i have been so inspired to do much more cooking recently. partly because i read wonderful tales of what people are making on twitter or on food blogs and partly from tv programmes like masterchef and the great british bake off. however, until recently, i felt overwhelmed by the choice that my cookery books, together with online recipes, offered. when i house sat for my parents' over the past few weeks, i reacquainted myself with their collection and decided to make full use of the kitchen.
i have had a huge amount of academic writing to do for a looming PhD chapter deadline and normally i turn to knitting as a complete switch off (when i'm not out with friends). but this time i just wanted to cook and bake and roast and, most importantly, try out new (relatively simple) recipes. i spent coffee breaks browsing recipes but then something happened that i have heard lots of 'foodies' speak of, i ended up taking my cookery books to bed with me. instead of taking the paper, my laptop or iphone to bed (ok, my iphone was next to me at all times), i took 2 or 3 books and just read recipes until i fell asleep. cooking (especially in my parents' great kitchen) was more absorbing and relaxing than i'd found it in ages and i spent evenings in the kitchen rather than stuck in front of the tv (which i would normally do after a hard day's writing). i did much less knitting but i enjoy it when different hobbies come into play at different times of the week or month.
as well as professional chefs and food writers, the people on twitter and food blogs who have particularly inspired me include:
- elly (@pearcafe) who runs a cafe & outside catering business and makes the most spectacular sandwiches and cakes (i must go and visit her soon!).
- dan (@EssexEating) who is a food blogger and lives with elly - together they cook up wonderful treats
- cambridge-based @bunnybanter who regularly posts about her seriously delicious concoctions and foodie trips to london
- catrin @papadeli who often comments about what cakes are sitting on the counter. if you live in bristol and you haven't yet been, you must go to this wonderful deli. i am hoping they will bring out a cook book at some point as all the food i have ever eaten there (savoury & sweet) has been inspiring and utterly divine
- lia (@lialeendertz), linda (@goodshoeday) and jules (@Domestic_jules) who regularly tweet and blog about what wonderful things they're making with their home-grown produce
- fiona beckett (@foodwriter) who has many strings to her foodie bow including providing good advice about how to cook frugally and is also part of the @StudentsCanCook team who source recipes and give further tips on cooking on a budget.
- and finally (!), my most recent discoveries - edd kimber (@TheBoyWhoBakes) and ruth clemens (@thepinkwhisk) - my favourite great british bake off contestants whose blogs have so many cakes and biscuits that i've added to my 'to bake' list.
so, as well as all these recipes i have access to for free, i still love leafing through books. a very generous friend gave me lots of fabulous birthday gifts. one of which was this:
i can't wait to try something from it soon. and last week i popped into oxfam on cotham hill and bought myself these
over the next few days i'll post things i've made recently. but, for now, i'm off to plan my next meal...