Thursday, November 12, 2009

Life is Sweet (In all good bookshops)

My first week day (flu free) day off work with no particular plans – oh the good intentions I woke up with. They mostly centred around a bottle of bleach, some dusting and generally neglected housework, possibly some light shopping and maybe a bit of Christmas planning. I’m sorry to say its well into the morning and I’m watching Gilmore Girls in my pyjamas and beginning to think there won’t be enough hours in the day.

The Christmas preparation revolves around a plan to make presents for people, which seemed logical last year when I came up with it and the next festive season was a long way off. At the time I was still mostly convalescent and had plenty of time on my hands, now half way through November and the reality is that time is short, and when I talk about making things I mean cooking them which doesn’t always lend itself to advance preparation. The mincemeat I attempted earlier in the autumn still looks fairly unappealing (one jar has definitely fermented despite my very careful following of instructions. Disappointing) and the spicy Christmas jam which was much more successful has almost gone.

It looks like most my friends will have to make do with books and wine again (which will probably be something of a relief) but as a half way measure a few of them might get Hope and Greenwood’s ‘Life is Sweet’. I’m vaguely aware of Hope and Greenwood sweets, I’ve seen them looking very appealing around the likes of Fortnum and Mason’s and Selfridges and the book looked very appealing on the shelf too. So appealing that I bought it and carried it home in triumph. Before I say anything else I think it’s definitely worth mentioning how nicely produced this book is. I like the polka dot covered dust jacket, I like the stripe and rose covered hard cover underneath. The pictures are good – nice retro styling and clear shots of the confectionary, and the layout for the recipe’s complete with handy hints – all very user friendly.

The writing style - deliberately jolly hockey sticks with a huge dollop of innuendo actually made me laugh. Guiltily because I thought for a moment that I should be a bit more ‘grown up’, then realised I was being silly and to go with it. The recipe’s are serious enough for the rest of it to be light hearted as it likes; the substance is there, I want a sugar thermometer more than ever but at least in the meantime there is practical advice about telling if something is hot enough. Storage instructions and use by guides are extremely helpful (certainly helping with excuses as to why homemade might not be the best option for Christmas which lets me off the hook) and so is the short but sweet list of stockists.

If for no better reason than that I finally have a recipe to make Rose and Violet creams I want this book to succeed this Christmas, and succeed generally- despite the amount of space devoted to fudge, toffee, caramels, hot chocolate, nougat and Turkish delight – all winter treats in my mind, I am anticipating next year’s picnic season for the chance to make my own mallows, and looking at some of the pictures feel they would make an excellent alternative to birthday cake.

A very very tempting book

1 comment:

  1. I've seen Life is Sweet and thought it looked like an interesting book!

    I always have grand plans for time off and making Christmas gifts - it rarely comes to fruition but I do try to bake some shortbread for friends.