Archive for the ‘GRUB’ Category
I own a lot of recipe books, and I bet you do too. And I’m equally willing to wager only a tiny proportion of them are covered in flour and greasy fingermarks like a well-used, well-loved recipe book should be. The one I refer to most often because it contains delicious recipes that look impressive but are relatively simple to make, is Nigella Lawson’s Nigella Bites. But I think that might change very soon, as the latest addition to my kitchen windowsill is Sasha Wilkins aka Liberty London Girl’s new recipe book,Friends, Food, Family.
Last year I was one of the lucky, greedy guinea pigs who enjoyed the bounty of Sasha’s dinner table while she exhaustively trialled the recipes for her book so I can confirm that they are very tasty indeed. And last week I attempted one of the mushroom-on-toast recipes to prove that they were easy to follow too.
But what comes across in both the words and the pictures in this beautiful book is a message that’s more important than how to make a Victoria Sponge rise (though this is obviously crucial information.) What Sasha delivers is a lesson in living well – enjoying the company of your nearest and dearest, nurturing them with the food you make, yes, but also nurturing yourself by creating shared moments of kinship.
Drunken dinner parties where you set the world to rights over bottles of prosecco and something warm in a casserole dish, Sunday lunches that go on for hours with children and small dogs crawling around under the table, impromptu picnics, al desco snacks that lift the spirits rather than crushing the soul.
Sasha makes her point elegantly and emphatically: cooking good food should be a pleasure, not a stressful chore. Buy the best ingredients you can find and afford, cheat whenever possible to minimise your time in the kitchen and maximise your time at the table, because ultimately what matters is the memories you make, not whether the soufflé rose properly.
Peppered in between the recipes are handy lists based on Sasha’s travels – the best flower markets in cities across the world, ingenious ways to arrange flowers to look fancy, and a killer dinner party playlist featuring Taylor Swift and Patsy Kline – all drawn from her experiences as a globetrotting, multitasking blogger and editor. Oh and praise be, she calls them FAIRY cakes NOT cupcakes and if that doesn’t convince you of this book’s credibility I don’t know what will.
Last month Penguin editor Sophie Missing and ex-Penguin now Kew Gardens-publicist Caroline Craig‘s first cookbook was published. The Little Book of Lunch is full of ideas from the raw (‘Rainbow Rescue: your five-a-day in a jar’) to the baked (salted caramel brownies in the ‘Bribing Colleagues with Sweet Treats’). These are recipes for office people with imaginations because even if you can’t usually manage more than one take-in a week you will love flipping through this gorgeous collection of inspirations and amusing asides on al desko etiquette and lunchbox-styling tips.
What was it like being on the author-side of the project as current/former publishing-employees? Did you experience any (un)pleasant surprises?
SM: It was actually really fun to see the other side of the process. And an eye-opener of course, because I was used to seeing things from the publisher’s perspective. I think I was terrified of annoying our publishers though!
CC: Yes, it was really interesting. As Sophie says we were mainly trying to be the kind of author we enjoy working with… Hands-off and letting the experts do their jobs! Don’t know if we always succeeded though…
What’s been your favourite part(s) of the process?
SM: It’s all been pretty exciting… doing the shoots was incredibly fun (though hard work) and a bit of a whirlwind. Seeing the proofs (and having what you’ve written suddenly look like ‘a real actual book’) is always exciting too. Mostly though, it’s been amazing to hear that people who aren’t our friends or our family like it, and enjoy the recipes. That’s the best. And a massive relief.
CC: I loved writing it so much! Sitting at my laptop in the kitchen at the crack of dawn with a cuppa… It was also wonderful writing as a partnership: Sophie and I would bounce off each other and I think our writing was all the better for it.
I loved the section on lunchboxes which made me feel inspired as well as deeply ashamed of my own scrappy Tupperware boxes. What are your favourite lunch receptacles and where did you find them?
SM: Caroline is the queen of the attractive lunchbox. She inspired me to buy a rather chic (if I do say so myself) aluminium one from Objects of Desire. It could double as a handbag. Muji is also good and practical.
CC: To be honest there are some mornings when I’m in such a rush I’ve been known to grab the first thing to hand to transport my lunch… a plastic bag… a tea towel. But yes, I do love my enamel tiffin tin too! Read More…
Yes, yes, I know. You’re a girl who eats burgers therefore you’re totally ‘normal’ and make a great girlfriend because you can go to MeatLiquor with your boyfriend and not spend the whole time pushing deep fried gherkins reluctantly about your plate but seriously… I don’t need your finger lickin’ food diary all-up on my google reader. Please find something else to blog about and wake up to the fact that YOU ARE NOT AN ANOMALY.
I hate to diss a sista but what (for the love of God!) is this modern day obsession with girls showcasing their carnivorous dark side like they’ve kickstarted a new phase of female evolution? Without wanting to hurl a honey-glazed rib in the workings of their cool campaign, I eat red meat too but manage to resist the urge to market myself as a burger-loving man fantasy, who wipes her greasy mouth on the sleeve of her Celine*. *I don’t own any Celine. It’s my fantasy within a fantasy.
Her words: “Who cares about clothes? Pah! I’m so much more interested in gorging on this hangar steak”
Her inner monologue: “Shit. Perhaps the torrent of tears I shed later will loosen the oil spill that just happened all over my Hermes”
Just like all of our lives are conscientiously edited to look like scenes from The Virgin Suicides (without the suicides), these blogs promote an image of fun-loving women who are more fun-loving than most because they’re accompanied by a big fat slab of medium-rare meat. Since when was an appetite an accessory and why is it sexy (!?) to opt for offal over insalate?
I, for one, am bored of looking at pictures of gorgeous girls salivating over plates piled with cow. I will gleefully go to Hawksmoor and Instagram the hell out of my meat feast but I will not subject my Facebook friends to pictures of my jaws clamped provocatively ’round a carcass.
Eating is fun and restaurants are hip and by all means keep telling me where to go get my iron-fix but please stop making me feel like chicken is for wimps. I quite like chicken and I DO worry about getting ketchup on my dungarees. That’s why I bib myself into oblivion, eat ’til I’m sated, then head home with béarnaise sauce in my hair. This is also why I’m not a food blogger, but I’m beginning to think i should be… #man-fantasy