Sunday, June 24, 2012
My Cookbooks: the Interim Edit
Who knew that cookbooks were so important to so many of my blog-pals?! You did?
I thought you would be interested to see the Interim Edit: these are the survivors of my first attempt at imposing order. These are the books that for one reason or another I am not ready to lose... some of them are definitely "keepers".
So what have we got here then?
In stack order (not indicative of relative importance):
The Greens Cookbook: this is actually FL's copy, but I don't suppose he remembers! I see that later editions have pictures, and that can only be an improvement as this edition is rather hard going with tiny print and lots of text. I don't cook much out of here but it's a book I used to borrow from Brixton library over and over again: fond memories are attached to this one. I like reading it!
New Food For Thought: A revelation to me at the time (1994) this was the first British vegy cookbook I came across which used "modern" vegetables (i.e. imported items such as plantains, sweet potatoes, aubergines, baby corn etc) in a light and refreshing style - so there is lots of what you might call "fusion food" in here. After the first Food For Thought cookbook (coming up soon), with its reliance on root vegetables and heavy bean-based "bakes", this was delightful!
Sophie Grigson's Country Kitchen: This is a book I turn to for everyday meal inspiration, especially when we receive a "gift" from the gamekeeper. So not vegetarian (!) but full of lovely photographs of sun-lit plates in rural settings. And the only cookbook I own which uses the Sweet Cicily from my herb garden!
Moro: Mine is a first edition hardback, but I think I have linked to the same content. I paid full price for this when it was published. Tapas, North African tagines, sumac, pine nuts, chorizo, smoked paprika - it's all here! And the chocolate tart is.... words fail me! Mmmmm.
The Kitchen Revolution: A bit of a monster really. Not a picture in sight. Lots of prescriptive lists and convoluted instructions. But I keep coming back to it for solid, hearty carnivorous crowd-pleasers. I can see it will be on its way out on the next edit, but it is staying for now.
Moro East: Take the Moro chef and give him an allotment in Hackney and what do you get? Moro East. Lots of "back to the land", "grow it yourself and cook it on an outdoor grill" ideas. I haven't used it much but it fills me with nostalgia for East London (oops!) and the wonderful mix of cultures and cuisines that is absolutely missing from North East Scotland. Oh lord, I miss the Cypriot corner shop so much!
Falling Cloudberries and Apples for Jam are stunningly beautiful books. I could live inside them. The recipes are kind of beside the point... but the white bread recipe is the one I always use. These are keepers. (And they were stupidly cheap from The Book People - maybe £3.99 each?)
Muffins Fast and Fantastic: what it says in the title. If I need to bake something, it is usually from here, unless I have to make a "big cake" in which case it is from my copied-out recipes for lemon cake or chocolate cake both from here) or gingerbread (from my aunt).
Food For Thought: good old-fashioned vegetarian cooking with beans and nuts. Lots of casseroles and "bakes", but fabulous for one-pot family meals with interesting sauces. Leek and Butter Bean Dijonnaise is a staple in my repertoire. This is my second copy of this book after an unfortunate encounter with the hot hob.... but it was falling apart and needed replacing anyway!
Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home: mostly vegetarian with a few fish dishes. The first time I saw fish baked "in a packet", as popularised by Jamie Oliver! More fragrant, herb-enhanced everyday family cooking drawn from many cultures but without too many hard-to-find ingredients. This is by far the most frequently-used book in my library!
N.B. Amazon has the title wrong but the cover image is of the right book.
Veganomicon: Quite a recent addition, and I still have a lot to explore in here. Some of the recipes are very American and I get frustrated when I can't find the ingredients. But I already have some go-to favourites in here: Chick Peas Romesco is a regular, and I love the quinoa with pineapple and peppers and mint and basil and lime... and all the other things that are in there and ought not to work but just do!
Not pictured: Wharf Street Vegetarian Cookbook is a pure piece of nostalgia. Leeds in the 1980's. Lovely illustrations. I was there. Nuff said! Indispensable.
Late Edit: In response to commenter Karen I have to confess to owning another cookbook which is definitely staying : Slow Cooking: Curries and Spicy Dishes. Well spotted Karen!