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A Slice of Cherry Pie: A Review


As a UK Food Blogger it was with great excitement I received my copy of ‘A Slice of Cherry Pie’ written by the founder of the UK Food Bloggers Association, Julia Parsons.

Julia, who has run a successful food blog (also entitled ‘A Slice of Cherry Pie’) since 2006 and more recently set up the UK Food Bloggers Association to act as a community hub for like-minded foodies, is now officially a published author too (is there no end to this woman’s talents?).

Julia has been releasing snippets of the book on her blog in the run up to its launch and I, like many bloggers have been eagerly counting down the days to its release. Well, it finally landed on my doorstep last week and I spent a lovely evening curled up on the sofa reading it from cover to cover – ideally it would have been with a glass of wine, but due to the flooding I hadn’t been able to get the shops so I had to make do with a can of hubby's lager – which somewhat ruined the image of a dark autumn evening, fire blazing, feet up, glass of wine in hand, but hey at least the book didn’t let me down.

From being a long time reader of Julia’s blog, I already knew that using seasonal produce is something close to her heart and this strong ethos is carried through into this cookbook, which is split into beautifully themed seasonal sections.

The book begins its story in spring with ‘Cherry Blossom’ and I didn’t have to look very far for my first must try recipe. The Feta Cheese and Watercress Sauce on page 13 immediately caught my eye and had me salivating. Salty feta and peppery watercress bound together with double cream and poured over some grilled chicken….do I really have to wait until Spring? Staying on the cheese theme, the Baked Camembert with Asparagus Dippers (p23) is also going to be ‘post-it noted’.

By far the largest section of the book is devoted to summer recipes, Julia’s favourite time of the year. In the chapter ‘Sunshines and Lemons’ it was the Peaches and Cream Trifle (p42) that had me dreaming (and reminiscing) about hot summer days, al fresco dining and getting tipsy on Archers when I was a teenager – the trifle uses peach schnapps to drizzle over the sponge, I didn’t just randomly reminisce about drinking it. Over the page is ‘the’ recipe for Cherry Pie, although Julia herself concedes that she is not sure any cherry pie can live up to one in her head;

‘the one with crumbly pastry and glossy, jammy cherries bursting with deep flavour’


In ‘Poppy Fields’, picnic and barbecue foods take centre stage with recipes for Homemade Scotch Eggs (p62) which look gloriously oozy in the middle, Beef Burgers (p67) and the Parsons family Coleslaw recipe (P72) handed to Julia by her Mother in Law. Perhaps most decadent though is the Midsummer Cake (p56), a simple sponge filled with glorious summer fruits and whipped cream.


Throughout the book there are snippets of old blog entries, childhood photographs, famous quotes, lyrics to songs and extracts of handwritten notes, which together give us a sneaky peak into Julia's own journey through food and beyond. It is these qualities that give the book a uniqueness that many cookbooks lack - you really get to know the author and what makes her tick.

Back to the recipes and seafood lovers may want to skip straight to ‘Pebbles and Ice Cream’ where Julia reminisces about her childhood holidays in Hastings and more recently her trips to Whitstable for Oysters. The King Prawn Linguine sounds perfect for a balmy summer evening but it’s the Filo Crab Parcels (p84) that caught my imagination and sound just perfect for laid back summer entertaining – and it’s entertaining that forms the basis of the next chapter ‘Linen and Roses’.

The food in this chapter manages to maintain its simple seasonal charm but aims to impress your guests (which is a plus in my book). Desserts are especially prevalent with my pick in this chapter being the Rose Wine and Strawberry Jellies (p114). There is also a lovely piece on cheeseboards with information on serving and presenting cheeses and it is here where Julia highlights her own favourites – I’m with you on the Roquefort!

We finally get to autumn ‘Rain on Glass’ – my favourite season and despite Julia’s love of summer even she concedes that autumn is the most exciting and inspiring time for the cook. In my view there is not a more comforting autumnal dish than the Creamy Sausage Pasta on page 122 (which I will blog shortly). Sausages, onions, cream, thyme and stock, bound together and tossed through a steaming bowl of pasta – heaven on a plate. But it was the rainy day Fairy Cakes that took my daughters imagination and a recipe she has asked me to make with her soon.

The penultimate chapter ‘Wood Smoke and Roasts’ takes you through the quintessential roast (chicken, beef and pork), homely family recipes such as Toad in the Hole, Bolognese and Shepherds Pie and some lovely autumnal desserts like Plum Crumble and Baked Apples.

Finally, we come to Snow Flurries, celebrating warming winter meals like Chorizo and Cabbage Risotto, Bean and Bacon Stew (sounds yummy) as well as Christmassy offerings such as Chestnut and Bacon Soup, Christmas Pudding Cheesecakes and Port Glazed Gammon on page 191 which will definitely be on my table this Christmas Eve.

Above all this  book is to be treasured and enjoyed and comes bursting with fresh, seasonal offerings. Well done Julia – it’s fab!

Comments

  1. I knew the book would be good, but you have just confirmed it. Lovely review Beth :)

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  2. Sounds like a lovely book - that midsummer cake needs to be made by me in the not-to-distant future!

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  3. I can't wait to pick up a copy in my local bookstore, it sounds wonderful and Julia is such a sweetie I hope it's really successful.

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  4. Sounds fab, I'll have to pick up a copy!

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  5. I got my copy on Saturday but haven't had a chance to read it properly yet.

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  6. Oooh I ordered mine but am getting a copy this weekend when I'm in London and I can't wait! It looks gorgeous!

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  7. I remember making the feta cheese and watercress sauce Julia had nmade for some Jersey potatoes. Our local fingerlings came in just as handy and it was a stunning addition to the meal. This was an excellent review of her cookbook Beth!!!

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  8. Wow, what a lovely, lovely write-up, thank you so much Beth. I'm beaming! So, so pleased you're enjoying it x

    Bellini - wow, that's going back! How lovely that you remember that recipe x

    ReplyDelete

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