Saturday, 4 February 2012

Leon baking and puddings ('food in heaven') - book review - giveaway

This is a delicious french onion tart I made for a Saturday lunch recently, the recipe came from the Leon book , Leon Baking and Puddings, its the third book from Claire Ptak and Henry Dimbleby. The recipe is a flaky pastry base, homemade of course, but its very simple (just spelt butter, flour and salt) and its topped with a lovely onion mixture. There are various toppings suggested in the recipe to go onto the onions but on this occasion I chose fresh tomatoes and some Parmesan shavings. It was a deliciously fresh lunch, full of good things (just like this book too).

This latest Leon book is full of character and colour, its quirky, its different and its illustrated in a 'boys own' tattoo bearing angel fashion. It is full of family photos of the authors growing up and significant events involving their loves ones; its clearly been put together by people who are passionate about the food they share with family and friends. Its also clear that the quality of this food is very important to them. A good number of the recipes are personalised to family events or attributed to the creators, just like home and family inspired baking and handed down recipes should be.

The book itself is divided into two sections, parts one and two, the first is the 'everyday' section of recipes and this covers breakfast, power snacks, tea time, puds, cooking with children, bread and yeast and sweets. The second looks at 'celebration' and covers all kinds of popular events from Valentines day to Mothers day and even Wimbledon and Thanksgiving!  By the way, when perusing these sections see if you spot the karma sutra doilie with a strategically placed pudding on top? AND the page FULL of Leon stickers. Yes this book is that different and kinky quirky, but only in a good 'tongue in cheek' way!

The philosophy of Leon is about good healthy food, reflected in the ethos of the restaurant chain as well as the recipe books. This is a picture of one of the branches in Soho, taken by yours truly. Henry Dimbleby describes these as being created from a vision of 'what McDonalds would look like in heaven' that is delicious, good for you and fast. The food here has received a number of accolades from various sources.

Another aspect of the Baking and Puddings book is that it covers a range of recipes to suit those on special diets, and whether this is the need to loose weight or the need to watch what ingredients are in your baking (like gluten free) this book will certainly appeal. There really is something in this book for everyone. The range of recipes is wide reaching and Leon baking and puddings has useful information about all kinds of ingredients you can use in baking, for me this was one of the particular pleasing aspects of this book. The Leon book is not promoted as a book to learn to bake from but it will add to your knowledge of how to bake and what ingredients to use and when, with the chapters on 'guide to baking ingredients' and 'tools, tips and techniques'.

I have also made the coconut cake from the celebrations section of Leon, I took it into work to share with colleagues and it was gone in minutes. You make a coconut 'jam' for the filling and the topping is fresh cream, in the book its covered in coconut shavings but I left my cake plain. It was a lovely tasting cake with subtle coconut flavours, and I would make it again. Both of the recipes I have tried have worked well and have not been difficult to create. 

Its the end of my blogs first anniversary week and to mark that, if you would like the chance to own your own copy of this amazing book you can enter the giveaway below, there a few chances to win.

To enter just leave a comment below and briefly describe to me whether you would make a sweet or savoury recipe from this Leon book, and why? For a second entry tweet about the giveaway. For a third entry follow @TwitTottee on Twitter, and let me know below you have done so below. For a fourth entry follow A Little Bit of Heaven on a Plate and 'like' that page on Facebook and let me know below you have done so below. Its easy peasy if you FOLLOW THE RAFFLE COPTER INSTRUCTIONS BELOW.

You have 7 days to enter, the deadline is on 11th February 2012 and you must live in the UK to take part. The two winners will be chosen by me. Two lucky people will each receive one copy of Leon Baking and Puddings from Octopus Publishing Group. This will be a fantastic addition to your recipe book collection and inspire you with new ideas. Good luck!

My thanks to Fiona at Octopus Publishing Group for providing this giveaway.

N.B Octopus Publishing Group have not given me any recompense or asked me to say nice things about this book. I made these two items with ingredients I paid for because I wanted to. a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I think there really is only one answer to this...SWEET!

    Why? Well stressed spelled backwards is desserts. Coincidence? I think not!

    I have just 'liked' your FB page too :-)

  2. Excellent review! I already have this book (which I won from Fabulicious foood) and I love it. So I won't be greedy and enter but will allow others to win :)

  3. I would probably do something savoury as I am trying very hard not to stuff my face with cakes, although all those blog challenges do make that rather difficult.

  4. Now I really do want this book. I've heard so much about it. I bought the first one for a friend for Christmas and she loved it. Well it would have to be sweet of course so I can make something chocolatey, unless they have a savoury chocolate bake!

  5. It would have to be savoury for me as that is what I associate with Leon. The tart looks so lovely. There used tobe a Leon right next to my office and I loved their superfood salad for lunch. Then it closed dammit!

  6. I think it would have to be sweet for me - I had a peak through the book while in Leon the other day and it has some amazing recipes.
    The coconut cake is tempting me already!

  7. I'd have to make something savoury -I gave up sweet foods when I was diagnosed as diabetic recently

  8. I think I would make something sweet first. Usually when i go to Leon I have something savoury so it would be nice to make something sweet for a change

  9. Happy Blog Birthday! I love going to Leon so Im sure Iwould love this book! I would bake something sweet! Always go sweet first!

  10. Happy Birthday dear Blog - I would love this book because apart from Mary Berry and cake books which are well out of my league I don't actually own many baking books and would love a simple one especially as my Mum is coeliac and you said there was gluten free ideas. My little life history is now over :)

  11. I'd make a very special cake to take to my sister's. We're having a late family Christmas with our mum and we're going to combine it with her birthday party. Mum's been on a diet, but at 90, I think she's allowed a piece of birthday cake. (And so are you!)


  12. What a lovely looking book! I think I would have a go at making one of the breads or savoury dishes for a change (and it's something I keep meaning to try more of)

  13. Sweet because I am not sweet enough! It does look lovely this book - I saw it in Home Sense to my moderate surprise but I resisted then and put it on my birthday list.

    I already follow you on Twitter and like your FB page. I am your biggest stalker!

    Happy Blog Birthday Sue x

  14. I would love to win this! I was going to buy it yesterday... I already follow you on Twitter


  15. Count me in please!
    How can I choose between sweet and savoury???
    Possibly savoury??

  16. What a lovely giveaway! I'd make something savoury, possibly involving lots of cheese!

  17. i would make something savoury i dont have much of a sweet tooth

  18. I love sweet but think I might make something savoury for a change. x

  19. The winners are Jayne and cakeboule.

    Thanks to everyone who entered. xxx

  20. Congrats to Jayne and Cakeboule! You will be relieved that Ros and I did not manage to win your comp! hee hee.


Please leave a comment...if you have tried one of my recipes I'd love feedback, and thank you for taking time to pop by to read my blog.

Susan x