I like a cookbook and over the years I have collected a lot, thrown out a few and kept the ones that I love and use all the time. There are some that I go to all the time and others that I know are there when I need them, on standby with inspiration. Rather than talking about them I thought I would take pictures of them.
These are the ones I use the most and are at the front of my bookshelf. Nigella features at lot as well as Rachel Allen and Dan Lepard. These are the ones I go to for cake inspiration. The newest one is the Morito cookbook, used it for the first time last week and I think it will become a firm favourite.
One of these should have been in the first photo, the Mary Berry, definitely one of my go to books, it has such a breath of recipes that I know I will find what I need. Delia and Nigel feature here as well as more Nigella (what can I say? I’m a fan). Just to the left of Mary you will spot a book called Dough by Richard Bertinet which is the book that got me into bread making, highly recommended.
Swedish Cakes and Cookies was given to me by my Swedish sister-in-law and it is a classic Swedish cookbook that has been around for over 50 years. Some great cakes in here and lovely cakey bread too. The other little beauty is a new book in my collection that I found after doing some research into Irish baking. Maura Laverty was an Irish journalist, novelist, actress and cookbook writer and she wrote this book back in the 50s. It is a wonderful collection of recipes with some great little stories about Ballyderrig (her home town in Kildare). Look out for some test recipes from this in the future.
And then there is always one on the cookbook stand, the one I used last. Today it is Feast by Nigella (it snook into the first picture too!), I used the icing from her chocolate Guinness cake on a chocolate potato cake (more about that later!) that I made last week. It will stay there until the next book is used.
So there you have it, the Cakes & Cardies cookbook bookshelf, who know what will be joining it in the near future!
One of my friends recently turned forty and was having an afternoon “do” to celebrate organised by her husband. I offered to make a cake to help with the festivities. We decided on a chocolate cake and then I got to thinking about design. I went with simple but classy, a chocolate layer cake with chocolate butter cream and a spray of fondant roses atop.
I have never made fondant roses before but got the idea to do them from one of my cake decorating books, The Cake Decorating Bible by Juliet Sear. She gives very clear instructions on how to make these and I watched a video on youtube which helped me to visualise the technique. It is probably one of the easiest things to make, you only need fondant (coloured how you want, I went with pale pink, medium pink and red), a plastic bag, icing sugar and your hands. No special tools needed.
Firstly, roll out small balls of your fondant (the size will depend on the size of rose you want), most of my roses had about 8 petals so I had 8 balls. I had a plastic food bag that I had cut along two sides so that I could place the balls inside and put a bit of icing sugar in there so that the fondant didn’t stick. Then using my thumb I flattened each ball into a circle and flattened one end so that it was fairly thin, this would help form the petals.
Once I had all my petals I made the central bud by rolling one between my thumb and forefinger, keeping the thinner side at the top. Once it is rolled you can roll back the thin edge to give you the lovely rose petalness. Then just add petals one at a time (I put about seven more petals around the central bud) until you build up your beautiful delicate flower. I made some smaller buds as well as the full flowers.
The day before the birthday party I made the cake, a simple chocolate sponge layer cake and covered it in yummy chocolate icing. Then it was ready for its spray of roses.
As you know I love a bit of knitting, especially for a new baby! When my friend announced she was pregnant last year I was excited to make something for the new baby. As the parents are big Harlequins rugby fans I decided to make a blanket using the harelquins colours. So far so good. The baby was born in November last year (a lovely baby boy called Oscar) but he only got his blanket last week……bad aunty.
It wasn’t even a difficult project, strips of different colours alternating stocking stitch with moss stitch and backed with a lovely bit of soft blue material with animal print. It was just that I kept putting it down and not picking it up again for weeks! I think because it wasn’t a garment and therefore he wouldn’t grow out of it I felt that I had more time. Anyhoo, I finished it and it was presented to Oscar’s mum last week and he was sporting it in his pram the next time I saw him so I’m thinking…he loves it!! Here are some pictures.