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Bia Sasta

On the look for a cookbook

Wednesday, 30th October, 2019 4:44pm

With October saying goodbye, we can now officially talk about Christmas. It's my favourite time of year (I say that about all the seasons, by the way) with loads of cooking, baking and gift planning going on in The Cottage. I have been very good throughout the year, not buying any cookbooks so I had to do a bit of research to see what has been published.

With climate change on everyone’s mind, meat-free cooking is widely covered and Jamie Oliver’s book ‘Veg’ is just one of many. His TV cookery show ‘Meatfree Meals’ has even Mr T thinking of a cauliflower roast. One of my favourite food writers, Nigel Slater, has championed vegetables long before it became a slogan and he has topped that with his seasonal ‘GreenFeast’ autumn/winter cookbook (the spring/summer version was released early this year) and it is definitely on my wishlist.

A Persian approach to vegetarian food is the subject of ‘Bazaar’ by Sabrina Ghayour – if her book ‘Persiana’ is anything to go by, Bazaar will have you drooling over the pages. I am not trying to convince you to become a vegetarian but maybe just add a meatfree day to your diet and these books will definitely give you some great ideas.

Moving on to mainstream cooking, Mary Berry has written a new book ‘Quick Cooking’ with 120 recipes from a fish crumble to Asian beef stir-fry, you will find tasty ideas for quick midweek dinners.

For historian buffs and die-hard fans of Downtown Abbey, the official cookbook has been released and adapted recipes popular during the period the TV series is set will have you feast like the upper class – dressing up is mandatory, especially if you are hosting a Downtown Abbey dinner party. Matching the official version, the unofficial version of Downtown Abbey cooking is also available.

I haven’t seen it yet so can’t comment on the recipes but it might be interesting checking the differences between both. New cookbooks can be quite expensive but fear not, if you are on a budget, pay second hand and charity shops a visit.

You can find some rare treasures for just a few euros. Some of my best cookbooks came from charity shops and car boot sales and I treasure some of them more than the newer ones, they have been used, have character and very often are better written as well.

Another idea for a very personal gift would be to ask your mum or grandmother for the recipes they have been cooking for you over the years, turn it into a book and give to your partner or friends. Barbara Hubert on Tobin Street will be able to bind the book beautifully for you – I can think of no better gift for Christmas. I wish I had asked my grandmother for some of her recipes, no one could make red cabbage the way she did. Recipes are alive with memories, collecting them before they are lost preserving them for future generations and make them part of your very own history.

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