From as far as I can remember, I have always loved reading. Novels, history books, comics you name it! In the last few years, my love for books seems to have shifted towards the kitchen area. My dresser has a full shelf dedicated to books and food magazines because I can’t help myself, if I see a book I like with recipes and ingredients I haven’t tried yet, I have to buy it.
Cook books for me are a bit like the iHero books. Did you use to read them as a kid? In these books you decide what’s going to happen by choosing between different options given to you on how the story may develop. Make the right choice and the story gets better; make the wrong one and the story will end abruptly! When you think about it cooking is quite similar in that you are very much writing the story of your dish as you are making it. Whether you are developing your own recipe or using one from a book doesn’t matter: you are owning this story when you are in front of the chopping board and the end result can be a hit, or a complete disaster if you make a mistake.
I guess that’s why I like cook books so much: they are the promise of a new culinary adventure that we can touch from the tip of a knife, full of promises with new flavours and cooking styles. We learn along the way, have fun and share the story of how we cooked a dish with our friends and families as we would after reading a book. The only difference with a novel is that we can adapt the story and change the end, by swapping or adding some ingredients or even adjusting the cooking time. I guess it is this sense of ownership and creativity that I particularly enjoy myself. A cook book is a great way to learn, gain confidence and then develop your own recipes.
The latest addition to my ever-growing collection is one of Jamie Oliver‘s latest cook books: Super Food Family Classics. It didn’t take me long to buy it once I had browsed through a few pages: from pasta to curries, soups to salads or even breakfasts, I was impressed with the great variety of recipes on offer, plus each recipe is illustrated with a photo and there are some very good tips along the way… Clearly I couldn’t resist!
Tonight I have cooked the recipe that looked so appetising it made me buy the book: Spaghetti Rosso, Golden Chicken and Charred Green Veg. I have tried to find it on Jamie Oliver’s official website but I couldn’t, so unfortunately I won’t be able to share it in full with you here. What I can tell you though is that…
The plot involves 2 main characters: Chicken and Wholewheat pasta. They have their own stories, for example the Chicken meets some Lemon and Thyme and later down the line some Asparagus and Spring Onions, whilst the pasta gets to know some Red Peppers and Sun-Dried Tomatoes a little bit better. In time they meet and make one amazing combination: a fresh yet hot dish, with different ingredients complementing each other very well, both in terms of flavours and textures. My favourite part? Zesting the lemon and scattering the thyme – I just love the smell of these two fresh ingredients!
Now do you want to know how it all ends? It is a happy ending, one made of empty plates and compliments to the chef – who has decided she might well have a look out for this new Chistmas Cook book she’s just seen advertised… Watch this space!