Posts tagged Review
The Year in Books: January

Joining in with Laura's The Year in Books last year was really one of the highlights of my blogging journey thus far. I have always devoured books with a passion, but when I started my new job a couple of years ago I found that reading quickly fell to the bottom of the pile of priorities that never seemed to get any smaller. Selecting one book to read over the month has pushed me to find time for reading whenever I can: snatched moments before the sun rises; relaxing for longer than perhaps I should with a book in the bath; sprawled on the sofa in front of a roaring fire. As a result, I managed to read slightly more books over the year than the aim of twelve, so this year I'm continuing. Alongside I'll be reading books for a book club I am becoming involved with; sometimes the books will be the same (like this month) but sometimes I'll be trying to get through two.

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This month I'm reading The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton. As it has received rave reviews from both critics and friends alike, I'm looking forward to delving into the world of seventeenth century Amsterdam and the curious characters that the book seems to contain. The blurb promises tiny creations, secrets of a new household, and an elusive miniaturist who seems to hold the fate of others in her hands so I have high hopes. Perhaps it might even beat my favourite from last year - Burial Rites - which really did blow every other choice out of the water.

As always, for more recommendations or to take part in The Year in Books, head over to the link-up at Circle of Pine Trees and while you’re there, catch up on the other lovely posts written by Laura.

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My Favourite Cookbook: Lucas Hollweg’s Good Things to Eat
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Good morning campers, and welcome to Wednesday. Today I have the delight of introducing the wonderful Amy from Slice of Sunny - I discovered Amy's blog in the early stages of my own blogging journey and I haven't looked back since. The blog's tagline - 'Eat, Explore, Enjoy' - sums up exactly what to expect and I particularly enjoy her monthly instagram highlights posts - why not head over and check them out? Today Amy introduces her favourite cookbook, which has now been added to my Amazon wishlist in the hope that some lovely person will buy me it soon...

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There are so many variations of cookbooks available right now that it can be difficult to find one fantastic all-rounder. But I’ve found it – and it’s called Good Things to Eat.

A quote from author Lucas Hollweg inside the front cover sums it up perfectly: “This is a book about favourite things to cook and eat … It’s about the food that makes me hungry and happy, the food that makes me go ‘yum’.”

Lucas’ book is a seasonal delight, divided into the standard chapters, like cakes, roasts, spaghetti – and some more unusual ones, like chops, gratins and summer and winter soups.

I bought this book three years ago when I moved out of home after graduating, and moved in with my boyfriend. I spent a long time choosing my first proper cookbook, and I’ve never regretted spending some birthday money on this.

When I got it home I sat down and marked up pages and pages of recipes to try, and it’s really helped instill a love and excitement for food in me.

Good Things to Eat has become a firm favourite in our kitchen. We’ll turn to ‘Lucas’ (as we call the book) for help when we’re in need of something a bit nicer than our everyday dinners.

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We’ve even formed new traditions around the recipes. Every near year’s day, we’ll sit down to a steaming bowl of pork goulash with a dollop of sour cream on top. No matter how bad the new year’s hangover is, the smell of that goulash cooking can revive anyone.

Other favourite recipes from the book fall into my own ‘comfort food’ category: macaroni cheese, and risotto – which it turns out I’m amazing at making!

Roast sweet potato and goat’s cheese salad is also a winner, taken from the winter salads chapter – and the chilled tomato and cumin soup, from summer soups. Even the cakes are good: the chocolate marmalade slump cake went down very well at work.

This book introduced me to new flavour combinations that I use even without thinking now. It’s perfect if you’re falling in love with the kitchen and love good home cooking.

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Good Things to Eat is Lucas’ first book, and he regularly writes about what’s in season in the Waitrose Kitchen magazine. The book is even listed in the Telegraph’s ‘Hidden gems: 10 lesser known cookbooks we can’t live without’.

The introductions to each chapter are personal, and I defy anyone not to do as I did and mark all the pages they’d like to make. The photography is wonderful and simple too, and the emphasis solely on the food.

Thank you for having me on Creative Countryside. It’s been lovely to share my favourite cookbook with you! What’s your favourite?

The Year in Books: July

If I'm honest, I wasn't sure I was going to beat June's The Year in Books reviewBurial Rites was spectacular and I was wary of reading another book lest it be a complete let-down, but Joanne Harris' collection of short stories - A Cat, a Hat and a Piece of String - really stepped up to the mark.

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The stories are woven around themes that drift through the book as an underlying presence; the idea that Christmas stays all year round, for example, or that two feisty ladies in a nursing home can run rings around the staff, and more poignantly why they are forced to. The characters are lively and interesting and you really feel yourself rooting for some of them, despite the fact you meet them for only a few pages. The writing is humorous, saddening, even outrageous at times. But more than anything, the selling point of this book is the vast variety of short stories housed within its pages; I have read numerous collections of short stories but this one was different in that you could select a story to read depending on your mood or the time of year, and there would also be one that would fit. This, for me, is what reading is all about, and I will definitely be delving back into these stories again.

July's choice is something I picked up a while ago on a whim and I'm still not entirely sure what to expect, but I wanted to give something a little bit different a try. Shatter Me With Dawn by Sally Russell focuses on a celebration of country life in Georgia and revisits her years in a remote farm. I've not read much about the American countryside, so I'm looking forward to discovering what it's like over the pond.

Have you got any recommendations that you'd like to share that also focus on country life?

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