Eat Me! (by Xanthe Milton)

Xanthe Milton is the author of this book. She is known widely, apparently, as 'Cookie Girl'. I hadn't heard of her, and would never have bought this book, primarily because of the garish pink of the cover. I don't much like pink, and this particular shade almost gives me a headache.

But the blurb of 'Eat Me!' looked appealing when I saw on the shelves of 'The Bookbag' and I mentioned that, if nobody else wanted it, I wouldn't mind reviewing it. After making some of the recipes, of course. I rather liked the lengthy subtitle of this recipe book:"The_Stupendous, Self-raising World of Cupcakes and Bakes According to Cookie Girl."

It wasn't long before the book arrived, and I found it a remarkably readable recipe book. It's divided into seasonal sections, each one beginning with a couple of pages of anecdotes from the author's childhood, describing in particular the scents and tastes she recalls from her mother's kitchen.

There are some luscious looking photos too. The book is mainly cupcakes, but there are also some cookie and biscuit recipes, appropriate for different times of year as well as for general consumption. Amongst others, I tried a chocolate chip cookie recipe, thinking it couldn't really be different from others I had tried in the past - but was agreeably surprised to find that the taste far outranked any chocolate chip cookie I had ever eaten.

Over the course of a couple of weeks I tried three or four of the recipes, and found them all extremely good. I was pleased to find that they all made rather more than the recipe predicted; possibly because I was using regular UK-sized fairy cake cases rather than the larger American muffin cases. I suspect my cookies are smaller than recommended too. But the taste was not affected, and it was probably better for our waistlines to eat smaller items from this book.

The ingredients are mostly fairly basic, with the most original variations I have seen. Butter is used extensively, but I did try substituting a non-dairy spread in one of the recipes, and it tasted much the same. As the author says, just about anything can be adjusted or substituted in these recipes.

I didn't make the icing for any of the cakes because I generally find icings too sweet, and the cakes were just fine without them. However for a party or special occasion I would certainly experiment with some of the decorative suggestions.

All in all, I thought it a wonderful book - but put in on my shelves rather than leaving it out, due to the slightly freaky coincidence that both my husband and myself accidentally read the title as 'Fat Me'. Possibly prophetic, despite the author's slimline appearance, this encouraged me to keep the book for special occasions only.

Highly recommended so long as you're not dieting, or allergic to gluten/dairy/eggs/nuts.

My longer review of 'Eat Me!' can be found at the Bookbag site.

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