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For day 2 of the quote challenge, here’s food writer and critic Ruth Reichl, with a philosophy on which guests to invite for dinner!
“Anyone who thinks they’re too grown up or too sophisticated to eat caramel corn, is not invited to my house for dinner”
Ruth’s latest book is her first novel, and it came out in paperback in May. Delicious!
What does the gardener do during the long winter evenings when pottering in the garden simply isn’t an option? Well, at the moment, I’m dipping into a memoir by Joy Larkcom. Aside from having a glorious name, Joy is a gardening writer, who, during the 70’s, toured Europe to find out how people grew vegetables in different parts of the continent and to bring back rare varieties to the UK. Her work changed how we grow our veg today, as well as recording, in some cases, practices that were disappearing from the landscape. This memoir includes Joy’s writing from that trip, as well as her later discoveries in China and her own gardens back in the UK and later in Ireland. A wonderful companion for those winter evenings.
I discovered these sweet treats in a gorgeous book called Lost in London, which is all about finding green and wild spaces within the capital. The book is full of wonderful hidden spaces, and it includes articles on food foragers and producers who are all finding ways to live the good life in the most urban settings.
I used gluten free flour, which works perfectly. I also followed the suggested amount of sugar and they were seriously sweet, so you may want to reduce the quantity a little!
Date Slices – by Chloe Coker and Jane Montgomery
250g chopped dates
150 ml water
Zest of 1/2 a lemon (or splash of lemon juice)
1 tsp real vanilla extract
150g light brown sugar
3 tbsp. honey
250g gluten free flour
250g rolled oats (gluten free)
Preheat the oven to 170C. Grease and line an 8 inch square tin (or similar).
Place all the date paste ingredients in a pan and simmer until the dates break down and start to form a puree. Stir well, or blitz in a food processor.
Melt the butter, sugar and honey in a pan over a gentle heat and stir gently until the butter has melted and the sugar dissolved.
In a bowl, mix together the flour and oats, then stir through the melted butter mixture until well combined.
Spread half the oat mixture in the base of the lined tin. Dollop the date mixture around the tin and smooth to an even layer. Spoon the rest of the oat mix on top and press down to a firm layer.
Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until the oats have started to brown. Cool slightly before cutting into approximately 16 squares, then leave to cool before lifting from the tin.
The reason I ended up writing ‘Early Vegetarian Recipes’ was because of a lady called Florence George, a cookery teacher and writer from the early 20th century. She just happened to have a been a teacher at my old school (slightly before I attended. Obviously), who wrote a book called ‘Vegetarian Cookery’ in 1908. It was while looking for her book in the British Library that I discovered the other wonderful vegetarian writers of the time.
I’ve now discovered a book, published by the school (King Edward VI High School), which looks at the life of Florence George and the history of cookery teaching in schools. It’s a fascinating story as Florence was one of the first teachers to attend the National Training School of Cookery in London.
A large portion of the book is devoted to recipes, including a section of vegetarian recipes. They are mostly simple recipes as you would expect from a school collection, but there’s plenty here for adults looking for something quick and easy. These tasty chick pea croquettes fall into that category.
Chick Pea Croquettes
1 1/2 lb cooked chick peas
2 cloves garlic
2 tblspns chopped parsley
1 medium potato, cooked
1 tblspn soy sauce (use tamari for wheat free recipe)
squeeze lemon juice
flour for coating (use gluten free)
vegetable oil for frying
Mash the chick peas with the garlic and potato. Add parsley, soy sauce, lemon juice and seasoning and mix well.
Roll the mixture into croquette of fritter shapes, then into the flour. Cool in the fridge for 1 hour if possible. Fry the croquettes or brush with oil before cooking under the grill.