I've been feeling a bit uninspired in the kitchen for a while now, not that I've stopped cooking but that it's gone back to quick basics and old favourites. There doesn't seem to be time for anything else (this may be because knitting is taking up much of the creative space that cooking used to) and then I've found myself out of sympathy with a lot of recently released cookbooks so there's been no spur to try new things.
Much like a garden I find a kitchen also needs regular tending too. Neglect it for a bit and all you find in the fridge are months old (dried out and unappealing) bulbs of fennel, something that was almost certainly a carrot, and an overwhelming temptation to just go out, buy a pizza and have done. There may also be a lot of half used jars of jam, some milk, and a bottle of vermouth but I'm still not feeling it. The cupboards aren't much better, discard everything that's ridiculously out of date because I was saving it for something special and I find a total lack of the useful things That are the building blocks of most recipes. Instead it's the culinary equivalent of weeds - basically a proliferation of caraway seeds (why do I have 5 jars of these?) and several different types of sugar.
I also feel like I'm eating to much meat - because it's quick and easy and everywhere, so in an effort to sort out both that and the lack of inspiration I went in search of a vegetarian cookbook. I used to have a few but they went in last years big clear out (underused and far to reminiscent of a vegetarian ex). Vanilla Black isn't the one I went out to look for but its the one that passed the flip test.
I can't remember which recipe really swung it for me - it may have been one of the cakes, but the one I'm making next is the mature cheddar and Savoy cabbage pudding, and that's what I love about this book. Charred asparagus and quails eggs with peas and lime isn't reinventing the wheel, but it sounds really good, it sounds like something I want to eat, and it doesn't sound like much trouble to put together. That's the kind of inspiration I need to get back in the kitchen.