I have been a bit quiet over these last two weeks, and that’s because I caught what started as a cold and then turned into a nasty sinusitis. Awake and coughing most of the nights, I took this opportunity to plan the newest feature on Food Nouveau: Book Week.
I have a big collection of cookbooks (E would say huge) that fills a whole bookcase in the kitchen and spills over in the living room (last time I checked, I counted more than 180 of them). Cookbooks are my weakness: I can’t stop buying them and I read them like novels. Sometimes I bookmark recipes I plan on doing later on but most often, I will forget about them and almost never cook from my books.
During one of my sleepless nights I thought, I can appreciate great writing but how can I appreciate a book for its true worth if I never cook from it?
Since most people take time to consider if a book is worth buying before indulging, I thought it would be useful for me to review books – not in a traditional essay-style way, but by cooking from it and telling you about it.
And so Book Week is born. Once a month, I will choose one book from which I will cook a week’s worth of breakfasts, lunches, dinners and desserts. Sometimes not all meals will be available from a single book, but I will make a varied selection of recipes, between 8 and 12 of them. For example, for main courses I will select a fish, a meat and a pasta dish. As often as possible, I will stick strictly to the ingredients and instructions given in a recipe to really find out if they are reliable. After cooking all of the recipes, I will choose which ones were the best and transcribe them with pictures, comments and notes, and also review why others weren’t so good. I will finally write a general review of the book telling you if it’s an essential or if you can overlook it.
For my first week, I chose Nigella Lawson’s Nigella Express. From watching her TV shows, I already know Nigella’s cooking style is no-frills simple. I think of her as the female Jamie Oliver: not measuring too much, indulging in delicious and fresh, but not complicated, flavors. Express cooking was exactly what I needed after being sick, and the cover indeed shows us that the book is made for busy people, depicting Nigella cooking while texting on her cell phone. We’ll see if cooking from this book is as quick and easy as promised.
Here’s my lineup for the week:
- Lasy Loaf
- Croque-Monsieur Bake
- Crab & Avocado Salad with Japanese Dressing
- Sweet Corn Chowder with Tortillas
- Broccoli & Stilton Soup
- Red Shrimp & Mango Curry
- Seared Salmon with Singapore Noodles
- Lamb, Olive & Caramelized Onion Tagine
- Blackberry Crisp
- Totally Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies