Today, after several years of indifference, I rediscovered my local public library. Last time I was there I remember being distinctly uninspired by their cookery section; today, not so. I was impressed – and somewhat surprised – to find a whole raft of books that I’d really love to read. I started by borrowing two of them: Willie’s Chocolate Factory Cookbook and Trish Deseine’s Party Food (plus a novel called Chez Moi about a woman who decides to open a restaurant in her Paris flat – how very topical).
After my recent foray into homemade truffles I am all about chocolate right now, so Willie Harcourt-Cooze’s tome really appealed. Half the book is devoted to the story of how he become a cacao farmer in Venezuela and to exploring the history of chocolate, the rest of the pages give recipes for both sweet and savoury dishes. Of course, it’s convenient that they all call for real cacao and he just so happens to sell it…but in fairness the book does appear to have some substance to it rather than simply being a thinly disguised marketing tool. He is clearly passionate about the stuff. Anyone for some tomato and cacao ketchup?
Trish Deseine is one of my favourite cookery writers. She is not so well known in England but in France she is hugely successful, and her books are beautifully compiled. Party Food is no exception. After giving some introductory advice on how to plan your event, the book is arranged into chapters such as ‘Parties for paupers’ and ‘Best of British’, then focuses on several colour themes (black and white, red and pink, orange and yellow, green) – an idea I really like – before finishing up with suggestions for celebration lunches. The food has been simply and attractively shot by Marie-Pierre Morel and having flicked through the book a couple of times, I’m already full of ideas for my next soirée. Tartiflette soup…mmmm. Now I just need to think of an excuse to throw an après-ski party.
Go and check out your local library to see what treasures you can uncover. Find yours here.
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