08 January 2008

2tlbs inspiration

I'm not cooking a lot at present. After all of the Christmas feasting, and then a week in Sydney which threw our family eating habits a bit out of whack, it's taking me a while to get back into the rhythm again. Plus it's been very hot, which means that spending time over the stove isn't all that pleasant.

However, I am storing up plenty of inspiration thanks to two lovely, recently acquired cookbooks.

The first is The Kitchen Diaries by Nigel Slater. I love his food, and the way he writes, and this book is fabulous. He charts what he cooks, craves and eats over the course of a year, sharing recipes on the way. You get a wonderful insight into how Slater thinks, and how much food matters, not just to fill our bellies, but also for pure enjoyment.

The only difficulty with this book is that it follows the northern hemisphere seasons, which means that January is big on the comfort food. So I'm reading June at present, to get inspiration for summer eating. Think I'll take this one away when we go to the beach later this month.

(If you haven't read Slater's autobiography Toast, I can heartily recommend it. It is both moving and amusing.)

The other cookbook I'm enjoying at present is another journal style one, and one of the most beautiful books around at the moment - Falling Cloudberries by Tessa Kiros. Thanks to a generous gift voucher left over from my birthday in November, and Dymock's recent 20% off booksale, I finally treated myself to this gorgeous book, having loved one of her other books, Apples for Jam.

Kiros has enjoyed a very cosmopolitan life. The child of a Finnish mother and Cypriot father, she has also lived in South Africa and is now based Italy with her own family. Each chapter is based on one of these countries (as well as Greece), with Kiros sharing her memories of each country through food. And there are plenty of wonderful evocative photographs of the food, the places and her family.

I've not cooked anything from Falling Cloudberries yet, but I know her recipes will work beautifully, as everything I've made from Apples has done.

Obviously, I don't belong to the school of thinking that you can have too many cookbooks (especially ones as lovely as these), although I know many people who think that you can. I find really good ones hard to resist, and I do return to them again and again.

Now, what's for tea tonight? (Actually, I'm going out to see a chick-flick with my mate Beth, and we'll eat out.)

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