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Cook Books for Foodies

This week on YouTube channel, “Foodies Across The Pond” Lisa and I go down the rabbit hole that is our collection of cookbooks.  It is no surprise that we are both cookbooks obsessed!  We each chat through 5 of our favourite – “couldn’t do without” books.  Hop onto the video for more details but I want to share one of my favourite recipes.


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Including 5 of my top tips for your cookery book shelf!

The Hairy Bikers’ Family Cookbook, Mums Know Best.


Sticky Date Cake:

It is no secret that Si & Dave are my guilty pleasure.  I love watching them on TV and this series was just fabulous and their lockdown verbal rambles, live on Instagram saved my sanity!  Their recipes are always sound and work, and this recipe is one of my favourites and was passed to them by a total stranger in a supermarket!  That is my sort of supermarket. The mark of a well used recipe book? The splatters on the page and this page has a lot! Spot them on the photo above.

(Serves at least 12) 


110g raisins

225g dates

175g sultanas

110g currants

275g butter plus extra for greasing tin

1 x 400g tin condensed milk

150g wholemeal flour

Pinch of salt

Scant tsp bicarbonate of soda

1 heaped tablespoon of chunky marmalade (obviously Myrtles if you have it)

Blanched almonds and glace cherries for the top (optional)

Grease ta 20cm square cake tin with a little butter and line with parchment.

Put the raisins, dates, sultanas and currant in a saucepan with the butter, then pour in the condensed milk and 275ml of water  Bring to the boil, stirring regularly so the mixture does not stick to the bottom of the pan, and continue to simmer for three minutes.  Pour the mixture into a large bowl and allow to cool.

Preheat the oven to 170c /Gas 3.  In another bowl, mix the wholemeal and the plain flour with the salt and bicarb.  Once the fruit mixture is cool, fold it into the flour and stir  in the marmalade.  Spoon the mixture into the greased and lined cake tin and decorate with some whole blanched almonds and glace cherries if you want.  Put a double layer of baking parchment over the top of the cake to prevent it from burning and bake in the oven for 1 ¾ hours.

At the end of the cooking time, take the cake out of the oven and leave it to cool for 10 minutes before turning it out onto a cooling rack.  Make yourself a nice cup of tea and cut yourself a big slice.

Wrap in foil and store in a tin.

One of Lisa’s choices was a book by Diana Henry and she is a firm favourite of mine as well.

I have a particular favourite recipe of hers, which is so versatile and tasty and thought I would share it with you, just in case you are sharing my current craving for vegetables!

From one of my favourite recipe books;  “FROM THE OVEN TO THE TABLE”  BY DIANA HENRY



Serves 4


300g Small waxy potatoes, cleaned and quartered

3 medium ready- cooked beetroots halved

6 x long slim carrots (I love the multi coloured heritage) halved

1 x medium sized cauliflower broken into florets with the leaves

3 x parsnips halved lengthwise

3 garlic cloves grated

5 x tablespoons Groundnut oil

Sea salt flakes & freshly ground black pepper.

2 x teaspoons cumin seeds

2 x coriander seeds

¼ teaspoon ground coriander

Natural Yogurt and Myrtle’s Mango Chutney to serve


For the butter:

75g unsalted butter at room temperature

1 x red chilli.  Halved, deseeded and finely chopped.   (more if you like it hotter)

2 Tablespoons finely chopped coriander leaves

Finely grated zest and juice of 1 x lime.

Preheat the oven to 210 c (425 f) Gas mark 7.    Take a huge roasting tray or two smaller ones .  Put into the oven to heat up.

Put all of the prepared vegetables into a large bowl and add the garlic, oil and seasoning.

Toast the cumin & coriander seeds in a dry frying pan for about a minute until toasting and you can smell the spices.

Pop the toasted spices into a mortar with the turmeric and grind them together.

Add the spices to the bowl of vegetables and turn everything over in the oil.

Take the hot tins and add the vegetables.  Roast the vegetables for 25 minutes, tossing the vegetables half way through the cooking time.

In the meantime, mash the butter together with the chilli, coriander, lime zest and juice.

When the vegetables are ready, transfer them to a warmed large, shallow serving dish.  Add nobs of the butter all over the top and allow it to melt.

Serve with the natural yogurt (I top mine with fresh coriander) and Myrtle’s Mango Chutney.

I served mine with some roasted chicken which I also added the chilli butter to.

Mango Chutney

I always have loads left over – this is a really cost effective recipe, which I just love!

For the leftovers:

Make up some couscous, add lime and lemon juice,  a bunch of chopped herbs and seasoning to give it flavour.   Chop some of your left over vegetables into small cubes and add to the couscous.  VERY YUM and great for a quick lunch.


Grab one of your standby curry sauces from the freezer.  I recommend trying:


Warm up the curry sauce and add the chopped left over veg.    Heat through and serve.  Simple suppers, I can’t get enough of them..  Again, great served with natural yogurt and mango chutney.  I would serve with rice or naan – or both!

Bon appetite!

Jane x