Books for Cooks #4, and for history buffs, Cuban cooks, and Nadiya Hussain fans…

Books for Cooks #4, and for history buffs and Nadia Hussain fans…


Finding my Voice – Nadiya Hussain

Few of us who watched The Great British Bake Off. Series on British Television did not fall in love with Nadiya Hussain early in the series. An amzing young woman with the most incredible vibrant personality and great talent. Everything drummed into her as a child, not rich enough, not credible, you can’t, no you won’t, no you are not allowed. no that is not appropriate, no you do not belong. Once she decided ‘Yes, I do’, her life changed.

Not an easy life with her role, which she questioned from en early age. She wanted to be normal and lead a normal life. But these were not the cards dealt her. She became famous, she became a trailblazer. She had to take the road less followed and came out at the end way beyond anywhere she could ever have dreamed of being.

Beautifully written, she opens the front door of her life to us. Here we experience with her what has happened in her life.

A truly great read, from a truly special person

Published by Headline Home, distributed locally by Jonathan Ball Publishers

The Mirror & the Light – Hilary Mantel

This is a book of great heaviness. I remember a special day when Madeleine and I had Henry Kissinger to lunch. I asked him to sign a copy of his book for me and he said in his gruff German accented voice, ‘I would have made more selling it by the pound.’  This is the third novel in a trilogy in which Hilary Mantel brings to a close, her life of Oliver Cromwell. The first two books are Wolf Hall [already a television series], and Bring up the bodies. Both of these books won the Man Booker Prize. No surprise to any of us, I might add.

This is Cromwell’s life as it slowly winds down. It is a brilliant read, perhaps not for bedtime as it is quite a heavy tome.

Dame Hilary Mary Mantel, DBE, FRSL, is an English writer, a multi award winner.

Her website says of this book “The story begins in May 1536: Anne Boleyn is dead, decapitated in the space of a heartbeat by a hired French executioner. As her remains are bundled into oblivion, Cromwell breakfasts with the victors. The blacksmith’s son from Putney emerges from the spring’s bloodbath to continue his climb to power and wealth, while his formidable master, Henry VIII, settles to short-lived happiness with his third queen, Jane Seymour.

Cromwell, a man with only his wits to rely on, has no great family to back him, no private army. Despite rebellion at home, traitors plotting abroad and the threat of invasion testing Henry’s regime to the breaking point, Cromwell’s robust imagination sees a new country in the mirror of the future. All of England lies at his feet, ripe for innovation and religious reform. But as fortune’s wheel turns, Cromwell’s enemies are gathering in the shadows. The inevitable question remains: how long can anyone survive under Henry’s cruel and capricious gaze?

Eagerly awaited and eight years in the making, The Mirror & the Light completes Cromwell’s journey from self-made man to one of the most feared, influential figures of his time. Portrayed by Mantel with pathos and terrific energy, Cromwell is as complex as he is unforgettable: a politician and a fixer, a husband and a father, a man who both defied and defined his age.”

Get it – read it – enjoy

4th Estate, distributed locally by Jonathan Ball Publishers

Cuba – The Cookbook by Madeleine Vázquez Galves & Imogene Tondre

I have always been fascinated by Cuba, from the time of the stand off from the time the Americans prevented the Russian armaments from reaching the country. Somehow Fidel Castro and Che Guevara became heroes. I was so pleased to see him in Pretoria at the time of Nelson Mandela’s inauguration. Then in the early 2000s, we had the Beuna Vista Social Club Orchestra and the little promo film when they went to Holland for their first concert outside their home country. Cuban food remained a mystery.

This wonderful book is a treasure trove of 350 recipes, of Cuban home cooking. Written by Madeleine Vázquez Galves & Imogene Tondre, Cuba  the Cookbook is one you want to have on your bedside table to go through and study, And then get it into the kitchen.

I have had great fun with it – and I hope you do too.

Phadion, distributed locally by Jonathan Ball Publishers


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