Monday, January 17, 2022

Hello Again and The Best of British Baking cookbook review

I took the above photo on a drive this morning, the sun was lighting up Mt. Jefferson to the right of the old barn. 

 Hello all--happy new year! I hope it is going well for everyone. We have already been "snowed in" and had a big thaw with squishy mud! It was hazardous to get out. Excavation for landscaping is underway, but I have to catch all my house-building posts up to this point so more on that much later. I wouldn't mind more snow, it is just the aftermath of sinking 3" into the mud everywhere we walk that is not so fun! A week of sunshine is drying us out nicely.

I wanted to start the year's blogging with a cookbook review, as it was a good time to stay indoors and bake!

I was thrilled to be picked to receive a free copy of this book, The Best of British Baking: Classic Sweet Treats and Savory Bakes to review! I knew that in order to truly review it I would get to bake a lot of treats!

I have followed Marie's blog, The English Kitchen, for a few years and enjoyed her practical, use-what-you-have comfort-food style recipes from both Canadian and British cuisines. Anything from a Canadian cook is going to be successful... and a cookbook of British favorites was a good fit for this tea-lover!
Besides the appeal of the recipes, the book itself is beautiful to look at and I like reading all the extras about the cuisines of each region. There are plenty of tips, too.

I have tried four recipes so far: Crumpets, English Muffins, Cornish Pasties and Scottish Shortbread. I confess I've made the shortbread twice and I think it will be the one I make the most from this book! It's really good shortbread!

Here are a few tips of my own for what I have done so far: 
--If you are going to treat yourself and order the book, put Crumpet Rings/baking rings in your cart, too! Don't mix up the batter before you discover that you need rings (in other words, read the note at the top of the recipe first!). Improvising may not be for this application. I had to make mine "free form" and the flavor was delicious but you really need the rings.

--The pasty pastry worked! Pastry and I do not get along normally. My pies are usually ragged and patched. This pastry rolled and had no holes! I wondered how the Cornish Pasty filling was going to work out without gravy etc. but it made its own sauce and was such a satisfying, hearty recipe for my family. 

--English muffins take patience (for me at least!). If you have the heat too high, even for a bit, they will get too brown too fast but not done right in the middle. Low and slow is the advice in the book so I need to do this one again.

But the shortbread...ahh...the shortbread. It was delicious very warm from the oven. With heroic effort I put aside some for the next day. 
Of course I had to take a taste for breakfast, because shortbread is never sitting there on the counter at breakfast time and I the water was boiling for tea... well  someone needed to test these out to see if they were any good the next day. They were! The texture and flavor were just the same. Delicious hot or cold.

 I will say that if you have never made Scottish shortbread before, just be aware that it isn't going to form into a dough; it is a mixture like damp sand and when Marie says "tip it into a tin" it's because it's going to dump a mixture of what you will think is too dry to make cookies. It magically melds together in the oven, all sweet buttery-ness and comes out perfectly. I may have to keep making this one regularly to further review it... you know, to double or triple check to make sure it is still delicious.
There are savory and sweet baking recipes so I need to decide which kind I am going to bake next...maybe a cake for Valentine's day!
 I hope you will take a look at the book, you can see several sample pages on Amazon. Don't forget the crumpet rings (you know you will want to try crumpets out!). Thank you to Marie and her publisher for sharing a copy with me!

1 comment:

Christine said...

Welcome back and a great way to start the year. Cooking never goes out of style, especialy if it's a sweet treat!

Post a Comment

Pleasant Letters are Most Welcome!

Comments will be moderated for spam control and people having a bad day or making poor life choices.

Due to time constraints it may take a few days to publish and respond to your comments.