What did you want to be when you grew up? I wanted to be a ballerina.
Well, first I wanted to be a garbage collector. Seriously. They wore really cool orange jumpsuits. For the record, I look horrible in orange. I moved on.
What I never thought I would do is write. Growing up I certainly made several (aborted) attempts. Bad haiku poetry, angst written teenage journals, the occasional play (hence the name mostlynoodles), short stories. I tried it all. I think what I really liked was the idea of starting something fresh. To this day I still love buying a beautiful notebook. But writing? Well, that was never something I would have written down in my list of personal skills and attributes. (I’m not convinced I would now.) These days though, I’m writing.
I count among my close circle of friends some amazing writers. Real writers. Their writing has been published, performed on stage, and picked up by agents. The type of people who consider writing their job. Scratch that. Writing is their job, and their passion. Yikes. It’s quite humbling.
I never did become a ballerina, and I have no idea where my writing may lead but what will never be in debate is that I’m a reader.
So with that in mind, lets talk about cookbooks. A few months ago I set myself the cook(those)books recipe challenge. I have cooked many meals and read even more recipes since I gave myself the goal of two new (as written by a professional) recipes a week. January has disappeared (where did it go?) and we are well into the drab days of February. If the winter blahs are getting to you as much as me, here are three of the writers and recipes that inspired my last few weeks of cooking
First up? The glazed pork ribs recipe by Donna Hay. Divine. I’ve prepared these a couple of times now. The first time I tried this recipe was the first time I had ever cooked ribs. Not kidding. It is so simple and so sinfully tasty it has already become one of my new go to recipes. I’m sure it would also be easy to vary it. Add some black sesame seeds, a bit of ginger or play with the chili sauce to decrease the sugar content. I could go on, but I won’t. Just try them. Prepare to get sticky and enjoy.
Next up was stew. The Food52 Cookbook is a gem of a cookbook. I had made the Secret Ingredient Beef Stew when I first saw it on the website, long before I actually got the cookbook as a Christmas present this year. Since I now have the book on my shelf as a constant reminder I know I’ll be make it more often. When you read the recipe, don’t turn up your nose if you don’t like the secret ingredient. Trust me. If you didn’t know it was in there, you would only notice that there was a nice added richness and flavour to the stew.
Finally I made pancakes. Not just any pancakes. Green pancakes with lime butter. I found this recipe in the cookbook Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi. I have always loved latkes and their many variations. This version ups the nutrition quotient and works well as an accompaniment to any protein source. Now that I’ve made the recipe a few times I have been playing with the it a bit. Different greens (swiss chard, cilantro and brussel sprouts) and eliminating the white flour by using spelt and kamut. This is one of those recipes that is perfect as is, but is forgiving to the new cook who wants to use it as a base to try their hand at their own creations. Actually, it doesn’t even matter if you like to cook. If you like to drool buy this cookbook just for the pictures.