Friday, May 27, 2005

The Parameters

This is a bit exciting, my counter (look right) has gone up significantly since last night! That's fast. I wrote a post about this little project on the forum, and got lots of very encouraging responses from the lovely people who post there. This is good, because now that lots of people know about this project, I won't be tempted to throw in the towel if it all gets too much.

FYI, I'm using a paperback edition of the book, published in 1999.

OK, so I made a list of all the recipes in the book, and came up with 340 recipes. There are more, if you count all the suggestions in the sidebars of text, but so far I've just done the recipes with headings, and the more instructive sidebar suggestions. For instance, the Mushroom Steak Sandwich (p. 136), has made the list. whilst Twiglets in 25g packets (p. 415), has not. But I do think that I will end up trying most of the sidebar suggestions, even the ones that haven't made it on the list... they all just sound too good. (Not the Twiglets, though).

It's divided into the following chapters:

1. Basics etc.
2. Cooking in Advance
3. One & Two
4. Fast Food
5. Weekend Lunch
6. Dinner
7. Low Fat
8. Feeding Babies and Small Children

I'm going to work pretty randomly through the book, depending on what's in season and what we feel like eating. I'd also like to cook in context as much as possible. In Fast Food, Weekend Lunch, and Dinner, Nigella suggests entire meals - main, sides, desserts etc, and I'd like to try all the suggested menus. For instance, her "Bolstering Saturday Lunch for 6" is a golden root-vegetable couscous followed by coconut crème caramel. Mmm...

Also, many of the recipes in Basics etc make appearances in other chapters, such as Bernaise sauce in a Steak Bernaise, stock in risotto, pastry in pies and so on. So it shouldn't be too difficult (fingers crossed) to get through a lot of the recipes in the one go.

Now, to tell you about us. There are four of us at home, my parents, my brother and I. We live in Melbourne, Australia. My dad is a teacher (Monday-Wednesday) and a singer (weekends), my brother and I are university students and we both do part-time jobs. My brother Daniel works at a cinema and as a waiter, and I work in a kitchen at Crown on the weekends (don't worry, I'm just a casual... not a real professional cook by any stretch of the imagination). So we all work weird hours and don't get to eat together a lot, and definitely not during the weekends! A Sunday lunch on Sunday is definitely out of the question as my father and I both work. Basically, the current plan is to do at least one full menu from Weekend Lunch, Fast Food and/or Dinner each week, and fill the rest of the week with recipes from other chapters. (Especially from the Low Fat chapter, for the sake of my waistline!)

Luckily for me, my family are very adventurous when it comes to food, and are willing to try anything! They're also super-supportive of any my culinary endeavours, which is good for me. (Thanks Dad for the KitchenAid! And the Nigella Cake Tins!) And my mum's already asking me when she can invite her friends over! Fab. And Daniel, bless him, is happy to just eat what I'm cooking, regardless of its source.

Me: Hey Dan, I wanna cook all the recipes from this Nigella book this year, what do you think?
Daniel: Yeah Ok. Isn't that what you normally do anyway?
Me: Uh yeah, kinda. Ok yeah, you just eat.
Daniel: OK.

One thing though, I don't eat pork - ICK! (This includes bacon, lardons, pancetta, anything from a pig). My familiy does though, and I have many pig-happy friends who I'd love to cook for. I haven't totally decided what to do about the recipes that have pork in them... I mean, for some of them it'd be easy to just leave out the pork, but what about a loin of pork without the pork? Pointless much? I might just make them for my family/friends and go and sulk in the corner with a low fat vegetable curry. Because even though I wouldn't want to eat the pork ones, I'd still like to know how to cook them, and see how they turn out. And I'm definitely doing the Caesar Salad and Spaghetti Carbonara - two of my brother's favourites!

But if I come across any porky recipe that I really, truly cannot handle making, I think I'll delegate them to a friend overseas with a digital camera... hmm... we'll see.

Can't wait to start!!

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