Recently, everything has been about food. Last year I made a commitment to learn to be a better baker. I have always been a decent cook, but baking eluded me – something about it being a bit too prescriptive I think. I have tried to bake something every week and in doing so, I have really rediscovered my love of cooking.
My best Christmas presents all involved food. I have a new smoker and have hot smoked pork and am going to be cold smoking some bacon this afternoon. I am so in love with the process of smoking food, I have been reading up as much as possible and highly recommend the Curing and Smoking book in the River Cottage Handbook series if you are interested in the same. I have a bag of venison off cuts in the freezer awaiting processing into biltong and salami.
Much of the last few weeks have involved meat. Just before Christmas we bought a full pig from some friends of ours and 2 roe deer from the estate we live on. Its been a full blown education in meat – using as much as possible of an animal while not eating ourselves sick on venison pie and pulled pork (if that is possible, I will let you know in a few months). Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s Meat book has been invaluable.
However, the gift in daily use around here is the book pictured above – Sourdough by Sarah Owen. Words can not express my love for this book. We have made the Brooklyn Sourdough recipe as our new standard bread and I have a loaf of the Butternut and Cherry bread cooling downstairs that I will be eating for lunch. It is a glorious mix of bread and other foods like pastries, pies, crackers and sweets. I am utterly besotted with it and will be getting it for everyone I know!
As much as I love these ones, I am always on the lookout for new cookbooks. Do you have any you love and couldn’t live without? I would love to hear more!