Ten years ago, almost to the day, I packed up my desk and walked away from the world of work to spend some time being a full time stay at home mammy. In order to preserve some of my dignity and wishing to avoid henceforth being known a housewife, I declared to all and sundry that I was off to pursue a new career as a Domestic Goddess. One of the results of this was that I was gifted not one but two copies of the then recently published How To Be A Domestic Goddess by Nigella Lawson. I was delighted.
I caressed and carefully perused my book when I was at home one evening. The photographs were just mouth-watering and Nigella can write. I wondered briefly what Italian 000 flour was and how a cake could require 8 eggs. Oh I had so much to learn. I carefully and lovingly placed my new book on my shelf of cookery books – and there it remains to be this day. Pristine and beautiful and never been used. Because as every real Domestic Goddess knows – there are cookery books that look good enough to eat and are full of useless recipes with thesis length lists of ingredients, many of which you have to Google to find out what they are. Then there are cookery books that are full of useful recipes using ingredients which if not already in your kitchen are most certainly in your local supermarket. These are the cookery books that are splattered in grease and melted butter and wear a permanent dusting of flour. They don’t look so pretty but they are beyond useful – they are as vital to your kitchen as a wooden spoon.
So I am delighted to tell you that another such cook book has just joined the ranks of my beloved, battered cookery tomes. TWEET TREATS is a cute book in every sense of the word. It’s a little bigger than pocket size – big enough to read but never going to be in danger of over balancing and causing a mini landslide on your crowded worktop as you follow its simple wisdom. It is also cute because it is chock full of recipes that have been tweeted – in other words each recipe is laid out in no more than 140 characters.
Finally it is cute because Tweet Treats has been compiled and edited by one Jane Travers, whose picture is above – who is a legend in her own timeline (on Twitter in other words).
When Jane first came up with this brainwave, I am happy to admit that I was a bit sceptical of how such a book would work. I imagined standing at the cooker trying to decyper abbreviations and weird combinations of letters. But the twitter community took Jane’s call for help in rounding up recipes to their hearts and soon it was buzzing with culinary suggestions accompanied by the hashtag #tweettreats. Celebrities were chased relentlessly until they tweeted their contribution. Each week Jane targeted particular kinds of recipes, from breakfasts to cocktails to hangover cures. It was great craic altogether.
From the start, Jane made it known that should she get her book published, she would be donating all royalties to Medecins Sans Frontieres. I watched all this activity in the virtual world as Jane worked hard to make her vision a reality. It was like monitoring a pregnancy. Finally, last night we had the birth of this brilliant idea. Ms Jane Travers safely delivered to the world, her cute book – Tweet Treats, 140 characters, 140 celebrities, recipes for every occasion.
To mark the event, I thought it appropriate to give Jane a bit of a Twitter grilling.
So Jane, you clearly love Twitter (she’s posted over 50,000 tweets). Why?
Ohh have I hit over 50k? *runs off to look*
Damn, I have. I never notices tweet no 50,000. Hope it was witty & pithy. I’m sure it was because I’m very clever.
Yeah… so why do you love Twitter or is it an addiction?
Actually I love Twitter because I’m socially phobic but still love people. Twitter allows me to interact in a way that feels secure.
Where did the idea for Tweet Treats come from?
It was a light-bulb moment one evening when I couldn’t think what to make for dinner. So I tweeted. Got great recipes & an idea was born.
The introduction is by Marco Pierre White. Do you love him?
I do now. Not as much as you though darling.
Do you want to elaborate on why you love him? Oh go on, in detail.
I love the fact that he’s very down-to-earth in his attitude to food; he sees it as a way to nourish your family & also as a social occasion.
Ohh… and I thought it might be his manly physique and that sexy voice? So what are your four favourite Tweet Treat recipes?
Haiku Food by @sanyav. Cubes of watermelon & feta cheese, mint leaves. Allow sweet & salty to conjugate in your mouth. Pink champagne.
Banana Nut Bread by @mduffywriter. Fold 225g flour, 1tsp each sale, baking powder, cinnamon. Add 115g sugar, 1 egg, 110ml sunfl oil, 57g pecans, 4 mashed bananas. Loaf tin. 180c I hr
Cthulhu Crumble by @neilhimself. Top:120g oatflour, 135g brown sugar, 2tbsp crushed nuts, 115g butter, 1tsp salt. Under sour cherries. Bake 190c 45mins.
Eggs by @beathhigh Boil 2 free range eggs. Pour yourself a malt while you wait. Discard the eggs and keep drinking!
Can Twitter come up with more wisdom do you think? Another book?
Ohh, I wouldn’t rule it out. I’ve had several ideas since, but ruled them out one by one. I’m waiting for the next lightbulb moment.
Well I can tell you that I have had a good furkle around this little book of recipes and let me assure you that due to the brilliance of its editing, there are no weird acronyms and abbreviations. Equally there are no highly stylised food porn photos to make you feel inadequate. This book is just simply recipes that are straightforward and smart. A perfect addition to any kitchen and a great Christmas present.
Tweet Treats is published by O’Brien Press and is available to buy in all good bookshops and online from the usual sources.
And all royalties go to Medecins Sans Frontieres. It’s good cause. Go on…