It’s that time of year when I’m getting ready for the horticultural show in the village. Every year the classes are slightly different but each year tradition tends to win out. And it seems it may not just be our village show, as recent posts over on Belleau Kitchen show. So,if you’ve got a show coming up and need some inspiration, here’s some of the books I would be turning to.
* Mary Berry’s Baking Bible – certainly for our show, you’ve got to go traditional. So my lovely lemon drizzle cake from Red Velvet & Chocolate Heartache will be out, and Mary Berry or the WI is in. I’m loving Mary a little bit more since the Great British Bake Off and this compendium of recipes should cover most of the baking classes that any show may throw at you!
* Good Old-fashioned Jams, Preserves and Chutneys by Sara Paston-Williams – now, this is a hard one for me, as my favourite jam book is Mes Confitures by Christine Ferber, but the majority of the recipes are far too way out there for our show, as I know from previous experience. Sara’s book is written for the National Trust, so a few national treasures lurk inside. Blackberry jam would be a safe bet at this time of year, and this book has a recipe for it. Don’t buy it for exciting new stuff, buy it for competition beating, village show stuff.
* Pickles, Relishes and Chutneys: Step-by-step Recipes for Home Preserving by Catherine Atkinson – this is an area that I tend not to compete in, as not a huge fan of chutney. Also BFF is pretty darn good in this area, so wouldn’t want to go up against her! This recipe book covers pickles, relishes and chutney, as well as savoury jellies, salsas and sauces. I would head in the direction of the more traditional, simpler recipes.
* WI Big Book of Best Kept Secrets: 500 Seasonal Recipes – there has to be a WI book in here somewhere, and this one would be useful for more than just the horticultural show. There are seasonal sections for baking and preserving, and then enough recipes to keep body and soul together for the rest of the time.
* The Great British Village Show Cookbook by James Martin – I’m not sure why I don’t own any books by James Martin, never really ticked any boxes for me. But this one just might I guess. This has good looking recipes matched up with the inside track from experienced village show judges. Forewarned is forearmed and all that. Maybe I need this for next year. Especially if there’s a chocolate stout cake class!
Sadly, I think I may not be going for a full house of entries, as day job calls, not to mention a long-haul flight and a few Miles for Macmillan. I shall be perfecting my lemon drizzle and a few Julie Biscuits (an old family favourite recipe) but apple pie, lemon curd and cheese scones will just have to wait for another day! I’ll keep you posted on any interesting rosettes heading my way!