Wednesday, 26 May 2010

My new favourite cookbook

I had been eyeing this up in work (I like to linger around the cookery section when it's quiet and eye up the good books...) and finally got chance to have a proper look through it which sealed my decision to check it out of the library. I have had it just over a week and I've already made 3 recipes from it, all of which have turned out fantastically! I wasn't completely sure about this book, but the recipe for squillionaire's shortbread lured me in. That's the great thing about libraries though, it's like try before you buy. I think I may buy this, because all the recipes have been so good, but there are so many books I've spent about £15 on, tried one recipe, not liked it and shoved it to the back of my bookshelf. Bad, bad librarian. Now I am all for getting cookbooks out before I buy them!

Anyway, enough about the pros of libraries. This book claims to give you natural alternatives to butter laden, unhealthy cakes. Harry Eastwood, the author, decided to create recipes for cakes that leave you feeling guilt free. She replaces most of the butter in the recipes with vegetables for moisture, and uses honey instead of sugar, and rice flour & ground almonds instead of traditional flour. I was a bit dubious about them actually tasting nice, but since I know a few people who are gluten free, trying to diet, diabetic, etc, I thought I'd try them. I was NOT disappointed!

First up, the squillionaire's shortbread. Okay, this one is the least healthy of all the book, as it does use full fat butter, golden syrup, condensed milk & chocolate, but we're all allowed to be naughty now and again!

136/365

Are you drooling yet? Hmmm. So naughty & delicious. This recipe made 12 small pieces, which I thought were a bit too small, but I cut them up anyway. It really isn't too small because it's so rich and sweet. Only for those with real sweet teeth, like me! My Nana on the other hand could only manage one small bite before pulling a face and going 'urgh tooooo sweet!'. So it all depends on taste I guess. Lovely, gooey, biscuity, cracking hmmmm, I loved the contrast of all the textures in these. Top tip: when cutting them up, heat your knife slightly by dipping it in boiling water and pressing very gently on the chocolate to melt through it. Much easier than trying to cut it cold and having it crack everywhere! The recipe is available here (Pt 1 & pt 2)

Next up: chocolate, pistachio & courgette cake. Yes, courgettes.

Chocolate, courgette and pistachio cake

Chocolate, courgette and pistachio cake

This cake was a bit more experimental: no butter in it, ground up pistachios & grated courgettes! Not your traditional cake recipe. The recipe asked for ground rice flour, but I just replaced this with plain flour & it turned out amazingly still. This cake was so lovely, chocolate & pistachios are such a winning combination. Plus, look at the contrast between the chocolate & pistachio green colour: beautiful. This cake turned out looking quite flat and I was a bit worried it would be dense and dry, but I needn't have been. It was gorgeous. The butter cream is made with butter, but we can't be saints all the time can we? It was delicious and dark and contrasted with the light texture of the cake. I will most certainly be making this one again! You can try making it too, with the recipe here.

And, finally, today I made the orange & rosemary drizzle cake! It didn't taste too much of rosemary, because I was scared to let the syrup steep for too long, but it was wonderful and moist. Perfect for a glorious sunny day like it was on Sunday.

Orange & Rosemary drizzle cake

142/365

Ooh cross section! Look at how moist it is. You can see how the drizzle has drizzled in from where I stabbed it with a skewer. This isn't a very sweet cake so I didn't go completely nuts over it, although I'm sure my Nana would have preferred this over my squillionaire's shortbread. The secret, healthy ingredient to this is... swede purée! I really love adding veg to cakes, it always surprises people, plus it makes them so much moister and a wee bit healthier. The recipe for this is here.

So yes, I think I shall be investing in this book myself, instead of just hogging the libraries copy. It won't quite replace the hummingbird bakery cookbook (by the way, did you know they were releasing a new book next Spring? I am so excited! Over 100 recipes in it apparently!) but it gives some interesting ideas for healthier cakes. I think I'll keep coming back to it over and over again. Do you have any cook books you rely on so much? I love getting recommendations for new cook books!

26 comments:

  1. I think I just died a little bit when looking at that shortbread. A-mazing. Now I'm hungry! I blame you :p

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  2. I got this out of the library yesterday, what a coincidence! When I saw your post title I had a feeling it would be this book. I spent yesterday evening sitting in the garden with a cup of tea trying to decide which recipe to try first!

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  3. I was given this for Christmas and I ADORE it. Have you tried the parsnip fudge yet? Do!

    The photography inside is gorgeous too, and I love the matte quality of the cover.

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  4. oh man, millionaire shortbread is my favourite ever i'm drooooling

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  5. Ooh, they look amazing! I tried some courgette cake at a local S'n'B meet up, and I was really pleasantly surprised! Never would have put veg and cakes together myself!

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  6. Thanks for the recipes and the pictures.
    My favorite book is Mediterranean food of the sun by Jacqueline Clark and Joanna Farrow (bought in Wyevale five years ago) http://www.amazon.co.uk/Mediterranean-Jacqueline-Clark/dp/0754809277/ref=sr_1_29

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  7. This looks like a really fun cookbook! I love all of the vegetable cake combinations. Maybe I'll take a trip to the library to find some new cooking ideas myself!

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  8. Mmmmmmmmmmmm, chocolate! I'm so hungry right now! :)
    Btw, Valencia is so beautiful, you even have the sea! :)

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  9. this cookbook sounds and looks amazing! Mmmm especially the chocolate cake....I've never heard of squillionaire's shortbread before, but it definitely looks like something I want to try! I've been trying to bake more now that I have free time, and these look like amazing recipes to try!

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  10. Wow that looks amazing, make me feel seriously hungry! I am going to see if they have that book in my library.

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  11. not quite sure what i want to eat first!! yum.

    blogged about your sweet blog today!! i'm loving it.

    www.wild-and-precious.com

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  12. This really sounds amazing! I'm always up for new, interesting ways to make things healthier and adding veg just seems logical to me! Thanks for the tip! x

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  13. Oooo these all look lovely :)
    Makes my belly rumble with hunger :)
    xox

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  14. Ooh I've been considering buying this book for a while now and I think you've managed to convince me!
    I never would have thought to check the library for cookbooks before. Please excuse my ignorance but I never even realised they kept cookbooks in libraries, so thank you for the tip!

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  15. Well that's gone straight onto my Amazon wishlist! I have to make everything dairy-free and where possible gluten-free as well (house full of food allergies!) so this looks like a very handy book to consult.

    I'm currently completely in love with Sophie Dahl's cookbook. It's not just the recipes, it's the beautiful writing and photos and just everything really!

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  16. thank you for the advise on my hair dear, I am still torn but I guess I'll make up my mind soon!
    and yummy cakes, I am crazy about chocolate and this made me hungry!
    oh and you know any good banana cake recipe? it's my boyfriend's birthday this Friday and I wanted to make one. :)

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  17. mmmmmmmmmmm. *drool* I want to eat all your delicious treats!
    I must go check out this book!

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  18. I really want to make a chocolate and courgette cake - I've got a few recipes but I haven't been brave enough to try them yet, yours looks amazing!

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  19. Anything that says 'RED VELVET' on it, has caught my eye!

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  20. mmm, the shortbread is so up my street, i have such a sweet tooth

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  21. how lovely! thanks for sharing!

    xo Alison

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  22. Ohhhh, everything looks so delectable delicious! Have a whimsical weekend, deary!

    http://girlwhimsy.blogspot.com
    http://closetfullofgoodies.blogspot.com

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  23. Oooh Helen, thanks so much for posting this! I got this book for my birthday last July and haven't made a thing from it - and that was nearly a year ago, shameful! I've been tasked with making my friend a birthday cake for a party tomorrow and was thinking of making her an unhealthy one and a healthy one from this book, and this has persuaded me! Good timing, I think you must be psychic. :)

    And I totally never considered getting cookbooks out of the library, it makes so much more sense!

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  24. Wow I am so impressed with this!
    The food looks pretty and delicious, and the fact that it's healthy, with vegetables in desserts, sounds like my kinda book.
    One question...what is a courgette? I don't think I've ever heard of it. Vegetable?

    Looks good!

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  25. ordering this as we speak on your recommendation! I did some searching and I think I'll love this! I have a strong aversion to butter so I'm always looking to replace it with something else, this shall be perfect for me! thanks for sharing :)

    Would love it one day too if you could share with us some of your favourite food blogs!

    xx

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  26. I bought this when it came out - it's sooooo good! One word of advice though, do NOT make the fudge. Neitehr of the fudges we tried ever set. Booo. I made the Squillionaire first too! Another favourite was the lime, coconut and blueberry (but I made it with lemon, coconut and mized berries). So moist and tasty!

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