My name is Amber and I am a cookbook junkie. There, I’ve said it. Not out loud as such, but well, as good as. I have any number of cookbooks by any number of authors and chefs covering any number of countries and cuisines. They feature heavily on my Christmas and birthday wish lists and nobody and I mean NOBODY is allowed to read them before I have. And yes, before you ask, I do use them. Well, most of them.
For my delight this year there were two really fantastic books – one a wish list whim that I had read about and the other by a firm favourite to add to my collection of his tomes (one still to go).
Firstly, my daughter bought me Economy Gastronomy…
Now, this is a clever book which is based on the premise that we are all throwing away far too much food and not doing enough planning ahead when it comes to our shopping. Basically you take one ingredient – say for instance a chicken, have a nice roast, and then use the leftovers for something else the next day, or make and freeze something. This is all so that at the end of the week there won’t be something lurking and festering at the back of the fridge. It also is a big believer in buying in bulk, making and freezing and also making the most of special offers. So on the basis of this and having read the book from cover to cover, we have so far made a kilo of mince into a cottage pie, a ragu and a chilli. Last nights roast chicken (organic, free range and bought in the reduced section of the supermarket for £3.50!) which was very nice, will tonight become Arrizo con Pollo with the addition of a few bits and pieces. TG has also made some very nice bread – the kneading wore him out but he could do with losing a few pounds post holidays – perfect! None of it is rocket science and I’m sure that most you do it already,but it’s more a different way of thinking. I have been making fridge scraping soups for years and making things from leftovers, but this takes it to a whole new level.
My other book is from my favourite ever chef – the very lovely Nigel Slater – probably the best writer of food prose in the world.
This is the man who can elevate the most humble of ingredients to the most sublime of levels, who makes me want to cook everything that he describes and who generally speaking only ever uses one pot. I love his magazine and newspaper articles and I read his books from cover to cover – not just for the recipes but for his beautiful descriptions of buying, growing and cooking food. I love the simplicity of his cooking using readily available ingredients (none of your ‘ just pop down to your local South African grocer’ here) and I love his very obvious passion for food and in this latest book, his passion for growing it. His quiet enthusiasm and lack of arrogance is very refreshing. You can keep your ranting chefs, your jus, your reductions, your fancy smancy ingredients, your nouvelle cuisine and your fannying around – give me Nigel and his Coq au Riesling any day!!
P.S. If you haven’t tried him, then Real Food is a good starting place…..
P.P.S. His Thai Green Chicken Curry is also beyond good!