at my fingertips.

chef. my word for 2011.

in keeping with that theme i have been reaching more and more for my recipe books but also learning to loosen up with them. colouring outside the lines. if i don't have an ingredient i swap it for another or leave it out. casual. or i search out something more suited to my ingredients i have on hand.

before i would have stressed out about not having it or bought a gallon of something to use one to two tablespoons. but now i use what i have or save it so i can grow what i need.
for this summer that's going to be the exciting part - i'm going to plant a cooks garden!

my favorite go to books right now are:

i was lured to this particular cookbook by the cover. crisp. clean. loved the title. when i opened it i saw it was more of a cook's cookbook than anything else. showed a basic recipe then showcased the variations in the pages following. it's a british cookbook for they use words as rocket (arugula), capsicum (red peppers) and caster sugar (super fine white sugar). if you become familiar with these terms you should have no problem navigating your way through the pages and making an impression along the way.

barefoot contessa how easy is that?: fabulous recipes & easy tips
i got this cookbook for christmas from my sister and have been devouring it bit by bit. already completed quite a few recipes from it and have been very pleased with the results. some i'm not sure i'm ever going to try as i have issue with the amount of cream and salt she tends to use but other than a handful of recipes like that it is an amazing reference with meals for all occasions. favorites so far are jefferey's roast chicken, spaghetti algio e olio and the roasted prawns with feta. lots more on the agenda from this book - some have to wait for spring/summer to take advantage of the local crop. 

wish | market to table | a food & entertaining guide.
i plucked this beauty from the long table at costco that houses such gems. although not all the recipes are to my taste i found a go-to change-up muffin recipe that is flawless (post and recipe coming soon!) also there is a quick and easy chocolate cake recipe as well. great reference and well loved.

baked | the new frontiers in baking.
i was turned on to this book by my mother two summers ago and love it. but i have been a little reluctant to crack open the covers and use it properly as i had a rep to protect. why did i have such an ego on my shoulders?? i knew the results of the pumpkin chocolate chip loaf (which of course i have changed and made my own) were out of this world, brownies are the best (i made these three separate way to sell at the market and bakery - 15 kinds of wrong brownie 3 ways) and their chocolate chip cookie recipe was mine to the letter but i had not ventured to the other pages to experiment and to discover the inevitable. these boys can bake - possible better than me. there i said it. and yes, pride still in tact. i have decided to tackle one recipe a week from here - chronologically if possible - and hopefully make some of the recipes my own along the way. got to the sour lemon scones and maple pecan scones (posts coming) and we are hooked. chocolate cake, marble bundt cake muffins to follow. and i have to do something with all those lemons....
excellent reference, amazing recipes & bases. a bakers must have. 

my recipe book. my bible.
i think i would perish if anything happened to this book. it's my ultimate reference. between the covers are all my recipes from the bakery plus dozens more that are tested & loved and more that i am hoping to one day sample. they are hand written, printed pages or torn out magazine pages. this is where i go to for most meals and baking. the pages are stained and are covered in notes. i have another just like it and two ikea magazine holders filled with pages just like these waiting to get into a book to call their own. this spring they will finally have a home. and hopefully we will have some new favorites discovered from those pages.

for years my little guilty pleasure & present to myself was a subscription to the rachael ray magazine. what a great little find here. filled with recipes to accommodate a wide range of palates and occasions. alot of our favorites have come from the pages of this magazines. also has tons party and decorating ideas. 

under the tuscan sun - frances mayes
this one is up here as it has been on my mind a lot lately. i have yet to cook anything from it but what it has to offer is pure delight and just pure ingredients - to create something magnificent from 3 things. i cracked it open the other day and perused the recipe section only to fall in love once again with the style, ingredients and i put a recipe on the menu for this week - ribilotta. the way in which she describes the scent & texture of the ingredients you can sense them leaping off the page at you and then when she gets down in to the business of the recipe you can smell it bubbling on the stove or taste the crispness in your mouth. i have a feeling that by the summer's end we will have enjoyed many a meal, numerous times, that have fallen from the pages of this book.

there you go - what i have been up to. hope i have helped you to discover a new taste, recipe or even passion - who knew you could bake so well if you don't try?!

ps - this is done purely by me for you. in no way was i sponsored or paid to deal out this info. these are all books from my personal collection. i just want to inspire happy cooks. would i have done this if i was paid to - yes. do i want to be paid to do this - hell yes. do you have a product you want featured and blogged about? contact me.

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