Tuesday, 16 March 2010
Recipes and Cookbooks
Compiling recipes that I want to cook isn't the hard part. The hard part is getting around to actually cooking them!
I tend to send Peter a URL saying "What about this?", and he either responds non-commitally (by which I know that he doesn't really think so), or is enthusiastic, at which point I start adding ingredients to the weekend shopping list.
At the moment, I'm drooling over two recipes- Pork Loin braised in milk, and Baked Feta with Beetroot and Chickpeas. (Later edit: and Smoked bacon and mackerel cakes!)
I hope to make the first this weekend- the second, I don't know, as I am pretty sure that it will be a recipe that will make Peter grunt in an unimpressed manner. Mainly because Peter, despite being Swiss, isn't actually that enthused... whisper it... by cheese! He likes what he describes as "real" cheese, namely Gruyere, Etivaz, artisanal mountain cheeses, but confront him with a lovely runny Brie or Camembert, and he runs a mile! He even complains about my definitely non-runny Coulommiers, claiming that it smells much too strongly. Which it doesn't- being an industrial, supermarket cheese, it doesn't smell much at all. It's very nice in a sandwich, though!
I bought myself the most fantastic slab of cheese at the weekend. Unfortunately, I don't remember the name, and Peter threw the bag away whilst unpacking it, so I'll have to check this weekend what it was. All I remember was that it was an aged version of a cheese that I usually associate with runniness- and it was firm, yet still soft. It was so good that I actually ate almost all the entire slab in the space of two days! I have to get more. Have to. And make Peter try it. It was so nutty... (Later edit: it was a Vacherin Fribourgeois. Heavenly!)
Going back to recipes, I also have a large folder of recipes torn out of magazines... some of which I really need to sort through and plan out. After all, spring is coming, it's going to be barbecue season, it's time to start preparing for summer entertaining! Not least for Peter's Birthday Party- an event which we usually celebrate by me spending two days cooking and preparing for, after which a large bunch of people turn up, spend a good six hours eating, and then leave with doggy-bags, as I've made far too much!
We skipped holding it last year, as we'd only moved a couple of months earlier. But this year... I think we're back on. Not least because we've still not had our house-warming, so it might be a good idea to combine the two events.
Mm, time to start thinking about that. Making lists, doing trial runs of recipes...
I have just received a message from Peter saying that two book packages have turned up for me at home. I've ordered three books recently- one copy of Darina Allen's Forgotten Skills of Cooking, which I hope will be as good as it is reviewed, and thus very helpful... and two more copies of La Cuisine des Familles.
This is an odd little cookbook. It appears to be entirely local to Switzerland, which sweeping statement I base entirely on two factors- when searching abebooks for copies, most copies are available in Switzerland; when searching Ebay.fr, there are no copies at all.
So, why do I have two copies?
I now have six.
I picked up a first copy, dating from I think 1925, about four years ago. A few months later, my parents gave me an earlier copy, from 1898. The latter was the eleventh edition- the 1925 one is, I think, about 54th. At this point, I thought it would be interesting to see if I could pick up other editions. I bought one last year, from the '40s, maybe the 68th edition. Then last week I picked up another one... and now I've been a Bad Girl and have been on abebooks, and have picked up two more.
(I've just noticed a 1961 edition available on abebooks. From a seller in Italy. I don't have one that late.)
I'm wondering quite how many editions this went through before finally going out of print. It really does seem that there was an edition a year! The first one seems to have come out in 1893, judging by the various 2002 re-prints of that edition that I'm seeing advertised.
I'm going to have to be careful over this- I know what I'm like when I get a bee in my bonnet over books, and I'm almost as bad when it comes to collecting something. Combining the two could be quite lethal to my wallet! But I do rather lust over tracking down more copies of this... and, after all, they're not that expensive... I would just love to see a shelf full of the different editions!
On the other hand, I have no idea where I'd put them- I already have an entire bookcase full of cookbooks, and they're starting to have to be double-stacked.