Food Writers / Cookbooks

Two new food heroes for me to worship

I haven’t posted in a little while as I have been completely wrapped up trying out a multitude of recipes inspired by two fantastic food writers, Diana Henry and Dan Lepard. Diana is a food writer for numerous publications, you may have read some of her work in The Telegraph, she recently published her fifth cookbook, which was brought to my attention by my friend Jan, it’s rather a mouthful – “Food from Plenty. Good food made from the plentiful, the seasonal and the leftover”. This is a great book for us mere mortals who don’t live in central London with specialist shops round the corner and a limitless food budget. Chapters dedicated to vegetables, grains and pulses, and roast leftovers are excellent, if there is one crtiticism I could give it’s that the portion sizes can be a little on the small side, so I’ve been tweaking away, and adding little touches here and there. But with 300 plus recipes this is a fantastic Go To book, there have been several occasions where a quick browse has shown that I actually have everything needed in the freezer, fridge and dry ingredient cupboard to have a go at something. Examples of this are the Indian beef (mince) and peas, M0roccan spiced roast squash and chickpeas with minted onions, Kaye Corma curry, Nicoise vegetable stew with rouille, and Creamy lentils and pumpkin with ginger and cumin. Seriously tasty stuff here!  Nigella, you have been bumped from top spot, this lady writes from the heart, with loads of common sense, and sets the taste buds tingling!

Dan Lepard is a master baker and writes for The Guardian, he also has a great website where he is on hand often on the forum for advice. He has also written a book now firmly on my wishlist called The Handmade Loaf. Thanks to him I have made several batches of bread this week alone, his method of minimal kneading sporadically seems to have great results as testified by many home and professional bakers. That’s not to say that you can’t knead away if you need to work out your frustration, it just won’t hurt the end result to not do so.  I have in my hours of research found that Mercadona supermarkets sell fresh yeast, and haven’t stopped baking since! I may not quite be up to sourdough bread yet, but my confidence grows with every batch, so much so that I’m experimenting with butter, oils, yoghurt and fat free creme fraiche, adding to a basic dough recipe to see what works best for me! I will be writing up my efforts, and hopefully if you can see that although it takes some time from start to finish, it’s actually pretty easy and not labour intensive on the whole, you’ll have a go! There is something really satisfying about tucking into your own bread, some make good dunkers, some the perfect sandwich, and apparently you’ll rarely get the same result twice if making by hand, however it’ll still reward you.

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