Before I launch into recipes and madness, I thought I'd share a little of what is inspiring me in the kitchen right now.This year I've acquired a few new recipe books, most recently Ching's Fast Food by Ching-He Ling.
Taking a bit of a step away from the more traditional English foods, I've been trying out stir fry's. Admittedly, this is a little tricky with no woks availble for the present, nor is the electric oven that I've got to get to grips with until February. This book is great however; at the beginning is a list of essential South-East Asian ingredients, so you know what is worthwhile on stocking up on, the recipes are easy to understand and read, even at the fast pace that stir frying dictates.
My other favorite, which I have mentioned in previous blog posts is Rachel Khoo's The Little Paris Kitchen. Darlings, I want to BE Rachel Khoo. I want to fly away to Paris and spend Summer training at Le Cordon Bleu, and create petit dinner parties in my apartment. The sections are refreshing; based on picnic foods, entertaining and everyday snack and meals rather than the traditional starters-mains-desserts. The recipes vary in difficulty, so it's a great book for building up confidence.
As for the T.V.... well I've mentioned the Bake-off, which sprinkles even the most technically difficult and stressful bakes with bunting and nostalgia. Compared to the high-octane pace of Masterchef, another program that I love, watching the GBBO is pure pleasure. Baking is something all of us have grown up with, from punching out biscuit shapes at home, to creating the first batch of fairy cakes at school, and in true British style the Bake-off had tuned into this, with an extra dose of cute and kitsch.
On more glamorous side, Lorraine Pascal and Nigella Lawson have oozing kitchen goddess appeal with dinner party-worthy creations. Lorraine Pascal's Cooking Made Easy has brought a girly touch to entertaining, with every half hour episode featuring at least one sweet treat... possibly dangerous considering my sweet tooth... On the savory side of things, I can certainly recommend Lorraine's sweet and sour pork balls, which I made for my family as the eventual buyers of our old house came for a viewing.
Nigella on the other hand, has been presenting me with far too many pasta dishes to dream about. I love Nigella's old-school presentation style. It's not always for everyday cooking, but whenever Nigellissima is on, I can't but help toss my hair and flirt with an imaginary camera, and dream of becoming the next Nigella.
I've also started on Nigel Slater's Dish of the Day, which is the opposite style to Nigella's. The food is simple, with adaptable ingredients, and loose directions to suit everyday cooking. There's something really homely about Nigel's cooking, and it never fails to have my mouth watering...
That's it for my inspiration round up; but now my marinated chicken tikka requires some attention, a little rice, and salad. Chio xx