Kitchen Exploits - Cookbook Commendations | The Family Meal

This week, after daily cooking, I felt like I needed some inspiration in the kitchen. It is one thing to occasionally whip up something one fancies, but quite another to do mundane, day-to-day cooking for everyone in the family. (Not to mention the copious amount of washing up to do. Dishes do somehow multiply on their own.)

As always, I start off with a meal plan for the week, and grocery shop according to the plan. However, after almost two weeks of cooking every single day, I started to pull recipe books off the shelf to refresh myself (and hopefully my cooking).

As part of this Kitchen Exploits series therefore, I have decided to intersperse sharing of recipes with my recommendations of some of the best cookbooks that have worked for me. I will write about why I like them, and you can decide if you would like them on your cookbook holder at home!

First up, I rediscovered The Family Meal - Home cooking with Ferran Adria. Yes, this is the Ferran Adria of elBulli fame. Interestingly, it was Roboman who bought this book about two years ago. He was inspired then to put together an unconventional Christmas dinner for our family, using a recipe from this book.

Book cover from The Book Depository

This book is one of home cooking recipes by the legendary chef. It showcases the meals that his staff used to eat every day in the kitchens of elBulli, and offers illustrated step-by step instructions about how to prepare these meals.

I was a little apprehensive when I first saw the book, thinking that the recipes will be too difficult for a noob cook like me. Thankfully, there are none of those fancy stuff, but wholesome, easy-to-prepare recipes.


The Family Meal contains a very useful segment on Basic Recipes, where he writes various sauce and stock recipes. Our family has adopted his Bolognese Sauce recipe with minor adaptations, and we have done it so many times that I can now cook it without referring to the cookbook. 


What really stands out however, are the recipes for 3-course meals that take up most of the book. Entire meals are planned out with care to ensure complementary flavours and smooth food preparation.


The icing on the cake of the book are the guides to when things need to be done with clear timings spelt out. This is absolutely fantastic when one is cooking for guests, entertaining at home. It is almost like having an expert by your side, telling you what to do to ensure optimum flavours and presentation of the meal.


I hope you enjoyed this first installment of Cookbook Commendations!

What are some of your favourite cookbooks? I would love to hear of them!

5 comments:

mummyed said...

Interesting! And the library has a copy too, so I must check it out! I actually enjoyed reading Thomas Keller's Bouchon, but most of the recipes are a little too complicated. I also like Harumi's Japanese cooking!

Corsage@A Dollop Of Me said...

mummyed:
Oh, thanks for sharing! Will check your recommendations out. Yes, I borrow SO MANY cookbooks from the library. But then I also love to buy a number of them as they are so beautiful to look at :)

mummybean said...

This book was on my to-get list, and then I forgot about it! Thanks for the reminder! Shall go check it out at the library. I love the 3-course meal plans!

I am a cookbook junkie. I've too many Jamie Oliver books, though my fav one is Cook With Jamie. My current favourites are La Tartine Gourmande, Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics and for Chinese food, Easy Chinese Recipes by Bee Yinn Low (ie. the writer of rasamalaysia.com). Hmm, I seem to like TV and online self-taught cooks huh.

Yee Mei said...

These books are very helpful! The photos just make it even better :-) I don't use cookbooks. I just upload apps from the app store about cooking thinking that they would be easier but I haven't had much luck with them. Maybe I should start grabbing books instead with simple meals to make too!

xo, Yee Mei

Corsage@A Dollop Of Me said...

mummybean:
Hope you enjoy the book! I can so see you making 3-course meals for your family to delight in :) Thanks for sharing your fave books. Will go check them all out!

Yee Mei:
Ooh, I've not tried apps myself. Hope you find something that works for your style of cooking!