Archive | Book Reviews RSS feed for this section

Recipe inspiration

1 Apr



A friend of mine who reads my blog recently asked me where I get a lot of my inspiration from when it comes to my recipes. I will admit that a lot of my recipes come from combining together what is left in the pantry or fridge and hoping it turns out ok. On a student budget I can’t always afford to be buying fancy ingredients for recipes, especially when I am unsure if I will even like the results. Having said this on occasion (usually on payday!) I will fork out for what it costs to make that recipe I have been dying to try.

Like most self defined “foodies” I draw a lot of my inspiration from Pinterest as well as other food blogs. However, my primary source of inspiration and kitchen decor for that matter is cookbooks. I just love the way they look and display but perhaps most of all I like how they allow me to peruse a variety of recipes in the one place. Below are a few of my favourites;

Michelle Cranston for Marie Claire

Marie Claire Cookbooks

When it comes to budget friendly ($10 a book from Kmart!) and pretty this series is the way to go. The recipes are simple and fresh and are full of flavour, despite only containing a few ingredients. I recommend these cookbooks to anyone looking for budget friendly, healthy and easy to make recipes. (Note: the Baked Chai Custard from Fresh + Easy is Amazing!)

Mastering the Art of Baking by Anneka Manning

Masterign the art of baking

This is the book that taught me how to bake. It’s like a one stop guide to becoming an excellent baker. It starts off with the basics; utensils, ingredient types and techniques and progresses into recipes. Even if you already know how to bake the recipes alone are well worth the purchase and it’s a great reference guide when it comes to measurements, techniques and substitutions.

Cooking with Soy by Yoshiko Takeuchi

Cooking with SoyThis is the book I bought when looking to expand my culinary horizons and start creating more unique vegetarian food. The recipes are interesting and completely vegan. Although I haven’t made many of the dishes featured in this book what I have made have all been very tasty. This book has taught me how to shape gyozas and deep fry tofu to crispy perfection in any easy to read and follow manner. The only downfall with the recipes featured is that some of the ingredients aren’t available in supermarkets and will require a the Asian grocer. But I assure you the trip is well worth if you are looking at trying something new.

Jelly Shot Test Kitchen by Michelle Palm


This is the book I bring out of hiding before every party or gathering I host. The book is jam packed with cute and creative alcoholic and non-alcohohlic jelly shots, which are sure to impress even the fussiest of guests. My favourite recipes include Pomegranate Martini, Blue Hawaii and White Chocolate Martini jelly shots. In the book the shots are made using cute little moulds, but due to my lack of patience (and time) I usually just use shot plastic glasses and they still turn out great. For recipes not featured in the book you can visit the Jelly Shot Test Kitchen Blog.

So there you have it a few of the many books I draw inspiration from when it comes to my recipes. What are your favourite cookbooks? Feel free to comment below I am always on the lookout for something new! Becky xo

Book Reviews

27 Dec



Recently I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to read and review Michelle Colston’s first novel “The Undiscovered Goddess”. You can read my 5 star review here on Goodreads.
Michelle was kind enough to answer a few questions and describe her inspiration behind the book. Here’s what she had to say:
“I was inspired by my own identity crisis when I began writing this book. It started out as fun-putting together journal entries, making up ‘goddess lessons.’ Then the story began to take on meaning and as my character grew, so did the depth of the message behind her journey. Before I knew it, I had written a book that has the potential to not only make people laugh, but inspire them to look within themselves and find their own personal power. I want people to laugh their way into fearlessness and I think this story is a good entry point into that.”



First Image Source.

Book Review & Giveaway in Zoey’s head

30 Nov


Recently I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity read to review In Zoey’s Head, a novel by Sandy Ward Bell. In Zoey’s Head is a humorous, spiritual story about a radio announcer who copes with life by attaching songs, movies, and TV sitcoms to her reality. After a week of surprises and tragedies, she discovers her namesake is more than a foot-reading gypsy and God is, in fact, answering her questions.

I have to admit I wouldn’t exactly call myself spiritual and because of this I was slightly concerned that the inclusion of faith in the storyline would make it something I couldn’t relate to. I however, found the spiritual aspects of the plot to be both inspiring and fascinating and wholeheartedly believe they added to the overall warm feeling of the novel. In Zoey’s Head is a book that will make you laugh, cry but perhaps best of all make you think. I found myself not only connecting with Zoey’s but many of the other characters in the book as well. Sandy certainly writes in a way that not only allows you to picture her characters physically but connect with them emotionally as well. In Zoey’s Head certainly isn’t a story you read and forget about. Long after you read the last page you will find yourself pondering about what has happened and craving to know what’s next. (Sandy is such a tease!) Although In Zoey’s Head isn’t the type of book I would usually pick up off the shelf, I am so glad I took the time to read it. I certainly enjoyed the insight into Zoey’s head. Here’s to hoping Sandy writes a sequel!

A note from Author Sandy Ward Bell:
I went from Radio Announcer to Mother to Writer. For twenty years, I played with the idea of becoming an author. In April of 2004, I had a very interesting dream; while pulling a chair into the middle of a road, a male voice told me this was the beginning of my novel. I woke immediately and wrote the scene with the chair (minus the voice). Of course it became the first chapter. Because of the ‘write what you know’ rule, I made Zoey a radio DJ and the rest fell into place. I threw my heart and soul into this story hoping my readers would finish the book and start talking.


Image Sources; 1, 2, 3, 4.

Book Reviews

21 Nov


It’s official. I am finally on Uni holidays and that means some free time to do what I love; relax in the hammock with a good book. Recently Nicola was kind enough to send me a copy of her book “Busted in Bollywood” for review and I was more than happy to oblige. I have to admit, I usually a bit adverse to reading romance novels, believing my cynicism stops me from enjoying the love filled plots and mushiness. But given Busted in Bollywood’s raving reviews and cultural aspect I gave it a shot and really surprised myself. I found myself wrapped in this zany story of friendship, rebellion and culture and spent 4 hours straight reading this book from cover to cover. The plot, although heart-felt is sassy and sexy and not at all overwhelming cheesy or mushy.

Plot Overview:
Shari is a Indo-American living in New York with her best friend Amrita. Having been fired and dumped by her married boss/lover Shari finds herself lost and in need of some direction. Amrita on the other hand is content with her single New York City lifestyle and finds the prospect of her pending arranged marriage to some stranger in Mumbai unappealing. With the help of her overzealous foodie Aunt, Amrita formulates a plan to dump her prospective husband, Rakesh. Shari is to travel to Mumbai as Amrita to meet Rakesh and his family. While there she is to undermine proceedings to an extent the marriage is called off.  Things take a turn for the worse and the plan is spoiled when Rakesh reveals that he knows Shari isn’t Amrita and of their plot to sabotage the marriage. Rakesh agrees to keep quiet about the deceit , ultimately saving Amrita’s reputation, in exchange for a meeting with the woman who went to such lengths to ditch him. From this point what was meant to be a clean cut ploy to ditch Amrita’s fiancée turns into mayhem. Not only has the plot to dump Rakesh been spoiled but Shari is mistaken for a famous Bollywood Actress, stalked by a handsome, cowboy hat wearing fan and falls for a man she shouldn’t. For a girl so hell bent on living a New York City lifestyle one Mojito Monday at a time, Shari is now faced with a decision that could not only change everything she thought she believed in, but her life forever. Did Mumbai steal the heart of this New York girl?

Busted in Bollywood is a flirty, light hearted story of friendship, culture and self-discovery. I found the storyline to be interesting and a great insight into Indian culture and cuisine. Nicola certainly paints a picture of Mumbai and Indian traditions which motivates the reader to not only continue reading but to scoff down a huge plate of jalebis in the process. If like myself you find yourself slightly adverse to romance novels I recommend this book as a starting point. Busted in Bollywood combines the right about of wit, romance and plot twists to make for a great read.

Image Sources: 1, 2, 3.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 6,424 other followers