Showing posts with label cooking. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cooking. Show all posts

Friday, September 26, 2014

Creative Cookery: Warming Up With a Hot Drink

It’s the 26th of September and autumn has officially arrived in Norway. With it comes, the beautiful golden leaves falling, foggy mornings, and copious amounts of rain. Now when I say rain, I do not mean the heavy rain of the UK. No. Before I moved to Bergen I thought I knew rain, I was merely an interested amateur until I’d lived through a Bergen Autumn/Winter. Rain here comes in walls, like waterfalls from clouds, my husband occasionally describes it as “it’s raining elephants” and he is so right!

With the weather turning, everyone’s thought in the Northern hemisphere turns to warm drinks, hearty meals and woollen underwear.

So when, after asking my followers on Facebook for inspiration, I was asked for a recipe for a warm drink that was neither coffee or tea, I thought it was very apropos.

Three Hot Drinks

I started looking through my recipe books, and researching online for some candidates. The following three are what I found.

Pineapple and Ginger Punch

This recipe came from the reader’s digest page.

You will need:

  • 4 cups pineapple juice
  • 1 cup sliced fresh ginger (no need to peel)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 cinnamon stick, split lengthwise
  • 8 whole cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

In a medium saucepan, combine the pineapple juice, ginger, honey, cinnamon, cloves, and pepper; bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Strain and serve warm.

Hot Butter Beer

I have never made this drink outside of the UK, and as you can probably guess it is a nod to the famous “Harry Potter”, even if you’ve never read the books, or seen the films this is a delicious if a decidedly sweet drink. Not for diabetics!

You will need for 4 servings:

  • 1 litre of cream soda fizzy drink
  • 2-3 tbsps butter
  • 2-3 tbsps brown sugar
  • 200ml single cream
  • 4-5 wether’s original butterscotch sweets.

Put the cream soda in a pan and boil. In a separate pan melt the sugar and butter together, stirring constantly, until the sugar has dissolved. Then making sure that the cream soda is still boiling, pour the sugar and butter mixture into the soda. Add the cream and the sweets, stirring constantly until the sweets have melted. Serve hot.

Mrs Egeland’s Note: For a night-cap add butterscotch schnappps.

And last but by no means least…

Chilli Hot Chocolate

It is a winter warmer, I promise, in spite of its name.

You will need for 4 servings:

  • 1 liter of milk
  • 40z of dark chocolate, chopped into small pieces
  • 1-2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp chilli pepper.

In a saucepan warm the milk gently with the cinnamon and chilli pepper, until its almost boiling. Stir in the dark chocolate, over a medium heat, stirring constantly until the chocolate has completely melted. You can throw it into the blender and whizz it up now, if you want it to be frothy. Otherwise pour into cups and serve.

Mrs Egeland’s Note: The chilli should be barely tasted, and only leave a warm tingling in the back of the throat.

Keep warm and enjoy. Feel free to follow me on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Don’t forget to subscribe.

Until next time


Friday, September 19, 2014

Imaginative Cookery: Lazy Lentil Soup

It’s not often I make soup, in fact I can’t actually remember the last time I made soup before today.

I don’t often make soup because my darling hubby once said that soup wasn’t food, it was drink. So its relegated to starters or lunch on my own, that means that if I’m in a hurry I want to make something simple I don’t make soup, because that usually means making another dish besides.

But this week, I decided to do a cleanse and the best thing about lentil soup is, its great if your on a fast or detoxing or anything like that. Why? Because its liquid, so you can have it on a liquid fast, its totally vegetarian so its allowed on a green fast, its nourishing, full of vitamins and quite filling.

Also lentils are super easy to cook.

This is a even easier way to make lentil soup.

Lentil Soup, the Cheat’s way!

You will need:

  • 1 onion
  • 1 can of chickpeas
  • 1 can of green lentils
  • 1 can of red lentils
  • 500ml of vegetable stock

Mrs Egeland’s Note: Lentils are so easy to cook that even if you can’t get canned lentils then dried will work just as well.

In a frying pan, warm a little olive oil and a teaspoon of butter. Dice the onion and fry it until clear. Add the chickpeas, and lentils and stir.

If you’ve got dried lentils, switch to a saucepan and add the vegetable stock, simmer until the lentils are tender which won’t be long. Then blend and reheat.

Otherwise, put your onion lentil mix in a blender. They should be well seasoned from the vegetable stock, but taste and season if you think it needs it. Once they’ve been blended and are smooth, turn the mixture into a saucepan and add the stock.

Stir, mixing the stock well into the mixture and heat.

Your done, serve, eat as much as you like without having to worry too much about the calories. Unfortunately I liked this soup so much that we finished before I remembered to photograph the results.

Pretty short post, huh?

Well I will do better next time. Enjoy the soup.

Don’t forget to subscribe and follow. Comment below, show me your skills with photos.

Until Next Time


Monday, September 15, 2014

Imaginative Cookery: Party Food

Its not often that I attend or even arrange a party, this time I am only one of some friends organising a baby shower for a dear friend of ours. Thank goodness! I have organised a baby shower single handed, I have to say it was quite stressful, and I have no wish to do it alone again.

Our dear friend is having a little girl quite soon, no doubt she will be a marvellous mother. We decided we wanted to give her a baby shower, and of course there had to be a lot of pink! We invited her friends and asked everyone to bring food as well as presents.

My Contributions

I thought I’d better make both a savoury dish and a sweet, because in my experience everyone tends to bring sweet and then there’s nothing else.

So I decided to make chicken vol-au-vant, an 80’s classic, although I have tweaked the recipe a little because I didn’t want to add white wine.

I cheated and bought pastry cases, I was planning on making them but time escaped me. So this is really just a recipe for the chicken filling.

Chicken Vol-Au-Vant Filling

  • 1 medium sized leek IMG_2003[1]
  • A handful of button mushrooms.
  • 1 tsp dried thyme.
  • Salt and pepper.
  • Butter.
  • 400-600 grs chicken fillet, diced
  • 4 tbsp cream cheese
  • Chicken stock
  • 1 tsp cornflour

Slice the leek and the mushrooms, and fry in a pan with some butter. When the mushrooms are cooked and the leek has separated add the diced chicken. Continue to fry, and cook the chicken. Add the cream cheese and add enough chicken stock to make a sauce with the cream cheese. Simmer for about 5 mins, or until the sauce thickens, add the thyme and cornflour at the end simmering for another 2 mins.

Fill your pastry cases and serve.

Chocolate Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Taken from Muffins og Kaker, published by Spektrum.IMG_2002[1]

  • 6 tbsp butter or margarine
  • 100g sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 55g chocolate chips
  • 225g flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 25g good quality cocoa
For Frosting
  • 225g bar of white chocolate
  • 150g cream cheese

Preheat the oven to 200C. On a baking tray arrange 18 paper cupcake cases. In a bowl, mix butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, making sure to beat each egg in well to combine. Add the milk, and fold in the chocolate chips. Sift in the flour, baking powder and cocoa, folding them carefully into the mixture so as not to beat out the air. Fill the paper cases, and try to flatten out the tops of the cakes.

Bake in the oven for 20 mins, or until firm and well risen. Allow them to cool.

Mrs Egeland’s Note: I actually used a packet frosting this time around, it happened to be white chocolate flavour. The frosting here would have made a delicious alternative.

For the frosting, break the white chocolate into a heatproof bowl, and put the bowl over a saucepan of rolling boiling water, making sure that the water doesn’t actually touch the bowl or splash water into the chocolate. Stir until the chocolate has melted, white chocolate is always a bit delicate, so don’t hurry it. Allow to cool a little. In another bowl have the cream cheese, and whisk it until its softened. Add the melted chocolate. Decorate your cupcakes. Chill them in the fridge for an hour before serving, to firm up your frosting.

Delicious Food, Good Company

The party was a success. Everyone had made delicious food, and my small offerings was well received. There were gifts and I’m sure the little baby girl will be beautifully dressed for a long time to come.

Until Next Time


Monday, August 18, 2014

Imaginative Cookery: Greek Cheese Pie

Dear Readers,

Sorry I’ve been away and occupied. I am trying to get my blogposts out more regularly, new routines with new jobs always take a little getting used to.

Anyway, in spite of the title of this blog, I’m not going to give you a recipe, because you see I’d feel a bit like a cheat.

Bar Flaky Pastry and Cheese

Whilst I was on vacation I ate quite a fair few pieces of this delicious pie, but since I had no idea what went into it bar flaky pastry and cheese I didn’t dare try to re-create my own recipe. I hadn’t the slightest idea where to begin or what cheese to use, so instead I went through my favourite resource for these things, Pinterest and found a recipe on another blog site.

The Shepherd and The Olive Tree had a authentic greek recipe for Tiropita, cheese pie and so I made that with the ingredients I could lay my hands on. Not an easy thing to do in Norway, at least not on this side of the country and certainly not if you don’t wish to increase your mortgage payments to pay for said ingredients. So I bought philo pastry sheets from one of the exotic food markets that have been sprouting up and around Bergen the last 10 years and made my way to Rema 1000 for the Ricotta cheese.

Pleased With The Result

After a week of gathering my ingredients I made it, and I was very pleased with the result. It tasted very like the pie we had eaten whilst abroad, of course with the exception that I had never made this pie before and my cheeses weren’t Greek.


The filling was very yellow, unlike the pie we’d eaten on Samos, but I put this down to the eggs, as I’ve noticed that the yolks in Norwegian eggs are very yellow.

Weekend Recipe

I’ve still got quite a bit of pastry left over so I will try and make this again. It did take a while to bake, so I will probably keep it as a weekend recipe when my hubbie and I aren’t starving as soon as we get through the door and have the time to while away an hour waiting for dinner.

I served this with sausages and a light salad. It went well and was filling enough for us not to have wanted another carb alongside it. With any luck my attempts will improve and I will get confident enough to serve this to friends, I think it would make a great picnic or party dish.

Mrs Egeland’s Other News

I have become an honorary auntie. It seems that a lot of my friends are pregnant at the same time and have had or are having children in the very near future. I just want to congratulate all of my dear friends who are expecting or have had their bundle of joy.

Until next time


Friday, August 01, 2014

Imaginative Cookery: Baked Aubergine With Feta Cheese.

Well dearest readers, I know that I have been giving you quite a few recipes recently. I blame it on my short visit to Greece and the inspiration from all the delicious food we ate there. Which is where I got this delicious recipe.

Let Me Set The Scene

IMG_1596[1]It was our last night in Greece, the air was balmy and the sunset was beautiful with dusky pinks and deep oranges that reflected in the petrol blue coloured sea. We looked over the rooftops towards the sea, listening to the little town settle down for the night. We sat in a rustic little restaurant called Oinomageireion- The Relishes of Urany up in Vathy, at the best table, thanks to Manolis Sp. Kypraios who had a in with the owner. It was the best night we could have had to end a lovely introduction to the magnificent culture of Greece. We drank local wine, and even sampled some of the local Ouzo.

Then we were served our starter of Baked Aubergine with Feta Cheese.

IMG_1598It was delicious and I knew then I had to try and re-create it. This makes enough for two people as a side dish.

You will need:

  • A large Aubergine/Eggplant
  • Olive oil
  • 2 cloves of Garlic
  • 40 grs of Feta Cheese.

Preheat the oven to about 200ºC in a fan assisted oven. If you have a regular oven, I’d try a little hotter, or baking this a little longer.

IMG_1924Slice the aubergine/eggplant in half lengthwise. Peel and slice the garlic and scatter this over the two aubergine/eggplant halves. Douse with olive oil.

Put in the middle of the oven and bake for about 20-30 minutes, until the skin of the aubergine/eggplant looks a little wrinkled and the top is golden.

Dice the feta cheese and scatter this over the top of the aubergine/eggplant halves and serve.

Re-Creating Memories

It wasn’t exactly the same as the delicious aubergine/eggplant we had at the restaurant, but it did bring back all those lovely memories. I will be making this again!

It goes really well with chicken! Its a great side dish, and I think if you wrapped this in foil it would work great on the barbecue!

I do have one more recipe I’m dying to try from my vacation, but I will leave that until next week. It’s a little heavy on the calories, and I will make it for the weekend.

I promise Monday I will post you a look at my artwork, also inspired by Greece, sorry!

Don’t forget to subscribe and comment below! I’d really love to hear if you tried it and how it went!

Until next time


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Imaginative Cookery: Frappe, Coldbrew Coffee.

Darlings! Firstly a few updates, I realised the other day that I had neglected to post the photo of the completed handbag that Ms Ester kindly gave a tutorial for, so here you go:

IMG_20130424_093201Secondly, I’ve been listening to a lot of music on Skype lately, and I thought it was only right to share some of my tunes. If you want to see what Mrs Egeland is listening to right now, you will find the link here, or in the link box titled My Favourite and Most Used Sites. I will try and keep it updated, so please follow to see what the “ole gal” enjoys tapping her foot to.

Getting To Cold-Brew Frappe

I told you last time that my travels were inspiring, and that is where this came from. I’m sure everyone has tried Frappe’s, heck, let’s just go ahead and thank Starbucks here.

I have, been a frequent consumer of iced coffee from the above mentioned coffee company and others, but whilst I was in Greece I drank a few from generic coffee bars and restaurants. It was there that I had a Frappe this way for the first time. Of course, my recipe is based on trial and error as I couldn’t get the secret out of our very gracious barkeep at the hotel. So its not quite perfect, but well, when that has that every stopped me from sharing!

You Will Need To Start 12 Hours Ahead

Unfortunately, that’s true. Cold brewing is easy but time consuming, however you can cheat by simply making instant coffee with cold water and stirring vigorously.

IMG_1911If though you are a purist then you won’t mind the wait. So the trick to cold brewing coffee is a couple of table spoons of whatever ground coffee you have available in a jug, jar or large container with cold water overnight. I had espresso coffee so I used that to make my cold-brewed coffee yesterday evening, and this is the result.

  • Cold-brewed coffee
  • 1/2 cup milk of your choice
  • 4 average sized ice cubes or 8 smaller sized ice cubes.

IMG_1914So now you have your cold brewed coffee, filter it and pour yourself a glass, leaving enough room for your milk.

I used my old filter coffee machine filter with a paper coffee filter to filter my coffee.



In a blender, take your ice cubes and milk and blitz them until they are about the consistency of a smoothie or thick milkshake. Add more ice if your milk isn’t thick enough.

Now you can spoon your icy milk into your cold brew coffee. I tried to pour it, big mistake! It splashed across my kitchen!


IMG_1917In Greece the milk sat separately above the coffee, well I have no idea how they did that, but I will keep perfecting and keep you posted. This isn’t sweetened and if you want to sweeten it you might want to try a little condensed milk in with your regular milk. Of course you could just forget all about the milk and add vanilla ice cream instead, which of course is delicious and fattening. I might do that at the weekend, but for now, just as the weather here in Bergen has cooled a little I’ll stick with my icy milk.

Noticed my cute new blue candle holders? See, Greece inspired me in more ways than one.

Don’t forget to subscribe and please comment. Tell me what you think? Did you try it?

Until next time


Thursday, May 22, 2014

Imaginative Cookery: Potting The Quack

Since my latest diagnosis, of returning CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome), I have been unable to work quite so much as I had previously. This has meant that my manageably tight budget, has tightened. So when we were lucky enough to have a duck, we weren’t going to waste it, not even the quack!

Two Meals, One Bird

Following the ideology of Save With Jamie my darling hubby slow roasted the IMG_1077[1]delicious bird smothered in butter, honey and garlic and we had a gut busting meal with a friend, at the weekend. Then Monday last we had leftover duck with noodles, peas, sweet corn, and lentils with sweet chilli sauce, the cheapest meal I’ve ever eaten in Norway! It only cost us 50kr and there was enough for seconds.

Then I made stock, with the leftover carcase and giblets, excluding the liver and kidneys because I have plans for them. After all of that, when I had drained the stock through a sieve, and poured it into ice cube trays to freeze I realised that there was some meat still left on the bones (I know, I was stunned I’d missed it!)

Getting The Quack

So what to do with that nourishment? I wasn’t about to throw it away, that would have gone against all that we had done before. Heck! I saved the fat from the roast duck! Then I remembered Wartime Farm, and I remembered Ruth Goodman making potted pork and I was inspired!

I stood at my work surface and I picked those bones bare, until I had duck fat and meat under each of my fairly short fingernails!

Mrs Egeland’s Note: This isn’t Ruth’s recipe, because I’m using duck. This recipe is inspired by hers and a combination of her recipe and others I’ve looked at online. I hope you’re not disappointed.

Let’s Get Quacking

This is what you will need:IMG_1091

  • Duck meat, whatever you have left over, or whatever you managed to pick off the carcase.
  • 3tbsp Duck fat
  • 6tbsp Butter. It won’t work with margarine!
  • 1 small Onion
  • 4 inch piece of fresh ginger, or 3tsp of ground ginger.
  • 4 cloves of Garlic
  • 2 tsp Nutmeg
  • 2 tsp Cinnamon
  • Salt and Pepper

Melt the butter and duck fat together in a pan. Add the onion, garlic and ginger (unless you are using ground ginger). Fry them all until the onion is translucent or almost, you don’t want the onion to brown too much. IMG_1092

In a blender add the fat and onion mixture and the duck meat. Blitz until its a coarse kind of paste, or a pate. I found it to be quite sloppy so I didn’t add any more fat. Now if you have a stir option on your blender then you won’t need to take it out of the blender, otherwise put the mixture in a bowl. Add your spices and salt and pepper to taste and stir it in. IMG_1094

Taste to see its seasoned enough and then put it into a jar. I managed to get a jar and a half out of this, although it would have probably just filled one large jar. Then leave put it in the fridge.IMG_1095IMG_1096






I have to say I really liked the way it came out. Although it wasn’t exactly how I expected it to look. I think I should have drained some of the cooking fat off before I blended the meat and onions together so that after I put it in the jar I could have topped it off with the fat. Then it would have looked more like Ruth’s.

However, its delicious and I can’t wait to eat it with some pickled gherkins on wholemeal bread. Maybe with a piece of cheddar and a glass of beer!

Did I Squeeze In The Quack?

So what do you think? Will you try this yourself? Will you take a trip down through time, back to the war years?

By the way, I made a few aesthetical changes to my blog. Please subscribe, and comment below. I’d love to hear about your recipes for leftovers, or what you think of the change of look.

Until next time!


Thursday, May 15, 2014

Imaginative Cookery: Luscious Lasagne

IMG_1067So here I am again, bringing you another delicious recipe, or at least I hope you think its delicious. I know my husband certainly does.

Italian Dreams

I have always liked Italian food, for a long while I wanted to move to Italy, unfortunately I didn’t quite get there. In fact I’ve never been to Italy, although I’ve tried learning Italian quite a few times. When I was a teen, I used to imagine I’d marry an Italian and have a horde of children whilst living in a Tuscan villa. I will probably end up with the horde of children, but any Italian husband would have to take me away from my Norwegian one and I couldn’t leave him. Who knows though? I may get my Tuscan villa yet.

I’m getting away from myself, lasagne and I have a long-term relationship. Its one of those accessible Italian dishes you can find almost all over the world. I always associate lasagne with Italian-American’s and not Italy at all, but that’s probably Garfield’s fault, since my first encounter with the dish was via the cartoon cat. Lasagne was the first meal I cooked for my husband, he had told me it was his favourite dish, and I, being the good retro woman that I am and believing that a way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, I made it for him.

Ever after it has been my go-to recipe when we are having midweek dinner guests, which isn’t very often, and when my husband is feeling extra romantic we cook it together. This recipe has sort of evolved out of those occasions, and because of that it isn’t the fastest recipe I know. If you decide to make it, beware it can easily take an hour and a half to make. I usually would make this on a day I have plenty of time, it freezes well though so you could easily make it ahead of time.

Allora Andiamo!

This is what you will need:

  • 6-8 Fresh Tomatoes
  • 3 cloves of Garlic
  • Sundried tomatoes in oil
  • Ground paprika
  • Olive oil
  • 1 large onion
  • 500g Ground or Minced beef
  • 1 tin of Peas and Carrots
  • 300g of red lentils, cooked
  • 100g butter
  • 100ml water
  • 100ml milk
  • 3tbsp cornflour
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Cardamom
  • Tomato Purée or paste
  • 6-9 Dried pasta sheets (I used Barilla)
  • 200g grated mozzarella cheese.
  • Salt and Pepper

Roasted Tomato Sauce

Preheat your oven to about 200C, we’re going to roast the tomatoes now so you’ll either have to do some washing up or have two oven dishes. I had two oven dishes. IMG_1051So slice the tomatoes in half and put in an oven dish, put in the garlic cloves and sprinkle liberally with olive oil. Now put that in the oven for about 20 mins, or until you can smell the garlic and the tomatoes are beginning to bubble. I tend to do this by smell rather than time.

Take the tomatoes out of the oven, you can wait for them to cool a little, or if your blender is strong enough just throw those tomatoes and garlic in now! Add three or four sundried tomatoes, if yours are like mine and come in olive oil add a little of that too, if not, just leave it out. IMG_1054You just want the sauce to be smooth, and you’ll probably have a beautiful orange coloured tomato sauce that sort of reminds me of a Lea & Perrins bottle.

Making The Pieces For A Masterpiece

Great, now dice your onion. Then with a little oil in a frying pan fry the onions till translucent , or just beginning to go golden on a medium heat. I haven’t added any garlic here, because we already have the roasted garlic in the tomato sauce.

So now it time for the ground/minced beef, I always use lean beef for this particular recipe because I have quite a lot of olive oil in the sauce so it doesn’t need any added fat. Add the beef to the onions and brown it off.  Then add the peas and carrots and the cooked lentils. This doesn’t need much cooking so just go ahead and add the tomato sauce, tomato puree and paprika and stir. Taste and season with salt and pepper. (You can add a sprinkle of sugar here if you think it needs it.)

Basic White Sauce Or Béchamel

Now on to the white sauce. This is you basic white sauce, its really easy to make. IMG_1062In a saucepan melt the butter. Once its melted take it off the heat and whisk in the cornflour (You can use baking flour here if you like, in fact a traditional béchamel is made with wheat flour). IMG_1064Return the saucepan to the heat, keep stirring, you just want the flour to cook a little so it looses its floury taste. Add the milk and water (You can use just 200ml of milk if you want a creamier sauce), keep stirring! Turn the heat up a little and keep stirring, add the cardamom, this will make it taste creamier and take away any residual flour taste. It will thicken when you least expect it, as soon as its thickened take it off the heat.

Leaning Tower of Lasagne

Its time to build your lasagne. So in you oven dish put a layer of the tomato-meat sauce, then the pasta sheets (I can get three in mine.) Then another layer of meat sauce, and more pasta sheets, repeat until you’ve gotten at least three layers of pasta. IIMG_1061 try always to have enough meat sauce to put a layer on top of the top layer of pasta. Like this:

So now you can put a layer or the white sauce, you should have enough to put a generous layer of the white sauce. Then its cheese time.  Now is the time to freeze it, if that’s what you are going to do. Carefully wrap the top with tin/aluminium foil to protect the cheese and freeze.IMG_1067

Bon Appetit!

Bake in the oven for about 20 mins or until the cheese is melted and golden brown and the sauce is bubbling a little.

If you’re cooking it from frozen you might need to leave it in the oven a bit longer. Double the cooking time, checking with a knife after the first 20 mins and approx. every 10 mins after to make sure its cooking in the middle.

I forgot to take a photograph of the finished lasagne, and it got eaten so quickly that there was no time to remember. I made it for a midweek dinner party and everyone had seconds.

I hope you will try this recipe and tell me what you think of it. Please subscribe and I would love to hear if you tried it, or if you had any ideas to improve it in the comments.

Until next time


Thursday, May 08, 2014

Mrs Egeland’s Latest Reads

Dearest Readers,

I should firstly like to apologise for my absence on Monday. Unfortunately ill health prevented my usually inspired brain from writing anything more difficult than a SMS.

Secondly I should like to show you the photograph I was unable to show you on Thursday 1st May, and the completed product modelled, of course, by myself. IMG_1032


Back To Books

So let’s get back to today’s topic of blog-versation… (yeah, yeah I know, so I made up a word!)

I thought that today I would talk to you lovely people about two books that I have been reading just lately. One of them I have had quite a while and the other I got on Tuesday, as a present from my long suffering hubbie.

So first of all let’s talk about:


A No-Nonsense Handbook for Modern Families. By Biff Raven-Hill

This Is What The Blurb Says: The Wartime Housewife brings old-fashioned values and skills to our very modern world! In this book, she shares recipes and tips on budgeting, repairing things, mending and scavenging; ideas for the school holidays, outings, gardening, DIY, sewing and craft; and anything else that might prove useful in your daily life.

It goes on, but you can read it yourself if you decided to buy this gem of a book. I have to say I bought this book after becoming a fan of Ms Raven-Hill’s blog of the same name and then reading her post about her new book. It is exactly what any sensible woman could want, or in fact any sensible person. It’s funny and witty, but sensible and down-to-earth too. It has even a few home medicine recipes for a variety of irritating but slight conditions. It’s like the very old fashioned book “Enquire within” which I have always wished to have a copy of but will likely never acquire. In fact, Biff Raven-Hill is my inspiration and I just hope that my modest blog will eventually one day be amongst such greats as hers.

I especially enjoyed her anecdotes, the killing machine cat and her insights on good manners are spot on. This is a really useful little book, and I would whole-heartedly recommend anyone buying it, from students or young people starting up home to well-worn homemakers looking for a lift and some good ideas.

Book Two

Save With Jamie


120 Tasty Money Saving Meals. By Jamie Oliver.

This Is What The Blurb Says: This book will teach you how to cook tasty, nutritious food on a budget. I’m talking big flavours, comfort food that makes you feel happy, and colourful optimistic dishes. Every recipe is great value and cheaper per portion than an average takeaway. Its time to get Kitchen Smart. (You can practically hear Jamie Oliver)

This was a wonderful present that my darling husband bought me, based on the fact that whilst watching Jamie’s Save With Jamie TV show I said I wished I had the cook book. I have always been a fan of Jamie Oliver’s, in 2012 I got the chance to go to Jamie’s Italian in Norwich. The food was more than delicious, it was exquisite. In fact, had they allowed it I would have pitched a tent in the place and eaten like a queen!

This book is right up my alley, its full of inspirational recipes and just like the show it teaches you first how to make a “mother ship” dish. A “mother ship” dish being a slightly more expensive Sunday Lunch or Weekend meal for example… Roast Chicken, Roast Brisket, Roast Pork or Roast Lamb. Really its getting back to the way our great grandparents, and grandparents used to cook. Making a huge Sunday lunch and then eating up the leftovers through the week, and believe me when I say “WOW!” because the leftovers aren’t re-heated sad affairs, oh no! These left overs will knock your socks off! I am dying to do a weeks shopping and try out some of them.

I will admit it, I thought I was the queen of leftovers, but after reading this book I’m an eager amateur in comparison. I will say that reading this book made me homesick, again! For which I don’t know whether I should be grateful or irritated. Whichever I’m thrilled with the book. This is a great book for any family head trying to tighten the budget.

So What’s The Verdict?

These two books are really great if you are struggling with a smaller economy than you have been used to, or you have lived on a small budget a long time and want a few fresh and clever ideas. A useful addition to any home library and I’m really pleased that they are part of mine.

Until next time.