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Sunday, October 13, 2013

Cook Books Galore

Blog note book (I now have a 2nd)
I have all my blog notes prepared and I am seriously behind since we moved back to England I have been finding it difficult to find the motivation to do anything, it's not been an easy year. So anyway I am very behind and because of that some of my posts are slightly too dated and I am having to alter them slightly to make them more current this one started off like this, "As I have mentioned before I am a bit of a cookbook fiend, my books are slowly taking over the bookshelf." Well that bit is dated because my books HAVE taken over the bookshelf and spilled over into a second, upstairs on the landing. I'll admit that whilst I have seen some peoples collections are far more extensive than my own, mine is probably going to be a life long hobby. A few years ago my cookbook collection was weak at best, and compiled of books which I had managed to pick up for a euro or two, or those that had been passed onto me either by my mother or grandmother. I was able to save a few but a lot got left with my ex, he has probably disposed of them by now as that's what he does with books. During that time cooking was plain, boring and a chore, stick the occasional 20 euro in my hand and I would go and buy a pair of shoes or a handbag, to cheer me up. Pointless really because I always wear the same shoes and use the same handbag. Now that I cook and I am learning all the time about new things, my money is better spent on cookbooks. As I use all of them all none of them go to waste. Unlike when I buy a pair of shoes or a new hand bag that I'll never wear or use.

95% of my books are a calculated resource, bought for one reason or another, most of my books have lots of additional information in them, about food, how to prepare it and tips and tricks. I find different books bring a whole wealth of different cooking knowledge to my table. My books are slowly but surely covering everything about cookery. When I originally wrote this blog out I had 87 including my magazine collection, that's since grown to 188, including my magazine collection - I have put most of them in folders so they are advertisement free, with the exception of a few which are advert free so although sold as a magazine, they are like little paper back books. If you are like me and like to have lots of information about cooking as well as the recipes themselves, it's worth looking around - one author is likely to give you some information you can glean from, two may give you two different opinions. Take an army of cooks and their opinions and ideas, are more likely to give you a whole wealth of invaluable knowledge, whilst I prefer the books with added text, even those with just recipes can teach you about techniques if you read them properly. For example one of the books told me that my "Baking Issues" maybe because my hands are too warm and gave me some ideas on how to rectify this, it was great to know what the problem was, I just didn't know why it was an issue. I was to later find out from Delia Smith that if the fat becomes too oily (through melting) because the rubbing takes longer and everything is too warm. What happens is that it coats more flour grains than it should. This means that the flour can't absorb enough water and the pastry will crumble and be difficult to roll out." This is just one example.

Heston Blumenthal, explained how certain flavours cut into each other and that all our senses make up the taste. It covered about 30 pages in total but was a very interesting read. I could go on for hours about what chefs like Nigella, Jamie Oliver, Tara Ramsay and Anthony Worral Thompson have taught me to name but a few but I'd be here for hours, but what I will say is that each book serves a purpose a little research and a quick flick through of the book (if you are buying in store) will help you to chose your books wisely, don't forget Amazon have customer reviews read the good and the bad to make an informed decision - I recently almost bought a book because of all the good reviews and then read the bad ones and changed my mind. You have to read the reviews and judge by what's written if it will serve your purposes. 

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