Sunday, May 1, 2011

Cook Book Love!

I have a confession to make. This post should not actually be about my cook books. But oh, how I love them! A collection of classic and modern, complex and simple, fancily expensive and reassuringly economical recipes.

The Usborne First Cookbook was the first cookbook I started using, back when I was just a wee one. Well, I'd say I was using it between the ages of ten and thirteen, so not too wee. The old edition we had was a super tattered, super used copy. I remember my friends and I would make chocolate cake and spiced biscuits from it. Yum! My Mum found the new editions of the book just a few years ago and got one for me, my sisters and for the family home. These days, it's the apple crumble recipe I gravitate towards. Yum, crumble!*

I actually didn't like cooking much when I was in secondary (high) school. The one thing I did love to make was the Thai-Style Sweetcorn Soup from the Low Cholesterol Low Fat Cookbook.** But that was all really. When the end of my final year in school was getting closer and closer and moving out for the first time was drawing nearer and nearer, my parents tried to encourage me to cook. They wanted me to learn the basics so I wouldn't be living on pizza and pasta and jars of sauce all through my college years. But I was busy, I had exams and friends that needed my attention, I wasn't bothered learning how to cook. And I spent the first year of college eating pizza and pasta and jars of sauce. Delightful.

It was in my second year that I really developed an interest in cooking, thanks to Cook with Jamie and a few other books. My housemates and I would occasionally bake some cookies and have dinner parties. Baking really intrigued me! Over the years, I collected more Jamie books and learnt the basics of cooking and baking. I baked cakes for my friends throughout my third and fourth years. They were so awesome!

Once I started my PhD, started living by myself and started collecting kitchenware, I really got into cooking and baking. Then came such wonders as I Know How to Cook and The Silver Spoon.*** [I'll be honest and say that I haven't cooked from these books too often... They're very, very daunting. But what I have made has been so good!] And Home Cooking from Rachel Allen, an Irish cook. That's a great book!

I get recipes from the internet quite a lot, as I'm sure most people do. But when I'm planning a dinner or baking adventure, I love to open all my cookbooks and find the right recipe and method. I spend an insane amount of time looking, just looking, through my cookbooks, salivating at all the pretty foods. Most mornings, when I actually wake up in time to have breakfast, you'll probably find me sitting with my porridge and a cookbook, dreaming up my future meals.

Now, as I said, this post should not be about my cookbooks. Nope, I just really love books! It should be about the shelves holding my cookbooks and baking stuff.

These shelves:

I know, ugly, right? Really, really ugly. In all honesty, these should be dumped. They're very unstable and I know that they won't last long. But what crafter and environmentalist would I be if I threw them out? And I love a good challenge. So I spent all yesterday in the sun, listening to good music...

[Ooh, outtake!! I fancied up my About Page over the weekend. I put a little Grooveshark music widget at the bottom of the page. It's full of songs I like in no particular order. Good songs! You should listen to it. Especially this song. I've been dancing to this song all weekend! It's so cheerful and fun!]

... listening to good music, sanding, prepping and painting. I worked all day! Which was much too much time spent on something so simple. But I'm very methodical and slow when I do housework and crafts. As long as I have no other commitments, it doesn't bother me one bit.

And so, those shelves turned from prospective firewood to this:

Pretty, yes?? Simple and a bit boring, there's nothing I can do about that, without the right tools. But now colourful and exciting! The black on the sides is chalkboard paint, something I'm in love with these days. I put some chalkboard paint on the wardrobes in my bedroom at home in Naas and of course forgot to take a good picture of them. Trust me, though, they're cool. For these shelves, I envision menu planning and shopping lists and maybe a few pictures of cupcakes?? And isn't that blue gorgeous! I'm in love with it. So in love, in fact, that my ankle is now (and still) that exact colour. Maybe another shower will remove it. I got the paint made up in Faherty's paint shop in Woodquay. If anyone living in Galway is looking to buy paint, I'd definitely recommend Faherty's. They were so helpful! I really had no clue what paints and primer I'd need for this and another project I'm working on and they sorted me out and even mixed up the two colours I wanted specially.

I took out the stupid panels on the bottom of the shelves. They used to hold a drawer or something but were pretty useless without said drawer. So now there's more space underneath the shelves to hold my cake tins and mixer parts. Here's a picture of the shelves in action:

In other news, I found an apartment / house / I-don't-really-know-what-to-call-it! It's like a rooftop house... A duplex? A triplex? Anyway, anyway... I'm delighted with it! It will need work and I'm ready for that. It's quite sparsely decorated and bare at the minute. The kitchen is big enough for these shelves and my culinary adventures. And it has a BIG six seater kitchen table, perfect for dinners with friends! The living area is small enough, but with a kitchen table so big, I'm not bothered. And my bedroom! Well! It's on the second floor, and my housemate's bedroom is on the third. I have TWO bathrooms, an ensuite and a main one. Decadent, I know. And the room is HUGE!! Like, seriously, it's huge! I'll finally have the craft table I've always dreamed of. And where is it? Right in the heart of town. I've never lived in town and I'm so excited to be!

I'll be sorry to say goodbye to my current apartment. The first place in which I lived by myself and really loved to call a home! My housemate, Jane, moved in in August and she's awesome. I'll be sad to have her move home to Kerry, boo!! But as much as I love this place, nothing will beat the convenience of living in town and having such a large space. So many good things will come from my new place, yay!

I'll be sure to take before and after photos and show you all around, once I get settled in.

For now, I think I'd Rather Dance. (:


*You'd think I'd know off hand how to bake apple crumble, but I can never keep recipes in my head. Which is odd. I have no problem with number or Science-y Stuff!

**I'm pretty sure Mum doesn't know I have this one... As you read this, dear Mother, remember that I love you! (:

***A Christmas present from Paul! He's good, I'll keep him for the awesome gifts.


Anonymous said...

Nice blog, I'm following you.

Fiona said...

Thanks Andressa! I hope you enjoy it here. (:

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