Why I stopped buying cookery books

Reading an article tweeted by Amanda, I realised this week I haven't bought a new cookery book for about two years. 

For someone who used to love nothing better than poring over a new cookery book, this has been quite a change in behaviour, but the article, titled 'Want to write a bestselling cookery book? Don't worry about making it any good', exactly summed up my apathy about most of the books currently available.

"Think of a title. Anything with “bible” in it is good, or any of the following: “ultimate”, “essential”, “fast”, “easy”, “delicious”. Don’t worry if the book doesn’t live up to these claims. The title is secondary to the cover photo. If you’re a woman, make sure you’re young and gorgeous. Be photographed in a flirty dress that hints at sexy and domestic in equal measure, while holding a tray of cupcakes in your perfectly manicured hands. It doesn’t matter if an anonymous home economist did the baking, your job is to pose. As you gaze at the camera, try to convey the sense that buying this book will give readers a glossy new allure."

Every time I browse through the cookery section of my local bookshop I'm left feeling uninspired and that I've seen it all before. Beneath the gloss and the healthy, yet slightly fey, glamour shots, there is not much substance and I want more from a cookery book than a "glossy new allure".

Plus, you know what, I have enough cookery books. I don't need anymore. I have two shelves of cookery books, that are mostly well thumbed and splattered with food. I've cooked many recipes from these books and yet I'm still finding gems I haven't noticed before; still being surprised and astounded by the writing; and still marveling at the craft, care and love of ingredients in these books.

Two shelves of cookery books that I love. That's enough for me.

Cracking recipes: Wendy's Kale & Goat Cheese Pesto

Over the past year, one of the recipes on regular repeat in my kitchen is Wendy's Kale and Goat Cheese Pesto.

  Photo by  Bobbi Bowers

Photo by Bobbi Bowers

I've been following Wendy's blog, A Wee Bit of Cooking, for years now. Along the way, a number of her recipes, like the Black Bean and Sweet Potato Burritoshave become favourites in our house

However, it's her kale pesto I'm currently fixated on.

When talking about how to cook if time and energy are low it seems almost frivolous to mention a pesto recipe. However, Wendy's is a doozie which I just find really useful.

Firstly, of course, it tastes delicious!

Moreover, while the pesto isn't a meal unto itself, I find it can add flavour, texture and vegetable to a collection of otherwise disparate ingredients, turning them into a tasty meal.

It's also flexible and as I repeatedly say, I love a low fuss, flexible recipe. I like Wendy's idea of toasting the nuts and freely admit it would make the pesto even more delicious, nevertheless in the service of simplicity, saving time and reducing pan usage, I rarely follow this step. I also often adjust the recipe according to what's in my cupboard, changing the nuts or cheese and adding in fresh herbs or chilli, if I feel like it.

I make up a batch with a whole bunch of kale and then use it by the tablespoonful, tossed through chickpeas, pasta and rice, blobbed on the top of a vegetable soup, or folded into the middle of an omelette.

It is quite simply a brilliant and delightful recipe.

What recipes are currently on high rotation in your kitchen?