Book Review – Cooks and Kids

The National Fostering Agency have once again teamed up with Gregg Wallace (Masterchef judge and TV presenter), along with the charity, Place2Be of which HRH the Duchess of Cambridge is Patron, and Welsh book publisher Graffeg Books to produce the third Cooks and Kids book.  A recipe book by kids for kids.

Cooks and Kids

Gregg, along with Tom Kerridge, Michele Roux Jr, Aldo Zilli, Cyrus Todiwala and a whole host of talented chefs, Masterchef contestants and former winners teamed together with children from 6 to 18 years of age to produce a wonderful recipe book, full of inspiration, ideas and delicious recipes. Children were invited to submit their favourite recipes for the opportunity to take part in a ‘Cook Off’, where they were to be paired off with chefs and celebrity chef to create their culinary creations which were judged by Gregg Wallace.

The National Fostering Agency is one of the largest Fostering Agencies in the UK and supports fostering parents and children with individually tailored care plans for the children.  More information on how you can be a foster parent or carer can be found on their website www.nfa.co.uk or by contacting them on 0800 044 3030.

Royalties for the book will be going to the Place2Be charity which provides therapeutic and emotional support assistance to children and families into 257 primary and secondary schools in the UK for children with complex social issues such as bereavement, family breakdown, bullying, domestic violence, neglect and trauma to enable them to thrive and achieve their potential.

I was invited to the book launch which was held at Aveqia in London who had generously allowed use of their demonstration kitchens for the children and chefs to create their wonderful dishes, as well as the launch, where I was able to ask Gregg Wallace a couple of questions about what inspired him to get involved and continue to work with the charities on this third book.

Cooks and Kids

What prompted you to get involved with the charities and the book project?  I’m a huge rugby fan and got involved through the Wasps Rugby Charity, where I have previously coached some of the rugby players.  As a single parent myself I understand how important is to provide kids with support.

How did you choose which chefs to choose to participate in the project? As you know, I’m a Masterchef judge, so I approached some of the chefs, participants and previous winners that I’d worked with and invited them to take part.  They all couldn’t wait to be involved in the project.

Do you have any plans to produce a fourth book? There are no current plans for a fourth book, however I will stay involved with the charity and we’re possibly planning a banquet next year.  Watch this space!

Cooks and Kids

During the launch, I had the absolute honour to meet and chat to one of the young cooks, Bethany, along with her foster carer, Janie.  Bethany was teamed with Celebrity Masterchef 2014 winner Sophie Thompson, and together they created Flat Breads and a wonderful Chocolate Cheesecake, both of which are featured in the book.

Cooks and Kids

The book is available for sale at the RRP of £20.00 via Amazon with profits going directly to Place2Be to enable them to continue their incredible and valuable work for our next generation.  On a personal level, as a former School Governor for over 6 years, as well as with a friend who suffered the bereavement of one of her young children, I’ve been able to see first hand just how valuable emotional support and assistance is to families and children to help them cope as they go through incredibly difficult situations in life, and therefore cannot urge you enough to help support this charity and their cause.

Thank you,

Rosie

x

 

Book Giveaway – Holly Bell’s Recipes from a Normal Mum

The competition entry deadline has passed to win a copy of Holly Bell’s ‘Recipes from a Normal Mum’ book.  Of the entries received, 25 had the correct answers to all three questions.

All correct entries were numbered in the order that they were received, between 1 and 25 and Holly was asked to pick a number in this range as the winner.

She chose number: 22
Which belonged to: Karen Moses from Ulverstone in Cumbria

The correct answers to the questions were:

1. What year was Holly a contestant and finalist on the Great British Bake Off? 2011
2. In Holly’s recipe for Sweet Potato Chips on her blog, how long do you need to bake them in the oven for? 35-40 minutes
3. In Holly’s recipe for Healthier Fish and Chips recipe on her blog, what fish does Holly recommend using? Coley


Congratulations to Karen, who wins a copy of Holly’s book ‘Recipes from a Normal Mum’.  If you email your address to blog@freycob.co.uk I’ll get your book in the post in the next day or two.

Thanks to everyone who took the time to enter, sadly only one person could win, but every entry was greatly appreciated.

Rosie
xx

Book Review – Born & Bread – Robert Swift

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I had the pleasure to meet Robert Swift, a 5th generation family baker from Richard C Swift Ltd in Shropshire at the Brompton Cookery School recently.  Rob is clearly an incredibly passionate man when it comes to yeast, dough and bread. Looking at his lineage, you really can say that it’s in his blood!  We were given a potted history of the family business which is traceable back over 150 years to his great-great-great aunt, Hannah Swift, when she began her bakery in 1863.  Long before the commercial bakeries with their artificial proving methods were ever thought of, this innovate and hardworking lady was producing bread using only four simple ingredients; flour, water, salt and yeast along with a fifth secret ingredient; a huge pinch of love and passion.  Something that is the ethos of the business still today.

You’re introduced to the family line in Rob’s book, ‘Born & Bread’, starting with Hannah and continuing through to Rob today who has introduced a sixth generation into the business in the form of his two children, who will no doubt grow up with the family passion and continue to grow the business and traditions into the future and beyond.

Along with his wife, Lucinda, he has also developed a new company, Bread2Bake, which provides master classes and services an ever-growing number of farmers’ markets, food festivals and other shows with demonstrations.

I was lucky enough to have front row seats to one of Rob’s masterclasses as part of the BBC Good Food Show Midlands Blogger event at Marcus Bean’s Brompton Cookery School in Shropshire in May.  After a very early morning in the bakery, Rob brought along some of his prepared dough and introduced us to the methodology of creating a dough that would rise every time with only the simplest of ingredients.  He then went on to teach us how to shape and flavour the dough to produce an artisan loaf that was truly delicious and perfectly turned out.

We were treated to a host of different breads that Rob had made for lunch to go with the amazing quiche that Marcus made for us, along with British tomatoes and other delicious artisan foods from stallholders that would be attending the BBC Good Food Show, Summer 2014.

Kindly, we were each given a copy of Rob’s book Born & Bread to re-create our own yeasted wonders at home.  It’s been the book which has become my bedtime reading each evening for the last couple of weeks and one that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading and digesting (not literally, I’m sure you understand!)

In the book, Rob introduces you to the life of bread, through the stages of Infancy, Adolescence and Maturity, helping you to understand what goes on in each of these stages to produce the perfect loaf.  It includes the mandatory section on ‘Tools of the Trade’, none of which are expensive or difficult for the beginner to get hold of.  It then gets into the science of bread and ‘The Gluten Framework’ which (as an inner geek) is fascinating and insightful to understand, but of course you don’t have to be a geek to read and understand the book as it’s beautifully and very clearly illustrated with photographs throughout. You’re introduced to each ingredient thoroughly and taught their function in the chemistry of baking the perfect loaf.

Then on to the important part of the book – the recipes.  From a basic white dough and how to create, nurture, check, prove, shape and bake it through to the wholemeal loaf, via Brioche, Focaccia, Iced fingers, Ludlow Brewery beer bread, Pain au Chocolate, Poolish starters, Savoury Breads, Soda and Sourdough breads and sweet breads and cakes.  In all a whole cacophony of 160 pages of delicious and totally mouthwatering creations.

Rob, Sir, I salute you and your heritage. Thank you for bringing your passion into the kitchen and from your heart to those who are lucky enough to witness it first hand. Here’s to the next 150 years business for you and your family.

I was given a copy of Robert Swift’s book, Born & Bread, free of charge as part of the BBC Good Food Show Blogger event.  I was not under obligation to review it, positive or otherwise, but am genuinely impressed at the content.

Book Review – Jamie’s Ministry of Food

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If there’s one book that you should buy someone who needs a bit of encouragement to get themselves into the kitchen and to give them the confidence that they really can cook, then you should treat them (& ultimately yourself) to Jamie’s Ministry of Food.

It’s not a recent book and was originally published in 2008 but is still a bestseller today.

To give you the background why I bought this book.  I met my husband when I was 16 and he was 19.  We married 4 years later and, I’m proud to say, are still together today, 30 years and 2 children later! (Am I really that old?! Surely not!!!!)  Anyway, for almost the first 25 years of our relationship it was me in the kitchen probably 6 days out of 7.  My husband would cook the odd meal but always to a limited repertoire and was daunted to try anything new without my guidance.  I changed jobs and worked away from my home town which meant that for the first time, he was home before me each evening and the menu was starting to get ‘a little challenging’ for the family.  Let’s just say the kids were bored with spaghetti bolognese and frozen fish portions! It would be too late for me to get home and start preparing dinner from scratch as I’d always done, so something had to change.

Then, one day on a visit to a bookshop, browsing my favourite section (cookery), picking one of my favourite chef’s books up and realising it would be perfect for my husband, it just happened to fall into my shopping basket and my husband’s quest to become an accomplished cook began!  I personally love Jamie Oliver’s style of cooking – simple ingredients, easily accessible to source, often British and in season.  No faff and no fuss.

The book covers everything from essential Kitchen Equipment; not the gadgets and gizmos of the top chefs, but the tongs, bowls, pans and spatulas that every kitchen deserves to have.  There’s the basic larder, fridge and freezer ingredients that will see you to preparing anything from a boiled egg to the simplest cheese on toast through to a casserole, pie or a decadent dessert worthy of any good dinner party. It’s packed with hints and tips that will guide you from the initial preparation, via cooking and on to serving and enjoying your meal.

There are several favourites from this book that my husband loves to cook and he does so now with a flourish and such confidence that I never thought I’d enjoy seeing, namely:

* Chicken and Leek Stroganoff
* Classic Tomato Spaghetti (which is enjoyed with Jamie’s recommended addition of a tin of tuna flakes)
* Broccoli and Pesto Taglietelle
* Mini Shell Pasta with a Creamy (unsmoked) Bacon and Pea Sauce
* Parsnip and Ginger Soup
* A Cracking Burger (yep even home made burgers!)
* Baked Carrots in a Bag
* Salmon Fish Cakes

For a novice cook to be able to work from a book and create the flavours that you imagine when you see the photographs and read the ingredients and instructions can only mean that this book is incredibly well written, easy to follow and an essential to any book case; novice and experienced alike.

A job well done Mr Oliver, Sir!  Bring on the next book because I have all of your current ones!  The only downside is that I am now forced to share all of these as well as my ever increasing cook book collection with my husband!

What’s your favourite Jamie Oliver book?  Drop me a comment and let me know what’s your favourite recipe(s) from them.