I'm sure I'm not the only person with a shelf full of cookbooks, each bought because of the beautiful photography, the promise of simplicity or just because you were hungry at the time. I get them out occasionally, flick through the pages, maybe cook one thing, then put them back on the shelf.
I'll skite a bit now. I'm a pretty good cook. My cupboards are stocked with ingredients from all around the world and I love nothing more than whipping up Japanese, Indian, Turkish dishes. My family have come to expect good food, and that I can make just about anything.
So why do I still buy cookbooks and foodie magazines? I get sucked in by the pictures and the idea of food. But I don't generally use any of the thousands of recipes in my home to create meals. I just forge off on my own and get the troops fed.
So I've set myself a challenge. For the next year I'm going to have one book permanently in my kitchen. I'm going to use it as my 'main cookbook' to actually use it. I often start with grand plans to do this kind of challenge, and then fall away when life gets busy. Let's see if I can keep this going for the next year!
I've narrowed down my choices to four cookbooks. Annabelle Langbein's 'The Free Range Cook' was bought after I tasted Caz's version of the caramelised onion tart. I then watched the series and loved the other things in it. I've made a couple (you need to try her coleslaw!), and want to make more.
Nigella Lawson's 'Forever Summer' has given me the recipe for chocolate pavlova, my kid's favourite, and I'd love to share her Margarita Ice Cream with friends.
'Saraban' by Greg and Lucy Malouf is a recent purchase and gosh I'm glad I did. We love making the breads from it and there is a lot of flavour in the other recipes.
As lovely as these books are there is one which has to be the one I use for this challenge. 'Apples for Jam' by Tessa Kiros I bought on a whim. I'd read a review of the book and it sounded good. I hopped online and when it arrived I was drawn in to the idea of the stories behind lots of the recipes.
Food is so much more than just nourishment. It is memory. I wonder what my favourite memory of the coming year will be?