Around my neighbourhood people often leave a box of books for curious readers to gather up and take home; for free.
Some books are dog-eared, read and pored over many times and now seeking new homes and are, as the saying goes, pre-loved. Others appear as new; perhaps an unwanted gift or the pages no longer sparking interes.
On the next street we even have a small, plastic covered set of wooden shelves where you take a book, replacing it with one of your own.
This past weekend, from a local street food box, I picked up a complete collection of 24 booklets that formed a mini-library titled ‘The Master Chefs’. Weidenfield & Nicolson published the series in 1996 with Simon Wheeler credited as photographer. Wheeler is also known for capturing many of the images in the books of chef/ writer Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall of River Cottage fame.
Bundles of inspiration
While I normally steer clear of this style of book – a few recipes with no chef or cook named or given credit – I was tempted to take this stack, neatly bundled together with a black shoelace. At first sight they appeared untouched, and after the covers had a quick wipe, it was obvious that they had rarely, if ever been opened.
But this little package was different, with the booklets containing recipes credited to chefs such as Valentina Harris, Rowley Leigh, Michel Roux, Jill Dupleix, Richard Olney and Arabella Boxer.
Each booklet has ten recipes and a couple of pages of ‘Basics’. For example, Olney gives us tips about making Chiffonade (finely shredded leaves) and prepping squid, while Anglo-Italian Harris offers secrets from a lifetime of cooking for stock (béchamel, fish and chicken).
Also in this little treasury of expertise and generosity was a booklet by Aglaia Kremizi titled Tapas & Antipasti. Recipes here include Spicy Feta and Pepper Salad, Gambia’s Al Ajillo (garlic prawns) and a Smoked Fish Spread. Inspiration is drawn from across the Mediterranean, with the Basics section offering guidance in folding filo pastry triangles and grilling peppers.
Zooming in from Kea and Copenhagen
I hand recently watched a zoom cooking lesson with Aglaia had done with Copenhagen-based chef and writer Birgitte Kampmann of Instagram’s @mykitchennotes, Viewers ere offered an insight into a life lived on island of Kea in the Aegean Sea where she now runs a popular cooking school, following a successful career as a food writer and editor in the US.
Needing a quick starter for a small Saturday evening gathering, I choose to make Aglaia’s Spinach and Yoghurt Crostini.
A mix of steamed spinach, Greek yoghurt, finely diced garlic and chilli, torn shreds of flat leaf parsley mixed together, left for 12 hours in the fridge and layered onto crostini. Crunchy, fresh and with a little heat, these crostini bites bought a taste of Greece to my palate – three of four times!
#greece #cookbook #greekcookbook #recipe #recipebook #foodlab
For more on Aglaia Kremezi go to http://www.aglaiakremezi.com