Friday 16 December 2011

How to Be a Domestic Goddess, Review and one copy to give away

Now for a post about a book that is dear to my heart. How to Be a Domestic Goddess Baking and the art of Comfort Cooking by Nigella Lawson first published in 2000 by Chatto and Windus. This was Nigella’s second cookbook (after How to Eat). I was asked a little while ago if I’d like to review this book, which of course I would! I have a copy from when it first came out, so I asked WH Smith if they would be ok if I gave away the copy I was sent to a reader on here, and they said yes, so thanks to WH Smith for the paperback copy to give away. Just leave a comment to be entered for the draw, first name out of the hat on 22nd December 2011. Closing date for comments to go in the draw is 21st December 2011 at midnight. THIS IS NOW CLOSED.

Pink Wafer Rose Bud Fairy Cakes

When this book came out I cooked from it obsessively for a good number of months. It’s a great book, a baking book to entice existing bakers, but with enough of a modern edge to appeal but the new bakers too. The book is nicely presented, although do be aware this is not a book where every single recipe is pictured, but the pictures are all tempting. I still love it today, all these years later. The main chapters are: * Cakes* Biscuits* Pies* Puddings* Chocolate* Children* Christmas* Bread and Yeast* and The Domestic Goddess’s Larder*.

Dolly Mixture Fairy Cakes

I have baked a lot from this book, it was in my pre-blogging days that this book came out, which is a shame, as I could have had some pretty pictures of cakes and cupcakes on here! I have been particularly taken with the cupcakes in Domestic Goddess and some of the recipes I have made are: Burnt Butter Brown-Sugar Cupcakes (which were a lot nicer than the title makes them sound), Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing, Blueberry Muffins, Baklava Muffins, Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes, Espresso Cupcakes, Night and Day Cupcakes, Cappuccino Cupcakes, Jam Doughnut Muffins, Chirstmas Morning Muffins and Christmas Cupcakes which are very beautiful as well as delicious.

Cake wise I’ve made a few too, Nigella’s Victoria Sponge is my go-to recipe, Dense Chocolate Loaf Cake is fabulous too - I sometimes make it as cupcake sponges too, Flora’s Famous Courgette Cake, Butterscotch Layer Cake, Boston Cream Pie, Marzipan Fruit Cake, Coconut Cake, Chocolate Marsala Cake – one of my favourite cakes and Chocolate Pistachio Cake. The Strawberry Shortcakes definitely need a mention too as do the Peanut-Butter Squares which are like home-made Reese Peanut Butter cups. This is not an exhaustive list of all I’ve baked from this book – but you get the picture, there is a lot to tempt the baker and eater!

Butter Cut Out Biscuits

I made these for a party a while ago.

Fairy Cakes

I’ve made these often, and here are three ways I’ve decorated them for parties.

Store Cupboard Chocolate-Orange Cake

I’ve made this one a few times too, if you use marmalade you get a bitter-ish orange taste, I prefer it with jam for a sweeter fruity vibe.

Banana, Cherry and White-Chocolate Cupcakes

These are very easy, a quick mash and stir is all that’s needed. I think these are super comforting. A number of years ago I made these when my hubby had a friend round, they were not that long out of the oven. Every time I have seen his friend since he sees me and thinks of these cupcakes!

Good luck with the draw if you enter and hope you win (NOW CLOSED), but if not WH Smith have a great cookery selection here.

The winner is the second commenter Aby Wilson - well done Aby, I'll be in touch and you'll soon have your book :)

Next up: One Sweet Cookie by Tracey Zabar

Sunday 4 December 2011

Monday Morning Cooking Club, Review

Ever since I read the information about this book I was itching to get my hands on it! Monday Morning Cooking Club by Merelyn Frank Chalmers, Natanya Eskin, Lauren Fink, Lisa Goldberg, Paula Horwitz and Jacqui Israel, published in 2011 by Hardie Grant Publishers. With thanks to Caroline and Hardie Grant for my copy.

It was worth the wait too. I would have to start off by saying that I’m not Jewish, but for some time now I’ve been buying and looking at books searching for ‘the’ book on Jewish food. I don’t know exactly what I was looking for only that I had not managed to find it, but let me tell you, for me - this is it!

So what is the Monday Morning cooking club? Well it is a Monday morning meet up for the six authors of this book, where they have hunted out recipes, tried and ditched, or tried and kept the recipes. The recipes in the book are the keepers, all accredited to their family owners, and there is a little information about each family, and how they came to Australia – the country where they all now live. I love the little snippets of family history, particularly as I get older where recipes come from their provenance and how they have evolved is ever more important to me.

Chapters are: *Our Story* Who we are* The cooks, their stories, the recipes* plus a glossary. The book is nicely laid out, with lots and lots of pictures, and they in turn are very doable and look like they have been cooked in a family kitchen.

There are so many recipes I’d like to try over the next while like: Chocolate Almond Florentines, Bienenstich, Mediterranean Fish Stew with Couscous, Sophie’s Orange Cake, Mamoul, Chicken Persian Pilau, Lauren’s Tuna Salad, Almond Kifli, Israeli Couscous Soup and Mum’s Crumb Cookies (date bars), Gina’s Hair Raising Honey Cake – to name but a few.

A lovely book all round, worth keeping an eye out for - interesting for the cook, but also the cookbook reader too. Here are the three recipes I’ve tried so far:

My Own Red Chicken

This is an oven bound sort of sweet and sour chicken. It’s punchy and loud, but I loved this recipe.


These are suggested as accompaniments to soup. Little yummy savoury beef puff pastry morsels, well actually not so very little! Beef mince cooked with red wine, tomatoes, kecap manis and Worcestershire sauce, then encased in puff pastry and baked. They would be nice for supper with a good salad too.

Ginger Snaps

I love ginger snaps, but have never got round to making them myself until now, very easy and results in a good crisp gingery biscuit. A lovely biccie to have in your cookie tin or jar.

Next Review Up: One of Nigella’s classics - How to Be a Domestic Goddess with one copy to give away.