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Friday Favourites: Cookbooks

Cooking is something we're divided on at The Amazing Blog. Half of us are avid chefs, and the rest, well they would prefer never to turn an oven on again. What we do agree on though, is that a good cookbook can ease the battle of turning everyday ingredients into delicious meals, helping even the most unenthusiastic of cooks to rustle up a tasty dish. We have discovered the following cookbooks, each one guaranteed to contain a vast amount of recipes that will make your cooking restaurant worthy in no time!

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Firstly, we came across Eating Well Everyday, the brainchild of chef Peter Gordon. Originally from New Zealand, Gordon's extensive knowledge of cooking has stemmed from numerous culinary travels, through which he has gained inspiration to use Asian, Indonesian and Indian flavours. His passions have also led him to receive an ONZM (the equivalent of an OBE), notably awarded as a result of having organised a "Who's Cooking Dinner" event, which raised over £6.3 million for leukaemia research. We are therefore safe in the knowledge that this cookbook has been written by someone who truly knows how to cook (and has a passion for it).

Written for "home cooks everywhere", this book contains 170 recipes, covering everything from breakfast to dinner party meals. Self-proclaimed to contain “tasty and daring, yet simple and straightforward" dishes, this is something we can vouch for. Even the most inexperienced of chefs amongst us were able to follow these recipes with ease (and perhaps even enjoyment). Our favourite dishes? The Chicken and Peanut Coconut Curry (page 166) and Pumpkin, Ginger, Chickpea and Cheese Soup (page 50) - both guaranteed to warm you up on a cold winter's evening. We also love the Peanut, Pecan and Chocolate Cookie recipe for a sweet after-dinner treat. To purchase Eating Well Everyday for £22, then click here.

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Secondly, we came across The Lazy Weekend Cookbook, a firm favourite amongst the less enthusiastic cooks of the office. Written by chef Matt Williamson, this book contains over 150 pages of delicious recipes for weekend cooking. Williamson explains that the goal of the book is to provide recipes that can be cooked leisurely, as opposed to the usual mid-week rush to get anything on the table. His advice is to choose a particular few meals to focus on, meaning you can rustle up some exceptional dishes, without spending all weekend in the kitchen.

The book is structured into mealtimes and moments, ranging from breakfasts and brunches, to easy dinner party meals, and bakes. Each meal is designed for 4 people; however, we found it easy to scale this up or down, dependant on the situation. There are too many favourites to share, but the Quick Sesame Flatbreads with Honey Butter (page 29) and Moroccan Spiced Chicken Pie (page 54) are two stand out recipes that we couldn't not mention. We also like the weight and temperature conversions at the back of the book, meaning we have less chance of cremating our newfound recipes! To ramp up your weekend cooking, then you can purchase a copy of Williamson's The Lazy Weekend Cookbook here for £20.

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Finally, we discovered MOB Kitchen by Ben Lebus. Known for his online presence, Lebus' YouTube channel has grown a strong following, with an empire of over 250,000 social media followers in just 18 months. His niche? Providing meals for four people that are under £10. More recently, Lebus has extended this knowledge into a cookbook, aiming to encourage people to cook delicious and nutritious meals, that are still affordable. This concept is particularly popular among students and young professionals, proving that delicious meals don't need to cost a small fortune. By creating a cookbook, Lebus' new mission is to educate all ages, whether that be people who choose not to use social media, or those of us who simply like to have a physical copy at hand.

The cookbook is segmented by time and goal, ranging from Brunch MOB to Speedy MOB and Flashy MOB. These contain over ten different recipes, amounting to 140 pages of recipes and visual guidelines. Each page has key symbols, with Spotify Codes on each recipe page, allowing readers to listen to the corresponding playlist/song. This is something we found interesting, tapping into the active social media tie Lebus has. We particularly enjoyed making the Chocolate Chilli Con Carne (page 94), and the Crunchy Vegan Aubergine Katsu (page 122) both of which stopped us from shelling out on unnecessary and expensive takeaways. To purchase your own copy of MOB Kitchen, click here, where you can find ideas to get the mob fed for £14.99.

These cookbooks have certainly helped us to eat better this November, with warming and comforting dishes that are easy to make, and reasonable to rustle up. Try them for yourself or we think these cookbooks would make a great Christmas gift for someone in need of spicing up their mealtimes. Happy cooking!

Misfortune Cookies

Halloween is upon us, so here at The Amazing Blog we have some grown-up fun to spook up your Saturday. Prezzybox have brought us the delectable yet devilish Misfortune Cookies, not to be confused with their charming counterpart, these cookies bite back! Prepare yourself for the fright of brutally honest, pessimistic and crude responses.

Misfortune Cookies are the daring delights that every table needs this Halloween, each packet is adorned with a ghoulish character. But the worst part to this ghastly treat is yet to come, beneath the soulless black cookie lies a fortune that won’t leave you jumping for joy. But rather heading out the door in shame. Although the cookie is delightfully crisp and sweet, the misfortune can be hard to swallow. Each box contains 13 cookies, suitably unlucky for those who dare to take one. We love this unique idea for a frightful but fun filled Halloween dinner gift - it will surely provide plenty of laughs and entertainment this October. This tricky treat is one for the adults too, proving you’re never too old to enjoy the hellish holiday.

This eerie edible paired with wickedly witty packaging is available on Prezzybox for a mere £11.95. Give your unwitting guests a ghastly night to remember.    

PUNKU Quinoa Cookies

In an endless quest to find alternatives for breads and pasta, Quinoa has started to become a staple in Western World diets. Even at The Amazing Blog we love to include Quinoa in our daily meals, which is why we jumped at the chance to try some of PUNKU’s range of organic Quinoa Cookies from Bolivia.

The company recently launched a new flavour of Orange & Cranberry to add to their Chocolate Chip and Orange & Mango flavours. These cookies contain superfood organic Royal Quinoa which is only grown in a specific region of Bolivia. Quinoa is a grain-like crop grown primarily for its edible seeds and it contains all the essential amino acids. Quinoa is also a good source of manganese, magnesium, iron, copper and phosphorus.

Each box contains 12 individually wrapped cookies. These cookies are wheat, gluten, dairy and egg free, which makes them suitable for all types of eaters. We loved the fruity flavours that satisfied our sweet tooth and the crunchiness of the quinoa.  

Patricia Estivariz, the founder of PUNKU, grew up in Bolivia and wanted to introduce Bolivian foods to the UK. She imports the cookies from Bolivian suppliers who have developed education and health programs to assist their employees. That means that buying PUNKU’s products benefits hundreds of Bolivian families, giving them a better standard of living.

Not only do you get to indulge in these amazing and healthy cookies, but you get to support people in one of the poorest countries of Latin America. Who can say no to that?

The products are available to purchase in select food stores around the UK or directly online. Over the next couple of months, PUNKU will be introducing additional products so keep an eye out for those as well!

Squires Kitchen Cake Decorating Exhibition

Have you ever tried to replicate those cakes or cupcakes that you've seen on The Great British Bake Off? I know I have, but I have yet to experience any success. When trying to create an intricately designed fondant covered cake for a friend, I ended up with a mess of too thin fondant and melted icing dripping down the side of an extremely lopsided cake. This is why I am thrilled to tell you about the Squires Kitchen Cake Decorating Exhibition. This event has everything your fondant covered imagination could ever think of. When this event caught my eye in The Amazing Blog offices, my inner baker just about passed out from frosting induced excitement. f24beeb09687e56a04193517cc81d0c4

This 3-day baking extravaganza is Europe’s longest running annual exhibition that is dedicated to all things cake decorating, chocolate and sugar craft. This event welcomes all cake, cupcake, cookies and dessert lovers from all over to come and watch demonstrations, learn some new decorating techniques as well as live out your secret fantasy of competing in a contest like those on The Great British Bake Off.  The exhibition includes incredible mini classes such as Royal Icing Writing or Beginners Flowers, feature events with master Chocolatier Mark Tilling, a wedding cake showroom as well as a manufacture’s fair where companies such as Karen Davies Cake Decorating demonstrate the latest and greatest products to help you create that perfect cake, cupcake or cookie. Not to mention each day is kicked off with the famous Phil Vickery, who is best known for his delicious gluten-free desserts. So whether your passion is baking, sugar flowers, cookie decorating or crazily trying to recreate a cake seen on TV, you are sure to find something to tickle your fancy at this sugar coated exhibition.

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To get more information regarding this event or to purchase tickets for yourself you can go to their website and choose which classes and events suit you and your baking fantasies best. So grab your piping bags and your sprinkles, and get ready to learn how to create masterpiece desserts.

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