Last year I started a cookbook club. I think the name came to me as I wanted to find like-minded food obsessed people who loved food and cooking as much as I did.
Tuesday night seemed like a good night as there was not a lot happening in town that night. Living in a small country town which attracted city visitors for long weekends made sense.
Keeping it simple was my mantra and ironically ‘ Simple’ the sellout cook book from Yothan Ottolenghi was my choice to start. If you didn’t already have a copy borrowing from the local library or friends was easy enough and the recipes were not too challenging and they were delicious! Some of the ingredients were new to us but with some research one could locate ‘ burrata’ and ‘rose harissa’
Six to eight seemed a good number and one prepared one dish to share with the guests. I did a little research here a few days before would call and check to see what people were bringing so there were four tomato dishes or three desserts. And looking back on the year every meal came together very well.
I liked to have the table set in advance and provide chilled water and suggested that the group bring a bottle of what they would like to accompany the food. Come at 6.45 for 7 pm start and aim to wind up @ 9pm (though often it would be later).
A few left and new ones joined but I was happy to accommodate six (limited dining table) most evenings but it was a fun and entertaining evening. Choosing a recipe from a particular cook book often pushed one outside of one’s comfort zone but several months the cook/chef had released not just one but several books with a common cuisine so sharing cook books had been fairly easy….and there is always the internet for additional browsing.
One of the group fondly called it ‘ the best restaurant in town’! Thinking back I feel two of the most interesting meals were our first and last for the year. The first was exciting and new and was it going to work curiousity….especially with new ingredients (mentioned earlier). And our last was the most challenging as it was Russian food as i had just returned from a food trip there. Russian cookbooks …written in English…were not so easy to find (but we did) and it was we agreed the better food than we had in Russia! Perhaps it was enhanced by two of my fellow travellers on that trip who made the journey for the meal made it more special. I have blogged about this meal and the others in earlier stories.
What is ahead for the New Year? Firstly we are doing a CWA evening which will be a retro night with recipes from cook books my mother produced many years ago when she was involved in the organisation. With the bush fires destroying our country at present I think,it timely we salute the CWA (Country womens association) who provide sandwiches and drinks for the firefighters and volunteers at this crucial time and hopefully we can add to their coppers. The main book I have in mind for this is ‘Farmer Recipes and Stories from the Land’
Other cook books I have in mind are from the former USSR including Jewish cooking. And Italian food…just because I am doing a food trip there in June! And a vegetarian night too. Do you have any suggestions or if you would like to start your very own cookbook club and need inspiration let me know. Oh and I went to a
charity for glasses and some jugs for water. Keep it simple. And keep cooking! Pictures from our wonderful Russian night!