Friday, February 25, 2011

Top 5 cookbooks with quick, simple and easy to prepare recipes that appeal to a terrible cook like me (that I stole off of Manukau Library's shelves)

List by Tosca

"Sex is good, but not as good as fresh, sweet corn."
- Garrison Keillor (I heart Garrison Keillor and couldn't stop snorting with laughter when I read this quote)

I'm not a great cook by any means. I like to cook and bake - I'm just not particularly good at it. My recipes never look like the ones in the book and I sometimes feel cheated when that happens but not enough to do anything about it and improve my somewhat meagre skills. I've lived on my own a couple of times and, each time, started out with the best of intentions and made an effort to eat proper sit down meals. Then, somewhere around the the 1 year mark of living single, I got brassed off with the effort of it all and resorted to eating tuna on vogel standing up at the kitchen sink or, much worse, potato crisp sandwiches *guilty look* Mum would come through about once a fortnight or so and, as mums do, ask if I was eating well and peek through my cupboards. I looked like a model daughter and she never knew (well, she will when she reads this post) that the reason my cupboards were so well stocked was because I never opened them. Eep. I adore cooking shows. Anyone who knows me will know that I quite happily waste away a Saturday combining cooking shows with online work. I have favourite chefs who make it all look so effortless - THE LIARS :) This year (well, this coming month, anyway - I always start out with the best of intentions...and get sidetracked) I've decided to start give cooking a proper go and start with some simple-ish, quick and easy to prepare meals. Easy for me which is probably baby steps for all of you. So I raided Manukau Library. Again. And grabbed five cookbooks that I think fit this category. Nobody hollered at me during this visit (btw the staff member concerned read the post I wrote - because I flicked her the link - and laughed uproariously) so they're used to me sneaking in and out with an armload of books each time. I've also included my five favourite recipes from each book although there's no rhyme or reason to how I chose them. Bon appetit!

Ooh! Before I forget, I'm off to the wilds of Taipa for a week or so and taking all of these cookbooks with me. The parental unit live across the road from a river, a two minute walk from the sea and a three minute walk to the bay. Guess who's going to be working her way through the seafood recipes this week? *smug look* Envy me! Be good, stay out of trouble and, assuming there's internet up there (me and rural places don't do so well in the same place at the same time) you might hear from me.

20 minute quick & easy meals / Alison Holst, Simon Holst ; photography by Lindsay Keats
In very little time you can cook delicious and nutritious meals using this handy book - ideal for busy people.

Tosca's comment: My 5 favourite recipes are: Chicken salad, Vietnamese style (p12); Mussels in spiced tomato sauce (23); Grilled chicken on lemony orzo (p36); Lamb (or chicken) satay - which my sibling made for dinner tonight and we're eating and I don't usually like but this is YUM (p43); Easy tostadas (p51). Honourable mention: Corn cakes with salsa (p56).

Light bites : quick and easy, proven recipes / general editor, Gina Steer
In this busy world, food is often low on the list of priorities and we rarely have the time to make, consume and digest heavy, filling meals, often preferring to eat little and often. This collection of recipes shows it is possible to make quick and light food, without skimping on taste and nutrition, from finger food snacks to light meals.

Tosca's comment: Thai crab cakes (p56); Salmon and roasted red pepper pasta (p112); Potato pancakes (p176); Creamy Caribbean chicken and coconut soap (p194); Sweetcorn and crab soup (p202).

Quick short recipes : more than 120 easy recipes for every day
"Created for cooks of all skill levels, this collection of more than 120 recipes from around the world features snacks and meals for lovers of good food who are short on time." -- Back cover.

Tosca's comment: Crunchy chicken bits (p32); Stuffed prawn omelettes (p68); Tuscan bread salad (p95); Prawn, mango and macadamia salad (p120); Lemon grass and ginger-infused fruit salad (p137).

Survival for the active family / [Louise Burke ... [et al.]] ; Australian Institute of Sport
Produced in association with the Australian Institute of Sport, a lavishly illustrated cookbook featuring recipes for healthy fuss-free, family meals as well as tips for incorporating activity into even the busiest family life.

Tosca's comment: My 5 favourite recipes are: Breakfast frittata (p19); Chicken and peanut stir-fry (p35); Vegetarian lasagne (p78); Chicken jambalaya (p82); Tuna corn melt (p102).

The ultimate one-pot cookbook : more than 180 simply delicious one-pot, stove-top and clay-pot casseroles, stews, roasts, tagines and mouthwatering puddings / Jenni Fleetwood
"All recipes shown step by step in over 800 practical photographs" -- Cover.

Tosca's comment: What kind of a synopsis is THAT? A useless one! The title is longer than the synopsis LOL My 5 favourite recipes are: Bouillabaisse (p22); Mussels and clams with lemon grass and coconut cream (p60); Irish stew (p100); Chicken gumbo with okra, ham, tomatoes and prawns (p152); Baked maple and pecan croissant pudding (p236). Honourable mention: Nectarines baked with almonds and pistachio nuts (p243).

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