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