Monday 13 December 2010

Recipe books

This is the promised next installment of the book lists. In fact, I've been meaning to post for days but life has been busy, I drafted two posts and didn't like them so at last, here is something!

The best cookery books have lost their covers and have splashes on them. Books that stay pristine on the shelf aren't much use. My best cookery book is in such a state that I'm too ashamed to take a photo.
Anyway, in my opinion, my favourite recipe book is my old hand written recipe notebook that I was given as a teenager. It has lost its cover and is bulging with print outs of recipes from the internet and yes, it is splashed, used and loved. It contains favourites like my Mum's fruit cake, Grandma's Christmas cake, Auntie Jo's salmon roll, Erinn's microwave cake and Mrs Ward's chocolate cake. So many names, so many memories and real recipes that really work.

Two out of three of my older children have their own hard backed recipe books-note to self, the other child needs one too!

The first two years that I was at university, were spent with a lovely couple who fed me really well. Baked Alaska, roasts and savory pancakes were part of the fare. The following years, I had to cook for myself in private digs and then in hall. I was reasonably good at making cakes but soon found that main courses were another matter especially when I wanted them to be quick, cheap and nutritious. Only sardines on toast fell into this group. After a few weeks, it was a long, long time before I wanted sardines again.

My cousin Naomi, not for the last time, came to my rescue and taught me to make lasagne. This was a happy choice as then I could cook mince, pasta and cheese sauces which lead to a few variations. The book that came in useful at the same time was "The Student cookbook" by Jenny Baker. I hardly use it now but it taught how to substitute ingredients and how to make basics without scales and without frills. It only comes out now for the banana loaf-made with yogurt not egg but after reading this a few times, I wasn't going to starve or live on sardines.

Whizz on four years and some time friends gave us a Tower slow cooker as a wedding present. It is still going strong. This came with a great recipe book which has again lost its cover. It has recipes and explains how to use a slow cooker to make marmalade and cook Christmas pudding. It does seem to be available second hand.

Enough for now-there are more. Interesting, the books by celebrity chefs have been used but aren't worn out in the same way. I've made one or two recipes from each book. I would be fascinated to know which of your recipe books you use and love.

1 comment:

  1. This post made me smile, Sarah! Merissa has this same type of book, given to her by her aunt. It has the Danish family side of favorite recipes in it and Merissa has added to it all our family favorites along the way. I find myself grabbing this cookbook time and again. A few years ago, Merissa made me one too. :)

    You do a lovely job on your cooking, I have tasted it. :) Thank you for sharing your journey with us.