Scottish epiphany

Yesterday was Burns night, but instead of taking drunken stabs at sheep´s entrails I had two oranges for dinner. So that wasn´t it. My breaktrhough came after lunch, as I was rummaging around for some dark chocolate in the cupboard. My eye fell on some oatcakes, crumpled in a packet next to a jar of Nutella. And I thought, now, how can that not be great?
Well, it is great. A sort of instant oatmeal chocolate chip cookie, if you will. Beatiful, crunchy, soft, sweet and salty...addictive.
Of course here they are on every shelf, and thereis lies the beauty of this convenient snack. However, if you´re curious and want to make the things, here´s a recipe.


Te Azul

Te Azul, originally uploaded by Lobstersquad.

My new teapot.


a short stop

A little afternoon pick-me-up, short rest, fuel stop. Even though the coffee I make is terrible it´s always welcome. The cookies are the ones I call Captain Scott cookies, because I first made them to take as a snack on my way to see the R.S.S.Discovery. The recipe is from The Kitch. They are the best thing ever; oats, cheese, apples and raisins, all inside the same cookie? genius. Hearty enough for Polar exploration, even.


Pressure cooking

2010 might go down in my personal history as the year I finally tried parsnips, purple sprouting broccoli and smoked mackerel. Or it may not. But there´s no doubt that the groundbreaking change in my cooking has come about not from ingredients, but from ecquipment: the pressure cooker.

I first tried it in spring last year and that was it, I´ve been using it so much that my sister refers to the gleaming WMF Perfect as my third child.

I can´t understand why I´d never used it before, and I certainly can´t understand why there´s not one (at least) pressure cooker in every kitchen. I know people with ice cream makers, pasta rollers, juicers, asparagus steamers, yogurt makers and breadmakers who don´t have a pressure cooker. It´s only mentioned in passing in most cookbooks. Mystery

I don´t know if the recipes in the Pressure cooker tag here can convince you that buying one right now will be the best thing you´ll do, but I can direct you to someone who might. Go to Hip Pressure Cooking. Starting tomorrow there´s a series of tutorials that will demistify the process and lure you into this brave new world.

It also has the clearest time tables and all sorts of great info.

Bye now. I have to go and attend to some beans for tomorrow´s lunch. They´ll be ready before I run the bath for the kids. Isn´t that great?

The illustration is from Pille´s book, which I´ve received today. It´s beautiful. If you read Estonian get a copy now, you´re in for a treat.


My favourite cookbooks bought last year

I guess by now we´re all tired out by best of 2010 lists, but never mind.

Here are the favourite cookbooks I bought last year. I´ve gone a little crazy with the whole Amazon free super saver shipping and ordered more stuff than makes sense, but these are good books (by the way most links are not to Amazon but to reviews or interviews):

Kitchenella- chock full of good recipes, thoughtful texts and sound advice. A touch stern, maybe even a bit chippy, but never mind. It´s a great book to start cooking from, though I suspect that being long on text and short on (stunning) photos, it will appeal to the converted.

Momofuku- a cheffy book, yes, but fun to read, and full of dishes you might try.

River cottage everyday- very British, but helpful now that I live in Scotland. Otherwise I wouldn´t know what to do with all these parsnips and turnips and barley and such.

Mad Hungry- feeding men and boys. With a son born in Febuary, I couldn´t resist, but it´s a great book for everyone. Sensible, delicious food, and no namby pamby portions, or unrealistic stuff like quails.

Cooking under pressure- A great starting point for a pressure cooker neophite. Later you come to adjust things to your taste, but it´s way more reliable than the strangely transtlated booklet that came with my WMF Perfect.

I don´t really include Nigella Lawson´s latest because I don´t think it her best, but of course I´ve read it from cover to cover.

Now for books that I have read but not cooked from, yet:

In the kitchen with a good appetite- My first Kindle cookbook, and likely the last. The format is no good for a cookery book, even one without photos. I like something I can splash sauce onto. Still, the text is good and there´s a lot I want to try.

Food from plenty- lovely photos, format, friendly headnotes, the works. It´s full of little post it stickers, and I don´t know why I haven´t taken it into the kitchen yet. But I will, surely.

I found a second hand copy of The French menu cookbook, touted as the best of all time by the Observer. It´s pure fantasy, of course, but lovely to read about exquisite menus I will never, ever, for a nanosecond, consider cooking.

The last is not a cookbook proper, but is the most fun of the whole list. The flavour Thesaurus is the perfect book to keep on the nightstand. Chock full of information, delivered in a way that makes you think you´d always known that. Brilliant one-liners, too, perfect for trotting out on the unsuspecting.


And now we´re back

I have seen the future, and it looks like Luton airport...A glaringly lit corridor of shops, junk food restaurants and slot machines, patrolled by men with machine guns and decorated with coloured screens relaying the message "realax and shop".
We had a six hour wait there between planes, so my view may be a little jaundiced, but still. If it hadn´t been for the two oranges I grabbed as we were leaving my mother´s house, I would have been in a much worse temper. As it is, they brought me, and Pía, back from the brink.
Here´s a good thoughtful post for eating well right now.


New year

Hello dear readers. I´ve been away all this time, driving around southern Spain staying with friends and relatives. There´s nothing better and more fun, and having no wi-i for days means you appreciate an internet connection so much when you get back.
The trouble is, I have to sort out our mountains of luggage and cram everything I didn´t do in Madrid into two days, so I can´t do a good, thoughtful post.
I will just say that along with everybody else, I´m brimming with good resolutions, and one of them is to give this old blog a good dust and brush up. Also to post a few good comforting recipes for horrid winter days. A list of my favourite cookbooks of 2010, of great posts found elsewhere, etc.
But not now. Now I have to cram a ton of clothes and a tribe of toys into two suitcases. Argh.