A couple of new cookbooks have arrived! My collection is a bigger than anyone needs, really, but I justify this by lending them to whoever wants to borrow them.
First is the Polpo cookbook, from the restaurant of the same name, where I had a wonderful meal with three old friends recently, but I have to say that eating the real thing was more enjoyable than reading the book, and I speak as someone who usually derives just as much pleasure from thinking about food as from eating it. Something about it left me a bit uninspired and I’m not sure why. Possibly I just need to leave it a while and go back to it. It’s not the kind of food my family would eat (one slightly fussy husband, one mega-fussy child, one pretty easy-going child, and one mush-loving baby), which is probably why I enjoy baking so much, because everyone likes pie! And if they don’t, all the more for me!
The second was the new Paul Hollywood book, called How to Bake, and every other page corner is turned down to come back to later. Loads of pictures, which is essential I think. Must-cooks include:
Maneesh on page 87, a spicy seedy flat-bread
Breakfast Rolls on page92, curls of dough incorporating bacon, mushroom and eggs
ALL the Danish pastry recipes
ALL the Brioche variations
The iced Fruit Loaf on page 115
I made his version of Lemon drizzle Cake, and didn’t like it as much as the one I usually make, which has more butter in it. Bold, but true…
The third new arrival is Tamasin Day-Lewis’s Art of the Tart which I lent to a friend so long ago I didn’t feel it was mine to ask for any more, so I ordered a new one. It’s an old one, but full of inspiration – must-cooks include:
Potato, Garlic & Parsley Tourte on page 26, where the puff pastry and potato are part cooked and then the creamy garlic custard is funnelled into the tart so that its still creamy when the tart is finished. Fiddly, but worth it for that perfect texture combination.
Sweetcorn & Spring Onion Tart with Polenta Crust on page 54. I haven’t cooked it for years, but remember it being delicious, very sweet, and the all-polenta crust works really well.
ALL the Tartes Tatins
Actually most of this book is really appealing, but it needs more images. I don’t think it’s going too far to photograph every recipe, because cookbooks aren’t just for cooking from. They are for curling up with, and sharing with friends.