Category Archives: cooking

Addicted to death by Matthew Redford – a review

I was sent a copy of Addicted to Death to review a while ago so it’s been sat on my kindle unread. On a train recently I’d just finished a book and this was at the top of the unread books list so I clicked on it without really remembering what it was about. I had a vague recollection it was about a food related crime.
The book starts as any good crime book does with a murder. The savage beating of two eggs – yes, you read that right. Two eggs. The story tells of a world where Homo-sapiens live side by side with Food-sapiens. These are food items created by GM processes that now walk and talk. Think the Garden Gang meets adult story time.
DI Wortel (a carrot) is in charge of investigating the murder, which he has to do alongside other food related crimes including death threats that have been received by celebrity chefs, and the murder of Professor Perry Partridge (a pear) He is assisted by new recruits Oranges and Lemons (who are obsessed with owing someone five farthings)
If I’m honest had I realised this book included talking fruit and vegetables I would probably have given it a miss. However I’m very glad I didn’t, this was bizarre but excellent. I can honestly say that some bits were hilarious. There was one paragraph involving a rabbit, a bunch of grapes and some origami that actually made me laugh out loud (thereby ensuring the empty train seat next to me remained that way for the rest of the journey)
The story itself was good and kept you interested. The ending was certainly a surprise that I didn’t see coming. Yet the real appeal of this book was the humour. Surely you have to love a story that includes references to TV duo Ant and Duck (one a man, one a duck who always stands on the right so people don’t get confused) and celebrity footballer Wayne Rooster who plays for Breadenham Hotspuds.
It was a testament to the writing of the fruit and veg characters (there’s a sentence I never thought I’d write on a crime blog!) that you almost forget they are not people. As much as it’s possible to care about a cookie you really start to worry about them. The different personalities of the chefs in the story worked well. Clearly based on real life TV celebrities their portrayal is very funny and give an additional element of humour to the whole novel.
I thoroughly enjoyed this story and haven’t laughed so much at a book for ages. I think this was Matthew Redford’s debut novel and I hope it leads to more. If you fancy a light hearted crime ‘caper’ and were a Garden Gang fan as a child then this is definitely for you.

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Food to die for

As you might know I am a huge book lover (in terms of numbers of books not my size) However what you may not be so aware of is that my slightly obsessive book collecting goes beyond crime novels, I also have quite a substantial collection of cookery books. Of course these are not just for reading, a fact which I suspect makes Mr F rather wish I stuck to crime books as he has to try the results of my cookery experiments. However for someone who includes Lancashire black pudding on his list of favourite foods I’m pretty certain any of my concoctions are a step up.

For obvious reasons (i.e me being a vegetarian) most of the books I own are non meat related although I do have a few themed ones and a smattering of celebrity. One of my latest acquisitions was Paul Hollywood’s ‘Bread’. Unfortunately my only trial out of this so far was not a particular success. The naan breads I attempted would have worked much better as small missiles than as edible curry accompaniments. Yet I suspect that it was my execution of the instructions that was at fault rather than the recipe. Therefore I was very excited this week when a friend brought me a ticket to see Paul on tour at the Barbican.

This wasn’t our first food related outing to this venue. Many years ago me and same friend went to see the student TV staple, Ready steady cook. This was at the height of its fame (is it still on?) and for those of you who haven’t heard of it the idea was that two people made something edible out of a few tins of tomatoes and a watermelon then the audience voted. Whilst it may not sound much now, this was 20 years ago when daytime television consisted of ‘This morning’ and endless repeats of Columbo. Plus I suspect the excitement of red tomatoes or green peppers was no doubt heighted by the consumption of a few pints. However now slightly older and a great deal more sober, we had no idea what to expect from Paul.

Luckily it was a good night and he turned out to be very entertaining with a mix of demonstrations and chat. We were sat right near the back, which I suspect was a good thing judging by the number of hormonal woman of a certain age that made up the audience. Any closer and there was probably a significant danger of being hit over the head by flying pants.

Sadly he didn’t demonstrate the art of making naan bread, although there was a very nice seeded loaf I’d like to try next. So like with everything I’ll just have to keep practicing, and buying new books in the belief that I am a good cook. In the meantime Mr F will just have to keep trying my attempts and pretending they are edible.

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