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Bill worked in the English Prison service for 34 years. He joined the service as an officer in 1969 and retired in 2003 as a Prison Governor, working his way up through the ranks. He retired on a full Civil Service pension at age 55, taking the advantage of early retirement through length of service. During his service to the Crown, Bill obtained the Certificate and Diploma in Management Studies, became proficient in media studies and technical equipment and acted as press liaison officer at three major prison establishments. He is a qualified photographer and was trained as an investigator by Scotland Yard. Since moving to Spain with his wife Sheila, who also worked as a prison officer for 7 years, he now devotes all his time to the study of food. He compiles personalized cookery books for friends in the Valencia area, many of which help to raise funds for local charities. Sheila is the baker and takes care of all the pastry and cake recipes, while bill is more of a technical buff, wanting to know how and why certain recipes work and others do not. Sheila's latest recipe is for an orange cake which uses Valencia oranges picked from her garden topped with an orange butter cream icing covered in segments of mandarins or tangerines also picked fresh from the garden. The locals go wild for it. Spanish cakes are so different from English cakes. We think it is because of the high temperatures that we have in Spain. The recipe will be a star attraction on the new website.
Bill has a personal library of over 1,200 food related books and manuals and hundreds of magazines and books in the Spanish language. His database contains thousands of recipes collected from around the world. He is currently studying the history of Spanish Gastronomy through the ages of invasion by the Romans and the Moors. How the Oranges and almonds were introduced into Spain and the effects it had on the peasant cooking of the time. Modern Spanish cookery is as good as can be found in any part of the world.
The Bill & Sheila's Cookbook.com idea came from the many friends who use Bill's cookbooks. They said that the information and recipes were too good to be confined to just a few dozen Brits living in Spain. They needed to be made available to everyone.
In August 2010, the website was formed and research and planning began in earnest. An investment in the necessary software was made and it is hoped that a full launch of the site can be made in November 2010. The main emphasis of the site will be on Traditional English cooking, Spanish and Mediterranean cooking and food related articles. These will include recipes and historical articles. An online store will become part of the site for the sale of cookery books and cooking equipment. Contacts with web-masters of similar sites are well advanced.
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