Prepped! is launched and I chat with Vanessa Kimbell, the author
Around the time I started this blog 5 months ago, Vanessa Kimbell sent me a message on Twitter. I can’t for the life of me remember what it was about but I started following her (on Twitter, not in real life, ok!) and when she sent out a call for recipe testers, I hesitated (unsure about my own abilities to do a good job for her) and then stuck my hand up to say ‘Yes, me please!’.
The brief was to test a recipe and then blog about it, which I did here.
I didn’t write much previously about why Vanessa sent a call out for recipe testers. You can read all about it on her blog but in brief, Vanessa was writing a cookbook and needed recipe testers to help her out with making sure the recipes worked perfectly. Quite a number of people responded and she credited each one of us at the back of her book in the acknowledgements section – yes, to say I was excited at seeing my name and this blog in print is an understatement!
I wanted to help Vanessa because I really admire what she’s doing. It takes guts to forego the security of a fairly secure paid job and embark on a project where you are not sure of the outcome more so when you have little ones to think of. Or worse still, if you find that mid-way through, it is not what you want to do after all. Or that you just haven’t got what it takes to make it a success.
Her cookbook Prepped! was officially launched in Northampton and London last week. All the testers were invited to the book launch and I brought along some chocolate cookies from Prepped! to celebrate. I also had the opportunity to taste some other goodies from Prepped! – cardamom and rose victoria sponge; and chocolate chilli cupcakes made by other testers. It was great to finally meet Vanessa in person, her publishers, some of the other testers and her supporters. I must admit, I’ve never been to a book launch but it was such a lovely experience – everyone was so friendly and the best thing was we all loved food! I wished I’d stayed longer though, there were so many other goodies I didn’t try out.
I asked Vanessa 3 quick questions about Prepped! and here are her kind answers:
1. What inspired you to write ‘Prepped!’?
Vanessa: I think the thing that inspired me in the end was a friend who was buying ready meals despite being a good cook. She desperately wanted to eat home made food all the time but with life pressures her time in the kitchen was limited. As I was explaining how I cooked and how much time it saved in shopping, cooking and clearing up she was so excited and wrote some of my idea’s down. I decided to look for a book for her to give her a new way of cooking so she could have it all so to speak and found none. There were 100’s of books with 1000’s of delicious recipes .. but none that looked at being efficient or keeping washing and clearing up low. So I decided to write Prepped!.
2. What is the best thing about Prepped!?
Vanessa: The best thing about Prepped! is that it works. People get it and I’ve been getting Tweets and emails from people telling me every day since it came out.
Thebountifulplate says: Yes, I agree and have proven it with two recipes already!
3. Do you have any advice for budding cookbook writers out there?
Vanessa: My advice for other cook book writers could fill a page, however here is a condensed list of tips:
1) Write a blog
2) Join Twitter
3) Have an audience in mind when you write
4) Test test test your recipe
5) Be prepared for a lot of very hard work
6) Writing a book will not make you wealthy – do it for the love of it
The positive reviews are really coming in for Prepped! now both on amazon UK and blogs. So what did I love about Prepped!?
Each chapter is arranged according to a specific flavour such as Elderflower, Rhubarb, Chocolate and Lavender. I’ve not seen this in any other cookbook (admittedly I’ve not seen every cookbook out there in the market). Each of these recipes is linked to at least one other recipe within the book. Here’s an example: A recipe for Chocolate Truffles links in with a recipe for Chocolate, Cardamom and Orange Gelato. The ganache prepared for the chocolate truffles can then be used as the filling for the Chilli Chocolate Cupcakes, another recipe in the book!
Both the lavender shortbread and chocolate cookies I made were not complicated to prepare and the recipes really easy to follow. The shortbread was a revelation as I’d never cooked with lavender sugar before and the chocolate cookies literally melts in your mouth with their intense, rich chocolate taste.
I’m looking forward to trying out the other recipes in Prepped! – anyone for some chocolate cupcakes with lavender cream? Thank you so much Vanessa, for allowing me to play a small part in the publishing of your first cookbook and for sharing your thoughts above with me. So, when’s your next cookbook coming out?