Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Collecting New Recipes

I'm gaining a reputation for being a keen cook, which I think is awesome - I look back to when this blog started and I can see how much I've improved as a cook (my food is almost always edible!) but it's pretty nice to have other people acknowledge it too. I guess it is fairly easy to impress other students, who as far as I can tell mostly live on a diet of frozen pizza and filled pasta, but more valuable to me was hearing my mum telling my stepdad about the impressive array of meals in my brother's freezer. Of course as said brother kindly pointed out, she didn't know what they tasted like - they might be disgusting. Thanks for the vote of confidence, kiddo.

Let's not pull any punches: that's a lot of books.

Anyway, because my family know I like cooking I have become the repository for unwanted recipe books. I'm certainly not objecting; reading cookery books is one of my favourite activities these days and I already have quite a few of my own. Unfortunately, most of the recipe books were unwanted due to a lack of storage space. I don't have any storage space either.

I didn't want to pass up on the possibility of exciting new recipes, however, so I spent the morning flicking through a huge stack of books. I divided them into three piles: books I definitely wanted to keep (fully vegetarian, very informative and packed with recipes I would want to cook), books that had some good recipes in them (mostly substantially carnivorous, so no point keeping the whole book) and books which were full of boring recipes back when they were written and which are now both boring and dated. The end result was: three books to keep, five books with at least one interesting recipe in them, a mountain of books to go to the charity shop.

The next step is copying the recipes from the middle category into my recipe file. Now I have seen many beautiful recipe files with neat little index cards, pretty photographs, cuttings from magazines, photocopies of glossy pages, the works. My recipe file is a Word document on my computer. It takes up no physical space and I almost always have it with me. It's not glamorous but it works.

I found sixteen recipes which I want to try. The bulk of them came from a Rice and Risotto recipe book, which I would really have liked to keep but I felt was fairly unnecessary. After all, risotto is uncomplicated once you've got the hang of it the first time - you put the rice in water, you add some other stuff, you stir. After a certain point, the recipes become different versions of the same thing. I chose a couple of interesting risottos, some rice salads, a delicious-sounding spinach and rice tart and even a dessert. Hard to say whether I'll ever get around to cooking them, although this summer I'll have ample opportunity to cook whilst staying with a friend in America. I might even start a new post series: cooking fresh food in MacProcessed land.

Anyway, I'm less than half way through copying these recipes so I must get on. Once that's done it will be time to go and cook tonight's dinner, which I'm afraid is not exciting: already-cooked vegetables to be turned into curry.

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