Cooking Club Challenge for 2013

If you’ve been reading my blog a while, you will know that for much of 2012 I participated in a monthly cooking club with a number of blogging babes. Separately but together, we made party drinks, jams and seasonal dishes. It was a lot of fun.

For 2013, our cooking club host, Lucent Imagery, has set a year-long challenge: to pick one cookbook and cook as many recipes from it as possible throughout the year.

When Lucent suggested this I immediately jumped on board. As a vegetarian, it can be hard to find good cookbooks. The stylish ones by famous chefs always contain a host of meat-based dishes, and in my experience the purely-vegetarian cookbooks are either incredibly basic or incredibly complicated. I decided that this cooking club challenge would be a perfect opportunity to really hunt out a good quality vegetarian cookbook to improve my recipes during the year.

Citrus salad

(Citrus Spinach Salad by Janellie, CC:BY-NC-ND)

So there I was, sitting on the floor in the cookbook section of Dymocks, surrounded by a sea of open vegetarian cookbooks. One of the staff came over and pointed to Super Natural Every Day by Heidi Swanson. “You’d be crazy to overlook that one,” he said. “I’ve recently turned vegetarian and I have literally cooked only her recipes every day for months”. Intrigued, I looked more closely at the book. It indeed looked wonderful, but there were many dessert, breakfast and snack recipes and the mains section had a lot of soups. It didn’t look like there were enough proper meals to have sustained this guy for months. I pointed this out to him. “Well,” he admitted, “I have been using this book, but I’ve also been using her website. It’s fantastic. I’ll write down the address for you.” He went off and soon returned with a card on which he’d written: www.101cookbooks.comI thanked him and decided to check out the website before I purchased a book. The staff member had talked Dymocks out of a sale in the short term (though probably not in the long term), but I was super impressed with his helpfulness.

I went home and logged on. And was sold. 101 cookbooks is a comprehensive, vegetarian-only database in which Heidi chronicles the best recipes (and her experiences with those recipes) from the 100+ cookbooks that she owns. The website focuses on natural, whole foods and ingredients, and each recipe post is accompanied by gorgeous photographs. I think it’s a winner.

So this year, instead of working my way through a cookbook, I’ll be cooking as much as I can from this website. And documenting the results. Cooking club posts will go live as they did in 2012 – on the last day of each month. Except the cooking club is a bit more self-managed this year, so I may miss a few posts… I’ll try not to, but we’ll see how I go, shall we?

Don’t forget to check out what my cooking club buddies will be doing:
Lucent Imagery // Down by the Sea // Explodyfull.

If you’re interested in jumping on board this project with us, let me know in the comments!

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11 Responses to Cooking Club Challenge for 2013

  1. Sarah says:

    I have just been over to visit 101 cook books it looks very impressive. I like the way you can select receipes by an ingredient too! I hope you will be able to give me your recommendations from here as I won’t have to much spare time to investigate with trying out the recipes from my book!
    Sarah x

  2. Kylie says:

    Of course I will! xx

  3. This is a great idea! I have so many vegetarian cookbooks that I barely use. I get a box of organic veggies delivered every fortnight which challenges me to use veggies I may not normally buy, but I think I should up the challenge by ensuring I am using the cookbooks regularly too!

    I will definitely be stopping by to see what you’re making from the website!

    • Kylie says:

      Hi Liz! Thanks for commenting. Your blog is gorgeous. It’s great to find another vego – I think I’ll be copying some of your recipes too!

  4. So happy to have you on board this challenge with me dear! I liked reading about how you arrived at 101cookbooks, which is definitely an awesome site. I laughed at what Sarah said about not having time to look at it now with our own books to conquer, i feel the same way! :)

  5. Demi says:

    What a find, Kylie! I’m definitely having a look. It’ll be good to eat more wholesomeness & veggies again so thanks for the inspiration ^^

    • Kylie says:

      Thanks Demi! I’m glad you found it useful! I’ll definitely post more updates on how I’m finding the site during the year x

  6. Explody Full says:

    I can totally imagine you sitting in the bookshop with books spread all around you unable to decide. Sounds like something I would do.

    I followed 101cookbooks for a while but nothing really appealed to me that much I am not sure what it is…so I am really forwards to seeing what you cook because I can’t imagine you making something I would think is meh (expect perhaps for mushroom based foods…)

    • Kylie says:

      Hahaha, maybe it didn’t appeal because it was vegetarian? I know how you love your meat. And crazy things like avo icecream! Thank you for saying you can’t imagine I would make something meh….although I’m feeling the pressure a bit now!

      • Explody Full says:

        I have just had another look at the blog and I don’t think it’s coz it’s vegetarian (although some of it does it a little too rabbit food for me). I think it’s just the way the food is presented – white washed out backgrounds. It seems very clinical and ‘look at how healthy I am!!’ to me, it doesn’t make me want to cook the foods.

        (and that avo ice cream was a bit meh….Justin think’s is coz I used dud avocados..which means we’ll just have to TRY IT AGAIN when I am back..hahah I know you are looking forwards to that )

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