so along with your twitter username

3. For a third chance to win please follow me @cookingkt on Twitter and comment HERE to tell me you have done so.

4. For a fourth chance to win please go and ‘like’ Feeding Boys on Facebook, and come back to this page to comment you have done so.

This giveaway is open to all readers with a UK mailing address. The winner will be chosen using an online randomiser and announced in a subsequent post.

I am running this competition on behalf of Pavilion who will be responsible for sending the prizes to the winners. Their decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

There is one main way to enter and several ways to get bonus entries. You must leave a separate comment for each bonus entry otherwise they will not be counted.


Closing date: Friday 16th December, 2011

Thanks to Pavilion for my review copy of Aggie’s Family Cookbook

About Katie Bryson

Katie Bryson is a freelance food writer and blogger. She left a career in online news at the BBC to immerse herself in the culinary world, taking in courses at Leiths School of Food and Wine and an internship at Waitrose along the way. Her family food blog is bursting with recipes and tips for feeding hungry families that’ll help inspire all those frazzled parents out there wondering what on earth to cook for tea!
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138 Responses to Book review and chance to win: Aggie’s Family Cookbook

  1. ali.b. says:

    That sounds my type of book, any inspiration is always helpful in the kitchen department!! Not on Twitter but I’m liking your facebook page. My way of saving time/money is my trusty slow cooker which can turn cuts of beef into melt in the mouth gorgeousness – yum!!

  2. Jan Bailey says:

    In addition to using the slow cooker as an energy saving device I also double up quantities and freeze the second meal for another day.

  3. I make meals in advance and freeze them – I don’t do this all of the time but its very handy when a week suddenly turns extremely busy!
    Tweeted and following over at @OhNoItsBex
    Liked on Facebook as Rebecca J Smith

  4. Christine Ball says:

    I try to prepare everything before I actually start cooking and I trying to cook as much as I can in the oven rather than also on the hob at the same time or later on, as it is pointless wasting additional energy (whether it be Gas or Electric) as well as time and money if one fuel can do two jobs

  5. Meal planning is the key to saving time and money. It means you buy what you need and plan accordingly.

  6. I have tweeted @RedRoseMummy

  7. I follow you on Twitter @RedRoseMummy

  8. I like you on FB (as Pippa Ainsworth)

  9. Maggie says:

    I save time and money in the kitchen by doubling up on recipes and freezing one for a rainy day.

  10. Louise Turner says:


  11. becsean says:

    always plan your meals and give the kids the same meals so your just can make one big pot.

  12. r mulcaster says:

    I try and make meals in bulk, so I will make a cottage pie to use and 1 or 2 to either chill in fridge or freeze for another day, so we have our own nutritious, and economical ready meals to use when I haven’t time to cook. I find this works for lots of meals. Also tend to buy a larger joint to roast ( if we have one!) and do like my mum used to and use the leftovers for other meals.

  13. stacie beer says:

    i always make extra portions of stews, casserol’s and soups so i can freeze them, then when im short of time just defrost and cook a lovely healthy prepared meal!!!

  14. Rhonda says:

    Brilliant book! I have bought a whistling kettle that goes on my electric hob, it takes less time to boil than a normal kettle and it costs less to run.

  15. Rhonda says:

    I have tweeted the tweet @snowted

  16. Rhonda says:

    I have followed you on Twitter @snowted

  17. Rhonda says:

    I like you on Facebook, Tink Lee Mse

  18. lynne thompson says:

    love the book, to plan my weekly meals for my family

  19. nikki r says:

    I make one and freeze one on evening meals – it’s nice not to have to cook sometimes.

  20. Robert says:

    I find the best way to save time & money is to cook some meals each week using ingredients that you already have in the cupboard, fridge, freezer, etc. This save time & money shopping & ensures things are used up rather than them going off & having to be thrown away.

  21. Fiona Redpath says:

    Make a weekly meal plan and stick to it. Plan a shopping list and stick to it!

  22. I save money by making healthy indian meals at home. Daal is so cheap and healthy. You dont even have to stand around while its cooking. So you are saving time AND money!

  23. Have tweeted the competition post @angiesandhu

  24. already follow @cookingkt on twitter @angiesandhu

  25. like on Facebook (Angela Sandhu)

  26. Julie says:

    I make sure I do a meal plan at the start of the week, and I stick to eat. That way nothing gets wasted.

  27. Jo Jones says:

    I double cook and freeze

  28. Tracy Nixon says:

    Thanks for the great giveaway! I save money by throwing as little waste away as possible. For example, veg that is maybe starting to wilt – just cut up and throw it in a casserole – with a suce over it no one would notice! Even throw it in a curry and make a vegetable curry! Vegetables are extremely cheap, wholesome and can be made into loads of different things! Casseroles and curries can also be freezed so another way of money saving!

  29. Tracy Nixon says:

    I have tweeted

  30. Tracy Nixon says:

    I am already a follower on twitter @tracyknixon and on Facebook too Tracy K Nixon

  31. Alice says:

    I check my fridge and cupboards a few days before I do a food shop. I try to use up everything before go shopping.

  32. I make an extra serving at teatime and sent it to work with my husband the next day so he doesn’t spend money on expensive lunches

  33. Following you via Twitter – @littleboo_21

  34. Following you via FB – Boo Roo and Tigger Too

  35. I make sure when the oven’s on it’s full & freeze any leftovers.

  36. Follow you on twitter @baggiesbabe69

  37. Georg Ball says:

    Don’t buy more fresh items than you need, they’ll only go off!

  38. pamela gossage says:

    Any leftovers that will not be used the next day I freeze as soon as they are cold

  39. P Wilson says:

    By buying just what I need and making the most of the food that I have.

  40. Ele says:

    I save time and money by putting off the supermarket shop for a day or so – there are always a couple of meals that can be rustled up from the odds and ends in the fridge. We also eat roast chicken a lot as the leftovers are fantastic and I always make stock.

  41. Ele says:

    I follow you on twitter @Ellesbelles10

  42. Solange says:

    Get the kids to do all the work! Lol!

  43. michael wiggins says:

    Liked on facebook

  44. michael wiggins says:

    My money saving tip was to plan what your meals are beforehand and stick to it.

    Or go to supermarket late in the day. They have stuff reduced which may be useful in a meal for a fraction of the price.

  45. I save time and money – by getting husband to do all the work – cooking / cleaning / ironing etc

  46. carole says:

    liked on facebook

  47. carole says:

    prepare meals and freeze

  48. Ileana Fernandes says:

    Best time and money saving tip I have is making extra meals and freezing! Works a treat and is perfect for those days when you can’t be bothered to cook but can’t justify buying a takeaway!


  49. Ileana Fernandes says:

    Liked you on fb too – Lilly Ferns

  50. claire woods says:

    Always make packed lunches in the morning so don’t have to buy food when out.

  51. claire woods says:

    Tweeted – @clairew137

  52. claire woods says:

    For a third chance to win please follow me @cookingkt on Twitter – done @clairew137

  53. I save time in the kitchen by cooking meals in batches and freezing, also saves money because leftovers aren’t thrown away 🙂

  54. Have tweeted – @86PinkPrincess 🙂

  55. Susie says:

    My money-saving tip is learn to cook! That way you’ll be flexible enough to make the most of supermarket mark-downs, BOGOFs and bargains, whatever they may be.

  56. Am following you on Twitter – @86PinkPrincess 🙂

  57. Liked on Fbook – Stacey Guilliatt 🙂

  58. Claire Smith says:

    I save time and money by ensuring that I make meals in advance and freeze them in family portions ensuring that I don’t end up throwing extra away.

  59. Claire Smith says:

    Have tweeted your message as @ClaireSmith25

  60. Claire Smith says:

    Already follow you @cookingkt as @ClaireSmith25

  61. Claire Smith says:

    And also already follow you on Facebook as Claire M.Smith

  62. Amanda says:

    I save time and money in the kitchen by cooking twice a month. I work out a fortnights meals, write my list of ingredients, plan what days we eat what, then on Saturday the kids and I cook. I do the meals, the kids help with the cakes/biscuits etc. I rarely buy pre packaged food, and we get 2 weeks worth od food done in 1 afternoon, using the oven, slow cooker, stove top and roasting oven. the kids take care of the non cook slices. We follow the menu for meals, I take them out the night before and just reheat at meal time:)
    As I know exactly what we are eating, I know what to buy…no exras, no “cant be bothered cooking” meals.

    It costs me $300 a fortnight(2 weeks) to feed a family of 11

  63. Karen says:

    We all eat the same meal each evening. Before we would tend to cook different things, which is much more expensive and uses more pans and dishes

  64. Rob Clayton says:

    save money by buying as many fresh ingredients as possible. the main ingredient is always chosen by checking out the special half price or better offers. usually have a quick look at morrisons / sainsbury / asda websites before i do my shop, to look for the best half price offer. then i can find a recipe and get everything i need. save time by buying ready made stockpots, again i keep a eye out for these when they are on offer

  65. Fran Light says:

    I save money in the kitchen by searching out supermarket discount vouchers and 2-for-1 offers and I save time (and money) by getting creative with leftovers – mashed potato topped pies, bubble & squeak-esque concoctions, omelettes with exotic fillings and my personal favourite, thick chunky soups!

  66. Fran Light says:

    I’ve tweeted about the competition as @LoveWinning 🙂

  67. Fran Light says:

    I’m following @cookingkt on Twitter

  68. Fran Light says:

    I’ve liked Feeding Boys and A Firefighter on Facebook (as Francesca Light-Wilson)

  69. Sarah Arnett says:

    I save time by preparing everything when its bought – ie chop peppers, wash grapes, grate cheese etc and then when i need things its all ready!

  70. Hannah Beadle says:

    I love cutting corners in the kitchen and smart price tinned tomatoes and actually all value tinned vegetable are convenient and incredibly cheap fab just to store for the odd ocassion in the cupboard

  71. Hannah Beadle says:

    I have tweeted @hannahbeadle

  72. Hannah Beadle says:

    I am following you on twitter @hannahbeadle

  73. Hannah Beadle says:

    I have liked the facebook page

  74. Hazel says:

    I save time by cooking batches of buns etc.and freezing them. They come out of the freezer ready wrapped to put in lunches etc.

  75. Hazel says:

    I have tweeted as @beachrambler.

  76. Hazel says:

    I already follow on Twitter – @beachrambler

  77. Hazel says:

    I already follow on Facebook – Hazel Rea

  78. Martina says:

    I cook more portions and then freeze it for another day. I use lots of frozen vegetables instead of fresh ones.

  79. Erica Price says:

    Being organised about leftovers.

  80. Erica Price says:

    Following @ericahughes

  81. Diane Carey says:

    I try to buy food that is on offer that week and BOGOF’s. I always write a menu out for the week so we always know what we are having. This saves time, and we are more organised

  82. Diane Carey says:

    Have tweeted comment

  83. Diane Carey says:

    Following you on twitter

  84. Diane Carey says:

    Have liked you on FB

  85. I have a planner on the fridge that shows all the meals for a month.
    (Some days do get jigged around a bit) I do my shopping list from this, use as a reminder
    to get things out of the freezer in the morning and most importantly, first one home knows
    what’s for tea and they can start to prepare. It saves time, arguements because we decide
    together what’s going on the planner, money because we buy what we need and so we have
    no wastage.

  86. I have tweeted

  87. I follow you on twitter

  88. I follow you on FB as Karen A Barrett

  89. Laura Pritchard says:

    I save time by making huge batches of meals then freezing them.

  90. Laura Pritchard says:

    Tweeted the message @Isis1981uk

  91. Hazel Wright says:

    I save money by shopping a couple of times a week as I buy alot of fresh fruit and veg, I pick up a fair amount of ‘sell by’ produce but I also make sure that nothing EVER gets wasted!

  92. Hazel Wright says:

    liked on facebook, my name on there is Hilda Wright!

  93. plan a weeks menu and only shop for whats on the list

  94. Gillian Holmes says:

    Basically I cook from scratch most of the time and I usually cook two portions and freeze one for those in a hurry days.


  95. Gillian Holmes says:

    following as @12kazuko12

  96. Gillian Holmes says:

    Liked as Annabel Lee on Facebook

  97. Emma Howard says:

    I cook double and freeze what I don’t serve

  98. Felicity Sutton says:

    I usually cook double and save what I have made in the fridge for tomorrow.

  99. Dessiree Brown-Llaneza says:

    I only buy meat when it is reduced and bung it in the freezer. I use the slow cooker a lot and freeze a lot of portions as extra meals for the kiddies. I religiously meal plan for the week which avoids me doing little ‘top up’ shops that as we all know can amount to 20 or 30 pounds. I try and create meals from everything i have left in the cupboard. I try and educate myself on new recipes as its amazing what you can create. Before i used to look in the fridge/freezer/cupboard and think ‘we’ve got nothing to eat’ now i look and think ‘well we can make this, this and this!’ This book is JUST the sort of thing i need to expand my knowledge!

  100. Dessiree Brown-Llaneza says:

    Have tweeted.

  101. Dessiree Brown-Llaneza says:

    Am already a follower on twitter.

  102. Dessiree Brown-Llaneza says:

    Already a liker on facebook.
    Dessiree Brown Llaneza

  103. Hazel rush says:

    I make big dinners and then freeze up portions for easy quick dinners!

  104. Laura Carroll says:

    Whenever I make a meat dish I make double or triple the amount then freeze and later serve with different accompaniments – rice/chips/boiled potatoes etc – so I can pretend it’s a ‘different meal’!

  105. Laura Carroll says:

    I have tweeted @Laura_Cookies

  106. Laura Carroll says:

    I already follow on twitter @Laura_Cookies

  107. Laura Carroll says:

    I like your page on facebook – Laura Carrol

    Thanks for the comp! 🙂

  108. Alison says:

    I make more than is needed and freeze some

  109. lorraine polley says:

    i buy good quality ready meals, always read the labels to check fat content etc, as my husband and I both work shifts, with alot of night shifts you never know what meal you should actually be eating!!!.

  110. Julie says:

    I close the door

  111. Simon Moore says:

    Use the slow cooker all the time. Nothing better than getting in from work and having a meal ready to be plated up.

  112. I always plan meals for the week so I know what ingredients I need and to best use up everything so nothing goes to waste. I also find it saves time because if I know what I am making I can make some things ahead of time.

  113. Already following you on twitter @angiehoggett

  114. sue willshee says:

    I’m a veggie and I do agree that using more veg instead of meat saves money. I’m shocked when I see the prices of meat in the supermarket! Thank goodness I don’t have to buy it!
    I don’t really worry about saving time in the kitchen, I’m quite happy to take as long as I need to get a result. I do obviously try to reduce costs but its difficult because as well as being veggie I’m also coeliac so a lot of my food has to come from the ‘free from’ section which has to be the most expensive part of the supermarket! To save money I tend to make my own gluten free bread. Partly because it’s cheaper and partly because I just can’t find a GF loaf that I like. @piperanddaisy

  115. sue willshee says:

    i’ve tweeted @piperanddaisy

  116. sue willshee says:

    Following you on twitter @piperanddaisy

  117. make a shopping list everyweek and only buy what you need

  118. sue willshee says:

    already a facebook fan as sue willshee @piperanddaisy

  119. Beth says:

    Would love this book, sounds great!

  120. Becky Downey says:

    Cooking in bulk and buying in bulk

  121. Becky Downey says:

    no. 2 done, beckydowney

  122. Becky Downey says:

    no 3 done

  123. Becky Downey says:

    no 4 done

  124. Cheryll H says:

    To save time and money in the kitchen I meal plan around leftovers – less wasted food, more cash in my pocket 🙂 @pipersky1

  125. Cheryll H says:

    Tweeted 🙂 @pipersky1

  126. Cheryll H says:

    Following @cookingkt 🙂 @pipersky1

  127. Cheryll H says:

    Liker on FB 🙂 @pipersky1

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