Everyday cooking

The lovely Kristina of Jolly Hockey Sticks blog, may very well have a cook book fettish to rival my own and it was her eagle eyes which correctly identified the spine of my latest acquistion featured at the top of the previous post.

I love buying cookery books, sadly I have to seriously curtail my buying due to budget constraints but honnestly, my list of wishes at the moment is huge. With the approach of the festive season (there, I didn't actually say it, just alluded, but I'm sorry, it's true, it really is approaching fast), it seems that new cook books arrive on the market almost daily.

Several have caught my eye and at the moment my list includes Warm Bread and Honey Cake - the title alone seems promising but I do have rather a lot of bread books and several baking books too, do I need this one? Hmmm, I certainly want. I often pick up the beautiful Miss Dahl's Voluptuous Delights ... lovely images, intriguing, varied recipes. My biggest want of all at the moment, one that I do not need but nonetheless I want... Tender: v. 1: A Cook and His Vegetable Patch by Nigel Slater. Nigel Slater is by far my favourite cookery writer and indeed the books of his I already own are well thumbed and dog-eared from use. The pleasure of Nigel Slater is that he is the sort of food writer you want to keep by your bed, if you know what I mean!

There are older titles amongst my list of wants too, I have long desired Ballymaloe Cookery Course but then again, maybe actually owning such a weighty tome might mean I never looked at any or my other books. And I don't own anything by Simon Hopkins which seems a mistake.

But all that wanting aside, this latest acquisition, River Cottage Everyday book is a good and useful addition to my groaning shelves. Much as I love the beautiful lifestyle books with their exciting dinner party recipes, family cooking is what I do everyday and I am always looking for fresh ideas and indeed the odd miracle. I already own The River Cottage Family Cookbook and was a little worried that this might be too similar but there are enough new recipes to make it worthwhile and as is increasingly the case with cookery books it is beautifully photographed and thoughtfully laid out.

There is an excellent section on bread and some really good fish recipes (if only the TA would eat fish with us). The Lunchbox chapter is full of new ideas involving things like couscous and I feel inspired add several of them to my increasingly tired repertoire. The Thrifty Meat section is very interesting, a breast of lamb recipe which I shall certainly try and a friendly sounding rabbit stew which I may possibly try; I know that Dylan is very keen to eat rabbit (although I think he really wants to catch his own and cook it on a campfire, eeek) but it may be harder to convince Tilly to try it, she is very keen on owning a bunny at the moment...

So out of all these varied recipes what should I try first? Why a Ginger Cake of course (I already have at least 6 different ginger cake recipes, indeed my favourite is a Nigel Slater one but I like to keep an open mind on these matters). This one measures up well, dense and sticky, it did sink somewhat but Mr Fearnley-Whitingstall warns of this and says not to worry, so I didn't. Treacle, syrup, sticky lumps of ginger and darkest muscovado sugar, makes you want to light the fire and make a pot of tea don't you think? Excuse me now, I have a fire to stoke.....


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