This week’s blog comes from Kat, an assistant community librarian based in the North East of the city.
When I wrote about my top ten books of 2015 there were quite a few mentions of food, and I will admit that I am a bit obsessed – I particularly love sweet stuff, but I try and restrain myself most of the time. I love baking – not just because I get to enjoy the sweet treats but also the opportunity to share them with the people I care about. These are my all fave baking books and the treats that I have made and shared, although sometimes I make the cookies just for me!
How to be a Domestic Goddess by Nigella Lawson
This has got to be my longest serving and most frequently used baking book – I stole my mums copy when I first moved out for uni – and the one I always always go back to, because I know that pretty much anything is going to work. This book has everything I could ever want to bake and I love Nigella’s writing and how there is a little story before every single recipe. Some of my favourite bakes have been jam doughnut muffins, Coca-Cola cake, honey and banana muffins….. oh my gosh pretty much everything! I think the best recipe though has to be the butter cut out cookies; “It’s not hard to make biscuits that hold their shape well while cooking; it’s not hard to make biscuits that taste good and have a melting, buttery texture: what’s hard is to find a biscuit that does all of these things together. This one does it all, and with ease.” These have worked every time I’ve made them and always get compliments (which I reckon is the best way to judge a baking success!).
Delia’s Cakes by Delia Smith
This book is absolutely beautiful, and like Nigella I just know that I can trust Delia to help me make something yummy. One day my best library friend Beth randomly told me about a coconut and lime cake her Nanna used to make from ‘Delia’s Summer Collection’ which was the best cake she had ever had; a few weeks later just before her birthday I found the recipe for that cake in this book. A bit of a hunt later and I managed to find an obscure ingredient in a little shop in Chapeltown (thank you so much to the random lady in the shop who helped me find it!) and managed to bring her a special birthday cake to work (we may or may not have eaten most of it between the two of us with lots of coffee). Apparently it was just like her Nanna used to make, and she was very happy with it; I made the cake a few times that summer (it is the perfect summer cake!) including for Beth’s wedding and it was always perfect.
Jamie’s Comfort Food by Jamie Oliver
All I made from this book was the hummingbird cake, which is probably the most impressive looking cake I ever made, and all I can remember about the process was looking in so many shops for edible flowers. Don’t bother, you can’t find them anywhere….. just use pansies from your mum’s garden. She will forgive you for stealing them because this cake is so good!
This was a book that I had seen lots of times at work and just randomly took it home just before my sisters birthday and made the only good chocolate cake I’ve ever managed (apart from a Betty Crocker mix, they are always good!). It was too big, it was too sickly, and it was perfect!
The Boy Who Bakes by Edd Kimber
My best friend went travelling for two years and she used to send me postcards from where ever she was – they always mentioned the food she was missing; one thing she mentioned was a brownie from Crust & Crumb in Chapel Allerton (which are perfect and you should probably go buy one right now) and the other was the chocolate chip cookies from this book. I have made these sooooo many times now (including when Vick came back from travelling -yay!), I did once have a failure, which was devastating and confusing, but I think that was a weighing scales malfunction.