I think my favourite thing about NetGalley is the wide variety of books to choose from and review. If you’ve seen some of my previous posts (like this one and this one), you would know that I quite enjoy baking (cooking in general actually), and the eating that results from said baking. So I was pretty excited when I saw that I could get advanced copies of cookbooks as well as novels. The first cookbook (hopefully of many) I’ve decided to review for NetGalley is Claire Ptak’s The Violet Bakery Cookbook. The bakery itself is located in London, and this book is a collection of recipes of food that is actually made and sold there.
I decided that in order to give the most honest review possible, I should pick some of the recipes and cook them myself. You know, just to make sure they were easy to follow and everything tasted alright (apologies for the terrible photos).
Overall this is probably one of the nicest cookbooks I’ve seen in a long time. Every single recipe has an accompanying photograph, which I especially loved – there’s nothing that irritates me more than cooking a recipe and not having any guidance as to what the final product should look like. I enjoyed reading the introduction as well, which runs through the Violet Bakery from it’s very beginning as a market stall, to finally becoming a business of a slightly larger scale.
I tried four recipes, which were as follows:
❊ Chewy gingersnaps
❊ Raspberry and star anise crumble muffins
❊ Lemon drizzle loaf
❊ Chocolate sunken soufflé cake
Of the four, I had success with three. The only one that didn’t work was the chocolate cake – it came out more sunken than it should have and was basically a big fail. It was nothing to do with the recipe though, it was more a case of my own impatience. But I’ll be trying the recipe again as I can pinpoint exactly where I went wrong, and what I tasted of it was delicious. All of the recipes (even the one that didn’t work) were simple, easy to follow, and surprisingly quick to put together. The most time consuming were the muffins, but even those I had mixed together and in the oven in about half an hour (along with icing the lemon drizzle loaf at the same time).
The lemon drizzle loaf was definitely my favourite of the recipes I tried. I rarely have luck with cakes turning out (see above chocolate cake fail), so I was pleasantly surprised that this worked. I probably could have taken it out of the oven a little earlier as the outside was a bit crunchier than I’d have liked, but the inside was perfect. The sour of the lemon was balanced with just the right amount of sweet, and I LOVED the lemon icing – it tasted like sherbet.
If you enjoy baking, you should definitely consider getting yourself a copy of this book. There is such a wide range of recipes inside that I can guarantee you’ll find something you like. From toasted sandwiches, to biscuits, cakes, and ice creams, there is something to suit everyone’s taste and skill level. It’s safe to say I’ll definitely be visiting the bakery when I’m in London later this year – I’m sure I could sit in there all day.
Many thanks to Ten Speed Press and NetGalley for providing a review copy in exchange for an honest review!