I'm not really one for food mags or cookbooks. There's so much online and I'd much rather spend my money on ingredients than books to clutter up my already cluttered house. I recently ventured out of the kids section and into the cooking section of my library and found two books worth sharing.
The first is Popcorn Treats by Hannah Miles (Amazon £6.99). I'm a bit of a popcorn fan, particularly if it's sweet. You might remember I recently made Caramel Marshmallow Popcorn - if you haven't tried it yet, you should! Popcorn Treats has 60-odd recipes, each on a separate page with an accompanying full page photo. I liked the layout because it's easy to follow - ingredients in one column and method in another - and there's no trying to guess what picture relates to which recipe. It's separated into Sweet, Savoury, Treats (things like popcorn cookies and lollipops) and Gourmet (nutty popcorn, margarita popcorn). Some of the savoury recipes might make it into my Christmas hampers this year but it's really the sweet ones I fancy.
Popcorn Treats would make a great addition to a popcorn hamper Christmas present. You
could package it up with some ingredients, popcorn bags or boxes and an
air popper for a teenager (or someone like me!) Given that my popcorn
cooking skills are a bit hit and miss (I burnt the last batch and stunk
the house out) I have put this £14.99 popper on my Christmas wishlist.
The second book is Saved By Cake, by Marian Keyes (Amazon £10). You just have to look at the gorgeous gooey pastels on the cover to know this is going to have some gorgeous recipes in it and it doesn't let you down. I'm a fan of Ms Keyes anyway and it's fab to be able to read her new stuff after such a long silence. I missed her! The tone of this book is engaging and chatty and it feels like you're in the kitchen with her while she's mixing and stirring away in her floral pinny. Kind of like a female, Irish Jamie Oliver. Keyes starts the book with a preface talking about how baking helped lift her from her recent bout of depression. I was impressed to learn she was a baking novice before this (she looks so competent on the cover) and the recipes are pretty ambitious at times, but all of them sound gorgeous. There are plenty of tips as you go along or when she introduces a new technique.
Download a free recipe card for no-bake Rocky Road Cake here