On My Book Shelf: 6 Titles on my Reading List

"We lose ourselves in books, we find ourselves there too." - Unknown

I have read a lot of books in my life, too many to count! However, there are probably 10 times the amount of books I've read that I haven't read. Here are 6 books I have sitting on my bookshelf right now ... the only thing I have to decide is which to read first!

My Lady Jane: The Not Entirely True Story by Hand, Ashton, Meadows
- At sixteen, Lady Jane Grey is about to be married off to a stranger and caught up in a conspiracy to rob her cousin, King Edward, of his throne. But those trifling problems aren’t for Jane to worry about. Jane gets to be Queen of England. Like that could go wrong.
+ This book kept appearing on my social media feeds and in the end I gave in and bought myself a copy. I am looking forward to it as it sounds like it should be a good laugh!

The Little Shop of Happy Ever After by Jenny Colgan
- Nina is a librarian who spends her days happily matchmaking books and people - she always knows what someone should read next. But when her beloved library closes and she's suddenly out of a job, Nina has no idea what to do next. Then an advert catches her eye: she could be the owner of a tiny little bookshop bus, driving around the Scottish highlands.
Using up all her courage, and her savings, Nina makes a new start in the beautiful Scottish highlands. But real life is a bit trickier than the stories she loves - especially when she keeps having to be rescued by the grumpy-but-gorgeous farmer next door...
+ I have read almost all of Jenny Colgan's books and they never disappoint. So, this one better not!

The Improbability of Love by Hannah Rothschild
- When lovelorn Annie McDee stumbles across a dirty painting in a junk shop while looking for a present for an unsuitable man, she has no idea what she has discovered. Soon she finds herself drawn unwillingly into the tumultuous London art world, populated by exiled Russian oligarchs, avaricious Sheikas, desperate auctioneers and unscrupulous dealers, all scheming to get their hands on her painting - a lost eighteenth-century masterpiece called 'The Improbability of Love'. Delving into the painting's past, Annie will uncover not just an illustrious list of former owners, but some of the darkest secrets of European history - and in doing so she might just learn to open up to the possibility of falling in love again.
+ I have heard great things about this book. I am trying not to have too high expectations, because I am in fear of it not being as great as it's portrayed as.....

In the Miso Soup by Ryu Murakami
- It's just before New Year, and Frank, an overweight American tourist, has hired Kenji to take him on a guided tour of Tokyo's nightlife. But, Frank's behaviour is so odd that Kenji begins to entertain a horrible suspicion: his client may in fact have murderous desires. Although Kenji is far from innocent himself, he unwillingly descends with Frank into an inferno of evil, from which only his sixteen-year-old girlfriend, Jun, can possibly save him.
+ This book was recommended to me as I am a fan Haruki Murakami. It sounds like it's going to be an odd book, which is what appeals to me!

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black
- Tana lives in a world where walled cities called Coldtowns exist. In them, quarantined monsters and humans mingle in a decadently bloody mix of predator and prey. It's an eternal party, shown on TV 24 hours a day - gorgeous, glamorous, deadly! Because, once you pass through Coldtown's gates, you can never leave...
+ Holly Black has quickly become one of my favorite authors so I asked for this book from Santa and he brought it for me. Actually I bought it and gave it to myself.

Girls & Sex by Peggy Orenstein
- A generation gap has emerged between parents and their daughters. Mothers and fathers have little idea about the pressures and expectations they face or how they feel about them.
Drawing on in-depth interviews with young women and a wide range of psychologists and experts, renowned journalist and bestselling author Peggy Orenstein goes where most others fear to tread, pulling back the curtain on the hidden truths and hard lessons of girls’ sex lives in the modern world.
+ I read non-fiction here and there. This title originally made me think it was going to be sex and the city like fiction book. However, I picked it up and started reading and I read a whole chapter before I decided to buy it and see what it's all about!

What is on your Book Shelf? 
I am always looking for new recommendations so, if there is anything you think I'd like or that you just love leave me a comment below!   

Mary Berry's Classic Rice Pudding

Until I moved to the UK I had never ever tried Rice Pudding. To be honest the sound and look of it did not make me want to try it anytime soon. I thought it was a going to feel weird in my mouth. There is no other way to say that...

Anyhow. I have sort of become a bit addicted to Muller Rice's limited edition maple syrup flavor and I thought hey this must be pretty easy to make at home! So, I went straight to Mary Berry. This is her recipe from Mary Berry Cooks, I've had the book for a couple of years now, but I have never made anything out of it. Not sure why, it has some great looking recipes.

Again anywho. I wanted rice pudding so I made rice pudding. The thing that I love about rice pudding, after I realised it doesn't feel weird in your mouth and I got over the fact I was eating rice as a dessert, is that it tastes great on it's own, but it's a great base for other flavors. You can add a teaspoon of jam or curd to it. Fresh fruit is always a great addition as well as maple syrup or chocolate sauce. Plus, it's fairly inexpensive to make which is always a bonus.

Mary Berry's Classic Rice Pudding

100g pudding rice
50g caster sugar
600ml milk
300ml single cream
25g butter
pinch of grated nutmeg

One must have a baking dish that will hold 900ml of liquid and then some. Heat the oven to 150C. Put the rice and sugar in the baking dish. Then pour the milk and cream over the top giving it a little stir. Cut up the butter into little cubes and place around the dish randomly before sprinkling the top with a pinch or two of grated nutmeg. Bake for 30 minutes. Give it a stir before placing back in the oven for another 1 1/2 hours. Should have a skin over the top and the rice should have absorbed the milk and cream.

It turned out lovely and I guarantee that I will be making this again soon! Only thing is is that it's not a quick dessert, it requires time, but it's well worth the wait!

*For more Mary Berry recipes pick up one of her many books
*This post is not associated with Mary Berry in any shape or form all opinions are my own. Please see my contact/policy page above for more information.
*Check out the time I met the legend - it was while I got this book signed!

New Look and M&M Cookies

It's no secret that my blogging days have been waning. I haven't been baking as much as I used too with life and other activities taking up my time. It was a debate, after the last couple of years, if I was going to continue blogging.

It is a lot of work to keep a blog up and running - all the writing, editing of text and photos, and of course self promotion. It's all about balancing it all and I think it's about time to get back to blogging, with a new look and a new outlook on life!

I thought I'd start with something fun and easy - M&M cookies! I was doing my weekly food shop and they had the bags of M&M's hanging in in the middle of the isle and I was like I want those. More specifically I want those in cookies. So, I made it happen. About a month later, but I still made it happen!

M&M Cookies

150g soft unsalted butter
125g soft light brown sugar
100g caster sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg, fridge cold
1 egg yolk, fridge cold
300g flour
½ tsp bicarb of soda
100g milk/dark chocolate chunks
165g M&M's plain or peanut!

Heat the oven to 170*C/gas mark 3 and line your baking sheet. Melt butter and let cool a little bit, put both sugars in a bowl and then beat in melted butter. Then beat in vanilla, the cold egg and cold egg yolk until light and creamy. Slowly mix in the flour and bicarb until just blended (I mixed it in a couple of batches) fold in chocolate chunks and M&M's. Use a medium ice cream scoop or a 1/4 measuring cup to divide the cookie dough into a dozen cookie dough balls. Keep cookie dough in the fridge between baking. Bake for 15-17 minutes. Leave to cool on the tray for a few minutes.
*adapted from Nigella's recipe in Kitchen

I can't tell you how much of the cookie dough was consumed before being put on the baking tray or I might have to kill you - as the saying goes. Although I can hint that it was more then a little. Cookie dough is so good.... I know you're not suppose to eat it with raw eggs and flour and stuff....but it's so good!!

Cookies fresh out of the oven are irroestiable! This cookie recipe is my go to cookie recipe. I have used it over and over again and I just add whatever I want to it! M&M's today white chocolate and macadamia nuts tomorrow and Revel's the next day! 

Hey! So, what do you think of the new look? A big thank you to Anna at Designer Blogs for giving my blog an awesome makeover!