Friday, 30 September 2011

Cookbooks Galore: On A Stick/The Encyclopedia of Sandwiches

I was recently sent a couple more cookbooks to review, courtesy of Quirk. Actually I say recently but in all honesty I was sent them early this year and it's taken me *this* long to get around to writing this blog post. Sorry Quirk.

On A Stick!
by Matt Armendariz

As the title might suggest this book is all about food - on a stick, the idea being that food on a stick is more fun. Who can argue with that?

Matt Armendariz writes a food blog at and has been featured on many shows and in publications such as House Beautiful and Every Day Food.  He lives in Los Angeles and therefore this book is rather American. It's not a problem on the whole however it contains many references to ingredients such as pepperoncini, cornstarch and scallions and just from a readability point of view, I would have liked to have seen those changed in the British edition of this book.

The book itself is very well presented with large, clear photos of each recipe and simple, easy-to-follow methods.

The recipes include some quite basic ideas like caprese sticks, simple yet effective crudite skewers and panzanella right through to the breakfast pancake dogs that on one hand look and sound SO wrong (I'm not entirely sure anything deep-fried is a good way to start the day...) but  on the other, sound intriguing and highly tempting, especially smothered in maple syrup!  Other ideas that look interesting to me are the chicken satay, Chinese meatballs, fried mozzarella and lamb souvlaki.

Of course there is also a whole host of desserts from the ubiquitous cake pop to the oh-so-popular in America, candy apples but there are also some more interesting ideas like cocktail cubes, doughnut holes, mojito melon skewers and the frozen Elvis - banana, bacon, peanuts and chocolate.

There is a whole lot of deep-frying in this book BUT this book is marketed as a book for parties/entertaining and not designed for every day eating. It's a good book if you need some clever and original ideas for a party.

On a Stick is published by Quirk, RRP £11.99 and is available from Amazon.

The Encyclopedia of Sandwiches
by Susan Russo

As with the above book, this is again an American publication. This originally appealed to me as I am a huge lover of that great British institution - the sandwich.

As per the title of this book, this is an A-Z of sandwich recipes that starts with a good introduction and history of the sandwich. It covers various types and varieties using different breads like bagels, croissants and waffles.

It covers many of the best known sandwiches like a BLT, caprese, croque monsieur and even a good old chip butty but also incorporates new ideas like a chow main sandwich, hot roast beef with gravy and (less appealing to me) a spamwich. 

A particular sandwich that stood out to me was the banana split sandwich. Comprising of peanut butter, chocolate sauce, bananas, strawberry and pineapple jam it's not really one for the fainthearted! I've never found pineapple jam readily available here so the recipe does suggest using sliced strawberries and pineapple instead.

There is a picture of each creation (taken by Matt Armendariz who wrote the aforementioned On a Stick) to accompany the text which is simple and easy to follow and comes with a background to the origin of each sandwich.

The Encyclopedia of Sandwiches is published by Quirk, RRP £12.99 and is available from Amazon.

With thanks to Quirk for supplying the above books for review.

love & kisses
Mrs M x

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Reasons to be cheerful...

I am battling on with the most horrendous cold at the moment which has turned into sinusitis that I just cannot shake off. Subsequently I'm in a bit of a funk, so in an effort to perk myself up I thought I'd share some of my reasons to be cheerful this week.

First up, clearly it has to be the HEATWAVE! Oh just to feel the warm sun on my skin.Completely unexpected but very, very welcome.

Next, I pre-ordered this beauty from Emma Bridgewater. The Collectors Club "Joy" Mince Pie plate. This is going to complete Christmas for me, you know what I mean?

Glee started back last week and you all know how much I love that. That gives me something to look forward to each week! Glee is reason enough to be cheerful right there on it's own.

Holidays! No, I'm not going on one unfortunately but I fully intend to book one this week. That ought to shake the funk off, no?

and finally, cuddles and lots of them. Mr M was away last week so I am enjoying having him back and we're having lots of extra cuddles along with the daily offerings from the children. I'm sure cuddles make the world go round.

So what about you? Any reasons to be cheerful today?

love & kisses 
Mrs M x