Wednesday 30 July 2008

Cherry Cake and Ginger Beer

The Gentle Art of Domesticity is an incredibly original and beautiful book. Ideas like that are not two a penny so I kind of assumed that Jane Brocket had found her niche and would stay in that area. But I was wrong Cherry Cake and Ginger Beer: A Golden Treasury of Classic Treats is not only completely different but is such an original idea I wondered how it hadn't been done before. This is the perfect book for mothers with young children, young children themselves, or indeed anyone who loved Enid Blyton and long for life to be picnics with tartan blankets and lashings of Ginger Beer.

'A wonderfully nostalgic cookery book, it will take you straight back to your favourite children's books and show you how to cook the feel-good foods that feature so strongly in them. So you'll find recipes for Milly Molly Mandy's Treacle Tart, a Swallows and Amazons Boat Breakfast, the Famous Five Fruit Cake and St Clare's Eclairs amongst others'.

Not only is this a nostalgic treat for adults it will inspire children to read and take an interest in food and cooking. I'm desperate to try Mrs Persimmon's Crumpets, Jeremy and Jemima's More-Jam-Than-Puff Jam Puffs and the Gorgeous Ginger Beer. Cherry Cake and Ginger Beer is guaranteed to bring out the old school domestic goddess in you, and make you very popular with your friends!! xx

Cherry Cake and Ginger Beer: A Golden Treasury of Classic Treats is published by Hodder and Stoughton

Monday 28 July 2008

Inappropriate Behaviour

Maggie Thatcher - you either love her or you hate her... but does that mean that we should be discussing her funeral arrangements on the TV and radio whilst she sits at home still very much with us? How would you feel if people were discussing whether or not you deserved a certain kind of funeral whilst you were still around. How depressing. And all the while yet another person is getting stabbed for no reason. Surely there are more important things to be thinking about?
To get over it I had to go and buy myself Maybelline's new Define-a lash volume mascara - I love the original so am v excited about trying this out. The more volume the better! xx

Thursday 17 July 2008

Seeing the Wood for Floozies

What the hell is Ronnie Wood doing? In fact, no that's unfair, what the hell does Ekaterina Ivanova think she's doing. Meddling with an institution that's what. Ronnie is back in rehab having once again fallen off the wagon - no surprises there - and shacked up with a Russian 19 year old. All over the papers Katia's mother is cashing in claiming that nothing sexual is going on, now she's saying definitely something sexual was going on. Then that it's got nothing to do with his money whilst in the same sentence complaining that her 19 year old daughter is only getting £300 a day for modeling for his paintings. She is also saying how degrading it is for her daughter to have to pose nude and how Ronnie is taking advantage of her. One question for you - what the hell is your 19 year old daughter doing in an escort club (where she met Ronnie) if she is so damn innocent?

This whole sordid affair is ruining one of the most respected marriages in rock history. Jo and Ronnie have been together for 23 years - she's stuck by him through countless bouts of drinking and rehab and the occasional indiscretion of the trouser department, yet he is still stupid enough to lose his head over a 19 year old gold digger. Will men ever learn? Being with you for 23 years breeds a loyalty that no floozy will have. When the going gets tough the twinky gets going and then you'll have to slink back on your knees and hope that the woman who knows you for what you are can forgive you. To top it all off I think Jo still knocks spots of the Russian - Katia doesn't even come close.

Speaking of twinkies. Who remembers Sienna Miller saying that Daisy, the errant nanny who was all too tempting for Jude can't-keep-it-in-his-pants Law, had better watch out and hope that she didn't bump into Sienna in a dark alley. Its wonderful to know that Sienna has learnt from that experience. She has such empathy that she has no qualms about running about with Balthazar Getty who's wife has fled with their 8 month old daughter after pictures of Sienna smooching her husband have been plastered all over the press for weeks. Does she not realise that she is even worse than the nanny - Getty is not only married but a new father and all Sienna's weak bleating that they are just friends means nothing when coupled with pictures of her draping her semi-nude form all over him at every available opportunity. I know she took the Jude thing hard but she clearly learnt nothing from the experience at all. xx

Wednesday 2 July 2008

The Kitchen Revolution

Right - it is finally here. The perfect cook book for everyone. Whether you are terrified of cooking or a cooking goddess who just have too much on to pore over hundreds of recipes The Kitchen Revolution: A Year of Time-and-money-saving Recipes by Rosie Sykes, Polly Russell and Zoe Heron is 'a foolproof way to get fabulous food on the table, save money and reduce waste'. It not only offers over 300 fantastic recipes but gives you a complete system for daily cooking with weekly menus, shopping lists, recipes for using leftovers and freezing things in advance and is based on feeding four people for £50-£60 a week.

Devised by three friends - Rosie Sykes the Guardian's Kitchen Doctor and has worked in the kitchens of some of the UK's greatest chefs she now runs the cooking at the Olde Bell Inn, Hurley. Polly Russell is taking a PhD research on food and the politics of identity, has cooked in restaurants and is currently working as a Content Specialist at the British Library. Zoe Heron is the muse for this book. An award-winning documentary producer, whose ineptitude in the kitchen inspired Rosie and Polly to create The Kitchen Revolution. She helped to develop the recipes and changed her culinary life. These three busy women have developed 'The System' a way to make every bit of cooking easier - from deciding what to cook, to actually doing the shopping, to making the most of your ingredients, fridge and freezer whilst minimising waste.

So what's The System? 'A way to plan the week's meals to allow for lazy days as well as cooking days, to cut down on the work in the kitchen and to make the most of seasonal food'. The best thing is that it's totally flexible - even though the monthly format can seem quite restrictive this in fact just helps you see what's available and in season. The meals are divided up so that every week you cook one 'big meal from scratch' the most labour intensive meal, two 'something from nothing' meals using up the leftovers in an appetising way, one 'seasonal supper' quick, simple and fresh, one 'larder feast' made primarily from store cupboard ingredients on those bare=fridge days, one 'two for one' comforting and dependable you eat half and freeze half and one 'lazy day supper' a 'defrosted two for one'. It's The System where Zoe comes into her own she is the one 'living the system' which she did for a year so that it's perfectly tweaked and adapted. She says its 'transformed her life in the kitchen'.

I could rave about the wonderful intricacies of this book for hours (their basics section sent me into a nesting frenzy) but The System just wouldn't work if you don't like the recipes. And these recipes are fabulous. Not only is there something for everyone but there are perfect balances of meals throughout the week. Having sat a dribbled my way through this entire book I've already picked out a few that I'm going to try asap. Hoisin Chicken Wraps with Noodle Salad (a Something for Nothing recipe from July's week 2), Vietnamese Beef Salad (another Something from Nothing) and Smoked Mussel Spaghetti (one of Octobers Larder Feasts). Even traditional dishes such as Roast Beef get a mouth watering twist to Roast Beef with a Pepper crust, Garlic New Potatoes and Green Bean and Red Onion Salad (July week 3's Big Meal from Scratch).

From the traditional to the exotic this is the most user friendly exciting cookbook I've seen for sometime. Everything about it is new and exciting and I challenge anyone to be disappointed. xx

The Kitchen Revolution: A Year of Time-and-money-saving Recipes is published by Ebury Press
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