My Favourite Cookbook

I have lots of cookbooks. I love buying new cookbooks, they inspire and excite me. But the truth is I rarely cook from them. Don't think I waste my money buying them though. On the contrary it is by reading many cookbooks that I have learnt to cook without cookbooks. When you have read ten recipes for stew you no longer need to follow one. You can do your own thing. I tend to 'do my own thing' most of the time.

But there are some recipes I do follow, especially baking recipes where measurements have to be considered. I've shared quite a lot of these favourites here. These have come from a variety of cookbooks, for the most part from unassuming little cookbooks without gorgeous photography or a famous author. Some have come from the internet.

For a while I'd been thinking that it would be a good idea to collect these recipes into one book so that my children can reproduce our family favourites, and also so that they're all in one place. I was reminded of this plan by Petit Filoux's post here.  I did a bit of googling and came across the Moleskine Recipe Journal. I'm a sucker for stationery and I fell hook, line and sinker for Moleskine's video.

I customised some of the tabs. I decided an 'appetisers' section was not going to be necessary but a 'baking' one most definitely was. I swapped  'first courses' for a 'lunch' section using one of the stickers provided and  'cocktails'  has become the more useful 'preserves and drinks'.

I made a mosaic of some of my food photos and printed it. I cut the little pics up and used them to illustrate my recipes. I did some little drawings too.

It was fun.

Click on these pics and you will be able to read my scrawl more easily.

I love how personal my recipe journal has become and I've really been enjoying filling it up with our favourite things. It is without doubt my favourite cookbook. 

By the way, two of the best cookbooks for teaching you how to cook without a recipe are Appetite by Nigel Slater and The Modern Cook's Manual by Lynda Brown. My favourite and most used book for baking is TheUltimate Cake Book by Mary Berry.

: :

Thank you for your comments on my last post :o) I am enjoying my me-time so much. Today I have been shopping and bought myself some treats -Waterstones are doing a 3 for 2 thing on fiction and I've added two new fragrant room oils to my collection (not that I need them yet as my freesias are still going strong). Mozzarella wrapped in pancetta is on the menu tonight (an idea from Appetite) served on top of a large mushroom with some salad leaves. I've got a bottle of shiraz and Lovefilm have sent me two romantic films one with George Clooney and another with Robert Downey, so I'm all set :o)

Anyone read these? I know I'll enjoy the Susan Hill but the others are a bit of a leap of faith.



  1. I have a little notebook in which my mum wrote down a few of our families favourites - mostly cakes!! Yum!
    I've been on the lookout for a decent looking recipe book for some time, but they've all seemed so expensive.
    Perhaps I'll go down the Petit Filoux route and just decorate a notepad or something.
    I still love looking at the one my mum created. Not only for the recipies themselves, but also to look at her handwriting.
    Tea tonight looks lovely. I've spent the whole afternoon making a bolognese ragu for Spag Bol. That's definitely one for the Family Recipe Book :0)
    I've read the Susan Hill book, but not the other two. I enjoyed it, so hope you do too.

  2. Sue aka snoozer5:44 pm BST


    I've read the Elizabeth Chadwick one - a long time ago. It's an early one of hers, she often bases her books on real historical people nowadays but this is purely fictional with real people and events around them. She researches very thoroughly and there is no grating modernism that you sometimes find in these.

    There are 2 sequels based around the same family. I enjoyed them.

  3. I was just going to email you and invite you to enter my giveaway entitled "Choose Your Cookbook". I ask that to enter you send in a photo of your cookbooks. I won't put you on the spot but if you get a chance, head on over.
    Thanks for sharing this with us..I so admire your culinary ability. I feel it is refined but comfort all at the same time.

  4. Have read the Elizabeth Chadwick, and if the Dan Brown is as good as the three of his I have read, you'll be well set up!

    I have just been reading two Jeffrey Archer books, one called A Prisoner of Birth and the other, can't remember the title off hand, but about a climber called George Mallory who may have been the first to get to the top of Everest. Couldn't put the Prisoner of Birth one down as it has some really exciting twists! Can't say I am a big JA fan at all, but I will be looking for more of his books at the library if these two are anything to go on!

    Happy Reading!

  5. PS Absolutely LOVE your recipe notebook - what a great record of all your family favourites!

  6. I started to collect some favourite recipes a few years ago, but your beautiful book certainly let's the wanties out. the Dan Brown book is good but I must admit to not enjoying it as much as his others. still a good read though especially for me time. Tea sounds fabulous mmm.

  7. Oooh the new Wild Hunt! That's on my wish list. Enjoy.

    Never mind your kids enjoying this - think I might copy these down myself. I too have many cook books and am just getting confident with doign things my own way. Mind you I have a pretty limited repertoire - not enough to fill a lovely notebook.

    Off to buy up a Nigel Slater now!

  8. Oh thank you SO much for sharing this with us all... I have a book I keep meaning to write recipes in but never seem to get around to it, but now seeing this I think that will be my "post-wedding, pre-Christmas activity" :)

  9. Anonymous7:48 pm BST

    Brilliant, another post, I'm enjoying your holiday too. Love your cookbook :-)

    Can't help with any of the books but I have got Appetite so I will drag that down and read that tonight.

    These going to be another Nigel Slatter programme during the Autumn, can't remember when it starts but I shall be looking out for it.


  10. Your recipe book is lovely, especially your little piccies and drawings - I began one when I left home - I'm on volume two now.

    The Dan Brown does exactly the job you'd expect - pacy, enjoyable, but not lit-er-a-ture. We all need a book like that every once in a while.

  11. I love your recipe book with the little drawings! That will become a special keepsake which will be passed down through your children. Lovely xx

  12. Amazing! I was lying in bed this morning planning just such a book - only two of them- one each for my grownup kids for Christmas. I was going to call it "Mum's Survival Book". Since I've been blogging I often take photos when I cook so I can add these to ones that go with the recipes. I often get phone calls from my son and daughter when they are trying to replicate a family favourite.
    About those books - I've read the Dan Brown and although I loved his others , found this one too much the same. If you want a recommendation " The Forgotten Garden" by Kate Morton is a winner.
    Sounds like you are really enjoying your down time AND achieving at the same time.

  13. What a gorgeous idea! I love how it is so personal with your drawings and hand writing and well as all those yummy favourite recipes. Glad you're enjoying your ME time.

    Anne :-)

  14. What a lovely time you are having there on your own. I have just finished 'The Lost symbol' and enjoyed it as mush as his others. I love Kate Mosse and Kathleen McGowans books also and am reading 'The Poet Prince' now, when I get the time that is.
    Love all your receipe ideas too.
    Sandi xx

  15. Oh wow it looks amazing!! I always find it so interesting how people can come up with different results, all stemming from one idea - you can go down so many different routes! Love all your little drawings and little photos, I might do that too!!!

  16. I lost my first hand written recipe book but have started another recently - its not nearly as lovely as yours though - the drawings are fab

  17. I want one of those books! I've just discovered on the moleskine site that you can download a sample page from the recipe book to try it out http://www.moleskine.com/msk_app/templates/MSK_Recipe_EN_A4.pdf
    I am going to do this but I shouldn't because I know I'll end up buying one. Yours is so charming Sue!
    Despite the fact that I do not need any encouragement to buy any more recipe or colouring books or flowers or lovely fruit etc etc I am so looking forward to the next blog instalment!!!

  18. Your recipe book is great! I've tried to make one before but it just turned out looking childish (a la 13 year old me!). Might just have to take another run at it!

  19. This is just simply gorgeous, such a lovely memorable collection of all your family favourites. I am loving the broccoli recipe, hope you don't mind if I give it a try xox (as a Dietitian here in the UK it's one I will recommend to my clients who pull a face when I recommend more greens! I will say however, go slow on the parmesan and salt - sorry to be a bit of a party pooper!

    I love tradition and I think this will be a wonderful family tradition that your kids may well take on into their futures, your cooking skills and creativity is truly an inspiration and I look forward to reading your posts. Any moleskine stationary is simply heavenly, I love the texture of the covers.
    Enjoy the rest of your 'me' time xox

  20. Sue, your recipe book is sure to become a cherished heirloom. I want to try the best broccoli, looks yummy!

  21. That is such a great idea, the way you have printed out your recipes, May have to nick that..Em x

  22. Anonymous9:08 pm BST

    i have read that susan hill book, only this year and i really enjoyed it, found it a little scary at times. the book has been made into a play int he west end. havent yet read my dan brown book. enjoy.

  23. Hi Sue, I've just met your page searching for some picts about moleskine recipe journal. I'm writting from Barcelona... sorry for my english. Today I've get my note book and... i don't know with wich recipe start... i hope my recipe book gets as fastastic as yours! i'll try to start...perhaps with my favourite dish...
    thanks for show us your recipe book...


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