Author Archives: mumjd

Blue Monday by Nicci French

I have had this book waiting on my “to be read” list since last summer when Penguin invited me to review a later book in the series free via NetGalley. Instead I opted for Blue Monday, the first title in the Frieda Klein series by best selling author Nicci French.

Blue Monday by Nicci French

Here is the book blurb.

Monday, the lowest point of the week. A day of dark impulses. A day to snatch a child from the streets …

The abduction of five-year-old Matthew Farraday provokes national outcry and a desperate police hunt. And when his face is splashed over the newspapers, psychotherapist Frieda Klein is left troubled: one of her patients has been relating dreams in which he has a hunger for a child. A child he can describe in perfect detail, a child the spitting image of Matthew.

Detective Chief Inspector Karlsson doesn’t take Frieda’s concerns seriously until a link emerges with an unsolved abduction twenty years ago and he summons Frieda to interview the victim’s sister, hoping she can stir hidden memories. Before long, Frieda is at the centre of the race to track the kidnapper. But her race isn’t physical. She must chase down the darkest paths of a psychopath’s mind to find the answers to Matthew Farraday’s whereabouts. And sometimes the mind is the deadliest place to lose yourself.

The story starts with a flashback to a child Joanna going missing in 1987 before moving to the present day. It then goes for a slow start. Alan is referred by his GP to see a psychiatrist and he ends up seeing Dr Frieda Klein, a psycho-analyst to whom he confesses his fantasy dreams of a son.

Meanwhile the papers are full of the case of missing 5 year old Matthew. Frieda ponders over the similarities between the boy of Alan’s dreams and Matthew before eventually going to report it to DCI Karlsson.

Karlsson has been comparing the case to the unsolved disappearance of Joanna and sits up when he hears Frieda say that Alan had similar dreams in his early 20’s about a daughter, but soon rules out Alan as Matthew’s abduction took place whilst Alan would have been seeing Frieda.

Frieda discovers that Alan was adopted. Then Alan mentions a mystery woman kissing him whom Frieda asks student Jack to track down. Interesting facts start to emerge and I can’t say any more for risk of spoilers.

Blue Monday by Nicci French is available on Amazon, at £6.99 in paperback and is also available in hardback and Kindle format and is published by Penguin. A long slow first half of the book followed by a much more gripping second half.

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MamaMummyMum

Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I received for free.  All opinions are my own.

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Sausage Plait

This recipe is a little bit more interesting than just using your sausagemeat to make sausage rolls.

Sausage Plait

Sausage Plait

Ingredients (serves 4)

375g puff pastry
500g sausage meat

Method

Preheat fan oven to 180 degree C.
Grease a baking tray.
Roll out pastry.
Lift pastry over the baking tray.
Place sausage meat onto the pastry and press into a flat rectangular shape.
Carefully cut pastry overhang into attached strips.
Plait the strips over the top of sausagement.
Bake on middle shelf of oven for 30 – 40 minutes until golden.
Cut into slices.
Serve with your choice of potatoes and vegetables.
Enjoy.

Sausage Plait


And as an accompaniment, I decided to try a variant on cheesy potatoes using yoghurt.

Yoghurt potatoes

Cheesy yoghurt potatoes

Ingredients (serves 4)

750g potatoes
250g yoghurt
100g cheddar cheese
salt and pepper

Method

Preheat fan oven to 180 degree C.
Peel and slice the potatoes.
Grate the cheese.
Place a layer of sliced potatoes in the bottom of an ovenproof dish.
Cover with yoghurt and grated cheese.
Repeat layers until all ingredients are in the dish, ending with a cheese layer.
Season with salt and pepper.
Bake on top shelf of oven for about 45 – 50 minutes, until potato has softened.
Serve as a side dish.
Enjoy.

Yoghurt potatoes

The sausage meat plait was very popular but mixed reactions to the potatoes. Two of us liked it and two weren’t so convinced.

I’d love to hear your recipes for potatoes or sausage meat.

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Snobbity Snowman by Maria Bardyukova & Quiet Riley

I have received a free e-copy of the book Snobbity Snowman by Maria Bardyukova & Quiet Riley for son2 to review. You may find out more about the authors Maria and Quiet on their blogs.

Snobbity Snowman by Maria Bardyukova & Quiet Riley Jr

Here is the book blurb.

Snobbity Snowman has everything a snowman could possibly want: a shiny hat, freshly-picked noses and enough pride to last a lifetime. In fact, he is so egocentric that he can’t even see when his life starts falling apart.

What disasters must take place to open his charcoal eyes? To help him see that pride and possessions cannot bring true happiness? Will he defrost his chilly ego and embrace the warmth of friendship? Only Snobbity can tell. 

Depicting winter in rich and whimsical tones, Snobbity Snowman’s quirky characters and unexpected twists promise to leave a lasting impression on all its snobbulous readers.

A lovely seasonal picture book for this time of year with a message to impart. This book is suitable either as an early reader or to read out loud to very young children, although some of the words like “monocle” may need some explaining by the parent. The illustrations are bright and vibrant. And it has some fun puzzles at the back of the book, although son2 was disappointed that when he pressed the “click here” on each puzzle, that he was redirected to a page that could not be found on Maria’s blog.

I feel it is important that the latter issue is addressed, as children will naturally feel let down when any interactive features don’t work as expected. Hopefully this has already been spotted and resolved.

Snobbity Snowman is available on Amazon, currently priced at £4.61 in kindle format. Amazon suggests an age range of 2-12, but I would say it better suits upto age 7.

Snobbity Snowman by Maria Bardyukova & Quiet Riley

My boys are in the 8-12 age group. They both read and enjoyed the book but it was clearly too young for them.

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MamaMummyMum

Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

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Heart of a Highlander by Tammy Andresen

I have received a free e-copy of the book Heart of a Highlander by Tammy Andresen to review.

Heart of a Highlander by Tammy Andresen

Here is the book blurb.

Will a spark between two childhood friends light into a flame…

Lady Fiona McDougal embodies the wild spirit of Scotland, untamed and free. If only her future could be the same, but she is bound by duty to marry well for the sake of the title. As her heart and necessity battle only one answer arrises time and again, Colin Campbell. But he is the one man who refuses to court her.

Colin has loved Fiona for as long as he can remember. Her fiery spirit and matching hair, fill him with a warmth that no other woman can match. But Colin’s father has long made him promise that he will choose a wife for reasons other than love.

This is the second book in A Laird To Love series, of which I have previously read and reviewed the introductory Christmas novella and the first book.

This historical Scottish romance begins with a flashback to 1836 when 5 year old Colin is  told by his father not to marry for love and passion as it will break his heart, but to marry someone strong and capable. His father’s first wife had died in childbirth and his father has never got over this, so his father frequently reiterates this advice over the years.

Colin and his best friend Fiona grow up and their relationship changes with a kiss. Colin disappears and Fiona is left wondering whether she loves or hates him. Meanwhile Fiona’s father the Earl of Ravencraig takes Fiona to a summit of lairds to find a husband. But she is interested in nobody but Colin, who also happens to be there, although she is  trying to ignore him as she is still angry with him.

Colin is very jealous if any of the other men touch Fiona, but he continually squashes his feelings, remembering his father’s advice. Fiona bluntly asks him if he is going to ask for her hand, which he knows he cannot do.

Lots of confusion follows. Do they get together or not?

Heart of a Highlander is available on Amazon, currently priced at £2.24 in Kindle format. The second title in A Laird To Love series. Another nice romantic read, when you just want something easy-going and light-hearted in-between some thrillers.


About the author

USA Today Bestselling Author, Tammy Andresen lives with her husband and three children just outside of Boston, Massachusetts. She grew up on the Seacoast of Maine, where she spent countless days dreaming up stories in blueberry fields and among the scrub pines that line the coast. Her mother loved to spin a yarn and Tammy filled many hours listening to her mother retell the classics. It was inevitable that at the age of 18, she headed off to Simmons College, where she studied English literature and education. She never left Massachusetts but some of her heart still resides in Maine and her family visits often.

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MamaMummyMum

Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

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Guest post: Useful food eye-opener on healthy eating by Colin Campbell

Can one and the same nutrient budget be allowed for everyone? Why can even the best vitamin supplements not replace apples and spinach? What oxidation is and how animal albumen and foods of plant origin influence on it? What is the problem of modern researching? Colin Campbell answers these and many more questions in his The China Study bestseller.

Perfect ration

Those products, which are useful for some reason, are considered to be not tasty and not interesting. People think it to be boring but it is not like that. Evolution programmed us to enjoy food, which strengthens our health. A perfect ration is like this: vegetable food, as whole as possible. Eat different vegetable, fruits, nuts and seeds, beans and whole grains. Avoid strongly processed and foods of animal origin. Stay away from salt, fats, and sugar. Strive for getting 80% of calories from carbohydrates, 10% from fats and 10% from proteins.

This is it. This is what whole plant-based diet is, sometimes a lifestyle.

Be more specific, more actions

Look at such words as medicine and health in a different way. Health means more than a few superficial expressions like eat healthily, do not binge drink, do not use an elevator but use the stairs. It is all good but they do not include a possibility of actual changes. Those are ethical expressions with no specific and content.

It is important not just to follow a diet during a certain period of time but to change eating habits and stick to these changes during the lifetime. Those people who changed their eating habits and started eating healthy noticed that wrong product they consumed daily caused all the problems they have had before. Odd uncontrolled oxidation is an enemy of health and longevity just like overmuch oxidation makes it to where a new car turns into the junk heap, and a piece of an apple into a compost. Free radicals appear in the process and they are responsible for getting old, cause cancer and atherosclerotic plaque leading to heart attacks and cerebral accidents.

About modern research studies

There is a story about 6 blind men who were describing an elephant. Needless to say, that each of them describes it in their own way. They argue upon which of the descriptions is right. This is the best metaphor for the modern research studies problem. The only difference is that there are 60 000 researchers instead of 6 and each of them look at a problem through the lens of their own.

Medicine with no side effects

What you eat has more influence on your health than DNA and the major amount of harmful substances. Food can get you healthy faster and more effective than the major number of expensive medicine and most serious surgical operations. At that, side effects are going to be pleasant. Eating healthy, many diseases are easy to avoid, cancer, cardiac disease, diabetes mellitus type II, macular dystrophy, blind headache, erectile dysfunction and arthritis and this list is far from full. It is never too late to stop eating healthy. The healthy diet may help to avoid all these diseases.

An apple instead of a pill

We got used to taking food in the context of separate necessary elements. We eat carrot in order to get vitamin A, oranges for vitamin C, drink milk because there is calcium and vitamin D. If we like a product, we will get digestible nutrients with pleasure but if we do not like something, spinach, brussels sprouts, or sweet potato, we think that we can live without it, if to find some other product with the similar substance content to replace. But, for example, an apple gives more than just a sum of elements it contains. Nevertheless, due to the reductive worldview, we cannot believe that food is important in general and not only its substance content.

One approach for all

Medical community repeats oftentimes that one approach does not work for all. Nature organized our biological functions way better than we would most like to think but it is very important in terms of holistic nutrition.

No magic

Magic solutions are advertised as fast, easy and troublefree, which is why they are more realistic, requiring time, affords, and difficult for understanding. Notice that when it comes to advertisement, much is given preference to magic, from extra weight and financial services to cleaning and cosmetics. The more magical a product is, the easier it is to sell it and all the more so it feels like buying it. Magical solutions work with symptoms but not with causes. Symptoms are easy to clear; work with causes take more time. Fast clearance of isolated symptoms is the easy thing. Causes are more difficult and require more affords and responsibility on the part of a human. So, the holistic solution is for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and extra weight. It removes the source: attempts of our body to cope with reworked and animal products. In spite of the fact that it may give more than a pill, an injection or operation, they should be followed all the time.

The force of superstition

There are many superstitions. Firstly, concerning proteins. Society believes that milk and meat are valuable and it is difficult to imagine that these products may cause harm. It is far from what we were taught for years to be true and it does not matter how much is true about it. Secondly, a paradigm of reductionism due to which we are focused on parts separate and excising the whole thing. A body is a holistic system with many inner connections but we got accustomed to thinking it to be a set of separate parts and systems where chemical substances make transformations apart from each other. Through the paradigm of reductionism, we see a nutrition as a sum of separate nutrients actions but not a universal process and consider dietology an isolated discipline and not the most influential factor of our health in general. Thirdly, profit-oriented system, which condemns to  reductionism. Unlike holism, it gives simple, fast and merchantable solutions aimed to one out of thousand potential problems. The industry remains the force determining what scientific tasks to pose, what studies to finance, and what results to publish and put a status of official politics to what has been published.

melisa marzett

About the author: Melisa Marzett is the author of many articles available for viewing on her Google Plus profile and other social networks. Currently working for bigpaperwriter.com, she keeps writing more and more pieces on different topics. She enjoys reading and communicating with other people quite often of different nationalities exchanging cultural background, customs and traditions let alone experience.

Guest post by Melisa Marzett

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Tunes on a Penny Whistle by Doris Coates

I have received a free e-copy of the book Tunes on a Penny Whistle: A Derbyshire Childhood by Doris E Coates to review.

Tunes on a Penny Whistle by Doris Coates

Here is the book blurb.

The early 1900s were a period of great hardship for many working-class families, particularly in rural areas. However, they were also times of pride and self-sufficiency, with fun and laughter derived from simple pleasures as well as mutual support and courage when poverty could have become unbearable.

This book is a personal history of a childhood in the village of Eyam – known as the Plague Village – in the Peak District of Derbyshire. Doris recalls how her mother confronted tough living conditions without labour-saving devices and often with little or no money.

She remembers, too, her father, who fought for the right for union representation, worked for self-help groups, and organised political meetings and village entertainments. He was a talented self-taught musician, producing a wide range of music on his Canadian organ and penny whistle. His fighting spirit made him a remarkable and influential character within the village community.

Both humourous and shocking, this description of domestic and community life at the beginning of the twentieth century is illustrated with many contemporary photographs, documents, and line drawings by George Coates, the author’s husband.

This book is a biography originally published in 1983, mainly about the author’s father Harry Dawson, but also all their family life during her childhood. This new edition has been edited by Doris’s son Richard with supplemental information from ancestry databases and also includes plenty of period photos.

Doris was born in 1908 in Eyam, Derbyshire into poverty. The cottage had no plumbed water, gas or electricity. An earth closet at the far end of the garden and baths in front of the living room fire. But the family had a good quality of life despite the lack of facilities and shortage of money. Lots of foraging walks and selling teas to passing ramblers helped.

Eyam was a rural industrial village where shoe making was the main industry. Harry worked long 12 hour shifts, five and a half days a week in the shoe factory, but still found time for newspaper reporting, local temperance and friendly societies, cycling and music. The working conditions were dreadful and the pay appalling with wages at about half the national average. The union didn’t reach Eyam until 1918 when Harry was sacked on suspicion of having joined the union. He hadn’t but soon did. And of course with no income, things became even more difficult for the family. And worse still in 1922 when the shoe factory owners tried to evict the family by putting their rented cottage up for auction. But Harry went into debt and bid 3 times over its value to buy the cottage that his family had lived in for at least 3 generations.

Doris’s grandfather George Dawson was famed for his tune to “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” and his musical prowess led to the family being held in high esteem locally even though they had no social status.

And Doris’s mother Margaret spearheaded the campaign to get a district nurse.

School was stressful for Doris aged 8 with physical punishments from the teacher and she was near a nervous breakdown when the school medical inspector intervened on his annual inspection. 2 months off school and then a different teacher improved the situation. He encouraged her to sit the Grammar school scholarship examination, which she passed but there was no transportation and the family couldn’t afford the boarding fees. But even so in 1926, Doris became the first non-Grammar school student to qualify for higher education at Goldsmiths’ College, London. Again money was a problem but was overcome with a loan.

Tunes on a Penny Whistle is available on Amazon, currently priced at £11.95 in paperback and is also available in Kindle format or hardback. I really enjoyed this book and highly recommend it. A fascinating insight into the local and social history of the early twentieth century.


Here is an extract from the book to give you a flavour.

No Power to the Workers
(Chapter 7 page 93)

So it was that our district nurse arrived in 1917, a crucial time in the life of the village. Self-help and thrift had done something to ameliorate life’s perpetual difficulties, but with wartime strains, long working hours and wages in the factories barely half the national average, morale was low. When the suggestion was made that workers should join a union and fight for their rights, some were apathetic, while others saw this as the only hope of improving their conditions.

Trade unions had strengthened during the war, when there was a great demand for labour to fulfil Government contracts. The National Union of Boot and Shoe Operatives (NUBSO) had achieved good conditions for workers in Northampton, Leicester and other large centres. A working week of forty-eight hours was agreed, and with wage increases and bonuses it was possible to earn 45-55s a week (£2.25–£2.75).

By 1917 the union was turning its attention to smaller centres. John Buckle was appointed organiser to recruit members in Eyam and Stoney Middleton, and to try to bring conditions in the factories up to union standards. He met with obdurate resistance from the bosses. Any worker who was suspected to joining the union was sacked instantly.

Seven firms were involved in the dispute. Four, in Stoney Middleton, all made heavy boots for men, pit boots, army boots and carters’ boots. Three factories in Eyam manufactured light shoes for women and children. They were all family firms, and the bosses were what was known as ‘little masters’ who came from the same background as most of their employees, and spoke with the same Derbyshire accent. They had no pretence to culture or education, and treated with suspicion people like my parents who were well read (through self-educated) and who were not afraid to express their opinions.

Context

Chapter 7 describes in detail the working conditions in the shoe factories in Eyam and the neighbouring village, Stoney Middleton. The author’s father, Harry, had worked in one of these for all his working life – 30 years or so.

Through the contemporary notes of the professional union organiser, this chapter describes the ultimately futile fight for union recognition and nationally agreed pay rates. Harry lost his job on suspicion of joining the union (which at that point he had not), and was never able to work again in the village again through what today would be regarded as victimisation.

2018 is the Centenary of the strike in Eyam and Stoney Middleton, and Eyam Museum is promoting events and exhibitions to commemorate it.


About the Authors

Born in Eyam in the Peak District of Derbyshire, Doris E. Coates achieved a successful and varied career as a teacher in both Derbyshire and later in Norfolk. Along with her husband George, she was an active member of her community promoting local groups, enjoyed singing in the local choir and, after retirement, turned her talents to writing. Her son, Richard Coates, now based in Bath enjoyed a happy childhood and grew up appreciating the importance of a strong education. After gaining a scholarship at Oxford University he went on to read Politics, Philosophy and Economics. Later as a management consultant he worked for international companies including Audi, British Airways and Mars in both the UK and oversees and continues to sit on the board of Davos Consultancy. Now retired, and in memory of his mother, Richard has decided to republish her books with fascinating new additions after researching further into his family history.


I’m participating in the book tour and you may like to check out some of the other blog stops on the tour, including my own review of Tuppenny Rice and Treacle, in which I try out the Bible Cake recipe.

Tunes on a Penny Whistle by Doris Coates

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MamaMummyMum

Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

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Britmums Rustlers Burger Hacking Challenge

Britmums have challenged bloggers to take the #RustlersHack Challenge to use Rustlers Southern Fried Chicken Burgers in a crowd pleasing balanced meal. And as one of the first 100 to sign upto the challenge, I received a free £20 Tesco giftcard to buy Rustlers Southern Fried Chicken Burgers twin packs and other ingredients.

#RustlersHack Challenge

Now on days when we need something quick to eat, due to other commitments in our busy lifestyle, I have usually relied on the slow cooker for our family tea. But of course that does mean that I need to be organised earlier in the day.

And I have to admit that I do already enjoy a Rustlers Cheeseburger when working night shift with a microwave as the only cooking option. However I hadn’t introduced the rest of the family to the delights of Rustlers.

#RustlersHack Challenge

They really are quick, as they only take 90 seconds in the microwave. I did contemplate buying some of those micro-fries for the hack, since no point in waiting for the lengthy time it would take to cook oven chips. That would totally defeat the speedy plan. Instead I decided to opt for a more healthy hack.

#RustlersHack Challenge

I quickly chopped up some vegetables, prepared a salad, sliced a selection of cheeses, opened some dips and coleslaw and popped a few rashers of bacon on our new George Foreman grill. Then I let everyone choose what they wanted for their own hack, as it is much more fun for the kids to prepare their own.

#RustlersHack Challenge

Of course the boys avoided the salad.

#RustlersHack Challenge

And greedy son1 took 2 chicken burgers and hacked them into a double towering stack.

#RustlersHack Challenge

Here’s mine including a large dollop of peppered mayonnaise that came in the Rustlers pack. I did notice at 140g that it was a smaller portion size than their cheeseburger, but I still felt full after eating it. And of course this will make it ideal for little hands and mouths unlike the piggy below with his towering stack.

#RustlersHack Challenge

Son1 said it was the best burger ever, so I don’t think my personal Rustlers night shift stash will ever be safe in the fridge again.

I was also very pleased to note that the packet indicates that the burger uses only the finest quality chicken which is fully traceable to the farm of origin. And they are nice and affordable, currently retailing at £2.50 for a twin pack at Tesco.

So I do recommend you pop along to Tesco and try the Rustlers Burger Hacking Challenge yourself.

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Disclosure. This post mentions products I purchased using a voucher that I was sent for free. All opinions are my own. This post is an entry for the BritMums Rustlers Burger Hacking Challenge, sponsored by Rustlers.

Profane Fire at the Altar of the Lord by Dennis Maley

I have received a free e-copy of the book Profane Fire at the Altar of the Lord by Dennis Maley to review. To find out more about the author you may visit his website.

Profane Fire at the Altar of the Lord by Dennis Maley

Here is the book blurb.

David’s business is a shambles. The trade in indulgences is dead and the bones of heretics smolder on the auto-da-fe’. All because of that mad monk, Martin Luther. What a prigg.

David is a merchant of deceit, a poet of lies. A dwarf, he claims to be a prince of a lost tribe of Israel. Along with his manservant Diogo, an actor, the masquerade delights the citizens of Rome. The food and beds are warm, the ladies plump and willing. The Jews of Rome whisper that David is their Messiah. The time is right for Christendom to join a powerful desert tribe to rain down death and destruction on the Muslim Turks. How could Europe not prevail?

In faraway France, a warlord struggles to regain his honor. He’s the Duke of Bourbon, the victor in a great military conquest who has lost his family fortune. Bourbon turns traitor and joins his sworn enemy, the emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. But the mercenaries he enlists are unpaid, underfed, and poorly shod. The money to pay their wages is in Rome.

Richly researched and irreverent, this story weaves actual historical characters and institutions into a wry tale of three men, each on a quest for fame and fortune.

I struggled to get into this story which starts in 1515 in Bavaria. David, a dwarf was working as a fortune teller with a travelling troupe led by Beza. I couldn’t grasp the context of indulgences from the Church which the faithful were paying for. But when Martin Luther declared that these were gifts that God gave freely, Beza and David’s fortunes turned for the worse, so they decided to head to Portugal, but Beza rode off with both horses and David was left behind broke.

The story also follows two other main characters – Diogo of Portugal who escapes on a ship to Florence when his mistress’s husband returns. His fortunes don’t improve and he finds himself broke in Rome in 1520. And thirdly, Charles the Duke of Bourbon, who is also broke after supporting his cousin Francis, king of France in war.

David is captured by the constable of Treviso and he weaves his lies, declaring himself to be the brother of King Joseph of the tribe of Reuben to the magistrate. He is sent to Venice where he is freed and adopted by the Jewish community as a Messiah.

The story continues, bringing David and Diogo together, before separating them again. We meet other familiar names from that era of history such as Wolsey. But I just found it all rather too confusing.

Profane Fire at the Altar of the Lord is available on Amazon, currently priced at £11.62  in paperback and is also available in Kindle format. A challenging, confusing read.

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MamaMummyMum

Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

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Tuppenny Rice and Treacle by Doris Coates

I have received a free e-copy of the book Tuppenny Rice and Treacle: Cottage Housekeeping 1900-1920 by Doris E Coates to review.

Tuppenny Rice and Treacle by Doris Coates

Here is the book blurb.

Feeding a family on a limited budget is always a challenge. Yet even with a budget as low as ten shillings (50p) a week in the early part of the twentieth century, it is remarkable how interesting and varied the menu could be.

This delightful book draws on recipes compiled by Doris’s mother in Derbyshire and mother-in-law in Cumberland, and contains detailed records of weekly expenditure.

It includes numerous recipes for nutritious and filling meals for working men and growing families, taking full advantage of what was available – hearty meat dishes, with lots of root vegetables, puddings and dumplings to fill them out, cakes and buns, sweets and jams, and beverages to go with them (some highly alcoholic!). The recipes work just as well now as then.

It is also full of household and cleaning hints and products, illustrating immense pride in the home, as well as medicines, lotions and potions that would ‘kill or cure’.

This book originally published in 1975, is mainly based on the recipes and notebooks of both Doris’s mother Margaret Dawson and mother-in-law Jane Coates from the period 1900 – 1920. This new edition includes additional material sourced by Doris’s son Richard Coates.

The notebooks would have included household accounts and money saving tips. And the recipes weren’t all food, they also encompassed how to make your own medicines and cleaning materials. It was very difficult for Margaret to balance the £1 budget and if she overspent one fortnight, she would have to cut back the following, as there was a family horror of debt. She supplemented the income with paying guests, teas for ramblers and piecework for the shoe factory, although this only earned 9d per dozen.

However her accounts for several years show no record of purchase of boots, shoes, major items of clothing or toiletries. Items like tinned fruit were beyond their means, but however short of money, she still had to fill the store cupboard for the winter, so there are recipes for preserves, pickles and bottled fruit. All such a fascinating insight.

Then recipes for cheap cuts of meat – rook pie for instance. Followed by substantial filling puddings, some were regional specialities like Coniston Pudding and Felixstowe Tart. And the interesting names of others like High Church Pudding and Duchess of Sutherland Pudding. Of course not missing out teatime favourites, again many are regional like Northumberland Griddle Cakes and Sledmere Gingerbread.

And I loved the fact that the teetotal family were of the opinion that potent homemade drinks were innocuous, so we see the likes of Nettle Beer and Cowslip Wine.

At least the author warns us not to try the cough mixture recipes, as I see ingredients like laudanum. And I love the household tips like how to test the heat of the oven.

Tuppenny Rice and Treacle is available on Amazon, currently priced at £11.95 in paperback and is also available in Kindle format or hardback. I really enjoyed this book and highly recommend it. A wonderful glimpse into the early twentieth century household accounts, with plenty of recipes to browse.


And I’ve been busy trying out the Bible Cake recipe. This is not just a recipe, but a puzzle too, with the ingredients all being listed as Bible references.

Bible cake

Bible Cake

This ‘puzzle recipe’ has been known in the North of England at least from the turn of the century.

  1. ½ lb Judges 5, verse 25 (last clause)
  2. ½ lb Jeremiah 6, verse 203. 1 tbsp 1 Samuel 14, verse 25
  3. 3 of Jeremiah 17, verse 11
  4. ½ lb 1 Samuel 30, verse 12
  5. ½ lb Nahum 3, verse 12 (chopped)
  6. 2 oz Numbers 17, verse 8 (blanched and chopped)
  7. 1 lb 1 Kings 4, verse 22
  8. season to taste with 2 Chronicles 9, verse 9
  9. a pinch of Leviticus 2, verse 13
  10. 1 tsp Amos 4, verse 5
  11. 1 tbsp Judges 4, verse 19

Note: leaven means baking powder.

Beat Nos 1, 2 and 3 to a cream; add 4 one at a time, still beating; then 5, 6 and 7, and beat again; add 8, 9, 10 and 11 having previously mixed them, and lastly No 12. Bake in a slow oven for one and a half hours.

Bible cake

Here is the solution to the puzzle:

  1. She brought forth butter in a lordly dish – ½ lb butter
  2. The sweet cane from a far country (sugar) – ½ lb sugar
  3. There was honey upon the ground – 1 tbsp honey
  4. As the partridge sitteth on eggs and hatcheth them not – 3 eggs
  5. And they gave him a piece of cake of figs, and two clusters of raisins – ½ lb raisins
  6. All thy strongholds shall be like fig trees with first-ripe figs – ½ lb figs (chopped)
  7. The rod of Aaron… yielded almonds – 2 oz almonds (chopped)
  8. Soloman’s provision was… thirty measures of fine flour – 1 lb flour
  9. Spices in great abundance – Season with spices to taste
  10. Thy meat offering shalt thou season with salt – Pinch salt
  11. A sacrifice with leaven (yeast) – 1 tsp baking powder
  12. And she opened a bottle of milk – 3 tbsp milk

This made a very large quantity of mixture, so I had to split it across 2 tins, as I didn’t have a large enough tin. I followed the quantities stipulated exactly and was quite surprised how stiff the mixture was for a cake, more like the consistency of rock buns. Also I had to guess what temperature a slow oven would be. I opted for 160 degree in my fan oven but with hindsight, this may have been too high. I ended up covering the cakes with greaseproof paper after 45 minutes to avoid the outside over-cooking and took them out of the oven at 65 minutes compared to the expected 90 minutes.

However the resulting cakes were delicious. But surely ingredients like figs would have been difficult to source in Margaret’s time, so I imagine this would have been a cake for a special occasion in those days.

Bible cake


About the Authors

Born in Eyam in the Peak District of Derbyshire, Doris E. Coates achieved a successful and varied career as a teacher in both Derbyshire and later in Norfolk. Along with her husband George, she was an active member of her community promoting local groups, enjoyed singing in the local choir and, after retirement, turned her talents to writing. Her son, Richard Coates, now based in Bath enjoyed a happy childhood and grew up appreciating the importance of a strong education. After gaining a scholarship at Oxford University he went on to read Politics, Philosophy and Economics. Later as a management consultant he worked for international companies including Audi, British Airways and Mars in both the UK and oversees and continues to sit on the board of Davos Consultancy. Now retired, and in memory of his mother, Richard has decided to republish her books with fascinating new additions after researching further into his family history.


I’m kicking off the book tour and you may like to check out some of the other blog stops on the tour. I’ll be back on January 29th with my review of Tunes on a Penny Whistle.

Tunes on a Penny Whistle by Doris Coates

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Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

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Another Chewy Moon snack box review and giveaway

Regular readers of my blog may remember how much we all loved Chewy Moon healthy snacks when we reviewed them last year. Well I’m very pleased to say that we have received another free snack box and this time it is cheaper per snack and bigger. Yes you read that correctly.

Chewy Moon snack box

By changing deliveries from weekly to fortnightly, reducing packaging and portion sizes slightly, they have reduced prices from £1 per snack to £0.50. So customers get 25% more snacks for every £ spent now.

Chewy Moon snack box

So 10 snacks now instead of 5 and yet they still fit through the letterbox. Wow what great news and the boys couldn’t wait to dive in. Plus lots of fun with a sticker book, a fungi fact sheet and 2 battle cards. And a nutrition leaflet for the parents.

Chewy Moon snack box

The 10 snacks we received were:-
Silly Circus (Honey Cookies)
Crack A Beet (Organic beetroot crackers)
Jack N Berries (Flapjack, pure strawberry fruit hearts, cranberries, blueberries)
Silly Vanilly (Vanilla Cookies)
Freaky Fruits (Blackcurrant drops, apricot sticks, cherry cubes, peach cubes, raspberry strips)
Nature’s Cherry Cola (Natural cola flavoured raisins, cherry, cranberry)
Boogie Bites (Popped cheddar cheese, pesto breadsticks)
Safari Snack (Italian herb cashews, garlic mini bread chips, popped cheese)
Strawberry Munch (Strawberry fruit strings, strawberry fruit stars, strawberry fruit hearts)
Beary Friends (Pure strawberry fruit hearts, cranberries, blueberries, raspberry strips)

Chewy Moon snack box

Son2 chose the Silly Vanilly Chewy Moon snack first based on it being the only one with a pug on the box, his favourite character from last time, but it was a great choice as he loved the vanilla cookies. He read the limerick on the back of the box, telling me they had been learning these at school.

Chewy Moon snack box

Meanwhile son1 selected the Beary Friends first. He wasn’t overly fond of the raspberry strips but liked the other fruits. They soon discovered that there was a sticker in each snack for the sticker book.

Chewy Moon snack box

With so many choices, we found on the whole that son2 liked the cookie types best followed by fruits, whilst son1 liked the savouries best followed by cookies. Son2 wasn’t convinced about us being addressed as Moonas though!

Chewy Moon snack box

These packs are ideal for an after school snack and some of them count as 1 of your 5 a day. They are 100% natural, being free from added sugar, artificial colours, flavours, preservatives and other nasties. But if your children attend a school that has a nut-free policy like my boys’ school, then you wouldn’t be able to send Safari Snack in as a playground snack. However there are “no nuts” and “no dairy” options when ordering.

You get to rate the snacks, to build up a profile of which your child does and doesn’t like for future boxes. Each box of 10 snacks currently costs £4.99 including P&P, but you can get your first box free. Additional sibling boxes are £4.50 and there is also £2.99 option for a 5 snack box. You select between fruit box, variety box or savoury box and you can order for multiple children. The boxes are aimed at children from age 3 upwards. The boxes are delivered fortnightly and you may cancel your subscription at any time. A very competitive price in my opinion.

Also I was very pleased to note that every box sold sponsors a hungry child‘s lunch. You may read the details here.

Plus I have a special offer to share with my readers, where you can get your 1st, 3rdand 5th boxes completely FREE. Just use code AEP4LUV.

And I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition to giveaway a 3 month Chewy Moon subscription worth £30 to one lucky winner. What a tasty prize.
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a Rafflecopter giveaway – Please click on the link to enter.

And you may see my other giveaways here.

I’d love to hear about your favourite snack ideas.

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Disclosure. This post is a review of a product I was sent for free. All opinions are my own.