Although Homemade Memories is her first cookery book, many already know author Kate Doran in the guise of The Little Loaf, her popular food blog. Titled for an old family nickname given to toddler Kate ‘by a great aunt who noticed [her] appetite for bread was bigger than [she] was’, the blog was launched a few years ago to document Kate’s bread baking efforts.
It quickly evolved to cover a much wider range of recipes, and Kate noticed that those which resonated most strongly with readers were the ones “which evoked powerful food memories“. As she wrote memoirs about the things she loved eating as a child, readers remembered them too and learned how to make them along with her.
Homemade Memories: Childhood Treats With A Twist distils that nostalgia factor into a captivating collection that includes a handful of favourites from the blog and over 80 brand new recipes.
Kate invites us to close our eyes and imagine our favourite childhood treat. Bringing to mind how it looks and smells, its taste and texture in your mouth, has the power to transport you back in time to family meals and school dinners, birthday parties and summer picnics, long days on the beach or at the park. And of course, that feeling is even stronger as you make and enjoy these versions of those cherished favourites.
Her inspiration can be broadly divided into two categories – classic comfort puddings that her mum and granny used to make – cakes, crumbles, buns and jellies – and homemade versions of shop bought favourites – Angel Delight, Fruit Pastilles, Jaffa Cakes, Milky Way Bars and many more.
In the book, these are ordered into chapters covering Crumbs (biscuits), Sticky fingers (handheld treats that will surely leave your fingers covered in sugar, chocolate, icing or syrup), Cakes, Puddings, Ice Creams, Midnight Feasts (chocolates and sweets worth staying up late for) and Drinks. Don’t overlook the last chapter of Little Loaf Basics for Kate’s favourite bread recipe plus homemade peanut butter, lemon curd, fruity jam, hot chocolate fudge sauce and vanilla extract. The recipes are prefaced by Kate’s handy guides to core ingredients and key equipment.
In the Introduction, Kate talks about why homemade treats are so appealing. Of course, it’s hard to beat the taste and smell of freshly made goodies, not to mention licking out the bowls and sniffing appreciatively as tantalising aromas waft from the oven. Cooking at home also allows you to exclude the preservatives, colourings and other hidden ingredients that are often added to shop bought products not to mention all the environmentally-unfriendly packaging. The last factor is personal satisfaction – finding pleasure in the process of making and eating delicious food and sharing with friends, family and loved ones.
As you browse through the book, you will be mesmerised by enticing photographs of nearly every recipe and start to bookmark personal favourites. Mine include the Real Bourbon Biscuits, given a grown-up twist with an injection of bourbon whiskey (which we made and absolutely loved), and the Malt Whisky Loaf, a clever play on a traditional malt loaf. Kate has a soft spot for the Peanut Butter Jammie Dodgers, a flavour combination she loves, and the Caterpillar Cake, popular with all ages.
The aim of the book is to inject a bit of childhood magic back into what we eat; evoking memories ‘to savour long after the last crumb has been cleared away’.
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Kavey Eats received a review copy of Homemade Memories: Childhood Treats With A Twist from publisher Orion.
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