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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.

13 Comments

  1. Foodycat

    18th April 2013 at 9:13 am

    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.

    Reply
  2. Charlotte Charlotte'sKitchenDiary

    18th April 2013 at 9:56 am

    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!

    Reply
  3. Jen Price

    18th April 2013 at 12:45 pm

    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?!

    Reply
  4. Rachel Lucas

    18th April 2013 at 5:02 pm

    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!

    Reply
  5. Suelle

    18th April 2013 at 5:13 pm

    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.

    Reply
  6. felicity

    18th April 2013 at 6:28 pm

    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.

    Reply
  7. Connie

    19th April 2013 at 12:44 am

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

    Reply
  8. Caroline - All That I'm Eating

    19th April 2013 at 12:13 pm

    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!

    Reply
  9. Miss C Flash

    19th April 2013 at 3:59 pm

    I’ll have to check out Stacie’s books, after reading your review x

    Reply
  10. Gill Watson

    23rd April 2013 at 9:55 am

    Just checked back to see if my comment had posted, no!

    Reply
  11. Maya Russell

    28th April 2013 at 8:08 am

    Good review and nice that you’ve cooked some recipes which worked.

    Reply
  12. Judith Luscombe

    1st May 2013 at 11:23 am

    Interesting review, will defo take a look at this book when next in Waterstones

    Reply
  13. GW78

    3rd November 2013 at 1:35 pm

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

    Reply

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