Thursday, December 18, 2014

The confessional cookbook post

As any regular reader will know I have a weakness for cookbooks and for my particular set of foody preferences this has been a particularly strong years I've acquired quite a few in the last 12 months (there are 19 in this picture, I'm not entirely confident that this is all of them but it's close enough, though it's likely a few more will sneak in over Christmas).

I've not written about all of these, or even had a good play with all of them yet but I will. Some are also very new - I found the 'Game' one in The Works today (bargain) and 3 of them  came from my Derbyshire haul a couple of weeks ago. Some are presents, some review copies, some bought in a moment of amazon weakness (though as they've mislaid a birthday gift of a particularly good sounding Belgian cookbook they're in disgrace with me at the moment). Some have been long anticipated, others were impulse purchases, all of them delight me.

I'm fussy about cookbooks (honestly), even impulse purchases. They feel as personal to me as perfume or cloths (neither of which I really trust other people to choose for me) probably because my kitchen is my haven; cooking gives me a deep sense of contentment.

It doesn't really seem right to pick favourites, all these books are great and though I've used a few of them a lot and others not at all that doesn't mean much over the short term. However it's the end of the year so some sort of list is almost mandatory...

Diana Henry's 'A Change of Appetite' is great, I've used it a lot, she is easily my favourite food writer these days - all her books are brilliant, that this one concentrates on healthy options is a total bonus.

I like 'Persiana' for it's focus on flavour. It's become my go to book when I want something simple but impressive. I also like the way that some of the recipes can be thrown together quickly and then left to marinate through the day before being cooked when you need them - perfect for mid week food with friends. It's very accommodating food.

Trine Hahnemann's 'Scandinavian Baking' is just a delight. It was also the final straw needed to make me bake sourdough bread - for which I'm exceptionally grateful. Full of nice things which are new enough to me to be exciting without being overly exotic. I can see this getting a lot of use.

'Marmalade' by Sarah Randell feeds my marmalade obsession and is just a pleasure in every way. Entertaining to read, attractive to look at, nice to handle, and full of good ideas.

Skye Gyngell's 'My Favourite Ingredients' has been out for years but I only bought it a couple of weeks ago. I like the focus on ingredients and I like the way she cooks. Her grouse in Barolo on toast was my birthday lunch - very good it was too - and again I can see a few things in here becoming regular favourites. It maybe helps that I picked it up for under a fiver in a bargain bookshop.

A Year At Otter Farm is on the list too for all round inspiration - growing as well as cooking, I haven't used it as much or as recently as the others, but I have big gardening plans for next year. It really is a brilliant book for so many reasons, not the least of which being that it's a particularly good read.

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