There are many ways to raise money for charity and often people will do something extraordinary like bungee jumping or having a parachute jump etc (though it is not a good idea to try the pair of these at the same time!). All kudos to those who are brave enough to have a go but this kind of thing is definitely not for me.
The idea of writing a book for charity is much more up my street and this is what Barbara Large, MBE, has done recently. Barbara was the founder of the Winchester Writers’ Festival (formerly the Winchester Writing Conference), which is one of the major writing conferences in the country. Barbara has also run creative writing classes, including at the Dovetail Centre.
Barbara’s book is called Scrumptious Recipes Shared with a Pampered Patient and the book is raising funds for the Nick Jonas Ward at the Royal County Hospital, Winchester.
Anne Wan, author of the Secrets of the Snow Globe series, and whom I’ve also interviewed for Chandler’s Ford Today, has been the publisher here (via her imprint North Oak Press) and I invited both ladies to answer some questions I posed to share more about the book and what they hope it will achieve.
So over to Barbara herself first:-
What are the Joys/Challenges of publishing a cookbook?
My motivation to write the book was to help people who were diagnosed with myeloma as I was, and how the different months/treatments contribute to aiming towards a zero myeloma count.
How difficult was it to write, Barbara? How did you decide what to write about and what to leave out?
It was a pleasure. Not difficult at all, I would spend 30 minutes writing in the early days, maybe longer when I feeling stronger. I simply wrote a little piece each day about life as a pampered patient and all of the conversations that I shared with the rotaristas.
Confession time, I had to look up what rotaristas were. It’s a term used for members of the Rotary Club, who of course do so much to raise money for a variety of charities.
Probably I didn’t leave anything out. I simply wrote a truthful account of what was going on in that particular day. The goal was to arrive in April at zero count to go to my granddaughter’s wedding in Bordeaux. The aim was to write through the year tracing this journey as a myeloma patient.
Did writing help you cope?
Yes, being able to write about how you feel is cathartic to record the experience.
What drove you to write it?
I wanted to show families and friends how they could create a rota that would support a pampered patient to encourage them that life does go on with all the usual events, with insurance claims, rat infestations, and the joy of family celebrations.
What do you hope it will achieve for the Nick Jonas Ward?
To provide new equipment for the patients, such as comfy chairs. The combination of nurses and Dr Arnold who work on the ward will decide on how to best use it to benefit the patients.
Is it possible to share a recipe with the mag?
Yes. My crumble.
Apple and Blueberry Crumble
Ingredients for 4 to 6 servings:
500g apples (brown sugar to sweeten as desired)
50g wholemeal flour
25g ground almonds
50g demerara sugar
50g chopped pecans or walnuts
1. Heat the oven 180°C/160°C Fan/350°F/Gas 4.
2. Peel, core and slice apples. Place in an oven proof dish. Sweeten with sugar to taste. Sprinkle blueberries over apple slices.
3. Using a separate bowl, mix together flour, oats and ground almonds.
4. Rub in margarine. The mixture should resemble breadcrumbs.
5. Add the sugar and stir well. Spoon mixture over the fruit.
6. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the apple is soft and the crumble is golden.
Try different fruit combinations. Delicious made with frozen mixed summer fruits (defrosted) and tinned peaches. Serve with lashings of custard.
What is your favourite recipe and why?
It would be difficult to choose just one recipe when so many evoke delicious memories.
Do the recipes have special associations? Did it make them easy to include in the book?
Each of the rotaristas were invited to send their recipe for inclusion in the book. Everyone sent in their favourite recipe and the flavours and tastes became quite international. Because those who visited at lunchtime brought a main meal and dessert, the recipes that I was sent included a lovely collection of both. Also, at supper time one of the rotasristas would arrive with nourishing soup and sandwiches or other light meal. This provided a host of delicious soup, bread and vegetable dishes to be included in the book.
Many thanks, Barbara. I must admit I love the sound of the crumble. Apple and raspberry is also a classic flavour here.
And now over to Anne Wan:-
Scrumptious Recipes Shared with a Pampered Patient – Anne Wan
For me the greatest joys of publishing this cookbook have been reading Barbara’s story combined with the wealth of home cooking experience evident in the recipes that have been contributed by her friends. Many recipes include personal comments regarding how the recipes came about or how they brought particular joy to Barbara.
There have been numerous challenges. One of the key areas was to insure that all recipes met copyright law and were original, significantly changed from any existing publication or that copyright permission was obtained if appropriate. The second main challenge was to bring consistency into how the recipes were presented. This sounds easy but collecting recipes from many sources meant that oven temperatures and units of measurements were all different. This involved lots of maths and proofreading to get right!
The book is available now and can be bought from P & G Wells bookshop in Winchester, Lloyds Bank (Winchester and Chandler’s Ford branches), the University of Winchester bookshop, the Nick Jonas Ward at the Royal Hampshire County Hospital Winchester, and online via my website www.anne-wan.com.
I’ll finish by wishing both of you the very best of luck with the book and I hope it raises a good sum for a very worthy cause. Naturally with Christmas soon, books as potential presents will be on the shopping list for many of us. So if you know someone who likes their recipes and/or would like to support a good cause with their book purchase, why not check Barbara’s book out? It’s hard to imagine a more worthy local cause too.
Read blog posts by Allison Symes published on Chandler’s Ford Today.