Wednesday, November 8, 2023

A Cook Book Double

Plans for posting last night were derailed by internet issues so I have two fabulous cook books to suggest tonight. I'm currently somewhat obsessed with Diana Henry's recipe for Hete Bliksen (hot lightening), it's a simple supper dish of sauteed new potatoes, bacon, and apple, with a little thyme. Quick, easy, and extra good with a bit of wilted cabbage on the side. It's a Dutch dish and can be found in the newly re-issued Roast Figs and Sugar Snow. It is my perfect winter cookbook and an absolute classic (though probably not ideal for vegetarians and vegans - it's quite a meaty book).

Whilst making my Hete Bliksen I was thinking again what a shame it is that there aren't yet many books on Dutch cooking in English - and then I remembered Regula Ysewijn's splendid 'Dark Rye and Honey Cake' which looks specifically at festival baking of the low countries. 

I love this book, the research, the photography, the illustrations, and the recipes. It's a masterpiece, as good to read as to cook from - and now is the time to start cooking from it and then follow the festive year through. There are a lot of recipes for waffles (I'm still considering a waffle maker - my tiny kitchen won't easily accommodate another mug much less anything larger, and yet...) which was a revelation to me, and a lot of recipes for breads which are a delight. Had I thought of it in time I could have made Gentse mastel, eaten as a preventative against rabies on St Hubert's day (3rd of November). I'll take my chances with the rabies but I need more cinnamon bread in my life. 

Dark Rye and Honey Cake is a cookbook full of projects - things that take a little time, and maybe a little practice, to make well. That's a great way to spend a winter's day off. Roast Figs and Sugar Snow does everything from comfort food to dinner party specials taking in some Christmas inspiration along the way. It also has the richest, most indulgent, brownies I've ever had the pleasure of making. Either or both would be useful and inspiring gifts. 

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