I was recently asked by the very nice people over at Abel and Cole if I would like to receive a copy of their cookbook. Now I have seen much of this book over the internet in the last few months so was thrilled to have my very own copy.
I must tell you here and now that despite having been a professional cook in my life before children, I'm not very good with cook books. I have great difficulty following a recipe - I always add other things or miss things out, never bother measuring accurately (except for cakes and other bakey things) and am in general a slop-jockey as Mr Stressy puts it.
So I was more than a little sceptical about adding another book to my shelves one that would remain closed until such time as it ended up heading to the charity shop.
But oh boy, oh boy was I excited when I opened this book. Apart from the wonderful photography, the recipes are just crying out to be made. And you know what? There's none of this poncy 'quarter of a teaspoon of this' or 'two tablespoons of that', no, we have proper measurements in this book - mugs, handfuls, glugs, splashes and dollops. Perfect measuring systems for all potential slop-jockeys! The writing is almost irreverent - it's fantastic, I laughed when I started reading it - at last a book written specially for me!
The book is laid out in season order - they encourage you to not only buy organic, but to buy local produce wherever possible - none of this strawberries in winter business.
I couldn't wait to go shopping! The first thing I tried was 'Baba Ghanoush' - aka aubergine dip. So easy peasy and it looked so pretty, perfect for dipping in veggie sticks. I would miss out the raw garlic next time though - bit too aggressive for me!
That was our starter and for our main course I opted for Honey Glazed Salmon (p78) Two way Asian Watercress salad (p92) and Bombayed Jersey Royals (p44 - actually in the spring section, but I just used ordinary new potatoes.
Now I'm not entirely sure Mr Abel would approve of all these very strong flavours together, but I did and it was very, very delicious. Also incredibly simple to make and I will definitely, 100% be making this again. I'm not a big salmon eater, but done like this I think I could eat it every day for a week.
But why bother eating the same thing for a week when there are so many other scrummy things begging to be tasted? I am desperate to try the rhubarb bread and butter pudding also the baked strawberries with honey whipped cream and the sweetcorn and feta salad and the Calcutta lamb burgers might even see the children sampling the delights! There is honestly so much in this book I want to try. I know I've said it before, but this is now my best cook book. It does not sit on the shelf along with the other books, no, it's right at the side of my oven, calling me constantly. Expect to see many more things from the pages of this book on Stashbasket's blog in the coming months!
I really don't want you all to think that I'm just going on about how wonderful this book is because they gave it me for free. It really is great - and Kathryn, if you haven't got a copy yet, put it on the Amazon list straight away! (Or order it from here for free world wide delivery, and it's 50p cheaper too!)