Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Closing the Cover

It's been 4 years, 580 blog posts, 600(ish) cookbook reviews and now it's time for Culinaria Libris to close the cover on this blog.  I feel a bit like Ronald Reagan must have felt as he walked through the White House waving goodbye back in 1989...wistful but ready to move on to the next chapter in life. 

Of course I will still be paying attention to what's going on in the world of cookbooks, but it's time to get back to other pursuits that have been neglected while the cookbooks were the center of my attention. My e-mail address will still be active as will my Twitter, Tumblr and Pinterest accounts so if you want to chat about cookbooks, just drop me a line. Thank you to all of you loyal readers who kept me going with your comments. It's been a pleasure and I hope our paths cross again.

So long and thanks for your readership!


(photo in public domain)

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Meat Bombs and Other Manly Meals

Cookbooks exclusively for men are few and far between - especially cookbooks with recipes in them for Meat Bombs. That's why you might be interested to know about GQ Eats: The Cookbook for Men of Seriously Good Taste.

published by Mitchell Beazley, 2013, £20

This is a compilation of recipes contributed by high-profile chefs such as Heston Blumenthal and Yotam Ottolenghi. With sections of recipes for Rock 'n' Roll Roasts or Best of British, you will find plenty of recipes to tempt your man into the kitchen (or at least to the kitchen table). So if cooking doesn't appeal to your man, just lob a Meat Bomb (a hand grenade-sized ball of beef with a flavor explosion) onto his dinner plate to get his attention.

I would classify this as a magpie cookbook - one in which you can easily nab bits and pieces from recipes and relaunch them into an entirely new recipe of your own creation. A little inspiration and creativity goes a long way.

Recipes for manly meals include:
  • Fish Pie
  • Black Pudding and Treacle Bacon Sandwich
  • Fried Chicken Nuggets
  • The No-Bun Burger
  • Roast Lamb with Pomegranate

Friday, 13 December 2013

Season of Sweetness

Now that Christmas is on the horizon, I find myself loosening the reins in the sugar department. It's hard to keep sugar to a minimum in December when you are surrounded by confectionary temptation at every turn. So if you're going to succumb to the season of sweetness, you might as well enjoy the ride. Here are some cookbooks that take a look at sugar from different perspectives.

published by Workman,2013, £25

Sweet is the perfect title for Valerie Gordon's new book on unforgettable desserts. However many times you have seen a chocolate cake or a cherry pie, there is something irresistible about these old standards when they're standing to attention on a cake pedestal or crimped to perfection as they are throughout the book. Valerie Gordon is the Valerie behind Valerie Confections in Los Angeles. I would classify her recipes as simple elegance. She takes standard desserts and adds her magic to them by pairing them with a new flavor or turning the simple into the sublime. You don't have to be a wizard to know that Champagne Gelée or Salted Caramel Pudding Parfaits will cast a spell over your dinner guests.

published by Ten Speed Press, 2013, £14.99

Just because your lifestyle might demand giving up the gluten, it doesn't mean you have to give up the baked goods. Sweet Cravings gives you 50 indulgent recipes for something sweet minus the gluten. This is the first gluten-free cookbook I have seen devoted exclusively to gluten-free desserts and it's impressive. This is an American baking book which means American measurements, but the chart included makes conversions trouble free. The replacements for flour tend to be sweet white rice flour and various starches, all of which you should be able to find in most Asian food shops. Whether it be Espresso Scones or S'mores Tartlets, going gluten-free has its advantages with recipes like these.

published by Mitchell Beazley, 2013, £12.99

Angel Adoree has found inspiration in the sweets jar for her latest look back to the past with The Vintage Sweets Book. The timing of this release being so close to Christmas means you can make your own sweets for a magical Christmas. A dish of gumdrops is compelling on its own, but when you make them yourself, you add a whole other layer of interest to them. Get out your candy thermometer for Fruit Jellies, Seaside Rock, and Candy Floss among many other sugary gems that we all know and love.