Monday, 23 July 2012

What's on your (recipe) bookshelf? - random recipes goes like this, dear avid month your flicking through some God awful randomly selected recipe book from the shelf, your very inner core filled with dread about finding some out of season recipe everyone in the house either hates, has a food allergy to or where the ingredients are totally out of reach...OR you are exposing the dust and cobwebs of the bijou homestead in 'through the keyhole' like fashion to the whole of the inter web...yes folks you guessed it wrong...its random recipe time!

I feel quite a fraud entering this month, as I haven't entered this monthly challenge for a while (I read the round up's religiously mind you!) but what the heck! I love a bit of controversy and I love a bit of a change and thats what Dom over at Belleau Kitchen has done this month. Rather than expose our random cooking skills to the world, he wants us to expose our random recipe book collections instead...the nosey so and here we go...mine is a very simple and organised collection and thats it in the photograph above!

Challenge done...I thank you!
Ahhhhh go on then I'll tell you all a bit more...I don't keep my books in the kitchen or the living room or anywhere else, they live in this american oak (marks and spencer) cost a packet, and the dining table and chairs match wall unit/cabinet in the dining room.

I like to keep my collection 'managed' and in one place, I don't like to have books all over the house (I have in the past but no more).
I had book shelves in my old kitchen but not in my new one as I wanted more cupboard space rather than display space.

There are a few books I have had for years and doubt I will ever part with but these are in the minority, others won't stand the test of time and thats just how it is for me. Periodically I have a cull and trot off to town and donate a few boxes full of them to a local hospice shop that only sells books (I like that!). This has its downsides however, and admittedly there have been times when I have thought 'oh where's that book I'd love to make such and such' and realised I have given the book away to the hospice book shop! But, at the end of the day its for a good cause after all.

I don't buy second hand books as a rule, but there are a couple of exceptions, firstly the dog chewed my Nigella 'Domestic Goddess' book. I really love that book and couldn't live without it, so I bought a nearly new copy from that online marketplace store everyone goes to to get out bidded on. The other second hand book I have came from the same place quite recently though and its a duplicate of the recipe book my mum use to cook from when we were growing up. She bought this for me as a gift. I think I read that book like a story book as a child, it was the Encyclopedia Brittanica of food to me, I can still remember pouring over the photographs and all the recipes in it now and I can recall many of the recipes I made from it over the years, (this is it above to the right).

One of the smallest books I have is this, to the left here, it has a recipe of mine in it for a carrot cake and it was written to raise funds for North West Golden Retriever Rescue. We adopted our dog from the lady that runs it and our dog is mentioned and depicted in the book and on the back cover.

I don't tend to buy many food magazines but if I do and I want to keep a recipe I cut them out and keep them in a recipe file I was bought as a gift. I don't keep the magazines. I have them organised and kept in some kind of order. I do buy books if and when I travel abroad, but with baggage weight restrictions now I am limited. I have my mantras about my own collection...'keep it refreshed'...'if you don't use it don't hang on to it'.

You will usually find one or two books in the living room at home, these are ones I'm reading now or where I am trying out recipes or reviewing the book on this blog. I am currently reviewing 'The Icreamists' and I recently received a copy of Vivien Lloyds book 'First Preserves' - a book heaven sent for preserving mad fiends like me as its all about preserving, making jams, marmalades chutneys etc.

By the way the lid of that foot stool my feet are resting on to the right here opens up you know, quite good for storage and the like in the living room.
Do I ever use it to store my recipe books?
As I said earlier on,  I keep my collection quite small and manageable, I don't hoard stuff, as I do have a thing about 'too much stuff in the house'.

Yes well this little lot are mid keep watching...I have made recipes from most of these and just need to finish off writing about them. I really love to get copies of recipe books to review and I enjoy trying out new recipes and reading new books, but I can't possibly keep them this year I'm organising a coffee morning at work as part of Macmillan Cancers' worlds biggest coffee morning (its on 28th September 2012) and at this event I'm going to let some of my own books AND some review copies that I can't keep go for a reasonable donation to Macmillan Cancer.

I 'might' have another stash in one of the wardrobes upstairs all ready to be donated. Is that another Ooooppppppssssss?


  1. Best not invite you over to mine then - you'd have a stroke! Love how organised you are - that's what I aspire to. I had to sacrifice most of my novels to the charity shop to make space for my cookbooks. I'm definitely a hoarder by nature and it drives my family crazy! Thanks for letting us have a nosey round :)

  2. tis very organised and very chic... love that it's all neatly tucked away behind glass too... it has been fascinating peering into peoples homes, I love it!!... I am also sorry for making you do the scary stuff but challenging ourselves is one of the best ways to learn new stuff and that is ALWAYS a good thing!... it's your honesty that you should be most proud of! Thanks for climbing back on board this month xx

  3. I like your mantras about keeping your collection fresh. Cooking styles do change and I think I should follow this.
    Your book shelf looks great. Wish I was as organised.

  4. SO funny Sue! SOOOO funny, all the ooooops and EXPOSED stashes of books that you said you didn't have! LOL! LOVE that VERY expensive oak bureau too....the "cost a packet" one! LOVELY photos and your home looks JUST like I expected! Karen

  5. Well, I admire your organisation and control and I'm trying not to be a hoarder (perhaps I'm not trying hard enough, though).

  6. Sue can I come and live with you? I love it. Everything so nicely ordered and decluttered. Although there were a few "piles" that crept in! Love that oaks sideboard and strangely there are no surprises in you having a recipe featured in a dog rescue cookery book. Once upon a time, I would have thought that was a lot of recipe books - now .......!

  7. *giggles*

    and good luck with your coffee morning;)


Please leave a comment...if you have tried one of my recipes I'd love feedback, and thank you for taking time to pop by to read my blog.

Susan x