I have received a free e-copy of the recipe book Comfort Food by Julia Bettelheim to review.
Here is the book blurb.
There’s nothing quite like Comfort Food to put a smile on your face and a feeling of contentment in your stomach. Chef Julia Bettelheim is passionate about feeding people; from the students in her university kitchen to guests and family at home. From recipes that are as simple as a sandwich to as technical as a fruit cake, she knows the importance of creating delicious meals that are full of flavour and which always have budget in mind. Her recipes include easy to make classics and mouth-watering family favourites, using easy to find products that are fresh and economical. Fun, fast, indulgent and nurturing, there’s a time and a place for Comfort Food in every kitchen.
I’ve always enjoyed browsing through recipe books, although I did reluctantly reduce my own collection which filled several shelves in the bookcase down to about one shelf to make more space for the boys’ books a few years back. So I was particularly looking forward to reading this book and trying my hand out at cooking some of the recipes. I’m hoping that e-recipe books may be the way forward for me.
Just like most recipe books it is sub-divided into chapters, starting with soups. There are some very tasty sounding treats, but equally a few that I would prefer to avoid like Scottish Rolls. This was one of the two recipes that I was asked to make, but I declined as it includes black pudding, something I hate. Maybe comfort food to some, but not for me. This particular recipe was in the England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales chapter which I laughed to see even included a Deep Fried Mars Bar.
However it was a delight to see tasty sandwiches included. Absolutely comfort food, but something not usually encompassed in a recipe book. And I loved reading the introduction where it mentioned how Julia started with index cards as a teenager. I’ve lost most of my handwritten childhood recipes, but I do still have one scrapbook that I used to paste in recipes from magazines, so I could really relate to that.
Comfort Food is available on Amazon, currently priced at £9.99 in paperback and is also available in Kindle format. A nice recipe book, so long as you aren’t too bothered about the inconsistencies in units, which did bug me a bit. I’ve got my eye on trying the caramel crumble next.
Easy to navigate around the e-version to any recipe with a single click from the index. Nice photos although I would have preferred every recipe to have a picture.
These biscuits are very easy to make; the only time-consuming bit is rolling the balls onto the sheet pan. The biscuits themselves are very plain, but you can let your imagination get the better of you.
1 cup sugar
1 tin sweetened condensed milk
5 cups self-raising flour
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
Cream together butter and sugar, then beat in the milk and vanilla. Stir through the flour until it is all mixed in. Roll tablespoonfuls onto a sheet pan and bake at 170 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until just golden. Using a small 8 oz ice cream scoop also works if you prefer large biscuits.
At this point you can divide the mixture into portions and add some goodies to each portion, for example:
- 50g candy coloured chocolate
- ½ cup white chocolate bits and ½ cup dried cranberries
- ½ cup choc raisins
- ½ cup milk choc bits
Store biscuits in an airtight container and they stay fresh for about a week.
With two blocks of butter, this certainly made a lot of biscuits. Took me a while getting all batches through the oven. And it really hit the spot with all the family, so I’ll definitely be baking this again. I chose to do four variants – plain, chocolate chip, honeycomb and currants using half a cup for each addition. Although you shouldn’t call the plain that in my opinion, as they were so sweet with both sugar and the condensed milk, especially compared to how I often try to reduce sugar content in baking.
I wasn’t quite sure what the recipe meant by rolling tablespoonfuls onto the baking sheet, so I just pushed the mixture off the tablespoon, but otherwise lives up to its name of easy biscuits. Also the recipe needs to be proof-read, as currently it reads that the additional ingredients should be added after baking. I assumed that they were to be added before cooking, not as decoration.
However I did find it particularly irritating that there was no consistency over the units used in the recipe – some ingredients in grams and some in cups. I feel it should have been one or the other. Personally I try to avoid recipes using cups, as I never know what size cup to choose, so mine may have then been wrong against the amount of butter. Also it would be more helpful if it indicated what size tin of milk to use. There was only one size at my supermarket, but is that the case everywhere?
It wasn’t just this recipe that had multiple units. It was fairly common throughout the book. Also some recipes had a combination of ounces and cups, introducing yet another unit. So if there is a reprint, I would recommend standardising the units used throughout. Otherwise define the size of a cup either at the start or end of the book.
About the author
Growing up in Wellington, New Zealand, British born Julia Bettelheim enjoyed an early start in the catering industry and as a teenager took lessons from a private chef. Her family then moved to Melbourne, Australia where she lived for the next twenty-two years and worked as a tupperware sales representative travelling the city providing cookery demonstrations and sharing recipes that were suitable for storing. After her divorce in 2008, Julia moved back to England where she now lives in Chatham, Kent and works as a chef in the kitchen of the cafe at UCL in London.
I’m participating in the blogtour. Do take time to browse round some of the other posts to see what tasty recipes they have tried.
I’d love to hear what dishes are your comfort food?
Disclosure. This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free. All opinions are my own.