17 November 2020

The Joy of Cookbooks

Posted by the Cake Shop

As we find ourselves in the midst of another lockdown with a little extra time on our hands, it seems like a moment to dig a bit deeper, to take a good look around and use what’s already there – the stack of books you’ve been meaning to read, the spice jar you never use, the pages you bookmarked for later. We have to admit that it does pair nicely with the change of season. Colder weather, shorter days; the outdoors gloomier and gloomier and the indoors more and more cosy. 

For us, the stack of books we’ve been meaning to read are recipe books. Jess and Terry are taking stock and digging through our library, rediscovering the pages earmarked with recipes we have long wanted to try. Spending time with these cookbooks feels like being in a friend’s kitchen. There’s one by Chris Honor, who came to the Cake Shop to hang out with us in person for one of our customer evenings a few years back, and whose Chriskitch Aussie deli in Muswell Hill is home to the most stunning salads. There are lots by Diana Henry, whose food writing we come back to year after year – we’ve made her pickled cherries so often that they’ve become our own, and add a twist by turning the leftover vinegar into shrubs – but always go back to the original recipes for good reference. There’s Felicity Cloake, as the calm voice of reason, and there’s Massimo Bottura, as the alchemist who can turn wasted ingredients into kitchen gold.

We’ve created this week’s lunch menu out of these cookbooks, riffing on the seasonal glut of cauliflower, mushrooms, beans and pears: Cauliflower Cumin Bay Soup, from the ChrisKitch Cookbook; Pear and Chestnut Jam from Salt Sugar Smoke; Ripe Banana Skin Chutney from Bread is Gold; and Perfect Pear Muffins from Completely Perfect. Call by our doors in Bury Place or Pied Bull Yard Tuesday to Saturday, 9–4, to pick up a portion.

If any of these cookbooks tickle your fancy, you can still buy titles from the Bookshop during lockdown by email or over the phone. More broadly though, we’d love to know which cookbooks you’re brushing the dust off of, and which long-earmarked recipes you’ll be trying for the first time over the next weeks.

Drop us a line and let us know!

Books mentioned in this blog post