I love the way Nigel Slater writes about food. One of his early cookbooks, Appetite, was the first cookbook I ever read cover to cover. His writing is casual and comforting, like a good friend hanging out with you in the kitchen, nibbling on cheese and offering recipe suggestions. The tagline for Appetite is, "So what do you want to eat today?". For each recipe, Nigel offers a full page of possible substitutions to suit your tastes and what you happen to have in the fridge.
I recently picked up a copy of Slater's The Kitchen Diaries. It was originally published back in 2005, but it was reprinted last year due to popular demand. The Kitchen Diaries is Nigel's account of a year of shopping, cooking, and eating in his kitchen. It is a collection of his notes about the weather, what he ate when feeling too lazy to cook, as well as proper recipes. His idea behind keeping the diary was an attempt to eat seasonally and document when food is at its best. As he puts it: "learning to eat with the ebb and flow of the seasons is the single thing that has made my eating more enjoyable".
I decided to start this January and read The Kitchen Diaries in semi-real time, month-by-month throughout this year. Of course, he is in London, so his seasons are bound to be a bit different from mine (especially if our 70 degree weather keeps up), but I think it will still be interesting to follow along with what he ate each month.
January features a few delicious recipes I can't wait to try:
- Onion Soup without Tears - featuring the genius idea of roasting halved onions before chopping them
- Double Ginger Cake - looks amazing, but I have to track down some golden syrup, or maybe I can substitute molasses or honey? This is one problem with cookbooks from the UK.
- Sausages with Salami and Lentils - if it ever gets cold enough here to need comfort food, I think this extra meaty casserole should do the trick
Nigel recently released the follow-up to Kitchen Diaries called Notes from the Larder, which I'm looking forward to reading next.
[top photo by me, second and third photos from The Kitchen Diaries, photographed by Jonathan Lovekin]