My first StoryBakes book - Xavier and his Magical Blueberry Muffins, written during lockdown as a little hobby, and illustrated as a gift to my son X-Ray for his birthday, was a bit of a surprise for me. I didn't think anyone would be as excited or keen on a baking book with a simple recipe for kids. But I shared it on our instagram and we sold more than 750 copies overnight.
Based off the back of those sales, I was able to illustrate more of my recipe storybooks and went on to publish 4 more titles! Olivia and her Lovely Lemon Loaves, Bella and her Super Banana Bread, Felix, Max and their Mighty Flapjacks, and Santa Claus and his Gingerbread Friends. Most of the customers who got my first book, went on to purchase the others. Seeing photos of their kids baking using our books brings me SO MUCH JOY!
I inadvertently became a kid's book author. Independent and self-published, but an author nonetheless. An interview in our local magazines made me feel even more author-y!
Some friends said, "Reshmiiii, you need a publisher! These books are brilliant and need to be EVERYWHERE!". So I started looking into getting a publisher...except it seems to be a very elusive club. Most publishers do not accept book manuscripts unless they come through an agent.
Some author friends said, "Reshmi, get an agent! These books are brilliant and NEED to have a publisher!" Kids recipe books, actually written for kids with full-page illustrations, and simple instructions that they can actually follow. With fool-proof recipes that even the most hopeless of adult bakers could use and not mess up! So I wrote to probably all kids books literary agents...and haven't heard anything back months on. Perhaps it's not their bag, perhaps they're busy. But I love these books and don't want to stop just because an agent hasn't snapped them up and publishers can't be reached.
So brushing off any feelings of deflation, I decided to publish my sixth book - and my FIRST SAVOURY one! Penelope and the Power-Packed Flying Pizzas. Whilst my day-to-day is all things sweet, I love cooking savoury. I love curries, roasts, BBQs, and of course, making pizzas.
I find pizzas an over-rated food in general. But that's possibly because I've had so many bad pizzas. If I had to choose a favourite pizza place in London, I'd say it's Homeslice. But really, nothing beats an actual home-made pizza and the recipe I've used for years beats any shop-bought or frozen pizza. When I've made it for friends they've said they'd happily pay for it at a restaurant - it's THAT GOOD.
The best thing about my pizza recipe is that it's dead simple. A handful of everyday ingredients and no proofing or faffing with dough. It's so simple that even toddlers can make it. And when I make it with X-Ray, it doubles up as a really fun activity, and dinner's sorted!
It was only fitting that it would be my first savoury cook book for children. X-Ray and I have so much fun making pizzas together - he's excited even by the suggestion. Picking out the toppings (it's pepperoni and sweetcorn round ours, and I spike mine with chilli flakes). Kneeding the dough. Making the sauce. Oh, the sauce made from scratch is delicious and a real multi-tasker - we also use it as a pasta sauce.
I wrote the recipe into a rhyming story like our other books in the Storybakes series. This story is bonkers. It's about Penelope who lives on a farm with her dad. Penny plays with her sheep and loves them. One day she finds them mysteriously disappearing and is worried. She finds out they're being kidnapped by some sketchy out-of-towners and she gets her gang of friends together to figure out how to rescue her sheep.
Without giving it all away, the story features all of the Storybakes characters, sheep, aliens, and of course, PIZZAS! If you liked my other Storybakes books, you'll really enjoy this one. And here's the recipe for you to try so you KNOW it's legit.
If you're looking for Christmas presents, know pizza-loving kids or even little Penelopes who love to bake, this book makes a great gift.
Available to order from our website now.
Lots of love,