Random Recipes Challenge – My Cookery Books!

I’m still on a total high having attended last night’s spectacular London 2012 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony. It was certainly the most amazing show I have ever seen, with an electrifying atmosphere in the brand new Olympic stadium. I spent the first part of the ceremony tweeting like crazy with excitement and then luckily, my phone battery died, which meant I was able to concentrate properly! A funny highlight of the evening was spotting Heston Blumenthal and asking him for a photo (costing my husband an expensive a pint of lager as he knocked it to take the snap!) and later, doing the same to Downton Abbey’s Mr Bates whilst queuing for the train home. We ate traditional British ‘fish and chips’ (MSC haddock, tick) and sipped (Fair Trade, tick) rosé, whilst singing, dancing and shouting at the tops of our voices. Arriving home at 4am, this morning I am a little worse for wear. As I headed to my beautiful new bookshelf to look for my favourite ‘Saturday Pancakes’ recipe from Leon Baking and Puddings Book 3, I was reminded of Dom’s Random Recipe challenge over at Belleau Kitchen, which this month was to simply share a photo of our cookbooks and tell a little story.  So here we are… 

This happens to be our newest piece of furniture and I love it. Up until last week, growing piles of cookbooks were scattered around the kitchen or in wicker baskets all over the house. It’s wonderful to finally have most of my favourite culinary tomes in one neat place. It also encouraged me to have a mini de-clutter and take a couple of my older and lesser used book to a local charity shop. My dream is to one day have floor to ceiling book shelves piled high with an eclectic mix of cookery books, inspired by the books I saw at Diana Henry’s house housing over 4,000 of her cook books! Whilst I’m no where near that number yet, my collection is growing, never more so than having become a food blogger.

What is particularly amazing is that recent additions to my cook book collection include books written by fellow food bloggers and friends, such as Vanessa Kimbell’s Prepped, Sarah Trivuncic’s Bake Me I’m Yours Sweet Bitesize Bakes and Nick Coffer’s My Daddy Cooks book. I regularly turn to these books for what have become some of my favourite recipes and I’ll be reviewing Sarah’s books shortly here, too.  

One of my most used book is defintely Leon Baking and Puddings, although there are a couple of Nigella books giving it a run for its money and I also regularly cook from my Polish cookery books and anything by Diana Henry.  Right now, I’m off to whip up some of those tasty Saturday Pancakes to soak up some of the….left over atmosphere of the Olympic Opening ceremony!


Random Recipes #18 - July

How many cook books do you own? Which ones are your favourite ones?!


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  1. Oh Ren, how wonderful to have been at the Opening Ceremony. I watched the first half on iPlayer last night and it’s amazing. The atmosphere must have been so electric. What a fantastic memory to carry around with you.

    Love your bookshelf too. Lovely wood and also good to see familiar books sitting on it.

    1. The noise inside that stadium is truly electrifying – so loud and the crowd literally roars – I can’t imagine how good the athletic events in there are with our Team GB winning so many medals! Thanks – the book case is solid oak – and you can really tell the difference over flat-packed furniture – less builing required, too!!

  2. I would say that I’m jealous of you going to the opening ceremony but I don’t think that word begins to cover the emotions I am feeling in reading that you were there! I had to watch in on horrible time-delay with parts of it being blocked 🙁 Thankfully I was able to find some side link to see the cut portion since the streams being provided by the BBC are being blocked

    1. Oh gosh Amanda, that’s a shame, it was such a wonderful start to such an amazing Olympics – we’ve been hooked. I never thought I’d get excited about athletics or cycling or rowing but I’ve been jumping up and down in front of the TV!

  3. Gorgeous book shelf and some lovely books on there too.

    I have amassed quite a collection myself and am currently trying to whittle them down, then why, I ask myself, did I place an Amazon order yesterday for a few more ‘bargains’.

    You just cannot have too many cookbooks. 🙂

    Sue xx

    1. I know what you mean, Sue. Even though I now get sent books for review I still have an Amazon habit and just can’t help myself!

  4. I have about 350 cookbooks I think, it’s been a while since I counted!

    1. Wow! That’s a great-sized collection. There were some amazing book cases shared on Dominic’s round up!

  5. Hi Ren,

    It must have been fantastic in that stadium-a once in a life time experience!!

    As for all my cookbooks-just the one bookcase full…currently reading Levi Root’s latest-‘Sweet’-and very nice it is too!

    1. Ooh a good one, I saw it in the shops but didn’t buy it, will check it out again, thanks for popping in!

  6. What a mind-blowing event to have experienced first hand. My husband’s second cousin was the boy soloist for Jerusalem so we were sobbing emotionally from the word go. The cauldron coming together must have been unbelievably special. And, as Urvashi already expressed, how did you have the energy to whip up pancakes, and take a superb photo of your cookbooks? Great collection. As I am much older than you I have gathered quite a number over the years, plus lots of crossover ones to do with health and cancer stuff. I am afraid to do a count as my brain would start calculating a rough cost estimate. Which might make me cry yet again!

    1. Oh wow, the boy soloist was absolutely amazing. What a wonderful thing and such an amazing experience! One of our friends was with the maypole children and another in the main procession. I’m sure your cookbook collection is wonderfully inspiring with the work you do, too. x

  7. You are so lucky Ren – an experience of a lifetime. How brilliant. I’ve been listening to the food issues around the Olympics on the BBC Food programme and a lot has been done to provide good quality food (China was a disaster on this front apparently).
    I’d love to know which Polish cook books you’d recommend. There isn’t a single one on my shelves and I’ve wanted to rectify this for ages. Googling recipes brings a lot of very diluted versions of childhood favourites.
    I’m interested that you bake from Leon a lot – I find it a confusing book and it’s one of my least used for baking. Dan Lepard Short and Sweet is my most recent favourite. I do turn back to many recipes in Nigella’s How to Eat and Feast. Jamie’s first three books also are much used. Tamasin Day Lewis Art of the Tart and All you can eat are old friends. For Christmas I adore In My Kitchen by Annie Bell – her cake recipe book is excellent too.

    1. Well, the food was another story!! There were huge queues for food when the flags and athletes came out – I think that part of the ceremony was very long. They basically ran out of everything! There were lots of complaints and I think they have put extra food carts on now. MacDonalds as you’ve probably read were the official sponsors (!) but they also had Fish and Chips, BBQ, Healthy Food Delis and Jacket Potatatoes etc. I do like Dan’s book and I haven’t got any Tamasin Day Lewis books – will have to rectify! Hope to bring my favourite Polish book to you tomorrow when we meet!

  8. I cannot believe you even had the energy to make pancakes after all that excitement! We are lucky to be able to nip across to our artisan baker neighbour!

    1. Ooh very lucky! I did get a little extra sleep in during the afternoon :-))

  9. That’s a lovely set of shelves – the wood looks beautiful. I also dream of having an entire wall of floor-to-ceiling shelves – alas, not very practical when moving around a lot though!! It looks like you have a wonderful collection of cookbooks, and they all look so neatly arranged.

    1. Thanks Mel, only neat cause its new! Hope all is well Down Under! I’m sure one day you will have a place for all your lovely books.

  10. Lovely collection indeed and I love the order and neatness of it too.

    1. Thanks Susan, haven’t gone as far as ordering alphabetically…or by type…yet!

  11. Very classy shelving unit, that. Really nice.
    Would love to have a proper library, an entire (enormous) room just for books, with great comfy chairs and sofas and good reading lights… maybe a desk and chair for reading the heavier books…

    1. Thanks Kavey! Imagine a room full of cookery boooks, that would be awesome!

  12. that is certainly the most stylish photograph of anyone’s books, they look superb and I can understand why you love the particular piece of furniture!… very jealous of your night last night… it was spectacular on the TV so I can only imagine what it was like at the stadium… well done for getting tickets!… thanks so much for taking part this month x

    1. Thanks Dom, I don’t usually do stylish – in any way – so that’s a nice compliment! Lovely piece of oak. I have to say I did love Karen’s post, too! Can’t wait for the round up – a lovely challenge!

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