Tuesday, 29 November 2011

In Love

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.


  1. I have loads of cook books....and, over the year, I think I use or at least look into all of them...it just depends on what I have available to cook!
    Apart from Marguerite Patten, though, I don't have a 'general' cook book, though some of the Carrier ones bear the signs of plenty of use!
    I'm not happy with the internet...in general. I like the BBD Good Food site and there are a couple of Indian food sites which are reliable, but a lot of them seem to be copies, one of another...no comfort when you're wondering what to do with a glut of bananas!
    Still, branching off into French or Spanish language sites and blogs is becoming rewardoing...I'd stuck to english too long, I think!

  2. I'm a bit of a cookbook junky too and some have definitely not stood the test of time. But though not totally vegetarian, DH and I do love our veg and have a lot of meat-free days, so this recommendation has gone straight down on my Santa wishlist. Thanks. Sue. :-)

  3. Hi Fly and Perpetua, thanks for stopping by. Perpetua hope you get your wish and enjoy the recipes as much as I do. :)

  4. Haven't got the book but have watched all of the TV series of it & the book is HIGH on my Xmas list!

    Demi/Sally xx

  5. Hi Sally, hope you get your wish. :)

  6. I'd love some new vegetarian recipes. We end up on a round of pasta, nachos and more pasta with an occasional bout of ham or chicken or salmon or shrimp. We liked veggie the best. I find English cookbooks sometimes don't translate well over here.
    Maybe you could post a couple of your favorites and I could post some I have that work well for us over and over. I have the Food Matters cookbook which has some good ones I have tried and some that sound worth trying.

  7. Hi Sharyn, good idea! Unfortunately I'm wheat intolerant, so tend to stay off the pasta except very occasionally - which is a shame for Tod as he loves it. Mind you, eating less wheat has done great things for our waistlines!

  8. Last night I was cooking up a rice and veg stir fry when my bigger half came in. What's for dinner? he asked.
    I'm making rice and veg, I said.
    Does that mean I have to eat it too? he asked.
    Made him a plate of nachos. He can eat nachos or noodles every night.
    There are a lot of gluten free foods available here, all kinds of noodles also.

  9. Just to let you know that your recommendation has gone from wishlist to order as a Christmas present from my darling mother-in-law. Yippee!!

  10. So pleased Perpetua, I'm sure you won't be disappointed. Last night's meal from the book (with slight adaptations). Roast parsnip, lentil with rocket salad plus roast fennel and squash with quinoa salad and crunchy roasted sunflower seeds on top. Tod was verging on ecstatic!