Thursday, May 14, 2009

On my bedside table

It's been a Masterchef frenzy at my house recently, and even now I am listening to Debbie Enker on 774 discussing how she is addicted to watching it too. I guess I've taken it upon myself to learn a few things, as my cooking knowledge has a few gaping holes. Any tips I can pick up from George Calombaris are more than welcome, so far I know how to make an olive oil chocolate mousse. In a cross promotion, get thee to Hellenic Republic peoples, viva Brunswick!

I was vegan/vego for 10 years, so I still don't quite have a handle on cooking meat (I have modest success though, thanks Weber), I try not to bake because I work from home and would scoff the lot, I have been known to be rather lazy and get to 5pm and think 'dohp-what the hell are we eating tonight?'

Then I changed my tune, I figured that I have a folder full of tear sheets of recipes from the Age, I have some great cookbooks, why the bloody hell don't I use them? So every weekend I sit down with a pot of Lady Grey (my favourite, don't you know that already?), thumb through my recipes and write a shopping list/menu for the week. Maybe you're all doing this already and are saying, jeez Emma, get with the program! Scuse me for my tardiness, I'm a late bloomer.

I can tell you it really has changed my attitude to cooking, instead of a rushed, resentful experience, it is organised, welcomed and thoroughly enjoyed. Leo is a great assistant, he loves standing on his chair at the bench, fiddling and tasting and getting a mess on his sleeves.
I have hidden many vegies in meals for him, the zucchini in the chickpea fritters, the carrot in the spag bol, I can't complain, he is a great eater.

We have recently been baking muffins for his snackbox at Kindergarten, grated apple and strawberry jam, carrot and sultana, cheese and paprika. The key for me to not scoff the lot is to store them in the freezer. I know that there are ways around frozen muffins, but I'm not listening, I'm not listening, la la la la la.

Anyways, this is an exceptionally long preamble to my current bedside/kitchenside book, Karen Martini Cooking at Home. We have been singing the praises of this book over at Beci Orpin's blog, and I really am smitten by the whole package. I guess most of my torn-out recipes from the Age are Karen Martini's, and this collection of recipes is based on her Age column - the avocado pictured above on sourdough is one of my all time faves.

"Since having her first child, Karen Martini has spent a lot more time contemplating the eternal question of what to have for dinner. No longer able to pop out to a restaurant at a moment's notice or to the shops to pick up a basketful of exotic ingredients, Karen has put together a repertoire of dishes that can be put together quickly and simply, but with great effect."

One thing I really must mention is the photography, by Earl Carter, apparently all done without extra lighting at Karen's own home. There is a real sense of rich, simple seduction in the images, light and shade, chiaroscuro for those of you who know the Renaissance, (think Caravaggio).

Listening to: Betty Davis - Git in There
deep deep funk from this Awesome lady, once married to Miles Davis



The ladies of HML are also addicted to Masterchef. I cooked Georges Spag Bol - a la 17 engredients - amazing! Can you believe how much butter goes in mashed potato??? I have nearly 300 cookbooks (yes I have a problem) and my idea of heaven is a pot of tea and a spare hour to go through them. But for the weekly shop I have 4 staples that live on the coffee table - Tana Ramsey (gordons wife so much more practical!), Jamie Oliver, Maggie Beer, Nigel Slater and on your recommendation I'm going to add Karen Martini! Ramona

Unknown said...

Ramona, 300 cookbooks, you could challenge Pip to a groaning bookshelf contest!
I tried the spag bol, wasn't sure about the cinnamon though. I always associate it with porridge and my tastebuds got confused about time of day etc.
Kind of tried the mashed potato and drew the line at a much lesser quantity of butter, yikes that was decadent.
So I wonder what they'll be doing tomorrow? I'll be thinking of you!!

Di said...

I started planning our "dinners for the week ahead" a while (maybe 6 months?) ago and have to say I agree- it's reinvigorated my love of cooking, which had sadly become somewhat of a resented chore.
Happy cooking! (and eating)