The calendar and resulting film "Calendar Girls" managed to do more to dispel the Women's Institute's frumpy image than anything else in their history. From grey-haired, floral-aproned matrons to smart, worldlywise, elegant women, out to enjoy life to the full, Women's Institute members are enjoying an enviable renaissance. So too are the infamous recipes. Whilst jams, Victoria sandwiches and fruit cakes still proliferate, new recipes are emerging from village halls across the country reflecting today's modern trends. Quicker to make and often tastier too, they take on international flavours and innovative twists. These four new cookery books in the "Best Kept Secrets of the Women?s Institute" series are attractively presented and helpfully written by members with many personal hints and tips. "Bread and Bakes" covers traditional white and brown loaves alongside sweet naans, feta cheese and sage cottage loaf and to-die-for muffins and brownies; "Home Cooking" focuses on family feasts such as the traditional shepherd's pie and beef olives to the more adventurous salmon with Drambuie and mango sauce, chicken korma and crunchy vegetable satay stir-fry; "Chocolate" covers what it says in all its forms - white, milk, plain, all included in scrumptious cocoa concoctions such as death by chocolate, triple chocolate muffins and the incredibly simple, overwhelmingly irresistible Snickers mousse?.. The last title, apt to cause sniggers, is "Tarts", covering both sweet and savoury in a glorious celebration of pastry with offerings such as chicken filo tartlets, red onion and goat?s cheese pizza tart and, on the sweet side, baked nectarine and blueberry tart, lemon and lime ginger crunch pie and the classic French apple flan. It just goes to show that not all the Women's Institutes's best kept secrets were revealed on screen - there are many more waiting in the wings and at lest these ones taste superb and will please every member of the family!
About the Author
Liz Herbert trained as a home economist. She has written three cookery books: Vegetables, New Foods for Healthy Eating and the National Trust's Fruit from your Garden.