Saturday, June 18, 2011

Cookbooks and books about cooking

I love to cook, I’m not gourmet chef by any stretch of the imagination but what I lack in talent I make up in enthusiasm. I also love to eat which is handy, and my sister has been trying to get me to love to run which would be helpful counterbalance to all the eating. I also love to read about cooking, some of my favourite books featuring food at the moment include one that led me to this gorgeous creation in Paris...

Home Cooking: A Writer in the Kitchen’ and ‘More Home Cooking: A writer returns to the Kitchen’ by Laurie Colwin

These two books are like a conversation with the author conducted over many hours, by a log fire with more than a few cups of coffee and slices of warm homemade gingerbread. Made up of a collection of essays detailing her triumphs, disasters and food obsessions it is easy to relate the author and reminisce about ones own memorable meals, kitchen failings and loved unusual food combinations.

I don’t always make things out of pile of cookbooks I own, I use them more as inspiration for doing my own thing. Although I did make the gingerbread featured in this book, I’ve never been a fan of the stuff but the way it was described tempted me. It may taste better the day after its made but it disappeared much too quickly for me to confirm this. The delightful sounding Black Cake has featured on my lengthy ‘To Make’ list for quite some time.

‘The Flavour Thesaurus: Pairings, recipes and ideas for the creative cook’ By Niki Segnit

Bloomsbury publish the most exquisite books, the plum edges of the pages are not only pretty but also make it extremely easy to find on my chaotic shelves. This is quite an ambitious project detailing compatible flavours, the book serves as inspiration for the experimental cook. It is by no means definitive and as taste is highly subjective it doesn’t guarantee success. The book offers reminders of faithful flavour marriages such as; coffee and chocolate or apple and pork, and inspires you to try more unusual ones such as; blackberry and beef or watermelon and chilli.

The writing is witty and the format perfect for a random flick through the pages. Sprinkled with recipes, restaurant recommendations and names of other cookery writers to investigate. This is a book I love to look through before running off to the supermarket.

'Boiled or steamed artichokes can be a tough match for wine, but fried they’d go nicely with a fresh, acidic, dry Prosecco, if you can handle the social stigma of being slumped under a tree with a bottle of booze and a brown paper bag.’

Can I handle the stigma? I’d sure like to try.

‘Sound Bites: Eating on Tour with Franz Ferdinand’ by Alex Kapranos

I have a not so secret desire to be a member of a moderately successful touring band. Not a lead singer, too much of the limelight, preferably an unrecognizable bass player or drummer. The fact that I cannot play either of these instruments does nothing to faze my dream. And so the lead singer of Franz Ferdinand Alex Kapranos makes me quite envious not only being the member of a successful band but also being a gifted writer.

The book details food memories and eateries the world over, including some from down under, which make you want to shove the book in your handbag and run straight to the restaurant. A collection of short ditties makes this the perfect size to cart around and dip in spare moments.

'Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly' by Anthony Bourdain

I re-read the chapter on Japan one night shortly before a trip there and ended up staying up till the wee hours having re-read the whole book. ‘nuff said.

'Coltide’s Edible Adventures in Paris' by the lovely Colitde Dusolier of Chocolate and Zucchini

The first time I did Paris was a whirlwind of sight seeing, with food a second though grabbed at tourist haunts. The second time my sister, friend and I spent our days wandering through the beautiful wintery streets of Paris from cafes to bistros, drinking in the sights as we negotiated the busy streets.

We stayed on the top floor of a little hotel, in one of the rooms in the roof with the adorable windows, our little hotel happened to be one street away from a bakery recommended in this volume. We frequented this bakery daily, manned by a French woman with the most gusto for life I’ve yet seen. She spoke to us in fluent English, we replied in extremely shaky French. Literally the best bakery I’ve ever been to, and luckily I’ve dug up a couple of delightful photos of their pastries.


No comments:

Post a Comment