A Recipe for Disaster – a cookbook, travelogue and the companion to Cookucina, a six-part TV series

A Recipe For Disaster

A Recipe for Disaster is a cookbook, a travelogue and the companion to Cookucina, a six-part TV series available on Amazon Video, iTunes and Google Play – see www.cookucina.com .

It’s also the entertaining journey of an Englishman struggling with the ups and downs of living in rural Italy. After giving up a successful career in television, Stephen found himself dragged back into a world he had happily given up when his neighbour, Lia, persuaded him to listen to her Big Idea – making a TV cookery series. But Lia speaks no English.

 And Stephen’s partner, Tam, can’t cook. So, much against Stephen’s better judgement, the three of them embarked on a six-part series set among the rolling hills of the little-known, but spectacularly beautiful, Italian region of Le Marche. In the Cookucina TV series Lia teaches Tam to cook alla Marchigiana, while Tam translates. A Recipe for Disaster follows their many encounters with the real Italy – a world away from the picture-book ideal of summer holidays in Tuscany.

As the team try to construct a professional series with no funding they come to rely on the generosity of the Marchigiana people, while attempting to overcome the constant difficulties thrown up by those whose stubborn adherence to their age-old way of life is rooted in their beloved fields and woods. A Recipe for Disaster is a goldmine of simple yet delicious recipes, while peeling back the veneer of television professionalism and opening the door to a world of Italian surprise and delight.

A Recipe for Disaster comes with unique access to Cookucina, the final six-part TV series, so you can see for yourself how the team cracked their problems and (just about) held it all together in a blistering heatwave. Experience this contradictory world of vendettas and kind hearts through the laughter and frustrations of Stephen and the team, as you follow A Recipe for Disaster slowly coming to its surprising fruition.

Purchase Links:

iBooks http://bit.ly/iRecDis

Kindle http://bit.ly/KdleRecipe

Paperback http://bit.ly/RecDis

Goodreads http://bit.ly/GoodRec

Smashwords  http://bit.ly/SmaRec

Trailer for Cookucina – https://youtu.be/rh_wHv1o1Lg

Stephen Phelps

Educated at Oxford University, I began working with BBC Radio, moving to BBC TV where I launched Watchdog and produced the investigative legal series Rough Justice. In Hong Kong for BBC World Service Television I oversaw the start of BBC World. I then spent twelve years running my own TV production company, Just Television, specialising in investigative programmes in the field of law, justice and policing. In particular, Trial and Error for Channel 4 which exposed and investigated major miscarriages of justice, winning the Royal Television Society’s inaugural Specialist Journalism Award in 1999. Recently I have been working as a consultant for Aljazeera English on major documentary projects.

In 2002 I took an MA in Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia. Writing credits include many plays for BBC Radio, my most recent being a drama documentary for the 30th anniversary of the Herald of Free Enterprise disaster. Books: The Tizard Mission published by Westholme Publishing in the United States, tells the extraordinary story of how Britain’s top scientists travelled in secret to America in the autumn of 1940 to give away all their wartime secrets to secure US support in WWII. A Recipe for Disaster is a book about living in Italy while trying to make a TV cookery series, Cookucina (now available on Amazon Video, Google Play and iTunes.

I have several other books and three screenplays in development.

Social Media Links 

Twitter:         @StephenP_Writer

Faceboook:   https://www.facebook.com/stanley.tinker

Instagram:    stephenp_writer

Medium:        https://medium.com/@stephenphelps

Web:                www.cookucina.com

Trailer for Cookucina:   https://youtu.be/rh_wHv1o1Lg

REVIEW:

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I began reading “A Recipe for Disaster”.  Was it a cookbook?  A travel or food commentary?   It was a bit of both, really.

I had no idea how much work went into producing even the simplest TV / video segment.  Stephen as director (D), recounts the ups and downs (or should I say (the different degrees of how excessively hot it can get) of filming in different locations around the Italian countryside.  His description of different Italian towns, country settings, local foods, lovable characters and the odd overprotective dog thrown in makes for a highly entertaining and educational read.  I learned so much about Italian history and, well, at this point, just want to pack up and move there (hey, we have earthquakes here on Vancouver Island as well).

The author had me smiling and laughing at some of the unusual situations they found themselves in.  His use of word pictures made me feel that I was right there watching it all.  I haven’t seen the video series yet but am keen to do so.

The recipes were very simple to prepare as Lia (a chef) is teaching Tam (who is learning to cook) how to cook traditional Italian dishes.  The only drawback was that the recipes were written for a European audience (I would imagine). In North America we don’t use the metric system for cooking (we use  Imperial measurements such as cups and tablespoons) and these would have to be converted.

I would recommend this book to anyone who loves cooking, Italy and a good laugh!

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Book spotlight: Coins in the Fountain: A Memoir of Rome by Judith Works

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Book Details:

Book Title:  Coins in the Fountain: A Memoir of Rome by Judith Works
Category:  Adult non-fiction, 283 pages
Genre:  Memoir / Travel Memoir
Publisher:  Booktrope
Release date:  January 2016
Tour dates:  February 29 to March 18, 2016
Content Rating:  PG

Book Description:

Innocents Abroad collide with La Dolce Vita when the author and her husband arrive in the ancient city of Rome fresh from the depths of Oregon. While the author endeavored to learn the folkways of the United Nations, her husband tangled with unfamiliar vegetables in a valiant effort to learn to cook Italian-style. In between, they attended weddings, enjoyed a close-up with the pope, tried their hands at grape harvesting, and savored country weekends where the ancient Etruscans still seemed to be lurking. Along the way they made many unforgettable friends including the countess with a butt-reducing machine and a count who served as a model for naked statues of horsemen in his youth.

But not everything was wine and wonders. Dogs in the doctor’s exam room, neighbors in the apartment in the middle of the night, an auto accident with the military police, a dangerous fall in the subway, too many interactions with an excitable landlord, snakes and unexploded bombs on a golf course, and a sinking sailboat, all added more seasoning to the spaghetti sauce of their life.

Their story begins with a month trying to sleep on a cold marble floor wondering why they came to Rome. It ends with a hopeful toss of coins in the Trevi Fountain to ensure their return to the Eternal City for visits. Ten years of pasta, vino, and the sweet life weren’t enough.

Part memoir, part travelogue, Coins in the Fountain will amuse and intrigue you with the stories of food, friends, and the adventures of a couple who ran away to join the circus (the Circus Maximus, that is).

Buy the book:   Amazon   Barnes & Noble   iTunes   Amazon.UK

City of Illusions:   Amazon

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 Meet the author:

Life was routine until the author decided to get a law degree. Then a chance meeting led her to run away to the Circus (Maximus) – actually to the United Nations office next door – where she worked as an attorney in the HR department and entered the world of expat life in Rome.Her publishing credits include a memoir about ten years in Italy titled Coins in the Fountain, a novel about expats in Rome, City of Illusions, and flash fiction in literary magazines. She continues to travel in her spare time, having fitted in over 100 countries. And when she is in Rome, she always tosses a coin in the Trevi Fountain to ensure another visit.
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Connect with the author:  Website   Twitter   Facebook   Pinterest   Instagram  Blog

GUEST POST:

What three books would I want if I was stuck on a desert island?

Of course The Bible and The Complete Works of Shakespeare come to mind and I would not want to be without them, and I confess I’ve never read the entire text of either. Stuck alone on an island doesn’t sound good and I know I’d be taking plenty of breaks to scan the sky and sea for potential rescuers. But if there weren’t any in sight, I’d use the time to read and contemplate the genius of the words inscribed by unknown ancients and an obscure playwright about whom little is known. But when I’d finished the first two books, I’d want to turn to the third and modern work that I’d take with me to read on my island. (My luggage would be very heavy.)

And since this is a fantasy, I’m going to cheat and say the Neapolitan Quartet by Elena Ferrante would be read as one book. I can do this because the four books follow the same two characters as they move through their childhood and adult lives on different paths. Ferrante’s novels, which take place in the last half of the 20th century, center on two women, their friendships, their loves and rivalries, all set against the turmoil of those years when feminism and political protest began to play a part in woman’s lives. And for me, a fan of all things Italian, I love that the stories take place in Naples, that city of sin and salvation, crime and beauty. But even if the stories were set elsewhere, I think the characters are not  prisoners of their time and space and speak to all contemporary women in the West, stuck on islands or not.

And another thing: my fantasy includes an easy chair and reading light along with the unlimited supply of coconuts for food and a palm tree for shade like in the cartoons. (I’ll use a scrap of dried seaweed for a bookmark.) Now, where is that island?

BOOK SPOTLIGHT TOUR SCHEDULE:

Feb 29 –     Words And Peace – guest post / giveaway
Feb 29 –     #redhead.with.book – guest post / giveaway
March 1 –   Jaquo Lifestyle Magazine – guest post
March 1 –   Notes From Verona – author interview
March 2 –   Working Mommy Journal – giveaway
March 2 –   Rockin’ Book Reviews – guest post / giveaway
March 3 –   Library of Clean Reads – giveaway
​March 3 –   Essentially Italian – giveaway
March 4 –   Heidi’s Wanderings – guest post
March 7 –   A Holland Reads – author interview / giveaway
March 7 –   Olio by Marilyn – author interview / giveaway
March 8 –   A Mama’s Corner of the World – guest post
March 9 –   Svetlana’s Reads and Views – author interview
March 10 – The Cheshire Cat’s Looking Glass – giveaway
March 11 – T’s Stuff – author interview / giveaway
March 14 – Ali – The Dragon Slayer – guest post / giveaway
March 15 – Corinne Rodrigues – author interview / giveaway
March 16 – 3 Partners in Shopping Nana, Mommy , + Sissy, Too ! – giveaway
March 17 – Deal Sharing Aunt – author interview / giveaway
March 18 – Tropical 7107 Islands – author interview

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