The Friday Five – my birthdays in cookbooks


Bring on the cake!


Lets face it, I’m pretty good at birthdays now. I’ve had more than a few, and I guess friends and family have got the hang by now of my interests and likes! In fact, writing the blog has definitely helped them out, with some of my posts being less than subtle hints! So, as it’s nearly that time of year again, thought I would review those books I’ve received at different times, from different people, and across many different types of food.


Delia's Summer Collection


Delia’s Summer Collection – my mum and dad bought me this one, and it’s even signed by Delia. Think Mum went to what was then Georges on Park Street in Bristol to meet her. I still cook from this each summer, the pan fried halloumi cheese being a standby, and the coconut ice cream still one of my faves. I don’t look at the publication date, it makes me feel old. But this book is timeless. And the photography is still beautiful and evocative of the best summers even now.


Cupcakes from the Primrose Bakery – this one came from BFF and her fella, I can’t imagine why! We’ve had some fabulous afternoon teas together, and I’ve baked one or two cakes for them over the years. These are good cupcakes, not over fancy ones in my book, ones where taste of cake is as important as the icing. This is a keeper. Hello Cupcake up for grabs. Never baking from this.


The Book of Tapas by Simone and Ines Ortega – just to show what happens when you have more than one wishlist on Amazon. I use one for storing books for future Friday Fives, and one for stuff I’d really like. And sometimes, some members of the family have got the two mixed up. Sometimes it would work ok. And sometimes, there are times when it doesn’t. This one didn’t see another birthday in the house.


How to be a Domestic Goddess: Baking and the Art of Comfort Caking – of course, there’s a cake theme, baking, comfort food. My friends know me well. This book is very well-thumbed, and is covered in different cake batters. I don’t think there’s a better recommendation for a cookbook than finding the messiest one on anyone’s shelf!


Salt: A World History by Mark Kurlansky – this was a follow up to me reading Cod the year before. Great reading, some brilliant recipes, and more stuff than you ever thought you wanted to know about salt. And then some.


So, who knows what the birthday fairy might turn up with this year if I’ve been good? Will keep you posted!



My foodie holiday reading


One of the best parts of a holiday is choosing your holiday reading, and I am happy to have got through 3 books over the fortnight that have a definite foodie flavour to them (somehow, I can’t really say A Year in the Merde counts, although it was a good trashy read). In case you or your loved one need some inspiration, these were my three:


Cod - the fish that changed the world - great gift for a food lover looking for a good book


1. Cod A Biography of the Fish That Changed the World by Mark Kurlansky

This was on the bookshelf in our gite, and I swapped A Year in the Merde for it, and am really pleased I did. An unlikely subject, but really fascinating. I may not be dashing into the kitchen to try some of the recipes though. Salted cod tounges anyone? I know it’s not a new book, having won the Best Food Book at the Glenfiddich 1999 Food & Drink Awards, but it is worth a read

2. Pies and Prejudice by Stuart Maconie

I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry at this book, being a good Northern girl myself. Plenty of food references, from Uncle Joe’s Mint Balls through to the best black pudding on Bury market. Easy read, but worth every minute of reading it.

3. Eat My Globe by Simon Majumdar

Simon exists so I don’t have to try things like dog and rat. I feel like a very poor foodie in relation to the things he’s tried, but quite happy not to! This is a world tour like no other, and worth reading wherever you are in the world.

Should keep you going for a little while at least!