Lately one of my favorite cookbooks belongs to an Australian Chef, Matt Wilkinson. I bumped into his cookbook, “Mr. Wilkinson’s Vegetables”, when I was going over the Vegan Books section in a Cooks Warehouse in Vancouver.
It is not strictly a vegan book but it is full of great ideas for cooking vegetables as a side dish or even a main course.
It grabbed my attention immediately not only because it is about vegetables but also it has a beautiful hardcover with green vegetable pictures on it.
I admit I am one of those who may buy something because of its package.
If you want to learn about how to make vegetables “volume turned up” (like Ina would say) get this book and read every line. I did and I am practicing some of his recipes and techniques everyday.
However, today I am not going to talk about his recipes or how cleverly he uses vegetables.
I am going to talk about an advice he gives to his readers in the preface section of his book. Preface is the first section I read in every book because it tells me whom it is that I am dealing with. Some books will “get you at preface”, some will not. This one did that to me.
He says that cooking should be fun and stress free. The best way to put some of “you” in a recipe is by creating the recipe with your own words.
Here is how:
- After you have chosen a recipe to cook, sit down and make yourself a cup of tea.
- Get a pen and a notepad.
- Read the recipe and understand the ingredients and method thoroughly.
- Have a sip of your tea and read the recipe again.
- Then write down the ingredients and measurements to use.
- Have another sip.
- Write down the method in your own words. Do not copy from the book. Write down what you understand exactly how you will do it.
- Have another sip.
- Check your fridge and pantry to ensure that you have the ingredients you need.
- If you have them, have another sip. If not go to the supermarket.
- Close the book and put it in the bookshelf. Use your own notes to cook from.
When I first read this I thought it was such a great idea because this method allows you to understand more clearly when following steps. I started doing it and realized that I feel more comfortable to experiment and create my version than following a recipe line by line from a cookbook.
This is how I exactly created the “Crunchy Banana Ice Cream”. I saw the “Banana “Ice Cream” with Sweet and Salty Roasted Almonds” recipe in Gwyneth’s “It is All Good”. I read the recipe and decided to make it. As I started writing “my version” down I thought about a different way of doing it.
The result was amazing. I ended up with a banana ice cream mixed with super crunchy salty almonds. The best thing is that I did not use sugar. Instead I used a really good quality maple syrup and that is only 2 tablespoons.
I am telling you, you have got to try it.
I cannot wait for Dwight to get home to eat it.
Only thing is, I hope I will not finish it before he comes home.