Cookery book reviews were something we have wanted to include on this blog from the outset. I have invested in so many cookery books at this stage that as soon as this damn recession is over, I fully intend to shelve the remaining blank wall in my kitchen, floor to ceiling, to accommodate my ‘stash’… Having said that, if I stopped investing in these books I could probably afford to build my shelves a bit sooner, but I’m an addict and whilst I’ve cut down, I’m still wide open to temptation…
So when I spotted a tweet the other evening mentioning a ‘new cookbook’, ‘Tom Doorley’ and ‘Lidl’ all in one sentence, my eyes instantly went out on stalks. I cheekily butted into the conversation to discover that Tom and his wife Johann Doorley had collaborated with Lidl to produce a book called simply ‘Home Cooking’.
Home Cooking & Lidl – this had to be something right up any Dinner Ladies’ street…right?
And so, with a tenner clenched in my determined fist, I dashed into my local Lidl on my way home, already late, from work.
My impressions of this book from the second I took it off the shelf were good. For starters it’s a substantial volume. I had actually expected it to be something not too unlike a generous leaflet, but I was wrong. The book is a lovely size with 230 pages packed with recipes and, thankfully, pictures. This Dinner Lady eats with her eyes and despises the current trend for page after page of text, without any suggestion of what the end dish should look like.
Yes, I headed to the checkout a very pleased lady indeed. In fact, so taken was I with my new purchase, I found myself sitting in the Lidl carpark for several minutes, leafing through page after page, knowing only too well that once I collected the girls, the usual teatime mayhem would not permit such luxury.
So what about the review? Well, my initial aim was to select a dish from this book to cook as part of this piece, and that was where I ran into an unexpected problem – picking my recipe. At time of writing, I may have narrowed my list down to twelve, but each time I flick through the book, another catches my eye.To be honest, part of the problem is that there are so many ingredients listed that I would not have expected to be available from Lidl, and so I am planning a trip (without the usual child-related distraction) first thing Saturday morning to facilitate my choice... I still don't know how I'm going to choose between Roast Pork with Black Pudding Compote and Roast Barbary Duck with Fennel, Orange and Red Onion Salad, but I suppose I'll have to... One recipe that did bring a smile to my face was for Waldorf Salad. If only Basil Fawlty had known you could get this illusive 'ingredient' in Lidl...
Of course it helps that these recipes would appear to be written for someone like me. They are not complicated and yes, of course the realization that every ingredient is available from your local Lidl, adds an extra element of ‘do-ability’ that most cookery books can’t provide. But whilst simple, uncomplicated dishes make up most of this book, there are numbered among them several recipes that would not look out of place at a ‘posh’ dinner party and I find myself selfishly hoping none of my friends spot them before I get a chance to show off…
So for now, all I can do to excuse myself is tell you that is part one of a two part review. For my next trick I will attempt to stop acting like a child in a toyshop with her birthday money, and settle on a dish to cook.
In the meantime, I may be yet another cookery book away from building my shelves, but something tells me my family are going to be eating very well in the coming weeks. And that pleases me far more.
To be continued…