Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Let's Bake - Cathryn Dresser

Let’s Bake by Cathryn Dresser

Review by Little M (+ thoughts from M)

Let's Bake by Cathryn Dresser
Baking is a fantastic thing to do. There are those down times and those joyful, ecstatic moments – especially when you finally bring the fresh smelling bread out of the oven, the scent drifting through the house.

Cathryn Dresser’s Let’s Bake recipe book has wonderful looking sweet and savoury bakes. Of course, when deciding to review this recipe book, we’d agreed to make some, though that might seem quite obvious. Let’s Bake is a colourful, well-presented and easy to read book. The recipes are straight forward and, if in doubt of a technique, there is a helpful guide on how to do it.

Each individual recipe is spread out over four pages. On the first two pages there are the ingredients lists, the equipment needed, the prep and bake times, and a little anecdote from the author. There is also a finished product picture too. For the other two pages there is normally a ‘how to do it’ page in text and pictures to illustrate.

Whilst flicking through the book, we came across three recipes which we decided to make. We made this amazing butter from double cream, a delicious chocolate cake loaf and also some easy white bread. All these recipes were a success.

I truly recommend this recipe book by Cathryn Dresser. It is brilliant for your first time baking or for those who just love to do it. It is suited to young children as it talks about sharp knives and ovens. However, it would be brilliant for the whole family.

Making bread

And some further thoughts from M:

Making butter! My teacher did this at school when I was about seven and it fascinated me. One of those rare moments where I still remember some fine detail about the ‘lesson’. I’ve always wanted to do it myself but…haven’t. And then, there it was! How to do it in a baking book. We did this one together and it was huge, huge fun (and a wee bit messy too).

I also made the dippy baked eggs for breakfast and although it tasted delicious, the yoke went hard (eggs!). Of course, the book points out that practice (and changes) make perfect so we tried a little alternative and it worked. I like the way the book encourages experimentation – and that it’s notion of ‘baking’ is broad (there’re recipes for accompaniments to baked goods, like easy jam, houmous and, of course, butter).

Little M is the baker in our house. But I was also hugely impressed with this as a baking book, whether for an older child, an adult or a family. Thick and chunky, some unusual and nostalgic recipes, uncoated paper (great for ‘showing’ that you used the recipe), and not patronising in any way. Big thumbs up.

Homemade Bread & Butter
PS. No pictures of the chocolate cake loaf - we were too busy oohing & aahing, sniffing and eating.

Publication details: Orion Children’s, May 2014, London, hardback
This copy: for review from the publisher

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