Vegetarian food blog featuring nourishing home cooked recipes, creative baking and luscious chocolate.

Stacie Bakes – a Review

Book Reviews | 18th April 2013 | By

We don’t have a television, so I had not heard of Stacie Stewart until I was sent her book to review. On finding out she reached the Masterchef finals in 2010 and is now on ITVs food. Glorious.food, I wasn’t much the wiser. Well, along with this august claim to fame, she also has a bakery supplying cakes and bakes to shops and events around the country. Ahh, now I get it, she’s a baker – my interest awakened.

The 208 page hardback book is an eclectic mix of recipes with vintage, classics and modern bakes both from Britain and abroad given a Stacie twist. The chapters are arranged by the calendar, starting off with New Year, New Baking Rules and ending with Christmas Baking & Gifts. Some of the recipes seemed to have been placed a little arbitrarily: Turkish delight with pistachios sounds delightful, but I’m not sure I’d have put it in the chapter for Mother’s Day and Vintage Tea. There is an introductory section on baking tips and equipment, which I thought would be particularly useful to the novice cook and is rarely covered. Such essentials as: oven temperatures vary – I had no idea about this when I started baking and it has caused no end of problems with both burnt and underdone bakes; toast nuts before you use them both for added flavour and  loosening skins. Other tips are scattered throughout the book.
The recipes look to be really interesting and I have bookmarked a fair few of them. Each one starts with a little introduction, which I found to be a nice touch. Both historical and personal factoids are included; I didn’t know that the northern classic, singin’ hinnies got their name from the whistling noise they made when cooking. There are a few gluten free recipes and a couple of “healthy” bakes, but the majority are full-on lip smackingly indulgent. Peaches baked in sweet wine are served with amaretti studded ricotta. Beehive bars for breakfast sound a tad decadent to me with their copious amounts of sugar, butter and syrup, but I’ wouldn’t say no to them at any other time of the day. Rhubarb Tarte Tatin makes for a very interesting twist on the classic and one I am keen to try. Elvis gets a clever tribute with blue suede choux – choux pastry filled with peanut butter cream and topped with caramel and bananas. I was pleased to see that chocolate was well represented throughout the book; chocolate cake filled with salted caramel custard had me reaching for a bookmark immediately.
Cheese & Leek Scones on bottom tier

As well as adapting her recipe for madeleines (post to follow soon), I made Stacie’s cheese and leek scones for Easter Tea, pretty much as the recipe stated, other than substituting some of the flour for wholemeal. They were the star of the show, knocking my Simnel Cake and other fancy treats into the shade. I shall certainly be making those again. Both recipes were easy to follow and very importantly, worked.

The type face is blocky and I found it a bit difficult to read. With her vintage beehive hairstyle and heavy black eyelashes, Stacie is not to be missed. In fact whilst the pictures are good, there seem to be far more of Stacie than the bakes she’s made. I would have preferred it the other way around.
All in all, I think it’s worthy of a place on my cookbook shelves.

Comments

  1. Leave a Reply

    Foodycat
    18th April 2013

    Ah! That’s who she is! I overheard a couple of bakers having a whinge a couple of months ago about her profile and I didn’t know who they meant.

  2. Leave a Reply

    Charlotte Charlotte'sKitchenDiary
    18th April 2013

    Interesting review Choclette, I have seen this book in the shops, but like you don’t watch TV so am not in the loop with what she’s done TV wise, so it’s great to read this!

  3. Leave a Reply

    Jen Price
    18th April 2013

    I have to say even though we have a TV I still didn’t know who she was so thanks for enlightening me! Sounds like it could be a good book, dare I add it to my already groaning shelves?!

  4. Leave a Reply

    Rachel Lucas
    18th April 2013

    Hi sweetie, so pleased to read a review of this by someone I trust. I have to admit that her image puts me off a bit…the arch ’50s twist seems a bit OTT. I probably won’t buy it, but I will definitely look forward to your ‘takes’ on some of the recipes!

  5. Leave a Reply

    Suelle
    18th April 2013

    I’ve got a TV, but had never heard of her! It sounds an interesting collection of recipes – I’ll look forward to seeing the results of the recipes you try.

  6. Leave a Reply

    felicity
    18th April 2013

    Looks like a book to look out for. With all your yummy sounding recipes in mind,I got a library book today- ‘How to Avoid a Soggy Bottom’ (from the great british bake off!) to do a bit of swatting up.

  7. Leave a Reply

    Connie
    19th April 2013

    I hadn’t heard of her either, but I will have to check out this book!

  8. Leave a Reply

    Caroline - All That I'm Eating
    19th April 2013

    I have to say even though I have a television, I hadn’t heard of Stacie until recently. Sounds like there’s some interesting recipes in there even if there aren’t so many pictures!

  9. Leave a Reply

    GW78
    3rd November 2013

    It’s good to hear the recipes are reliable and tasty. I’ll certainly keep my eye out for this book.

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