Ooh! I’ve just been on the Observer Magazine website – a great treat to browse though when you’re sitting by the computer with a cup of coffee and don’t have the real OM to hand on a Sunday – and I discovered that they’re running a series of extracts from Nigel Slater’s new cookery book, The Kitchen Diaries.
Nigel is one of my all-time food heroes. His Real Fast Food – which recently made it into Waitrose Food Illustrated Magazine’s top ten most useful cookery books – was one of the first modern cookbooks to truly enrapture me. As I was a student at the time, its litany of things to do with affordable storecupboard essentials like rice and pasta, tuna and tinned tomatoes was inspirational. It was actually the only book, of my rather large cookbook collection, to make it into my rucksack and travel to New Zealand with me and I’ve also, to my great delight, managed to pick up a copy of his Real Fast Puddings at a library sale.
When I’m at home his books are the ones that I go back to time and time again whenever I need inspiration. I haven’t yet discovered another food writer that is so in love with his ingredients and so well able to express it. I love his weekly Observer column, from which I have cut out and tried numerous recipes, and I will be forever grateful to my mother back in Ireland who faithfully sends me the Observer Food Monthly magazine, edited by the self-same Mr Slater.
I’m already salivating at the idea of this new cookbook. According to the Observer, The Kitchen Diaries is Nigel’s record of the foods that he cooked, shopped for and picked over 12 months. Sounds rather like a blog to me…
Here’s the blurb from his publisher’s website about the book:”The food in The Kitchen Diaries is simply what I eat at home. The stuff I make for myself, for friends and family, for visitors and for parties, for Sunday lunch and for snacks. These are meals I make when I stop work, or when I am having mates over or when I want to surprise, seduce or show off. This is what I cook when I’m feeling energetic, lazy, hungry or late. It is what I eat when I’m not phoning out for pizza or going for a curry. This is the food that makes up my life, both the Monday to Friday stuff and that for weekends and special occasions.”Much of it is what you might call fast food, because I still believe that life is too short to spend all day at the stove, but some of it is unapologetically long, slow cooking. But without exception every single recipe in this book is a doddle to cook. A walk in the park. A piece of p***.”Fast food, slow food, big eats, little eats, quick pasta suppers, family roasts and even Christmas lunch. It is simply my stuff, what I cook and eat, every day. Nigel’s food – for you.”The Kitchen Diaries is due to be published on 3 October. Something for my Christmas list – if I can resist that long!