I can’t remember how I first stumbled across Top with Cinnamon (the blog) and Izy Hossack but I do remember it was a few months after I’d started my own blog back in 2012. I remember being completely blown away by her fabulous photography, gifs and mouthwatering food. I remember saying to Izy on Twitter “I’ll be able to say I knew you before you were famous” as there was absolutely no doubt in my mind that her talent would take her places. Quite remarkable for someone so young (she’s only 18 now)! It is a real joy when you see food bloggers becoming successful cookery writers as they have well and truly earned their stripes and Izy did all this whilst studying for her A Levels!
Anyway, fast forward to September 18th 2014 (and just as I had thought inevitable), Izy had her first book Top with Cinnamon: Stylish Sweet and Savoury Recipes published by Hardie Grant Books. When I was asked if I would review it I simply had to of course! The book contains 75 recipes of which 3 are from the blog and the rest are new. The 6 chapters are well orchestrated: Breakfast + Brunch, Sides, Mains, Sweet Snacks, Desserts and finally Staples + How-To’s. I like Izy’s ethos that in order to indulge in the sweet treats and puddings you need to have the balance of healthy lunches and dinners which she provides in abundance.
So what were the highlights of each chapter? The breakfast dish that I have to try is Chocolate & Banana French Toast (I’m sure my daughter will go nuts over this one)! The mains I’ve bookmarked are Crispy Aubergine with Kale Pesto Fettuccine, Sweet & Sticky Pork (served with noodles) and Prawn & Corn Soup. The side dishes that grabbed my attention were Sweet & Spicy Roasted Chickpeas (more of a snack which I bring you below) as well as Roasted Cauliflower and Tasty Pitta Chips (for dipping). From the Sweet Snacks chapter the recipe I’d have to make would be the Best Chocolate Chip Cookies as this is the kind of recipe I grew to associate Izy with in the early days! From the Desserts chapter I love the sound of Grilled Fruit with Salted Brown Sugar as well as the Sticky Banoffee Cake with Salted Caramel (which should prove useful for using up those leftover dates after Christmas)! In the final Staples + How – To’s chapter I shall have to make the Chocolate Hazelnut Butter and Salted Treacle Butter which are so quick and easy to do!
Izy has included vegan and gluten free recipes so there really is something for everyone in this book. Plus whether you’re new to cooking or an old hand I think you’ll find this book really useful and inspiring. The thing I like about this book is that Izy has styled and taken all the photographs herself so you know that the dishes are how they are meant to look and there’s a photograph of almost every dish. I do have cook books on my shelf where the finished product and the recipe don’t quite match up because the food stylist had their own interpretation!
My only criticism of the book would be that I’d have liked the font to be bigger or bolder as I found the ingredients (printed in light italic) particularly hard to read (and yes I do need glasses but I’m stubborn like that)!
So if I’ve whet your appetite with the mention of all these fabulous recipes the good news is that I can share with you the recipe for Sweet & Spicy Roasted Chickpeas which are incredibly delicious and dangerously moreish. My husband and I had to stop ourselves from eating them all to let the children have some after school – they didn’t last long at all!
Visit my competition page where I’m giving away 2 copies of Top with Cinnamon.
Sweet & Spicy Roasted Chickpeas
- 400 g 14 oz can chickpeas (garbanzo beans),drained and rinsed
- 1 tbsp soy sauce gluten-free
- 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp dark brown or cane sugar
- 1 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
- 1 tsp Sriracha or hot sauce
- 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
- Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F/Gas 6).
- Put the chickpeas in a bowl with all the other ingredients and stir until coated.
- Tip them onto a large baking tray and spread them out in a single layer.
- Bake for 5 minutes, then remove the tray from the oven and give it a shake.
- Bake for another 10 minutes, then remove, shake again, and bake for a final 5 minutes.
- Cool before serving.
I didn’t have any sesame oil so used some Oak Smoked Rapeseed oil I happened to have and I used Tabasco as the hot sauce which worked really well.