I have a stash of cookbooks with a few firm favourites: the Marie Claire cook books (Donna Hay), Thai Cooking (David Thompson), Classic Italian Cookbook (Marcella Hazan), A Taste of India (Madhur Jeffrey), Appetite (Nigel Slater) and the Every Day Cook Book (Margueritte Patten). I also tear out at least a couple of recipes each week from magazines and newspapers so I have a mound of those, most of which I never try. When planning a special meal, I research my cookbooks and clippings to put together a menu.
I’ve dabbled with online recipes previously and my challenge this week was to cook for a special dinner party for 8 using only online recipes.
The first course: I had a yummy soup recently and, knowing the ingredients, I googled them and easily found this recipe for Roasted Kumara (sweet potato) and Garlic Soup.
The main course: I adapted this Lamb Tagine recipe, substituting Herbie’s tagine spice mix and using apricots instead of the dates. Slow cooked in a cast iron casserole dish a day ahead, it was meltingly tender and delicious. Gordon Ramsay’s recipe for Lemon and Coriander Couscous was dead set to be a hit with the birthday boy who loves lemon and pine nuts.
A great thing about online recipes is googling the key ingredients (say kumara+garlic or lemon+pine nuts+couscous) to come up with the perfect recipe. This saved me hours of poring through cook books and clippings. The downside? Endless options online. I found it best to go with a tried and trusted site (like taste.com.au - 22,000+ recipes!) much the same as previously sticking with with a favourite cookbook.
I’m excited about fantastic food apps. On Epicurious you type in the ingredients and get a choice of recipes, make a shopping list and read reviews – 4 forks = 100% (everyone would make it again). You don’t get that with cookbooks! My top app was recommended by foodie friend Gez. It’s the ABC’s brilliant FOOD which features wonderful pictures, step-by-step recipes, reviews, shopping lists, a timer and even voice control. Kudos to the ABC for this – it’s as good as their must-have iView app.
And a bonus – my old plastic recipe book stand is a perfect holder for my iPad recipes.
I expect my cookbooks will now gather dust before they finally bite the dust. And another challenge for me – to throw out all my recipe clippings.
‘The reality is that changes are coming….they must come. You must share in bringing them.’ John Hersey
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