Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Wider Still, And Wider

H&Gchocolate…that’s definitely what my hips will be, if I make anything from these Hope and Glory Greenwood cookbooks. I have to say, they are both delightful little confections – fudges, truffles, fairy cakes, cream teas, cakes, cucumber sandwiches, and more.


But I have, for the time being, returned them to the library, without trying any of the morsels mentioned therein. I must lose weight, or the MOB dress purchased in January will not fit in June. But they are lovely books, beautifully written.

Miss Hope writes in a charmingly retro style, top notch and t’riffic! Her recipes all seem to be petite portion sizes. But they sound so delicious I think I would be hard-pressed to stop at just one or two. I may get these out of the library again in July – these are quite definitely “Vicarage Tea Party” recipes.


At the other end of the bookshelf is Alison Walker’s Country Cook’s Kitchen. Food Editor for Country Living mag, AW has put together a guide to ‘traditional’ culinary skills – baking, breadmaking, curing, dairymaking, bottling, potting and preserving. Each chapter begins with sections on ingredients, equipment and techniques – then there are plenty of recipes.

I didn’t realise you could make your own marscapone – at about half the price of shop bought! She also says ‘there is a great deal of inexpensive fun to be had in building your own smoker out of a discarded filing cabinet’ [yeah, I know – I’m married to a Heavy Smoker] The photographs are lovely, the text is well written. The book is beautifully informative, even if you never actually produce anything from it, you feel you have learned a lot just in reading it.

rachel allen home cooking

And finally, good old Rachel Allen. I discovered RA in Ireland 7 years ago when torrential rain on holiday meant we forsook our tent for the dry, warm B&B. We spent the evenings watching her on TV and I loved her down-to-earth style and homely recipes [‘homely’ in a good sense, she isn’t ‘cheffy’] In Austria last year, Hannah told me all about Ballymaloe, and I’ve looked out more RA books since.

This is a great ‘family’ book. Lots of everyday, manageable recipes, which will appeal to adults and children alike. Plenty of basic recipes for accompaniments [such as sweet and savoury sauces] and ideas for using leftovers creatively. The recipes are peppered with good tips and techniques. I am planning to make her toffee sauce, and mocha sauce in the summer, to put on ice cream etc. But not till after the wedding!  I could have done with just a few more photos though – I do like to know what the finished result should look like.

redonion jam

Interestingly, Rachel and Alison have two almost identical recipes – RA has ‘red onion jam’ and AW has ‘red onion marmalade’. But whereas Rachel adds colour with “Crème de cassis or blackcurrant cordial”, Alison opts for “Grenadine or raw beetroot juice” I quite fancy making one of these crimson preserves sometime.

These four library books were all an enjoyable read, and I would give them all ***** They all made my mouth water, and each made me want to try at least one, if not more, of the recipes therein. They were a good read, and well written and attractively laid out.

Salad for tea again tonight…


“I am half sick of salads!” cried the Lady of Shalott


  1. My red onion marmalade chutney doesn't use any things for colouring except red vinegar and ends!

    I'm now going to see if the library have that country kitchen book

  2. Does Bob smoke? Wouldn't have realised that! x


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