Let me take the opportunity to tell you about one of my favourite authors and her newest book. Shauna Niequist is the daughter of Bill Hybels and is a rare talent when it comes to writing. A friend of mine bought me one of her books a few years ago called Bittersweet. I instantly fell in love with the book as well as Shauna's tell all, not too fluffy, but descriptive and genuine writing style; so much so that I even went onto her blog and told her how much she had inspired me to start writing! Yeah, I am one of those people! Now you may be asking how does this tie into a blog about our wee coffee shop The Press? Well I will tell you.
Another friend of mine gave me a tip that Shauna's long awaited next book Bread & Wine could be received for free with an early release addition if I agreed to write about it on my own blog. I sent the email requesting an early copy on the last day that it was offered with my fingers crossed that I wasn't too late and thankfully I wasn't because about a week and a half ago my copy arrived! So that's exactly what I am doing here. I am writing about her new book and my first experience using it. p.s. here's a link to her website, go check her out! http://www.shaunaniequist.com
I have flipped through her new book and have of course fallen in love with the short stories that are held within it's pages. I haven't had a chance to read all of it yet but have read the stories attached to the recipes I have decided to try first. My initial thought was to try out a soup recipe in The Press. Then I realized testing it at home first might be a better option and this is what happened and how it happened.
It was a Friday night. I already had a full day of work behind me, teen girls small group, came home and showered, then went back into Lava (our youth club) to work on plans for our first teen girls conference. I wrapped that meeting up, went to Tesco to get groceries before the weekend so we could enjoy the extra day off on Monday thanks to St. Patrick and then came home. We arrived home and unpacked the groceries and that was the moment I decided I would try out one of Shauna's recipes, the clock showed it was 11:45pm, seemed like a sensible time to start cooking right?
I opened up the book, picked out Magical White Bean Soup and started chopping. First the shallots, then the celery. I moved onto peeling the carrots while the shallots slowly softened in my huge wok. As I was chopping up the carrots I heard skype ringing on our laptop. Normally I would ignore a call that late at night because I'd usually be in bed, but on this occasion I was hoping it was our good friends Will and Leanne who have recently moved to Canada. Sure enough it was them calling so I quickly accepted the call and fell into the easy rhythm of chatting that comes when you have known people for quite a long time and done a lot of life together. All sorts of questions were being asked to fill in the gaps of the past month since they have moved and we quickly shared our hearts and where we are at in life. And while the conversation flowed I poured myself a glass of wine and kept chopping, adding the ingredients as they were needed, mashing the beans once they had cooked for long enough, tasting as I went and my husband joined the conversation and the taste testing.
So my first Bread & Wine cooking experience felt like one of the chapters in the book. Cooking at midnight, talking with great friends, being with my hubby and tasting the goods I had just produced. Overall the soup is tasty and that's before the extra dressing and toppings were even added. But more than the soup were the little events surrounding the soup. I think I will be trying this in The Press one of these days and hopefully our faithful customers will enjoy the soup but also enjoy the experience of coming into our little coffee shop in our lovely town and feel nourished and loved while they eat.
Thanks Shauna for the opportunity to get your book early and for free but also for the stories that it will help me tell! I have also tried the Dark Chocolate Sea Salted Toffee and it is exquisite however slightly dangerous too but great for sharing at a dinner party as suggested!