January – Recipe Book Challenge – The Hairy Bikers’ Meat Feasts

January - month of the Hairy Bikers

January – month of the Hairy Bikers

January 2017, our first month of the Recipe Book Challenge – and we picked The Hairy Bikers’ Meat Feasts. This book was a gift to Rich from my Uncle and Aunt and we’ve already made a couple of recipes (Picadillo in particular was a GREAT success for us) but thought the lovely cold month of January was a good fit for some slow cooked, big meat dishes!

The aim is to make four new recipes from a chosen book every month. It doesn’t mean we can’t use other recipes in the month, but that our focus is on new recipes from the chosen book.

Recipe One – Pork Tenderloin Stuffed with Apricots, Apples and Ginger

We made this twice – once for a dinner party at our place and once for Rich’s dad at his house. Really attractive looking dish and yummy. Definitely a good one for dinner parties.

Recipe Two – Beef Chilli with Bitter Chocolate

This is a great recipe to make and freeze leftovers. I’ve never made chilli with beef steak as well as mince and I’d definitely do again in the future. Personally, I think it’s a little vegetable light, if I were to make again I would definitely add more peppers, courgettes etc. If I’m completely honest, and I *know* that it’s a chilli with chocolate, but I think there’s slightly too much, it was a teensy bit overpowering – so I’d reduce that too. So, in conclusion – we enjoyed, but would probably adapt this recipe rather than stick to the full instructions from the book.

Recipe Three – Braised Feather Blade Beef

Using feather blade (or spalebone) steak this is a fantastic slow cooked recipe with very yummy results. We also made in bulk and have frozen for future dinners. The thing I’d note about this recipe is that, as a slow cooked meal, the meat rather falls apart, so I absolutely couldn’t make it look like the photo!

Recipe Four – Boston Baked Beans

Another long cook. I hilariously got the timing of this wrong, meaning that it was ready at ten o’clock at night (we ended up getting takeaway that night!). We ended up eating the next day and it was epic! Great use of pork belly which is really well priced and felt lovely and healthy too!


  1. This is a great book for big hearty meals, with the opportunity to batch book and freeze portions for future use.
  2. All four recipes were a success. Three out of four will definitely be made again (and we’ll be using inspiration from the chilli recipe for future chilis)
  3. Four is about the right number – not too much pressure, but enough to keep me focussed.
  4. I was hopeless at taking photos – will try and remember for future blog posts!

Next month….

We’ve picked out Madhur Jaffrey’s Ultimate Curry Bible – I hardly ever make curries and am looking forward to digging in and trying out lots of new things.

Next month…

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2017 Recipe Book Challenge

Our cookery books

Our cookery books

Man, we have a lot of cook books – and no sign of them reducing – we were given at least two this holiday season. Hurrah! A good present idea for us, we’ll never turn a cook book down!

We also like trying new recipes – I think there’s only one I’ve made that’s gone horribly wrong (Jamie Oliver’s 15 Minute Meal if you want to know) and, if the recipe works out, we make it a few times, adapt it (there are always adaptions to personalise!) and add it to our repertoire.

This year we’ve decided to give ourselves a new challenge. We’re going to specifically pick one recipe book a month and task ourselves with four new recipes a month from it. At the end of the month I planning on jotting down a wee blog about the book, the recipes we used and, how well it went. We won’t limit ourselves to only one book, so if it works out to try something else, we will, but we’ll always try to default to the selected monthly book.

It would be very prescriptive to select all twelve books just now, so at the moment we’ve just pulled a few out that we’d be interested in exploring and at the end of each month we’ll make a selection for the upcoming month.

A few of the books we're thinking about focussing on this year...

A few of the books we’re thinking about focussing on this year…

Our January book is The Hairy Bikers’ Meat Feasts – check back at the end of the month for the report! 🙂

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Reading List 2017

Some of my 2017 fiction reads

Some of my 2017 fiction reads

Hope everyone has had a lovely Christmas and New Year period!

Although, I feel, that last year’s book aims were not *quite* met (*cough* 4 out of 12 books read), I still really enjoy looking through my books and picking out a lovely list of books to aim to read in the coming year. As you might know from previous posts, I don’t like to be too tied down with what to read so it’s a loose list, with an overall aim to keep on reading as much as I can. 2016 was a slow year, but I’m raring to and excited to what the year holds, in all ways, not just reading!

Here are a few of the books that I’ve outlined to read in the coming year:


  1. The Bone Clocks – David Mitchell (from last year’s list)
  2. Chicken – Chase Night (from last year’s list)
  3. The Heart Goes Last – Margaret Atwood
  4. The Trees – Ali Shaw
  5. Kraken – China Mieville


  1. The Organized Mind – Daniel Levitan (from last year’s list and I’m about halfway through at moment)
  2. The Princess Diarist – Carrie Fisher
  3. Awakening Shakti – Sally Kempton
  4. Inside the Yoga Sutras – Jaganath Carrera
  5. Year of Yes – Shonda Rhimes
  6. Queen of the Desert – Georgina Howell (our last Edinburgh Book Group Read which we didn’t quite get to reading!)

Lots of variety in 2017! I’ve already gotten going with The Organised Mind which I started last month but haven’t quite finished yet and with Yoga Teacher Training starting in April this year, I reckon a lot of my time will be spent with non-fiction in the coming months.

I'm looking forward to finishing The Organized Mind in 2017

I’m looking forward to finishing The Organized Mind in 2017

Have you set yourself any reading targets for 2017? I love hearing what people are reading, so comment below or ping me on social media!


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List – 2016 Books

I do love writing this blog post every year! This year has been a much lighter in terms of reading with Audible propping me up (1o/24 books) as well a quiet week in France (6 books read!).

2016 - The Year of Aaronovich!

2016 – The Year of Aaronovich!

2016 was the year that I fell in love with Ben Aaronovich’s Rivers of London series. It was the first book I read and then I powered through all five and ended up patiently waiting for the latest, The Hanging Tree, to come out. I even got to meet Ben Aaronovich at the Edinburgh International Book Festival in August and he signed one of my books. I was so excited!

Obsessed? Me?!

Obsessed? Me?!

Here’s the full list for 2016:

  1. Rivers of London – Ben Aaronovich
  2. Moon Over Soho – Ben Aaronovich
  3. Whispers Underground – Ben Aaronovich
  4. The Hourglass Factory – Lucy Ribchester
  5. Broken Homes – Ben Aaronovich
  6. Foxglove Summer – Ben Aaronovich
  7. The Bees – Laline Paull
  8. The Humans – Matt Haig
  9. Big Magic – Elizabeth Gilbert
  10. Songs of Love and War – Santa Montefiore
  11. The Glorious Heresies – Lisa McInerney
  12. Life on the Road – Gloria Steinem
  13. Not That Kind of Girl – Lena Dunham
  14. #GIRLBOSS – Sophia Amoroso
  15. Night School – Richard Wiseman
  16. The Boston Girl – Anita Diamant
  17. The Art of Love – Elizabeth Edmondson
  18. The Cuckoo’s Calling – Robert Galbraith
  19. The Silkworm – Robert Galbraith
  20. Career of Evil – Robert Galbraith
  21. The Power – Naomi Alderman
  22. The Hanging Tree – Ben Aaronovich
  23. Mr Stink – David Walliams
  24. Billionaire Boy – David Walliams

Almost too many good books to write about but some other things to note:

I LOVED the Robert Galbraith Series on Audible – heartily recommend either reading or listening if you get the chance!

I was rubbish at heeding to my 2016 target list! Must do better for 2017!

I started well on my aim to buy no books (see last year’s post) but failed miserably towards the end. I. Can’t. Stop. Buying. Books.

I’ve had some really good feminist reads – starting with Gloria Steinem – and we’ve even changed the slant of our book group to accommodate this too.

Glories Heresies by Lisa McInerney was one of our book group reads

Glories Heresies by Lisa McInerney was one of our book group reads

Anything take your fancy? What were your reads for 2016? I’d love to hear them either here, or on social media…… look forward to hearing from you!


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