My review of A Recipe for Disaster by Stephen Phelps (@StephenP_Writer) @rararesources #Giveaway #Recipe

Today I am really excited to be able to share with you my review and also a recipe from the brilliant book – A Recipe for Disaster by Stephen Phelps!

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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

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.



This is quite different from the books that I would normally read on a regular basis but I found it to be a refreshing change. I do enjoy non fiction books and I liked the description of this book as soon as I saw it so I was really keen to get started on it.

The book is honest, funny and brilliantly written – the recipes are nice and easy to follow and I thought that the whole concept was a great idea – and I’m definitely pleased that the author chose to put his words and thoughts down on paper to share with us!

It is always hard I feel to give a rating to a book that is non fiction but having read this one I couldn’t give it anything other than 5 stars – really would recommend this one for anyone who loves Italy, anyone who loves cooking and anyone who loves a good read!

Purchase Links:

iBooks                         Kindle         

Paperback                  Goodreads



Donnas Book Blog - Cream of Zucchini Soup

  • 8 zucchini 
  • 1 onion
  • vegetable stock
  • curry powder
  • 4 slices of white bread
  • salt, white pepper
  • 4 tablespoons of greek yogurt
  • extra virgin olive oil

Thinly slice the zucchini. Put the finely chopped onion in a pan with the oil. When it is slightly browned, add the zucchini, curry powder to taste, salt and pepper.  Cover with vegetable stock, and when the zucchini are cooked, blend everything in a food mixer.  Return to the hob to heat gently.

Add a spoonful of Greek yogurt to each serving and serve with toast.



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. Recipe for Disaster - SP best picIn 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


Instagram            stephenp_writer



Trailer for Cookucina –



To enter the giveaway to win the lovely package below (Biscotti artigianale | Local honey | 3 x DVD of the Cookucina series | Plus a signed copy of A Recipe For Disaster (Open Internationally)) use the link below – and good luck!! 

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