Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woollen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favourite things
I've been channelling my inner Julie Andrews this week, since receiving this exciting package from Parragon Books. It came accompanied with a tea towel, which a clue to what was hiding inside. (Actually, with the camera flash, you can see what was under the brown paper if you look closely !)
Ripping off the paper, I discovered Cook & Enjoy Baking : Delicious Recipes For The Everyday Cook. It is a hardback book with 224 pages, packed with 100 family-friendly recipes, both for everyday basic bakes and also some more elaborate dishes for special occasions.
The book is split into sections : Cakes, Small Cakes & Slices, Cookies, Desserts and Bread and Savouries. It offers a wide selection of desserts, snacks and nibbles rather than complete meals and, flicking through, I frequently mumbled "ooh, that looks nice" or "I haven't eaten those in years" !
I am a pretty adventurous cook so I found quite a few of the recipes to be quite simple and homely, reminding me of the things I used to make in cookery lessons at school.
There are some more unusual and original options though, such as Mango & Ginger Roulade or Blue Cheese, Fig & Walnut Bread, and other twists on old favourites, such as adding walnuts to banana bread.
The recipes are all accompanied by beautifully presented, full-colour photos and are clearly laid out with step-by-step instructions. It would be a great book for a novice baker or someone who wants to get back to basics and make things, such as bread and cakes, from scratch, rather than going for shop-bought options. Even the simple recipes often have little twists to bring them bang up to date or add a touch of pizazz.
The first recipe that I tried was for Cheese Straws - a recipe I initially thought would be too basic, because the last time I made them was probably in primary school ! However, the recipe I used back then certainly didn't include curry powder, cumin seeds and poppy seeds (or black onion seeds, which was what I had in the spice rack) and they gave them a lovely touch of exoticism, really bringing the flavour alive and taking them to another level.
I also made some Chewy Oat Biscuits but as I changed the recipe slightly, substituting the wholemeal flour for Ready Brek (very finely milled oats), they came out with a heavier texture and everybody decided they were more like scones.
I finished off a packet of Fruit, Nuts & Goji Berries instead of the usual raisins, which gave them a lovely crunch and tartness, along with the sweetness. Because they contain oats and fruit, we decided they were a good breakfast option and they have been gobbled up, either straight from the tin or spread with butter.
Both of the recipes were simple to follow (and to adapt to use what you have in the cupboards) and we'll definitely be working through some more of the recipes.
RRP : £14.99
Disclosure : I received the book in order to write an honest review.