Before I go into the planning details for my family cooking, which is the topic of todays posting, I would like to introduce "Odillon", Huxley's friend I made for him for last X-Mas. Odillon also has a full set of clothes, but Huxley did not take to him until I made Odillon the same doggy-costume that Huxley has. Boys and dolls? Huxley is more interested in his stuffed friends, currently a large dog from Ikea., but his friends, as he calls them are very important to him and play a very significant part in his imaginary play. 

But here, without further ado, Odillon:


So, planning and cooking. For the past ten months or so, I have made it my mission to try and learn more about cooking. I have years of experience cooking for my family, for myself, I even had a very short stint many years ago in baking cakes for a catering company. 

Last year, I listened to My Live in France by Julia Child. It was inspiring to hear that she didn't cook like a whirlwind until she was in her 40's and ended up with the rest of her life engulfed in cookery. The best way to learn more about cooking, I thought, was to just get a whole bunch of cookery books and start trying out recipes. I accumulated about 12 new books and love looking through them as I'm going to sleep (strangely enough, I don't wake up hungry and go raid the fridge). 

So, almost all of the books are now sitting beside my bed, with the intention of flagging all the recipes that I would like to try out. Sadly, when I go to bed, I am so sleepy, that within minutes I fall asleep. Hence my plan, as follows is still in its beginning stages. 

Plan to learn more recipes and make discoveries along the way:

1. Go through the books and flag pages of recipes that make my mouth water, are do-able, vegetarian, healthy (more or less), are meant to become family favourites.

2. Photocopy all the flagged recipes

3. Sort them into folders (order still to be determined)

4. Pick 2 copies per week (ensure that I read through the whole recipe to gage time needed in preparation) and incorporate ingredients into weekly shopping trip.

5. Decide on day to try recipe

6. Go back into cookbook and annotate recipe with notes

7. Share my findings with friends, family, blog readers

I will post a list of the books that I'm getting inspired by, but not tonight (grin), tonight, I've got pictures of my latest 3 books added to the stack. If I die before I cooked from these, at least they where amazing eye-candy, something important to me at this point of my cookery-adventures. 

DH and I love middle-eastern cookery and this book is an amazing book. Full of stories, gorgeous pictures and do-able recipes. I saw it in the bookstore, got it from the library and had to possess it. Not Vegetarian, but with all the meat substitutes out there, much can be accomplished. Also, the vegetable recipes are what sounds delectable.

A recommendation from Ellen, Lilly's mother and a great cook. She is a cookery soul-buddy. This has all the right ingredients to teach me new ways of soup-prep. Also nice pictures, and lots of information about how ingredients work together. 

This had to come and live with us, as it is a fully vegetarian book about lunches, picnics and appetizers. With Huxley needing lunch for school, DH working from home and appreciating ready made good food in the fridge, and our love for hiking, it fits the bill. Haven't spent much time with it, but there is a detailed list of spreads and bread combination ideas. 

I will do a separate post about my darling Tessa Kiros and her books and how they have changed my cooking over the past year.

To me, cooking is just one other way to be creative. Recipes are a guideline that can teach you the framework for nourishing your loved ones, without limiting you to follow exactly. In the end, I'm reminded of my mothers comments when I first learned to cook "If they don't complain about the food, you know it's good, otherwise, they will ALWAYS let you know".

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