Sunday, 28 October 2012

Cookbook Frenzy! Rediscovering recipes you already own.

This week we are having a big push to sort out the Black Hole that exists in our flat: one of the yet to be renovated rooms that is officially a store room but has become an impossible to navigate dumping ground. I am not posting a photo of it because, quite honestly, it's just too horrible to share.

My parents are coming over in a couple of days to help occupy the baby so I can dive in there and not emerge until it's respectable. And usable. Lucky me...

Anyway, today I have been doing some preparatory clearing out around the edges and I decided it was time to dig out my cookbook collection that has been languishing in there for far too long. Time for a streamlining session, or so I thought.

As you can see, there's a fair few books here: 38 to be precise. I already have around 20 in the kitchen that I use regularly or have more recently acquired and then there is my magazine cuttings collection which is, to put it mildly, extensive.

It seems that despite the fact that this collection was acquired during my meat and dairy years, there's vegan life in them there books. Quite a lot, in fact. You see, one thing I have learnt since giving up meat and dairy is that it is actually easier to convert meat dishes than vegetarian dishes. It's all that cheese. Some vegetarian books have very few recipes without cheese, many of them so fundamentally reliant on the cheese that it's fairly pointless to try 'veganising' them. Sorry, I hate that word but it has its uses.

One such book I looked at tonight seemed to take cheese obsession to extremes. The great Italian cheese Gran Padano featured in every single recipe and it was a while before I twigged and noticed it was in fact an advertising brochure for - yes - Gran Padano. I'm tired, okay? But my point still stands. The inventive Simon Rimmer is one that springs to mind. Less cheese, please Simon, because other wise I love the food!

Needless to say my streamlining session did not go as planned. In each book there was an immediate selection of very tasty sounding meals. A really good sounding recipe for refried beans ... a stonking black bean sauce ... a book that tells you every single way imaginable with potatoes ... smoky lentils ... sweet and sour lentils ... coriander dahl ... mushrooms with curry butter ...

I want to eat it all now! You may notice the Indian slant to my choices but that's no surprise to me. It is our favourite food and we spent some time in India a few years ago so we have a knowledge of it that goes way beyond the British curry house (which I love, by the way). And now I come to look at them altogether, I have a pretty good selection of Indian cookbooks!

Lucky, lucky me. My only problem now is how on earth do I choose what to do first! Menu planning may take some time this week...


  1. I love rediscovering old cook books!!! Interesting thing about the cheese. I didn't realise how much I ate until I did Rosemary Conley diet (cheese is a big no no unless it's less than 5% and honestly, why would you do that!?) and practically cut it out. I stopped noticing after a while. I have it now but not anywhere near as much as I used to.

    1. We used to eat far too much cheese so I did have to relearn some ways of cooking and completely abandon some recipes that just aren't worth trying to recreate without it.

      If you're going to eat it occasionally though, you may as well eat good stuff!