Slow Dough Real Bread by Chris Young

“Real Bread is made without the use of processing aids or any other artificial additives.”

I was anticipating that this would be a book of how to make real bread in the traditional way. Including different recipes and style of bread making.

Once you get past the introduction and explanation of what real bread is, which is actually very interesting, the book is totally recipes. Recipes from bread officianados make up the bulk of the book and there is a lot of different types of bread to choose from. There were a number of recipes that I really liked the look of and have bookmarked. Now, I need to be clear here, I don’t cook or bake, I leave that to my husband, who excels in this area. So having read the book, I am hoping that he will be willing to try some of the recipes that I like the sound of on paper.
Of course this does mean that I cannot comment on the quality of the recipes nor their instructions, but they did look OK from a non-bakers viewpoint (naturally).

If you like trying new cooking techniques and you are willing to take the long view to get maximum flavour and benefits from your baking, this book could point you in the right direction.

I am looking forward to trying the likes of croissants and roasted pumpkin sourdough very soon.

I received an e-ARC of this novel through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. NetGalley does not allow for paid reviews.

4/5 Stars (What this means…five-stars-applied-carefully)

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Official description:
Making bread is an ancient craft and a fulfilling experience, a skill that is learnt by touch and feel. There is nothing more satisfying than kneading, pulling, stretching and punching the dough, using a little yeast and sugar to transform its lumpen beginnings, as if by alchemy, into a loaf. But it’s not all hard work. To get a truly wonderful bread, you can use a starter to do the work for you and it does wonders for the texture, flavours and aromas of the final bread. The Real Bread Campaign has been running since 2008, encouraging people to get baking and raising awareness of the additives that exist in most shop-bought loaves. In Slow Dough: Real Bread, learn secrets from the campaign’s network of expert bakers to make a huge array of exciting slow-rise breads at home. Whether you want to make a Caraway Seed Rye Bread, a Fougasse Flatbread or an All-Butter Brioche, in these recipes you’ll learn how to make different starters for different breads, as well as the fundamental processes (many of which you can just sit and wait for): fermenting, kneading, first proof, last rising, and baking. In a world of mass-production and redundant additives, bread being among the worst offenders, this book, about real craftsmanship, is like a breath of fresh air.

Homo Deus A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari

“When everybody uses the same oracle, and everybody believes the oracle, the oracle turns into a sovereign. So Waze must think for us. Maybe it will inform only half the drivers that route No. 2 is open, while keeping this information secret from the other half. Thereby pressure will ease on route No. 1 without blocking route No. 2.”

I wasn’t expecting this! It isn’t what I’m used to reading, nor what I tend to select for reading in my leisure time.

Sadly, it wasn’t something I wanted to read in all honesty. Unfortunately, I only superficially read the description of the content and so assumed that this was a fictional work. As a result I have found it, in the main, to be somewhat of a chore to read.

However, that said there were parts that I found engaging and interesting enough to read in a focused manner.
The bits I read most intently were the bits about the disappearance of death, the origin of lawns and the rise of the data-flow and one or two other areas.

Ultimately the book discusses the ‘usefulness’ of humans in society, and the likelihood of humans (homo sapiens) becoming ‘devoid of … value’ in society, as we move into a more technological age. An age where robots and AI take on many roles currently undertaken by trained and experienced individuals.

The author reviews changes in societal structure through history, bringing forth examples from many different times, from different cultures, to expand his point and give weight to his arguments. It is not a poorly written book by any means, it is just not the material for me.

I’m trying to think who this book would be best suited to and really, because it is so far from my usual reading material of choice, I am struggling to think of someone that I know who may want to read this book.

I received an e-ARC of this novel through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. NetGalley does not allow for paid reviews.

2/5 Stars (What this means…five-stars-applied-carefully)

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War is obsolete
You are more likely to commit suicide than be killed in conflict

Famine is disappearing
You are at more risk of obesity than starvation

Death is just a technical problem
Equality is out – but immortality is in

What does our future hold?

Yuval Noah Harari, author of the critically-acclaimed New York Times bestseller and international phenomenon Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, returns with an equally original, compelling, and provocative book, turning his focus toward humanity’s future, and our quest to upgrade humans into gods.
Over the past century humankind has managed to do the impossible and rein in famine, plague, and war. This may seem hard to accept, but, as Harari explains in his trademark style—thorough, yet riveting—famine, plague and war have been transformed from incomprehensible and uncontrollable forces of nature into manageable challenges. For the first time ever, more people die from eating too much than from eating too little; more people die from old age than from infectious diseases; and more people commit suicide than are killed by soldiers, terrorists and criminals put together. The average American is a thousand times more likely to die from binging at McDonalds than from being blown up by Al Qaeda.
What then will replace famine, plague, and war at the top of the human agenda? As the self-made gods of planet earth, what destinies will we set ourselves, and which quests will we undertake? Homo Deus explores the projects, dreams and nightmares that will shape the twenty-first century—from overcoming death to creating artificial life. It asks the fundamental questions: Where do we go from here? And how will we protect this fragile world from our own destructive powers? This is the next stage of evolution. This is Homo Deus.
With the same insight and clarity that made Sapiens an international hit and a New York Times bestseller, Harari maps out our future.

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Cancer with a small ‘C’ by Elizabeth Caush

“We still had to get indoors, wipe the pooch’s paws, put his breakfast down, change his water –all this I did as if on autopilot.”

“One of the most honest letters I received at the time simply stated, ‘I don’t know what to say.’ Honesty. You just need to be honest, rather than trot out the phrases that you may have heard others say.”

I expected something with verve and energy, giving details of the trials of dealing with cancer, but with the underlying belief that is was an illness that could be dealt with. I was looking to read something that reflected how I had approached the whole cancer issue. I wanted to read a book that I could relate to and say ‘that is how I felt’.

It was someone’s cancer journey, but not mine. Mine was different. Everyone’s is. It didn’t resonate with me, as I had hoped, based on the description.
The first half was a ‘bald’ description of diagnosis and treatment. The second half was about the rebuilding of a Christian marriage, and the author’s re-integration into the family of her church.

The book was pretty much a book of two halfs. The first half being about the cancer life; the second half being about her marriage and faith beliefs.

As regards cancer and its accompanying ‘ghosts’ or ‘monsters’, this book will possibly not work, as the author intends, for anyone other than devout Christians. I don’t think I would have bothered reading it had I known what the latter part of the book would be like.

2/5 Stars (What this means…five-stars-applied-carefully)

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Although any cancer diagnosis is devastating not only to a patient but also to their family, a positive outlook, a grateful heart and a belief that life can only get better is vital to recovery. There will be readers who understand the attitude that overtook me at the time; my marriage breakdown will resonate with others – just as our reconciliation will also be close to the hearts of some people. I also draw on some hilarious moments, because it wasn’t all bad. My cancer attacked me when I was most in need of a break from life. Disastrous, worrying, life threatening and emotionally draining, the story will touch on some very personal, sad moments but also the victorious end when I refuse to even acknowledge that I had cancer. Yes, it was real, but it deserves no place in my life any more and certainly no capital ‘c’.This is a cathartic book for me and hopefully an encouragement to others who may be going through a similar situation to mine. This book is an honest account of how I drove myself to get well again. Ten years on, my life is so different that I hardly recognise the person in the story. But it was me and it is my story.
About the Author
Elizabeth Caush lives in Portsmouth, UK, with her husband, adult son and Wallace, the White West Highland Terrier dog who constantly sits by her side whilst she is writing or knitting. Wallace is also a source of inspiration as Elizabeth walks him daily while she thinks through the next chapter of writing and mulls over thoughts for the books and articles she wants to produce. Born with a positive attitude, Elizabeth is often found encouraging others to achieve their potential, try new things and improve their lives. This particular book has been in her ‘waiting room’ for ten years as some of the memories have been too painful to revisit, but as she hears of more and more women diagnosed with breast cancer (including her sister and next door neighbour) she wanted to write for them in the hope of encouraging and helping them through their journey. This is Elizabeth’s second book, the first being ‘The Blanket Book’ a look at how therapeutic knitting can help people through the traumas of life.

Cooking for Chemo …and After! by Chef Ryan Callahan

What I expected:
I was expecting a book that gave me guidance on how to feed someone undergoing chemotherapy. 

What it was:
The author aims this book at caregivers, family and friends.
If the reader is familiar with using America recipes, foodstuffs and measures then this book may be appropriate, otherwise it may lie unused on a bookshelf.
Personally, I feel that it is a good idea to prepare the mindset of the food preparer by reading the book in advance of any chemotherapy. So that they are prepared. This book is NOT only a recipe book. It is also a guide on how to tempt patients to eat with flavours and textures.
However, some of the measurements are not easily understood, for example I don’t know what 1 stick of butter is and I haven’t a clue what a breakfast sausage would be. Plus, I don’t know where I would get Kosher Salt from, nor corn muffin mix. And, some of the other ingredients I do not understand as they are americanised, for example cilantro, chuck roast, round roast, London broil or beef round.
I would not be able to comment on mistakes in nutritional information or recipes as I do not have the expertise.
Kosher Salt is one of the items mentioned in the book. I had not come across this before. It is in fact similar to Sea Salt but with a finer grain structure. This structure is important in how the salt flavours, and sticks to, food.
There was no glossary to help with this book, if I didn’t know it, it was a case of googling it.
I struggled from the outset with reading this book as it is printed entirely in block capitals and a non-standard font.
However, I found it interesting to read about the structure of the flavours and tastes in the food. But once I got to the recipes, the non-familiarity of the measures and food-types turned me completely off even attempting any of the recipes.
I found the information about flavours and how they interact very interesting. I feel more inclined to have a go at cooking myself, but not with the recipes given.
In summary, as previously mentioned, reading block capitals is not easy and I found this irritating, plus I struggled with the American food descriptions and measures. I could not use this book as a cooking aid.
The fifth chapter – the recipes section is divided into 6 categories, with extra information at the beginning of each category. The recipes are apparently ordered on how a chemo patient can tolerate the heaviness of foods. 

2/5 Stars (What this means…five-stars-applied-carefully)

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Cooking for Chemo …and After!: A how-to-cook cookbook that teaches you how to adjust your cooking for chemotherapy patients

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Official description:
Cooking for Chemo …and After!: A how-to-cook cookbook that teaches you how to adjust your cooking for chemotherapy patients

The Right Bite by Jackie Lynch

“NOT EVERYONE NEEDS TO LOSE WEIGHT and elderly people or those who struggle to take in enough calories could find that a generous mug of hot chocolate is an excellent and easy way to build themselves up.”

What I expected:
It was the description (see below) that tempted me to read this book. I remembered the times when I was travelling throughout the UK and was just eating what was available. I was pretty sure it wasn’t doing me any good. I hoped this book might just be the answer next time I have to take a trip.

What it was:
It is actually quite a nifty little book. It may not be particularly long, but it isn’t about the length it’s about the information it contains!

There are useful facts spread throughout the book, the quote at the top is just one that really stood out for me.

The book is divided into the following sections:-

Introduction
how to use this book
Understanding key nutrients
carbohydrate
fat
protein

1 Breakfast on the Go
saving your bacon
2 Coffee Bar
the worst cake scenario
3 Working Lunch
mall-nutrition
4 Takeout and Fast Food
fries, pies and lies
5 Bars and Pubs
tots, shots and (salted) nots
6 Picnics
breads, spreads and other dreads
7 Barbecues
what’s charred and what’s barred
8 At the Movies
premiere choices
Index

Each section has ‘The Right Bite’ flagged boldly in the section colour to make it stand out. These coloured flagged areas advise what the reader should select as a preference when they just want a quick nod in the right direction. For example:

“THE RIGHT BITE A protein-rich soup is always going to be the most satisfying option. Some meat-based soups can be surprisingly stingy on the protein, as meat is an expensive ingredient, whereas soups made with cost-effective pulses such as beans, lentils or chickpeas often contain more generous proportions of protein. …”

  

I have read it from front to back and having done so feel that this would be a very useful addition to the business travellers (or any travellers really) suitcase. And, more than that, anyone who is going out and about beyond the reach of their own kitchen will find it a useful addition to their bookshelf (or suitcase, or handbag, or rucksack).

In short, I would recommend this book to anyone eating outside of the home, who wants to do so in a healthy way. Buy it, read it, apply it.

I received an e-ARC of this novel through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. NetGalley does not allow for paid reviews.

4/5 Stars (What this means…five-stars-applied-carefully)

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The Right Bite

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Official description:
It’s easy to follow a healthy diet when you’re in control of your shopping list, but as soon as you step outside the front door it gets complicated . . .

Walk into any coffee shop, bar or cinema, and making the right decision becomes a challenge; The Right Bite is here to help. With accessible, practical advice for all those everyday occasions, you can make the smart choice even when healthy options are limited.

Each chapter focuses on a different eating environment – from breakfast on the go to a family barbecue. For each situation The Right Bite explores the type of foods likely to be available and compares them, explaining the main health pitfalls and highlighting top picks.

   • Understanding Key Nutrients introduces you to the basics of a good diet
   • Nutrition Numbers let you compare and weigh up your options instantly
   • The Right Bite panel allows you to immediately pick the healthiest choice
   • Fact Boxes scattered throughout give you extra tips and expert advice

Written by an experienced nutritional therapist – so you know that you are getting savvy advice – and small enough to slip in your bag, this is the one-stop guide for anyone wanting to eat healthily in the real world.

Jackie Lynch is a Registered Nutritional Therapist and runs the WellWellWell clinics in West London. Passionate about the importance of good nutrition for optimum health, she creates practical nutrition programmes suitable for a busy 21st century lifestyle. Jackie also provides advice and support for a range of blue chip companies, in the form of individual consultations for staff, nutrition workshops and menu analysis and has acted as a food consultant for brands such as Tetley. She is a regular contributor to the Mail on Sunday and the Net Doctor website and her advice features in a wide range of other national media. Visit her website at http://www.well-well-well.co.uk.