Archive for the ‘cooking’ Category

With the kids all finished for Christmas (lucky them) now is the perfect time to get in the kitchen, roll up those sleeves and start on your Christmas baking. And who shows them how better than Usborne?

Christmas Cooking is part of the Usborne Activties series and features lots of recipes; sweet and savoury to get you in the festive spirit. From crinkly Christmas pies to iced gingerbread hearts, this book has it all. It features step-by-step illustrated and photographed instructions on how to get the best result. If anything is considered too difficult or dangerous for a child to do, then in lets you know parents should help at that stage…brilliant.

I’ve tried my hand at the gingerbread biscuits and they came out beautifully. They were meant to be added to the decorations on my tree but not all of them made it…nom nom nom.

A fantastic activity cookbook to fill up those hours inbetwen The Polar Express and The Muppet Christmas Carol!


Rebecca Gilpin & Catherine Atkinson


£4.99 PB



Read Full Post »

During the festive season there’s nothing I love more than spending time in the kitchen, with a good Christmas movie on in the background. But sometimes it’s hard to let kids get involved unless you are prepared for mass destruction of the kitchen…and your food.

That’s where Usborne’s ’30 Things to Cook and Eat for Christmas’ comes in. Produced as a handy small hardback book which will survive the odd smearing of butter and dusting of flour these thirty recipes have the makings of a classic Christmas cookbook for the little ones, with easy to follow step-by-step illustrated instructions.

My favourites are the creamy chocolate fudge, which would make a lovely gift is presented in a box of tied in a clear bag twirled with christmas ribbons.

On Sunday I’ll be visiting the Winchester Christmas Market, held in the cathedral grounds. For those who have never been I think it comes second to Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland and in terms of the things sold in the stalls, it’s second to none. I’ll be walking round with a glass of mulled wine in hand looking for inspiration.  Then in the afternoon I’ll be putting up the Christmas tree at home. Whilst we have far too many decorations to fit on the tree, I always like to do something a little homemade and this year I’ll be trying ‘Shining Star Biscuits’ from the book. These are simple ginger spiced biscuits baked with a boiled sweet in the middle of the biscuit to a create a stained glass appearance. These will look stunning against the twinkling lights. Check back Sunday evening for the results.

At just £5.99 this book is a steal for what you get from it; hours of festive fun in the kitchen and then a few minutes pleasure from eating all your hard work.

’30 Things to Cook and Eat for Christmas’ is published by Usborne £5.99


Read Full Post »

Cooking the Indian Way


Cooking the Indian Way - Cooking Around the World S. No. 7

What better time to review this book than during National Curry Week? I originally wanted this book to feature in my National Non Fiction Day post but I chose to wait. This book is a fantastic way of introducing children to new traditions, cultures and ways of cooking.

I don’t think enough children are taught cooking. There will be the rare occasion of a stir up Sunday or a cooking class at school (in which you recreate a meal eaten on the Titanic-oh yes!) but other than that, what time do we honestly have to pass on some cooking wisdom? This book; part of the ‘Cooking the … Way’ series, teaches you the customs, traditions and flavour of Indian cooking through simple, photographic step-by-step instructions.

There is a fascinating map in the introduction explaining where certain foods are traditionally found. Rice is primarily harvested in the North east region of India and more exotic seafood can be found off the Western coast. My favourite recipe has to be the Indian Toffee…the recipe for which you will find at the bottom of this post. There’s also a substantial vegetarian section and a chapter dedicated entirely to festival food…my favourite!   

And whilst an Indian cookbook may seem daunting for even the most cultured adult cook, this book has all the starting safety points, instructions and shopping list that will calm any child (or parent!). A great introductory cookery book.

Cooking the Indian Way is published by Lerner Books. wwwlernerbooks.co.uk

9780761343950 £7.99

INDIAN TOFFEE Families exchange plates of sweets during Diwali. Barfi, a favourite treat at many celebrations, is quick and easy to make, which allows more time for socializing.

INGREDIENTS: 95g sugar, 120ml water, 85g condensed milk, 115g mixed chopped nuts, 45g bread crumbs, 1tbsp butter, 1/2 tsp vanilla


1. Bring the sugar and water to the boil and remove it from the heat.

2. Add the remaining ingredients and stir until the mixture thickens and resembles dough.

3. While the mixture is hot, roll it out flat until it is 1.5-2cm thick. Roll it on a greased surface or a piece of greaseproof paper. Immediately cut it into squares. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Read Full Post »

There’s always leftover flesh from an afternoon spent carving pumpkins so what better way to use it all up than to make pumpkin soup. here, Winnie the Witch shows you how.

Read Full Post »

Yesterday I had the honour of attending the book launch of The Moomin Cookbook published by SelfMadeHero £12.99 9781906838164

We all piled into Books for Cooks, the most wonderful bookstore that only stocks cookbooks and Moomintroll himself graced us with his presence and posed for photographs. He tried to get his hands on some vodka cocktails- he’s a cheeky one.

The book itself is filled with delightful original illustrations by Tove Jansson and Sami Mailila has certainly done The Moomin’s justice by adapting some lovely recipes from the original stories. At the event we feasted on smoked salmon and dill on sourdough, herring on sourdough, cheese and onion tart, finnish meatballs, pancakes with lingonberry jam and cinnammon bun rolls. It was a feast fit for a Moomin.

Moomin’s love pancakes and whilst slightly different to the american style ones we may cook here, they certainly are delicious and a recipe I will be trying very soon. Other highlight include Finnish Fish Bubble and Squeak, Pumpkin Marmalade, Pumpkin Pie and Moominpappa’s Grog.

The recipes are indexed according to occasion; from summer feasts spent in the garden to the perfect birthday cake for a loved one and more dessert recipes that you can shake a snout at.

This book has brought back a wave of wonderful, innocent memories, of a time when I hunkered down on the sofa to watch the television series. There’s something so wonderfully simplistic about the Moomin’s that is captured in this book. It’s got the whimsy of a Moomin, the charm of a children’s book and the simplistic encouragement of a cookbook that makes you want to dive into the illustrations and spend an afternoon with Moominmama and LittleMy in her kitchen.

Congratulations Sami Malila and SelfMadeHero books on a wonderful publication sure to bring back a lost smile on many faces. Here are a few photos from last nights event.

Read Full Post »

Can we say EXCITED? I can’t wait to delve into this book. I hope there are some wonderful illustrations in here, the recipes will be of interest too if you would like a little insight into the culinary delights of Finnish tradition.

The book follows Moominmama and the recipes she prepared for her Moomin family in Moominvalley. Just describing this book brings a smile to my face and I think both adults and children will appreciate this. One to share with all the family. I’m sure there will be a surge in existing Moomin stories as the publication date of this whimsicial cookbook nears ever closer.

ISBN: 9781906838164 rrp: £12.99 (though surely to be on offer)

Read Full Post »

I really hope ‘Death by Eggplant’ by Susan Heyboer O’Keefe is published in the UK because it looks great.

As I can’t get my hands on this book yet, check out the review on the fantastic new Macmillan Kids Blog and I will try to track down some similar picture books involving food. Any book that gets kid’s interested in cooking and food and the dread v word (vegetables) is a success in my opinion. You can find the review here http://mackids.squarespace.com/mackidssquarespacecom/2010/1/25/title-post-death-by-eggplant.html

Read Full Post »