Sunday, February 10, 2008

In the Words of Jason Molina -

- Just be Simple. Something we sometimes lose sight of, particularly when it comes to food and drink. This morning in Leeds is glorious, sunshine throwing down and melting the overnight frost away.Even my jog this morning was not the slog it usually is. I feel good; thoughts turning to this years' projects, growing and brewing, and all those great things you can only seem to do in the lighter months. John over at John's Random Ramblings has starting planting and brewing, catching that spring-time bug.

What's different - apart from the weather?
Well, for me, we're not talking about complication here, we're simple pleasures. don't get me wrong, I'm all for complication in food - in moderation. The simple act of baking bread, even in a breadmaker, can give you that glow that stacking six layers of meat in a ramekin and serving with a two-day condensed and simmered jus simply cannot. Making Jam; beer; growing some tomatoes - it's all the same. These little things we miss when we cannot do them.

I was reminded of this lately when I decided that I fancied something traditional for dinner, but found it surprisingly hard to find anything that quite fitted the bill in my cookbook library. As a passing thought, I picked up a battered old Be-Ro cookbook that had been passed down to my girlfriend by her Grandmother. Archly, I sat and sifted through it, scoffing at its antiquated recipes and pictures. Then, there it was - Toad in The Hole. No herbs added to the pudding. No speciality sausages - just good ones. No flavoured oils, just dripping. Perfect. It turned out perfect too, burnished brown and sizzling... washed down with a pint of Black Sheep Riggwelter it certainly gave me that aforementioned glow.
The book? Well, lets just say it gets a little more attention these days. They are still on sale, actually. Pick one up, or something like it, and get back to your roots.


Ale Louse said...

Mmm... now there's something I'd not even thought about in ages let alone eaten. We've even got some winter warmers left over from Christmas to wash it down with - Valentine's Day dinner now taken care of! Good call!

Anonymous said...

When we were growing up Mum had a Bero cookbook. A slim volume, but very useful. I owe my cooking skills to that and a well thumbed Mageritte Patten book.

Leigh said...

good work - swift - glad to be of service! let me know how it goes.

Anonymous said...

My Ma has a really old Bero book, it's yellow with monochrome pictures in it, she keeps it with the book she wrote recipes in for my Da when she was having me.

I think the cook book came from either her mam or her mams mam, suffice to say it's ancient but exceedingly well thumbed. I have a modern copy that has helped me cook all sorts. Cooking is definately something I enjoy, I could cook macaroni cheese from scratch at 8!

Any chance of some tomato based recipes for later on in the year? I usually either eat them raw, make roast tomato and onion pasata or dry them in a really low oven, any addition to my recipe portfolio would be well received.

Leigh said...

absolutley, John. Our 'Tumbling Toms in a hanging basket' was a success this year, so i'll be definately featuring toms when we get going on that. In fact, i've got some ideas already. Oh and i should warn next recipe will also be fish based! sorry! It's not personal! i'm glad the bero book seems to be well regarded - these books are great and may not be glossy or hip, but really deserve attention. Once you've mastered Macaroni Cheese - your'e sorted for life. And i love the idea of a personal cookbook for Da!

Anonymous said...

If you like tumbling toms you should love Sweet Million they've got a much better flavour (IMHO) I grew them exclusively outside on a south facing wall last year, and aside from them looking bedraggled from the rain they certainly delivered the goods.

I'll forgive your next recipe if you share what you're doing with your toms this year.

Look forward to your post(s)

Leigh said...

thanks for the advice mate - it's a deal!