This last week I have thought a lot about food… and as I scent my second batch of Tomatoes Provencal wafting from the kitchen… I am still reflecting on menus, cooking, entertaining and all those bits that come to mind when a houseful of guests are about to arrive. As I mentioned earlier… I entertain simply… lunch and dinners are always buffet style… there are too many of us to have individual plates… so I set up a table specially for the food and everyone can help themselves.
I am often asked which cook books I rely on and which ones I prefer, especially in the summer time, when I have many around the table. Every year I change books… and recipes… I might have a crush on a certain chef and work devotedly from his book one year and then completely ignore his brilliance the next… The practical advantage to my fickle nature is that if the same friends return year after year… hopefully they might try some different meals… I have always intended to start one of those books where you list ‘who’ eats ‘what’ at ‘which’ meal… but well intentions are sometimes just that…
This year I am cooking from the Bill Granger cookbooks… Bill is a Sydney chef, who has helped me no end… and he doesn’t even know it. Sydney food works well in southern France… the weather and lifestyles are simpatico and most of the ingredients are available… The other master that I owe my table to this summer is Yotam Ottolenghi, the London based chef. I have used his first book, Ottolenghi: The Cookbook so many times that I have lost count and now… as a suggestion from one of my lovely readers, Monica… I am waiting for his second, Plenty, to arrive on my doorstep. I have only heard fabulous words about Plenty, a vegetarian cookbook, and I cannot wait to start on some of Yotam’s suggestions.
My Summer Cookbooks
Feed Me Now… My latest Bill Granger addition and the one I am using this year…
Bill’s Sydney Food... my first and most well thumbed of his cookbooks…
Ottolenghi: The Cookbook… Try the French beans with hazelnut and orange on Page 36… ‘heaven’
Do you have a summer favourite?… xv
P.S… Since posting this… I have had lots of enquiries about the plates… you can find them here… once on their site, click on ‘for your home’ and then ‘dinnerware’… ‘view all’…mine in the photograph above are called ‘watercolour petals’… I also succumbed to the ‘meadowsweet’… and if I were being entirely truthful… the ‘pomme’ plate… Will show you those later… xv