Friday, 28 November 2014

Five on Friday

I have quite a lot of cookbooks - according to some people who shall remain nameless hubby - although, I think that compared to some people I don't think that I have that many.  They are all favourites though.  If I don't cook from them, if I don't like them, the recipes don't work or they just bug me I am afraid they go.  I need recipes that work for us.  They have to taste good, come out as promised and be relatively straightforward.

Of course there are also the books that I read like novels, never cook from and just have because I love them!

I thought that I would share five of them with you today.  First of all is this book.  The Good Housekeeping Cookery Book.

This is roughly the same age as me.  It has travelled far and wide and has seen a lot of action - the damage below was caused by being chewed by a puppy! - and also a lot of use.

It will always go with me wherever I go, despite the fact that quite a lot of the recipes are things that I would never cook.

You can see that the pictures have a very retro look to them.  Do you remember serving curries like the one in the picture above, with the obligatory shaved coconut and we also used to add slices of banana for some reason.  They never feature in my curries now!

There are also sections telling you how to freeze things, making massive meals for groups of people - beef casserole for 50 anyone? - and some very dated menu plans as well.  I love this book though.  It is comforting and I will always keep it and treasure it forever.

Second is a Delia Smith favourite, her Christmas book and the newer version.  I use this book every year to make my Christmas cake and some other things too.  I actually prefer the older book than the newer one.

It is interesting to see how times change though, the old book from decades ago includes game pie, which doesn't feature at all in the new version of the book.  Tastes and fashion change over the years and it is just the same for food isn't it.

My very first own cookbook is this one.  The Pooh Corner Cook Book.  I have to say that I don't use this one any more and haven't done for a long time.  Again I keep it for sentimental reasons mainly.  I remember receiving it aged about 9 I think, but I can't be sure!

There are recipes for such delights as the orange jellies above, basically jelly set in an orange half! and Upside Down Pineapple Cake which you can see that I tried to adapt to using cups for when I lived in the US and didn't have any kitchen scales to weigh things!

A few years ago now I came across the books of Australian Chef Bill Granger, and I have a lot of his books!  I use them all though and cook from them often.  In fact they are probably the books that by hubby and I are most likely to turn to.  There isn't anything that I have ever cooked from one Granger's books that hasn't turned out well or tasted wonderful.  These are books that I flick through and think, I want to make that and that and that and so on.  I think that is a sign of a good cookbook!

You can see that we use these books a lot!  This Baked Risotto is a favourite - you can see that by the state of this page.  You can also see of course what a messy cook I am!

Another of Grangers books contains this recipe for Fish Burritos and you can see that this page really has seen some action! 

My final choice for today is this book by Nigella Lawson.  Again I have lots of her books, but I think this is my favourite.  Her writing style had relaxed a little from her first books, and I find that her more recent books aren't my favourites so much.  This one is just perfect for me though!

I make lots of things from this and I love all of Lawson's different recipes for ham's.  This one is especially good.  Her ones cooked in cola are also delicious, and there is another cooked in ginger ale which is scrummy too!

Although I have quite a lot of books, taking time to consider them I see that my range of authors is not that wide.  It does show though that we know what we like doesn't it!


This is my last solo Five on Friday post.  Next week lots of other bloggers will start to join in which I am really looking forward to!  I hope that you will enjoy reading the other posts too so join us again next week for more Five's!


Thursday, 27 November 2014

The sun is out!

The sun came out to play again!  After what seems like days of rain and grey weather the sun decided to pay a visit today, which of course meant that it needed to be photographed!

There are still clouds, but at least they are white and puffy, not grey and laden with rain.

There are still a lot of leaves on our oak trees, although you can see below that a lot of them have fallen already and are waiting for a dry day to be raked up.

There was almost a pinky tinge in the sky as well which was quite beautiful.

The birds are still enjoying the berries on the neighbours hawthorn tree.  I am surprised that there are so many berries left on this tree, as I think that every berry in our garden has been eaten - and all the grapes!

It is so lovely to see the sun shining after grey days isn't it.


Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Advent... minus a few days yet

As I shared yesterday I have been trying to arrange my advent candles as it is the first Sunday of Advent at the weekend.  Round one didn't really work!  I had an idea that I might try and use some tea lights one each day for the first week, two for the second and so on.

After some thinking though I realised that I would get through an awful lot of tea lights!!  So some further thought was required.  Last year, as in previous years I used candles in purple for the first two and last weeks, pink for the third week and a white candle for Christmas day.  Purple candles are now hard to find though in these parts it seems.  I did some reading and found that gold candles can also be used, and as I had some gold candles already that seemed to be the answer.

I love this bowl which takes four candles around the rim, so I added the gold candles.  With the addition of a red pillar candle in the middle - standing on a glass saucer for safety I might add - and some berry candle rings, I think that this will work.  We only light it for a little while and I will watch it carefully to make sure that the wax and flame stays well away from the candle rings!

As the arrangement is rather large and will be moved for meals I wanted something smaller to leave on the table so I added my old favourites.  These metal pinecone candle holders and some beeswax candles.

Overall I am happy with this arrangement, it looks pretty, and will function well each Sunday in Advent when we pause to light our candles.

So although decorating for Christmas is still some way off, and I haven't done the shopping that I should have, I have prepared for Advent, which is all about preparing for Christmas so perhaps the preparations can wait for just a few more days...