Canning & Preserving with Ashley English Book Review

Canning and Preserving have always held a kind of romantic charm for me, I remember hovering over large pans in my parents kitchen as I made chutney with my Dad and eagerly packaging it up to give as gifts. Intense aromas, countless jars and fun little labels to write, what’s not to like? I was therefore very excited about today’s book review, courtesy of GMC Publications.

I was expecting a large volume of original and intriguing recipes to entice me. In actual fact the book concentrates quite heavily on the science and methods behind canning.The recipes are located towards the end.

I was rather disappointed by this, the information is useful but I would have rather the theory was condensed a little. There was also several profiles of various ‘canners’ giving their insights behind why they love this method of preserving food.

However once you wade through the first section there are some truly delightful recipes, such as Peach and Lavender Butter or Cardamon Apple Cider Butter. We chose to make the latter and it’s absolutely fabulous! A bit too fabulous in fact, we can’t stop eating it 🙂 The recipe was easy and quick to follow and very straightforward, a perfect preserve.

Would I recommend this book?

The recipes are brilliant, but I’m not overly keen on the heavy technical information at the start. If you are a complete novice, this book will lead you by the hand with no room for questions. If however, you are moderately experienced with preserves then this probably isn’t the book for you.

Could it be improved in anyway?

This book really is the only book you’ll need in regards to theory and will be useful to a great deal of people. But… I would have organised the book slightly differently, perhaps sumptuous recipes as the front to grab your attention and then technical guidance as more of a glossary at the end. All personal preference of course.


Publisher: Lark

ISBN: 978-1600594915

RRP: £14.99


Craft Challenge: Dozens of Ways to Repurpose a Tea Towel Book Review!

As any regular reader of this blog will know, I love upcycling! The idea of taking something old and/or unloved and giving it a new lease of life really appeals to me whilst also being environmentally and economically friendly. So when I received a copy of Craft Challenge: Dozens of Ways to Repurpose a Tea Towel to review from GMC Publications I was very excited!

The book features more than two dozens projects to transform your tea towels into everything from a bag to a halter top or pair of slippers! The projects are beautifully photographed and the book itself would grace any coffee table.  Anne had recently bought a rather lovely handprinted tea towel. I often see these kind of tea towels, too expensive and pretty to want to actually use, so this book seemed like the perfect solution.

Anne chose a shopping bag as she thought this would be the most useful item for her and we set about following the instructions to repurpose and reinvent. The project was very simple and very clearly explained and the bag was finished in very little time.  The only addition to the tea towel needed was some fabric for lining and handles and any trimming you fancy.


Would I recommend this book?

Yes, I think it is a wonderful idea to take an everyday item and make it into something more interesting. It also gives a brilliant excuse to buy pretty tea towels. As I said before it is beautifully photographed and would make a lovely gift.

Could it be improved in anyway?

Erm… I can’t think of anything in particular. Infact I’d loved to see a second book with yet more ideas. Some of the projects weren’t completely to my taste, but that’s personal preference rather than a fault. I honestly think this book meets all it’s claims.

Book Details

Title: Craft Challenge: Dozens of Ways to Repurpose a Tea Towel

Author: Nathalie Mornu

ISBN: 9781600595080

RRP:  £14.99

Publisher: Lark

Publication Date: May 2010