Home Bake by Eric Lanlard

Published on Foodepedia on 5th September 2010:

Eric Lanlard’s new book ‘Home Bake’ looks too good. So good in fact, it’s almost obscene.

That’s the conclusion I’ve come to after some two weeks of picking it up, flipping through the pages and mulling over what I thought of it. You see, every time I thought of something to write, I got distracted by the brilliant photography. Photographs of some of the yummiest cakes, tarts and puds I’ve ever seen. Then I would get hungry and go off in search of something to curb my recently acquired insatiable appetite.

And just because it looks fanciful, doesn’t mean that it’s without authority. Master Patissier Eric Lanlard is the owner and cake making extraodinaire of the critically acclaimed Cake Boy in Battersea (www.cake-boy.co.uk). Twice the winner of Continental Patissier at the British Baking awards, Lanlard also has quite the A-list following, counting the likes of Madonna and Liz Hurley amongst his clients.

So just what is so special about this book? Well the book has recipes for everything from the standard sponge cake to meringues, cheese cakes and tarts; but not in the shape and form that you would usually expect to find them. Every recipe has an introduction by Lanlard and there is stunning photography to accompany almost all the recipes; some even have step by step images to complement the detailed instructions.

The apple tart with quince, for example, looks good enough to eat off the page. The lemon meringue cupcakes would be a real treat with a nice pot of tea. Of course then there is the bejewelled tower on the cover, a plain Genoise sponge. And how can I not be impressed with the first book that teaches me how to make marshmallows?

Its audience, as the book’s title suggests, is for the home cook and when you look through the recipes you certainly feel that you have been held by the hand. But it’s also more than that. It’s a collection of recipes that Lanlard likes to use himself at home, something that’s different from the cakes found at his Battersea emporium.

Given the wonderfully clear layout, fresh design and tips here and there, it’s certainly very appealing and an easy read. With this book in hand, home baking is set to become very glamorous indeed. Who said home baking had to be boring anyway?

Buy on Amazon

Little Dish Favourites Cookbook

Published on Foodepedia on 30th August 2010:

You may know Little Dish as the company that makes fresh, healthy food for kids using only natural ingredients, an idea which has no doubt been of endless help to busy mums and dads everywhere. Well, they have now released their first collection of recipes, the ‘Little Dish Favourites Cookbook’.

Little Dish Favourites reads like a children’s book except, instead of stories, it’s a series of recipes tracking the journey of a child’s life from weaning onwards. That means recipes beginning with carrot purée to aubergine parmigiana and Eton mess. But unlike most cookbooks, there are no images of what the dishes look like, just endearing illustrations of little titbits. Actually, hidden amongst the drawings and recipes, there are a few witty poems too.

The book has been written by Hillary Graves, the co-founder of Little Dish, and it’s been designed with the busy parent in mind. As a mother herself, Graves has gone through the journey with her children and shared some very interesting and helpful hints on what the new parent should expect in this book. There is also the added bonus that after consulting with a paediatric dietician, Little Dish recipes have been tried and tested with Graves’ own children.

This looks like the perfect first family cookbook.

Buy on Amazon

A delicious way to earn a living

Published on Foodepedia on 22nd August 2010:

The late Michael Bateman, a prolific writer and food enthusiast, was probably the father of modern food journalism. When he started out in the 50s, it was considered a topic of little worth, but a topic he nevertheless continued to champion throughout his life. ‘A delicious way to earn a living’ is a collection of his food writings from early on in his career to when he became Food Editor at The Independent on Sunday.

Inside this food journalist’s bible, you can find column musings, serious investigations and recipes, all interwoven with Bateman’s own food illustrations. How could any food journalist be taken seriously without having first read at least a portion of this book? Perhaps what is most surprising, for those strangers to Bateman, is the range of topics it covers. It’s possible to find everything from ethical eating to a guide to prison food, offering a very refreshing change for those who thought food writing was just recipes and reviews. This is certainly an encompassing selection from a man who took lengths to exhaust the topic of food via a multitude of angles.

The book reads like a collection of clippings from his long career, but without dates or publication details, it also feels like a collection of short stories. There are no chapters, just portion after portion of food exaltation. For anyone with a passion for food, this book really is a must. Whether you’re a novice or a connoisseur, the book will educate as well as entertain. What’s more, the book is an easy read and gives a fabulous insight into how food and food writing in Britain has changed between the 50s and 80s. It is also probably one of few books for which the foreword is also the author’s obituary. A regrettable fact indeed.

Buy on Amazon