Showing posts with label Kitchen Reader. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kitchen Reader. Show all posts

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Kitchen Reader January - What We Eat When We Eat Alone

Happy new year, fellow kitchen readers!

January's book selection is “What We Eat When We Eat Alone” by Deborah Madison & Patrick McFarlin.

On a purely aesthetic level, this is a gorgeous book: crisp white pages, appealing use of colour and charming illustrations by co-author Patrick McFarlin. It also makes for a wonderful read.

Begun on a whim as a means of passing the time during long bus rides, the authors asked friends, foodies and complete strangers what they cook for themselves when they eat alone. The resulting conversations give us a glimpse into how other people really live. The meals were as varied and wide-ranging as you would expect, but what I wasn't expecting was just how candid some of those responses would be!

Sure there are those who will enjoy a salad or steamed vegetables, but there are others who will just eat melted cheese. And then there are those meals one wouldn't dream of eating with anyone else present: "I pour sardine juice onto cottage cheese while standing on one foot in front of the refrigerator, not putting down the other foot because there's been a meat leak from the vegetable drawer" says one.

Still others will go to great lengths planning, shopping for and preparing fabulous meals of fresh pasta or roast meats. But it seems most of us will cut corners a little when we are cooking for one.

I don't know about you but when I eat alone it tends to be a great opportunity to not cook. I will have cereal, sardines on toast or even just ice cream for dinner and I will delight in every mouthful. When I picture other people eating alone I imagine they do it far more properly and healthily than I.

"When I'm cooking for myself, it happens like an urge. That is, it probably isn't a regular mealtime. I first notice that I'm hungry and then I have a vision of something that's in the fridge or the pantry. Then I dream up a recipe for it." - Moky McKelvey, p45

Each chapter contains a selection of single serve recipes or simple ideas to run with if you happen to be cooking just for yourself. For me, the Fried Potatoes with Yoghurt Sauce on p156 are calling my name!

The main message of the book though is that eating alone can be a joyful and fulfilling experience. With no one else's needs to satisfy but your own, you can let your taste buds run wild, indulge in those foods that you truly love or even eat in bed if it suits you.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Kitchen Reader Cookie Exchange - Rum Balls

Ok so I know these aren't technically cookies, but they are cookie-ish! Instead of a book review, this month Jennifer of Cooking for Comfort suggested a Christmas Cookie Exchange for the Kitchen Reader members. So while these aren't cookies they are definitely Christmassey and perfect for sharing.

I'm not sure where Rum Balls originate but there are as many different recipes as there are days in the year (I may be exaggerating slightly!). Basically if there is rum, chocolate and some sort of carb (either cake crumbs, biscuit crumbs or even weetbix) you have yourself a rum ball.

These make the perfect gift at Christmas time and are great to get the kids into as there is no baking involved. Perhaps just leave out the rum!! (cranberry juice would be a great alternative and you would end up with a choc-cranberry truffle).

Susan's Rum Balls

500g cake (a madeira or pound cake is perfect)
1/2 cup cocoa
1 cup dessicated coconut
1/2 dried cranberries
1 tin (approx 400g) condensed milk
2 tbs rum plus extra
1-2 cups dessicated coconut, extra

Roughly chop the cranberries and add to a small saucepan with the 2tbs rum and 1 tbs water. Bring to the boil then simmer until all the liquid is absorbed and the fruit is plump. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

Tear the cake into rough chunks and add to the food processor with the cocoa. Blitz until the cake is in crumbs and the cocoa is evenly distributed.

Turn out the cake crumbs into a large bowl and add the coconut, cooled cranberries and the condensed milk. Mix thouroughly, adding extra rum if you find you need more liquid (an extra tablespoon or so will be plenty).

Roll into walnut sized balls, roll in the extra dessicated coconut then set on a tray. Refrigerate until required. These are best to make the day before you need them to allow the flavours to meld. Makes approx 30.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Kitchen Reader

Last month I stumbled across (I say stumbled but it was on Cakelaw's blog which I visit frequently) The Kitchen Readers, an online group reading their way through foodie related books. As it combines two of my great loves ie. food and books, I decided to join at once!

Unfortunately I don't have a book to review this month. Literally. Neither of the next few month's selections are available in our library system or indeed any b0okshop in the country (or so it seems) so I resorted to buying online and they haven't arrived yet.

My apologies to Jennifer and the other members!
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