Thursday, 1 September 2011

Tasty tantrums.

Ahh, cooking, that love-hate relationship.
I enjoy cooking and think I'm actually pretty good at it...but then these happy thoughts are often overcome with feelings of hate and loathing for the kitchen.
Between 3pm and 5pm every day, the kitchen and I have a little fight. I always win, but sometimes there are tears and tantrums when I accuse the kitchen of putting roadblocks in my way to cooking perfect meals. However, there have been no major accidents apart from a slightly burnt finger.

It gives me a sort of excitement and buzz to think that I am the creator of nice dinners and I have started to read cookery books just for fun. I always used to enjoy looking up sweet recipes like cakes and cookies, but now I find myself being drawn to dishes that require other ingredients than just flour, sugar and eggs. As a student, I don't want to be making meals that have obscure or expensive ingredients all the I have turned to student cookbooks to help me in becoming a better cook, but without the high price tag. Here is my review of a few of them (and I feel like I can give them a better review then parents buying them for their children off of Amazon):

1. The student cookbook

First off, the pictures in this book of the 'students' is not believable. Late 20/30 year olds in a huge stainless steel kitchen look more like a group of young professionals than actual university students. I think this is where the book should be renamed and remarketed...not as a student cookbook but as a cookbook for young professionals as it is much better aimed at this market. The book isn't always student friendly with recipes using ingredients that wouldn't be found in most students' kitchen or that would be unneccessary purchases just to make the dishes like grilled peaches with pistachios and dates and moussaka-filled aubergines with lamb. However, the book does have a lot of variety with simpler dishes like lemon chicken and toad-in-the-hole so even though I feel like it was written by people who obviously are not students, it does provide a range of recipes that appeals to a wide audience, as there are simpler recipes mixed in with complex unheard of dishes. So you can progress through the book as you become braver in the kitchen!

2. Cooking up a storm

This book is aimed at teenagers and is set out in a very bright, bold way. I got this book when I was a teenager and think that it is perfect in transitioning you into the world of cooking and feeling like you can actually do something useful in the kitchen. I think it's even transitional into using as a student cookbook. Yes, it doesn't look professional at all, but the young teenage boy who wrote the book explains everything clearly and even gives easy cheats to making dishes more quickly - like using jars of lasagne sauce rather than making it all yourself, which would appeal to students! With a lot of non-fuss recipes, I really like this book - 6 years on from when I first got it!

3. From pasta to pancakes - the ultimate student cookbook

This is my favourite student cookbook. I think it's perfect! It contains lots of recipes verging on the easy-peasy like how to cook a jacket potato, make scrambled egg and make a hot chocolate to more impressive dishes like thai green curry and prawn and coconut stirfry. The author made most of these recipes whilst as a student at Newcastle University and so knows first hand what students want to eat and what they have in their cupboards. All her recipes are simple to do as they are well explained and she even lets you know things like how long you can keep leftovers in your fridge for and whether it is safe or not to reheat dishes. Definitely a keeper!

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