and so, as you might imagine, i was thrilled to receive in the post a new addition to my collection - Melinda Messenger's Family Cookbook.
and i know what you are thinking, because every time i mentioned to someone about the book they said 'really? is it any good?' or 'another random person making a cookbook...why?' - and i admit to being a little sceptical myself, but after the utter surprise of sophie dahl's book and TV series, i waited patiently to actually read it before judging it (as should we all!)
when it came in the post, i immediately started flicking open the pages to get a general feel for it. and i noticed something - it's exactly the style of cookbook i adore - beautiful photographs, clear and concise instructions (not too long either) and a short, sensible ingredients list. excellent!
so, upon closer inspection, what sort of recipes does it actually contain? well, there's tabbouleh, thai green curry, cheese scones, welsh cakes (mmm), chocolate mousse (i've been looking for a good recipe for ages!), almond and pear tart (just perfect), butternut and red onion tart, salmon and leek bake, dahl soup, plaice goujons, chilli, falafel and my favorite french toast.
to do the book a true justice, i had to cook one of the recipes at least didn't i? just to see how the quantities were, whether the flavours were right and if the instructions were easy to follow. i picked a delicious sounding beetroot chocolate cake....
♥ i actually cooked this at the weekend for a whole group of friends for lunch. and given i'd never cooked it before, it was a bit of a gamble. and especially because it's a cake - you can't really slice into it and test it before you serve it. but it was fantastic! all 11 guests emptied their plates and were incredibly sad that we had finished up the lot. the rise on it is beautiful, the texture fantastic, the taste incredible. and it's such a pleasure to make because the mixture is pink!
so, if you only purchase the book for this recipe you'll be onto a winner! i am so looking forward to trying out all the other recipes in the book, especially the falafel and dahl soup. there are a few recipes in there that are quite simplistic - which is fantastic for mother's with young children and newbie cooks, and a great basic guide for any other home cook. it's the sort of book with everything in it, from breakfast to dessert, camping recipes to party planning, sweet treats to delicious hearty soups.
it's jam-packed full with good and proper English food. and that's why i really love it.
Melinda Messenger's Family Cookbook is available from New Holland Publishers, normal price £16.99. Enter the discount code MMCook10 at the checkout to receive your 20% discount.