Summer Holiday Reads

It’s no secret that I love reading. I’ve been an avid reader since I was small, when I could often be found with my nose so completely buried in a book that I was oblivious to everything around me, including exasperated calls from my parents!

Indeed, learning to read at a young age meant I learned many words in written form long before I ever heard them, sometimes very surprised at how they sounded. Most of my odd pronunciations have long since come to light (though I still pronounce lilac to rhyme with pillock even though I know it doesn’t).

Recently, I’ve been more traumatised than you might expect to learn about another word I’ve been getting wrong all these years. I have always been familiar with the word misled, past participle of mislead and pronounced “miss-lead“. But for some reason, I never twigged that another word I have been using, and which I pronounce as “my-zld” is, um, the same word…

(Do follow that my-zld link, by the way, it’s absolutely brilliant.)

I mean, when I stopped to think about it (after Pete looked at me incredulously and then hysterically and then pityingly), of course I could see that two words that were spelt the same and had the same meaning (though the nuances were different in my head) were obviously in fact one word. But, you know, my brain totally my-zld me.

However, even though I’m still not over the shock (a good few weeks after learning about it), I’ll not hold my distress against reading. I’m still a loyal bookworm, even though I can’t help but worry a little about which word might waylay me next.

All this serves simply as a strange form of public self-flagellation, or perhaps just self-mockery.

And also an introduction to my picks for a recent challenge to pick my summer holiday reads up to a value of £25. At first, I thought I might pick some science fiction – when I’m actually away on holiday, that’s my favourite genre. (I read it at home too, of course, and plenty of it!) But this summer I’ll be staying at home, so I decided to buy some cookery book titles, and chose two that felt like buying myself a decadent summer gift. Not only will I enjoy reading both of these books, relaxed in the garden or on the sofa, but I can look forward to cooking myself some deliciousness too.

Jekka’s Herb Cookbook by Jekka McVicar


Jekka McVicar is the woman behind Jekka’s Herb Farm, a South Gloucestershire organic herbs nursery specialising in culinary, aromatic, decorative and medicinal herbs. The farm, which celebrated its silver jubilee this April, has over 650 varieties of rare, tropical and native species in its collection. Undoubtedly, Jekka McVicar is the queen of herbs and I’ve purchased some of her herb seeds myself over the years.

In this book she chooses fifty herbs that she loves to cook with and gives a description of each plant, advice for growing it, its history in cooking, any medicinal uses and of course, some recipes. The illustrations are by her daughter, Hannah McVicar.

We’ve had a kitchen garden for several years but the herb garden we planted many years ago pretty much died away, and we’re planning to replant it over the coming two or three years. I’m hoping this book will not only give me inspiration and advice which herbs to grow and how best to nurture them but also some great ideas on how to best use the harvest.

Mma Ramotswe’s Cookbook: Nourishment for the Traditionally Built by Stuart Brown


I love Alexander McCall Smith’s feel-good books about Mma Precious Ramotswe and her No.1 Ladies Detective Agency. From the very first book, I’ve been enchanted by the characters and stories and the unconventional focus on quirky people, odd happenings and interpersonal relationships. That the series is set in Botswana appeals too; a country I’ve visited twice, though my focus has been safari holidays in the bush rather than the urban landscape of the books.

I loved the tele-adaptation too.

With a foreword by Alexander McCall Smith himself, this cookery book celebrates the table of Mma Ramotswe and includes fruit cakes, sweets, stews and curries – the kind of things Precious cooks for her loved ones.

Reviews on Amazon tell me that the book is interspersed with quotes from the books, as well as lovely illustrations and photographs. All the reviewers have praised how well it reflects the fictional world of our favourite lady detective and how true it stays to the spirit of the stories. Southern African reviewers also confirm that the recipes are true to their regional cooking, so definitely worth a try.


What do you think of my choices and which books would you have chosen?


Kavey Eats was given a £25 Amazon book voucher by Idealo UK.

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8 Comments to "Summer Holiday Reads"

  1. Recipe Junkie

    Ah – I was tempted to go for cookery books but then I couldn’t choose which ones so I went for all fiction – I’m currently reading ‘Jubilee’ by Shelley Harris, my first pick, which I’m enjoying a lot. I love the look of the Mma Ramotswe book. Think I will be getting that for my parents for Christmas!

  2. Craftilicious

    Jekka’s herb book is a lovely read as well as a really useful book. I like the idea of the other as I love the books and the tv show and have never cooked anything other than Bobootie from South Africa.

    On my list for this summer is I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti: A Memoir of Good Food and Bad Boyfriends – I like a foodie biography book but I haven’t read it yet. If I had to pick one novel to read again and again it would have to be The Time Travellers Wife – just love that book. I would find it very hard to choose just one cookbook from my groaning shelves but purely for breadth of recipes The Cook’s Companion: The Complete Book of Ingredients and Recipes for the Australian Kitchen would be high on the list for a general one.

  3. Lisa

    A Mma Ramotswe cookbook! I am so buying that. I adore the books, and loved the TV adaptation too. From the kitchen of one traditionally shaped woman to another. Marvellous.

  4. mistytwoshoes

    Just has to be Mma Ramotswe! Having driven the length of Botswana from Cape Town and then catching a 10 seater plane en route to a mobile safari I feel such affinity for the country!. Each of the books reflects the people, places, atmosphere, countryside of the country like no other in my mind! I didn’t realise that a recipe book had been produced and now can’t wait to buy it – yet another to add to my huge collection!

    I know you are a southern Africa fan Kavey – we are off to Swaziland – have you been?

  5. Fuss Free Helen

    Goodness I did not know there was a Mma Ramotswe cookbook. I shall order it from the library immediately!

    My-zld indeed! Although I do know well the feeing that written and spoken languages are separate sometimes.


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