When I visit my family we spend most of our time in the kitchen cooking, that’s how we catch up on what is going on in our lives. Our conversations are mingled with interceptions of how much sugar to pour in, how to better slice the runner beans, how many times one should soak and rinse the rice before cooking (3 times is the correct answer) and a whole load of food related comments that come up as we prepare, cook and bake.
This is all very lovely but I find myself at a slight disadvantage... my sister is a Chef who had her own restaurant for over 15 years and my mum’s cooking is so legendary that wedding planners have asked for her recipes. Even my brother’s girlfriend Veronica is an accomplished cook, despite being a strict vegetarian she knows how to gut fish and make a good chicken soup for her daughter. I try my best to impress them but despite my best efforts I don’t quite cut the mustard!
Instead of envying their amazing cooking skills I’m trying to learn from them, so I always take my notepad when I visit. Over the years have put together a nice selection of dishes and techniques, I usually adapt the recipes to better suit my style of eating, such as substituting flours with starch free versions and some potatoes with other root vegetables.
Instead of relying on cook books I rather learn those who’s food I like the taste of. However there are a couple of books I just could not live with:
The Art of Eating Well by Hemsley & Hemsley – My number one book for inspiration, this new way of eating has really improved my health and changed the way I look at many different kinds of foods. For example, I would never now eat nuts without pre-soaking them so that they are easily digested.
Jamie Oliver – The Return of Naked Chef - I’m not a good baker at all, so when it comes to desserts for a dinner party I know I can trust Jamie’s recipes.... because they ALWAYS work!
Deliciously Ella – Really cute and easy recipes... I also use this mainly for inspiration.