Friday, 18 November 2011

Cookbook Reviews

You know how I love to review a cookbook don't you? I've done plenty of them on here because as sad as it is, I love to read a cookbook. I've actually stopped counting "the collection" now but it's still growing... 

I was recently sent two books to review from Harper Collins.  One about preserves, and one about cakes - two of my favourite kitchen endeavours!

by Jill Nice

Described as a "beginner's guide to making jams and jellies, chutneys and pickles, sauces and ketchups, syrups and alcoholic sips", this book is an easy-to-use guide full of ideas for making preserves from all kinds of fruit and vegetables.

The book is detailed and for the absolute beginner, the starts with the history behind preserving and the different types of preserving you can do - jam, conserves, curds, chutneys, relishes, pickles, spiced fruits, fruits in alcohol, sauces and ketchups, before leading onto a section on the key ingredients used in preserving. It wasn't until reading this section that I became aware you could use tinned fruit and vegetables as well as frozen and dried to make preserves! 

There's some handy information on what can go wrong and also some safety information (sounds weird, but these preserves can get REALLY hot).  Then of course there are the recipes which are divided into sections like vegetables, fruit and herbs.

Recipes that stand out to me as something I want to give a go - the Sweet Beetroot Pickle as I always end up with too much beetroot each year, Apple & Ginger Jam - purely because I've never tried this flavour before and the Bitter Lemon Chutney which set my tongue tingling merely at the name! There is also a Cranberry Chutney which I think I am going to make this weekend as it sounds perfect for Christmas and says to leave for a month before eating. I'll be reporting back on that one very soon!

The book is attractive and a small, handy size. There are no photographs in the book (but there are some illustrations scattered around) and whilst this is normally a bugbear of mine in a cookbook I don't really feel that a book on preserving needs photos. This would be a useful book to keep on your kitchen shelf, particularly if you "grow-you-own" and may occasionally be faced with a glut of courgettes or something!

Preserves by Jill Nice is published by Harper Collins with a RRP of £14.99. It is available to buy at Amazon.

Cake Angels 
by Julia Thomas

The second book I was sent was Cake Angels which is a book full of gluten, wheat and dairy free cakes. I actually have no need to cook for a specific diet as fortunately nobody in the family has an allergy or intolerance but I can see that this might be a handy book to have around if you need to whip something up for guests or when cooking for something like a school fete.

Julia Thomas launched her own bespoke baking service Cake Angels, the "free from" artisan bakery where she sends delicious cakes using an overnight courier. This book houses all her favourite recipes and aims to show the reader just how easy is to bake gloriously moist and delicious dairy, wheat and gluten free cakes.

There is a key ingredient section at the start which I think is a must for anyone who has never baked "free from" goods before. The recipes vary from classics like Victoria Sandwich, Chocolate Fudge Cake and Carrot Cake to the slightly more adventurous like Orange & Pomegranate Cake and Le Fraisier.  My own favourites are the Traditional Cherry & Almond and the Black Forest Brownies.

The book has good images with a nice introduction to each recipe. The ingredients list and method are clear and detailed.  There are a few items of ingredients that I wouldn't know where to start looking for but I'm sure are probably readily available in supermarkets or health food shops.  If you have anyone in the family or a friend with an allergy or intolerance this would make a lovely Christmas gift.

Cake Angels by Jill Thomas is published by Harper Collins with a RRP of £16.99 and is available to buy at Amazon

love & kisses 
Mrs M x


  1. I always have loads of lemons!! So will now have to google for bitter lemon chutney - sounds delish.

  2. I always have loads of lemons!! So will now have to google for bitter lemon chutney - sounds delish.


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