Saturday, 31 August 2013

Books and Baking

This is a blog post of two parts. I was going to write about cakes and baking (nothing new there then) and then I remembered I was going to do a post about reading. But then I couldn't decide which one to do do first so have ended up combining the two. Which is actually just a diversionary tactic so that you don't notice the lack of any interesting textily stuff going on!
 
 
Regular readers will know that I belong to two book clubs and one of them is not very serious. We are all avid readers but when we get together it is usually to eat, drink and catch up on gossip. We don't all read the same books each month but instead we bring along anything we have enjoyed and do a bit of a swap. Which of course is more difficult now several of us have Kindles... so we just eat and drink some more!
 
My other book club meets each month and we all read the same book... and actually discuss it. In August we read The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. I'd read this years ago and still had my old copy but I read it again. I didn't enjoy it anymore this time and felt it very dated and self indulgent. But it gave rise to interesting discussion about mental illness and its treatment. During the discussion someone mentioned The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O'Farrell... another book about mental illness.

 
I had a copy of this on my shelves too and had read it before but immediately wanted to read it again. I devoured this in two days. It is a wonderful book and I can highly recommend it. It's both engaging and shocking and calls in to question what is normal... or not.

 
Which leads very nicely into the book we have to read for September. Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? by Jeanette Winterson. This is another book I have read before and I will happily read this again before the book club meet in a couple of weeks. A really good read and I can recommend this too. So that's the books... what about the cake...

 
Maybe the return of The Great British Bake Off has inspired me again (I'm still peeved that I didn't even get through a first round) but yesterday I made a fruit flan...

 
and a chocolate pavlova (requested for our next non- serious book club meeting since I put a photo on facebook) both for a lovely evening of shared food with friends.

 
and today I made a raspberry and almond cake for a family lunch. Probably one of the easiest cakes I've made but also one of the best. Recipe courtesy of Nancy... Thank you... I'll be making that again!
 
Maybe something textiley next week... or maybe not. I might just read another book and bake another cake!

17 comments:

  1. Oh! So pleased to see my recipe included in your fabulous collection of cakes :)

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  2. Bake Off really don't know what they're missing! Thanks for recommending the books. i've never read Sylvia Plath and I'm not sure I'm going to go for that one but the other two are on my list.

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  3. I am able to confirm that the chocolate Pavlova and the Fruit flan were both tip top delicious. And you are far too lovely to appear on any television programme with an up-himself philanderer xx

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  4. Well that baking is worthy of any GBBO programme! Their loss!!! ;)
    V xxx

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  5. Your baking looks superb, far too good for any silly competition. I don't like Sylvia Plath, but I shall try the library for the other two - they sound interesting. You deserve a break from textiley stuff sometimes and reading is certainly relaxing. Cheers

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  6. I too read The Bell Jar many years ago, but wouldn't want to read it again even after referring to it in my quilt earlier this year. However the other two will go on my list.
    As for the cakes - torture! Licking my iPad just doesn't work.

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  7. What an excellent combination of comments about books and glorious pictures of cakes. I agree with you about Maggie O'Farrell's book- she is a wonderful writer. Wouldn't mind trying to make that chocolate pavlova some time...

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  8. I read rubbish books these days Gina but you always make me want to read something with more depth and meaning lol. Might give one of these a go.
    Lovely yummy food as usual. I made salted caramel peanut ice cream yesterday - the jury's still out.

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  9. Peaches for Monsieur Le Cure (good book and food combined) and the light between oceans are two I have recently enjoyed. Would recommend!. Agree with Gill's comments about Bake Off. I think you may well end up in a different version of the show, 'The Great British Standoff'.

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  10. Thanks for the book reviews, I ordered one from Amazon 1p and the other from the library. Mouth watering!

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  11. I am very pleased that currently there is a greater awareness of mental illness but I am not brave enough to read books about it. It's probably selfish of me but I have known acute anxiety and depression and want to leave them behind.
    Your baking looks absolutely delicious as usual and I bet that you were soon left with only crumbs on the plates.

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  12. Thank you Gina I shall get these books; I just needed a bit of inspiration.

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  13. The cakes looks really good!
    The books sound interesting, but as some one else wrote, I am not quite brave enough or have enough energy to read them. I have mental issues myself at the moment(depression and anxiety), so I already got my fair share one could say.

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  14. Was wondering how you are progressing with your design from the TSG weekend? :)

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  15. Funny - whenever I watch the bakeoff, my over-riding emotion is thankfulness that I never made it on!! Such stress levels.

    But your cakes look easily glorious enough to hold their own and I'm sure the book group are more appreciative eaters too.

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  16. Books: I have to agree with Heather, I certainly don't want to read about it or be reminded of it.
    You mentioned Kindle, have you noticed how badly some books have been transcribed? Last week I was reading a Monica Dickens and came across the phrase "in the summer-house behind the bumble puppy set" - I have no idea what that might mean!

    Cakes: WOW! That last one looks similar to Clafoutis, my favourite French dessert.

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  17. Oooh, your cakes have made me hungry -- they look delicious!

    And interesting ... The Bell Jar has been on my list since ... forever..., Esme has been sitting on my coffee table for too long, and Normal is new-to-me -- thanks for the suggestion!

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