HOW TO ENJOY OLD RECIPES FROM SOME OLD RECIPE BOOKS…

I don’t know about you but I have been baking lots more during lockdown, but it has given me the chance to be quite choosy and really study recipes. I had boxes of old recipe books so I decided I would go through them all and try out some of my old recipes. But then you end up with a load of books around you and some recipes that need the weights changing.

So, I bought this lovely new recipe book to put my new found recipes in (see below) which is a great size. You can write down any recipes you love in it. Prompts will also help you do that easier – areas for ingredients, directions, times for preparation and cook, and it is only £6.97 from Amazon so what’s not to like about it.

As I was going through all my books I found my original GCSE Cookery Book, which fascinated me as one of my courses was a salad !!!! I guess it was all about the timing back then as you had to do a starter, main course and a sweet. Unfortunately I didn’t manage to get a GCSE in cooking but it definitely put me in good stead for the future. One section that made me smile was about the storage of milk – It is important to store milk carefully to avoid the growth of harmful bacteria and to prevent scouring so never leave your milk in the sunlight, keep in cool dark place, always use clean jugs, keep it covered, and boil suspected milk!

If old cookbooks once belonged to family, then the connection is particularly strong, as I remember my grandmother and mother using the same books for special meals and I have a few written out that are falling apart that were my Mums. I have stuck that together and popped it into the recipe book. I think it’s going to take me a while to sort through them all and I am sure I will need another recipe book to put them in.

I guess I have really loved baking more than anything else and I have been doing quite a bit of that for my family recently. My son and his wife only moved down to where we live in January and with Covid-19 we have not even seen the inside of the house yet. So, I decided I would bake a few things for them then at least we can see them outside there house for a few minutes standing at a safe distance of course. I have also been baking for my 18 month old granddaughter who is going through that faze of not liking many things that are put in front of her but she will always eat my muffins and my fishcakes. I know she loves cheese so I just make sure there is a lot in both of them and make her vegetable muffins and the fishcakes have sweet potato and broccoli in so she is getting her vegetables down her.

I also bought Mary Berry’s Fast Cakes : Easy Bakes in Minutes, it’s a fantastic baking book with lots of recipes that only need one bowl to work with. Mary has incorporated her ‘all-in-one’ method of preparation into as many recipes as possible, so her recipes are faster to make than ever. Nearly 100 of the bakes take only 10 minutes to make and Mary has included small bake variations for fruit cakes, which traditionally take a long time in the oven, so you can make one even when you are pushed for time.

There are scones, buns and biscuits that you can whip up for tea, traybakes and fruit loaves perfect for a school or village fete and of course foolproof cakes for every occasion from everyday recipes such as a Honey and Almond Cake to Mary’s First-Rate Chocolate Cake. Not forgetting recipes you can make with your kids from Happy Face Biscuits to Traffic Lights and Jammy Buns. Fast Cakes: Easy Bakes is available from Amazon and other good book shops from £17.39 for the Hardcover or the Kindle Edition which is the one I bought is just £7.99 and worth every penny.

3 GREAT EASY RECIPE COOKERY BOOKS…

Even though life has been strange over the last twelve months many of us have changed the way we eat and cook. I started doing a bit of batch cooking to help my daughter with her young baby and I also started being a bit more adventurous with my baking. And, finally something I am going to be writing about lots on this blog is how I buy more food from local sources to enjoy from the fields to the plate.

My first book of choice is called The Batch Lady : Shop Once, Cook Once, Eat All Week by Suzanne Mulholland.

This book was a present from my daughter and I cannot wait to try some of her batch recipes. It has over 80 simple, freeze levels store cupboard recipes. The Batch Lady has been transforming how thousands of people cook and eat through her revolutionary online channel. Now she shares her secrets with you.

With over 80 delicious, home-cooked recipes that are quick to make, create and store, Suzanne’s brilliant recipe combinations and time-saving tips will transform your kitchen, and will buy you back extra hours in your week. This is the only guide you will ever need to save you money, time, and headspace, and change your life for good.

Fast Cakes :Easy Bakes in Minutes by Mary Berry

Of course, I had to add a Mary Berry baking book and this one is absolutely brilliant. Over two afternoons before Christmas I baked a fruit cake for my husband, a chocolate cake for my daughter and family and 3 dozen mince pies for the whole family. This book is laid out so well you can bake in minutes just like it says. It’s all about being organised which is something The Batch Lady talks about in her book above.

Mary has incorporated her ‘all-in-one’ method of preparation into as many recipes as possible, so her recipes are faster to make than ever. Nearly 100 of the bakes take only 10 minutes to make and Mary has included small bake variations for fruit cakes, which traditionally take a long time in the oven, so you can make one even when you are pushed for time. It has over 150 easy recipes to make with confidence.

Simple Good For You by Amelia Freer

This book contains over 100 quick and easy recipes bursting with greatness. She gives advice to stabilising your blood sugars which includes not avoiding meals and checking labels on some supposedly healthy snacks which are actually packed with sugar. If you check the line ‘carbohydrates’ of which sugars per 100g. They say less than 5g per 100g is considered low sugar protocol.

The author is a No. 1 Sunday Times bestselling author and renowned nutritional therapist, who A-listers turn to when they want to look and feel great. In this beautiful cookbook, discover 100 quick and easy recipes for varied and tempting dishes that are, quite simply, good for you.

A LITTLE BOOK ON TEA, CAKE & CHOCOLATE – “FREE” BOOK PROMOTION…

I have just updated my Little Book on Tea, Cake & Chocolate and have it on offer for Free on Amazon Kindle from 8th December – 12th December.

This little book on tea and cake is a guide about one of our favourite beverages. It explains tea pairings, tea and chocolate, tea and health, tea and sandwiches, fascinating tea facts, buying the right tea, tea to help you sleep and tea cozies and teapots.

It also features over one hundred tips on baking cakes and has some recipes for delicious loaf cakes. It finishes with several lovely tea quotes. A great book for any tea devotee. 

If, like many of us you read from your Kindle rather than a paperback copy then you can still buy this as a gift for someone else who also reads on their Kindle. You simply find my book on Kindle then choose the ” Buy for others” option then share the ebook redemption link or add a personalised message.

The paperback copy of A Little Book on Tea, Cake & Chocolate is also available at a very reasonable price of just £2.83 and would make a great stocking filler.

GORGEOUS BOOKS AS GORGEOUS CHRISTMAS GIFTS…

It’s that time of year again where we see lots of books and new releases up for sale and you are spoilt for choice as to which one to buy for yourself or as a gift. Well, I thought I would put my pennies worth in and have three of my favourite not entirely cooking books but books about cooking, the history of the biscuit and stuff every cook should know about.

My first choice is The Biscuit; The History of a Very British Indulgence by Lizzie Collingham£12.99

Did you know that British people eat more biscuits than any other nation; they are as embedded in our culture as fish and chips or the Sunday roast. But biscuits are not only tasty treats to go with a cup of tea, the sustenance they afford is often emotional, evoking nostalgic memories of childhood.

Lizzie Collingham begins in Roman times when biscuits – literally, ‘twice-baked’ bread – became the staple of the poor; she takes us to the Middle East, where the addition of sugar to the dough created the art of confectionery. Yet it was in Britain that bakers experimented to create the huge variety of biscuits which populate our world today. And when the Industrial Revolution led to their mass production, biscuits became integral to the British diet.

We follow the humble biscuit’s transformation from durable staple for sailors, explorers and colonists to sweet luxury for the middling classes to comfort food for an entire nation. Like an assorted tin of biscuits, this charming and beautifully illustrated book has something to offer for everyone, combining recipes for hardtack and macaroons, Shrewsbury biscuits and Garibaldis, with entertaining and eye-opening vignettes of social history.

I love reading about life in times gone by and this book is full of fascinating social insights and delicious recipes. If you are someone who is fascinated by the history of food, then this book is definitely worth having. As a blog writer on all things Hygge it was interesting to read that The Dutch word “koek” means cake / biscuit / wafer and the diminutive is koekje, another word which I am sure will soon become popular.

This book is one for the coffee table to pick up and learn something else you didn’t know about tea and biscuits.

Stuff Every Cook Should Know by Joy Manning £7.99

Stuff Every Cook Should Know is as indispensable to cooks as a good sturdy knife and just as sharp. Compact enough to fit on the smallest shelf or countertop, this sous-chef-in-a-book tells how to make a meal plan, how to use common ingredient substitutions, how to throw a dinner party, how to organize your kitchen, and much more. It s a pocket-sized problem solver that makes a great gift for seasoned culinary artists, novice chefs, and anyone who loves to cook.

I’ve still got my first cookery book which I was given at school and love to read through it with my pencil notes fading by the day, but this gives you a hint at everything you might want to know about in your kitchen and full of helpful tips and reminders.

It really is a book about stuff every cook should know. While it won’t make one a master cook, it is definitely most helpful for someone starting out. A great little stocking filler for the novice student about to embark on their first cooking venture.

My final one for the time being is a bit different as it has stories as well recipes and one I plan to keep this one for my granddaughter.

Fairytale Baking Recipes And Stories, by Christin Gewekes £14.23

Once upon a time, many moons ago, there was a little girl who discovered her love for baking … Thus begins author Christin Geweke’s culinary journey through magical bakes that make you dream of fairytale forests and are guaranteed to be liked by the fussiest of cake eaters, just like the princess of the Princess and the Pea fame. Here are recipes and exquisite photographs of forest berry ice cream cake, mini gingerbread kuglofs, marzipan chocolate rolls, dreamy peach rose cups.

Like old family recipes, fairytales and stories are also handed down from one generation to the next. And delicious baking can delight the senses and bring back memories just like a good story, for both old and young alike. Lose yourself in fairytales to while away the time until your goodies are ready to take out of the oven and devour.

I love this book and the beautiful images inside it. I can’t wait for my granddaughter who is only one to be old enough to enjoy baking with me with this book. It’s definitely one for the coffee table and a real conversation starter. The recipes are clear and very easy to follow with a choice of some unusual ones (for me anyway), and it makes a nice change.

VINTAGE GOOD HOUSEKEEPING BOOKS…

Before 1800, housekeeping books tended to be handwritten collections of recipes and instructions tried and tested by the household cook. By the 1850’s they were developed into books for ‘adult women’, in particular for your brides who were setting up home.

They were intended as work manuals, they were without lavish photography or even set in fine bindings but if you can get hold of one from a book shop they will amaze you. They tell us about the lives of the women in the past from where you can see social change and the disappearance of domestic servants.

Mrs. Breton’s Book of Household Management, which was published in 1861 was a huge success and sold 60,000 copies in its first year and two million by 1868. Of course with no television at that time these books were inspirational.

By the time Helen Simpson wrote ‘The Happy Housewife’ in 1934 modern appliances were starting to pop up everywhere, not only helping with the housework but also removing the servants of that time.

In ‘Keeping House’ with Elizabeth Craig (Collins 1936) she said ‘ I have no use for elaborately decorated or furnished homes or for elaborate meals. The simpler the home, the simpler the housekeeping.

Some of these vintage home books can now fetch a lot of money at auction. A book published in 1687 ‘The Accomplished Ladies Rich Closit of Rarities’, by John Shirley sold at Sotheby’s for £1,625. So, if your great aunt or grandma is still alive and has some old cookery books make sure they don’t end up at the tip.

Even the National Trust ‘Manual of Housekeeping of 2006’ sold 10,000 copies in 2006 !!!!!!!