Super Natural Cooking: Five Ways To Incorporate Whole and Natural Ingredients into Your Cooking by Heidi Swanson (Ten Speed Press)Blogger, photographer, graphic designer and passionate cook Heidi Swanson demystifies unfamiliar health shop ingredients in Super Natural Cooking, a cookbook that drags the world of whole foods very firmly into the 21st century. Nothing is complicated, all is creative and original and Heidi is an encouraging teacher. This is a satisfyingly chunky book, designed with love and attention to detail. Must Cook: Giant Crusty and Creamy White Beans with Greens
Yearly Archive: 2007
Although I’ve been immersed in study, there is (somehow!) always time for reading cookbooks. Here are a few recommendations for Christmas.Cook Simple by Diana Henry (Mitchell Beazley)I’m a fan of Diana’s Crazy Water, Pickled Lemons and last year’s Roast Figs, Sugar Snow so I was looking forward to reading Cook Simple and it’s remained on top of the pile ever since. Here you’ll find brilliant ideas for dinners, and plenty of them, with influences from Sweden, Sicily, Turkey and Georgia. Divided into chapters based around easily available core ingredients – pasta, fish, sausages, leg of lamb – with seasonal vegetables and fruit in their own sections, Diana gives lots of recipes and ideas to make mealtimes easier. Must Make: Roast Squash, Feta and Black Olive Salad.
Christmas is coming/The goose is getting fat… and it’s more than time to have your Christmas lists made and almost completed. This year, between living out of the city and being completely immersed in the Ballymaloe Cookery Course, it’s almost crept up on me – and I know that I’m not the only one! Here are a few present ideas for your similarly-food orientated friends.
Practical exam over since Wednesday – not very happy with it but delighted that it is over – and two of our three final papers also done. It’s the final countdown to 3.30pm, the end of exams and the end of cooking school. Tonight there’s a class dinner at Ballymaloe House then it’s back to Ballycotton’s Blackbird for the rest of the evening. Just that final exam to get through first…
Yesterday we had our last day of cooking in Kitchen Three. It’s hard to believe that we’re into the final few days of the course already. At least I got to murder my first lobster before we finished up, for yesterday’s Lobster with Cream and Fresh Herb lunch. The other dish I made was a Walnut and Armagnac tart with a really short, biscuity pastry and – of course – another pair of sourdough loaves. Had a bit of a disaster with the bread on Friday, however, as I forgot to put in the salt so it misbehaved and didn’t turn out very well. At least the loaves yesterday were much better, which is a relief as I’m hoping to use the bread toasted under the cheese in my exam starter – A Warm Salad of Ardsallagh Goat’s Cheese with Walnut Oil Dressing. After morning demo today, many of us have Cook Ahead time – my Yoghurt and Cardamom Cream needs to set overnight and at least that will be one less thing to worry about tomorrow although the time will be taken off. It’s nice to think that I might get the whole dinner and bread cooked in three hours but, at this stage, I’m not so pushed about that. I just want to get finished!
Wine exam over – phew! – so it’s now time to get stuck into revision for next week’s theory papers. Meanwhile, we’re treating ourselves very well in the house. I made my second pair of sourdough loaves yesterday and, when I brought them home, the Ranelagh Housemate produced his home-cured bacon so we had the Best Bacon Butties Ever with our homemade bread and bacon, followed by a side order of Homemade Noodles with Chicken Liver Sauce for the Husband, scrounged from school for the Husband.
Congratulations to Anne Kennedy over on Greatfood.ie who has got her new fine food and ingredient gift shop – Greatfood2buy.com – off the ground in perfect time for Christmas. I know she has been cooking and testing for the Greatfood.ie range of chutneys, preserves and jams – Wild Cranberry and Apple Relish sounds especially good and I think I’ll have to pick up a jar of Onion Marmalade with Plums and Port for myself. Living in the countryside, it’s not always easy to get your hands on things like puy lentils, verjuice, organic polenta, lavender honey, quality spices or my favourite argan oil but Anne has put together a great selection of products that can be all yours in the click of a button (if you have the use of a handy credit card…) She also has the award-winning Castle Leslie range of balsamic reductions for sale – a bottle of their Balsamic Reduction with Sherry and Fig has gone down a treat in this house, with spoonfuls being tasted at regular intervals. I have great plans to use it on some pan-fried duck breasts, if it ever makes it all the way to the kitchen. Watch out next week for Greatfood.ie’s Flavour of Italy range, including fine pasta, mostarda gift sets, Italian dolci and wine.