The cookbook is a lamentably underrated read. Curled up in bed languorously browsing recipes is a perfectly restful way to unwind following a hectic day. The choice of cookbook is paramount, however, to this exercise. One does not simply curl up with Leiths Cookery Bible, for the genuine Bible makes for more entertaining reading. Nor does one curl up with The Student’s Sausage, Eggs and Beans Cookbook, for reasons that should be more than apparent.
Everyone has a recipe that they fall back on when they can think of bugger all else to make for dinner. This is mine. It’s a bit of a family heirloom, passed down to me from my dad’s pool of culinary knowledge. There is a story to accompany its acquisition, but I’m pretty sure this is neither the time nor the place, thank goodness.
I recently found myself wanting to make a procrastination cake during exams. Receiving a lifetime of kitchen gadgets as gifts has made me reluctant to spend my own money on kitchen necessities. I found a Swedish pewter cheese slicer in my cupboard, but no appropriate cake tin. So here is my attempt to streamline my kitchen kit, a list of what I think a semi-serious student cook needs to tackle any recipe.
‘Comfort me with apples, for I am sick of love’ – Song of Songs, 2:5
Fourth-year panic has descended over the town in recent weeks. Careers, graduate schemes, internships; for some, it has all become a little overwhelming. Do you secretly, deep-down wish to wave those plans in the big city away and open a cheese shop? After getting her IR degree, The Guid Cheese Shop owner Svetlana Kikharchuk-Redpath did exactly that.
Today I woke up to autumn. The subtlest of seasons, autumn edges in indecisively. Before the tell-tale blaze of leaves lighting up the trees, there’s a subtle change in the texture of the air, a keening of the breeze. This October, we have already enjoyed a heat wave, endured gales of rain and even the threat of light snow. But finally, the grocer is stocking squashes and roots, you need a jacket when you go outside, field mice have invaded our living room and a Sunday isn’t Sunday without Downton Abbey. We are here, enjoying this last swell of life before the year dies.
A classic, and also perhaps one of the most prevalently abused dishes in the world, is the Pasta Al Pomodoro. It is the basic representative of Italian cuisine – rustic, unpretentious, and down to earth. A mixture of a few elegant ingredients that, when properly combined, should produce beautiful pasta tangled up in a vibrant, thick sauce with sparks of green basil. It should have a mellow but robust balance of sweet, sour and salty, coupled with a lingering aftertaste that leaves you craving for more.
“FASTER, FASTER, FASTER”, the head chef yelled behind my neck as I clumsily dropped beets into a salad, staining the plate bright pink. He rolled his eyes at me, the intern who seemed unable to compose a salad after weeks working at his restaurant. I did, however, know how to compose the Ensalada Remolacha; I had assembled twenty or thirty the previous week under little supervision. Today, however, I worked in terror under the judgmental eyes of line cook Teresa and the head chef.
Deep-fried Mars bars, Oreos, cakes, burgers; these artery-clogging treats have become the norm at American state fairs. Once a social gathering to exhibit livestock and farm produce, the state fair has recently become a deep-frying competition to see what type of confectionary can cause a heart attack the quickest. Anything edible that can possibly be imagined in the human mind has been deep-fried at these exhibitions. Anything. Even butter.