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5 Favourite Books on Roald Dahl Day

5 Favourite Books on Roald Dahl Day

What best evokes childhood for you?

Recently, I have been reading the Roald Dahl books to my six-year old (except the Witches – too scary!!) and they transport me straight back to my six year-old self, freshly bathed in pyjamas smelling of Persil enthralled by a magical world narrated by my mum (who is a great storyteller). With my children I will be celebrating Roald Dahl Day on Saturday with cosy storytelling and Quentin Blake-inspired drawing.

Isn’t it incredible that good books can leave such an indelible impression that they recall feelings more than thirty years’ old?

Many, many books have had a profound effect on me, but here is my top five.

1 George’s Marvellous Medicine, Roald Dahl
Though I love most Dahl books this is my favourite and the one that my son and I giggled at the most. It’s wonderful in every way.

2 Dairy Diary
This had to feature in my top five didn’t it??! It’s the book that changed my life (in more ways than you can I imagine) and the book that helps me juggle everything that life throws at me! Visit the Dairy Diary page.

3 To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
I could write a whole dissertation on this book but don’t worry, I won’t bore you! As a family, we try to live by the quote from Atticus Finch “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view, until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it".

4 Around the World in 80 Days, Michael Palin
I absolutely adore Michael Palin; from Monty Python chuckles to admiration of his brilliant travel books/TV programs. Around the World in 80 Days kick-started my love of travel writing and I have read countless travel books since. They continue to be my favourite escapist genre as I am not the most adventurous person so there will be many places in the world that I need to discover through other people as I’m not brave enough to visit them myself.

5 Fantastic Food for Less
This is not a marketing ploy honest!! This is THE cookbook that I had to have in my kitchen before it was even printed. I have loved working on every cookbook that we have produced but the recipes in this one really are exceptional and so straightforward that they perfectly fit into my busy life as a mum. Vist the Fantastic Food For Less page.

Here’s our family favourite from Fantastic Food for Less.

 

Spiced Cottage Pie

Spiced Cottage PieTime 50 minutes. Per portion: 737 Kcal, 25g fat (10.8g saturated). Serves 6 Suitable for freezing.

Sunflower oil 1 tbsp
Minced beef 500g (1lb 2oz)
Onion 1, peeled and chopped
Medium hot curry powder 2 tbsp
Carrot 150g (5oz), diced
Red lentils 150g (5oz)
Beef stock 600ml (1 pint)
Tomato purée 1 tbsp
Sultanas 50g (2oz)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Potatoes 680g (1½lb), peeled and cut into chunks
Butter 50g (2oz)
Milk 4 tbsp
Ground turmeric ¼ tsp
Cooked frozen peas to serve (optional)

1 Heat the oil in a saucepan over a medium heat and fry the mince and onion, stirring and breaking up the mince, for about 5 minutes until it is evenly browned.

2 Stir in the curry powder and carrot, cook 1 minute and then mix in the lentils. Pour in the stock, tomato purée, sultanas and seasoning and bring to the boil.

3 Cover and simmer for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally until the lentils are soft.

4 Meanwhile, put the potatoes into a saucepan with just enough lightly salted water to cover them. Cover with the lid and bring the water to the boil. Then reduce the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes until the potatoes are tender.

5 Drain the potatoes, return them to the pan with half the butter and the milk and turmeric and season with salt and pepper. Mash well, adding the milk as needed to make a soft spoonable mash.

6 Preheat the grill to hot. Spoon the mince mixture into an ovenproof dish, cover with the potato and fork the mash into an even layer. Dot the remaining butter over the top and grill for 5–10 minutes until browned. Serve with peas, if you like.

Cook’s tip

Leftover lentils can be used to make a delicious, filling soup. Cook 110g (4oz) lentils with 1 chopped potato, carrot, onion and parsnip (or any other leftover veg you fancy) and 900ml (1½ pints) stock very gently for 1 hour. Purée with a stick blender before you serve.

 

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