I'm in love with a new cookery book.
It's true I've had special ones in the past...
Robert Carrier, so sophisticated for show-off dinner parties when I first started living in London. Some recipes so well used that the pages have split apart.
A brief fling with the Galloping Gourmet, but that didn't last long. His recipes haven't stood the test of time.
A somewhat daunting all 1,235 wafer-thin pages of Constance Spry, a luxurious Christmas present from my parents, much thumbed for ideas over many years, but often put aside in despair for something simpler.
And now - it's all too easy to reach for the internet. Pumpkin soup? Cheesecake? Pear and almond tart? Stuffed courgettes? Just google it.
No, this time it's different. A "hold in my hands, leave it on the kitchen table" recipe book I reach for, use and love every day.
I've always had a soft spot for Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. I like the way his cookery programmes link us back to where our food comes from and help us understand what the implications are if we choose to eat meat and fish. He shows us by example what it means to honour the food that we eat.
This year he has excelled himself with his new TV series and book: River Cottage veg every day.
As a would-be but lazy (and definitely not nut roast) vegetarian living with a carnivore who is prepared to humour me, I quickly run out of ideas for what to cook. So we ring the changes between vegetable curry, roast veg, an occasional vegetarian moussaka and (through summer) lots of salads and Italian antipasti. After a while, it gets very boring.
And then Hugh's new book appeared like the cavalry over the horizon, every recipe a joy - bursting with interesting combinations of flavours and textures. Even my carnivore is asking for more.
His salads are a revelation. My current favourite? Warm salad of rocket, mushrooms and roasted squash. Today my eye's been caught by carrot, orange and cashews (with a touch of cumin). Looks delicious.
I can see that this love affair is going to be a long relationship. And I'm sharing him. I've started buying copies for friends!
Must dash - got a salad to make.
2 years ago