25 August 2015

My Favourite Cookbooks

I've always loved cooking. I can actually trace my cooking-love back to an exact day when I was about 8: my guitar teacher recommended that I quit because my hands were too small (I'll never forgive him for that) and I was a wee bit heartbroken so my mum said that for the hour that I would've been in guitar lessons every week, she would teach me how to cook. I'd always watched her cook but I was finally old enough to learn for myself and I couldn't wait. No joke, I've been cooking and baking ever since. The past year or so, I've been cooking a lot more and for the past 4 or 5 months, I've pretty much taken over the role as family chef, cooking at least 5 meals every week. I freaking love it and I don't think my family mind it at all. I've made a couple of pretty crap meals but I'm getting better every day and I never get bored. To accompany my cooking-love, I've been building up my own little collection of cookbooks so I don't always have to use my mum's. Not including baking books (I have a lot of those from years and years of baking, especially when I was younger), I have 5 of my own cookbooks so I thought I'd pick my favourites and share them with you. Little side-note: I'm vegetarian so my cookbooks kinda fit with that. I'm also very gradually cutting out dairy.

First up is 'Hemsley & Hemsley, The Art of Eating Well' by Jasmine and Melissa Hemsley.  This is a gorgeous book full of super healthy recipes, with beautiful photos and a fair bit of really useful nutritional info. I actually just sat and read this when I got it which it a wee bit sad. It's not a vegetarian cookbook but it does have a good selection of meat-free recipes so it should suit most diets pretty well. My one complaint with this book is that it does have quite a few rare ingredients that I've never heard of let alone seen in supermarkets so I tend to substitute them for more common alternatives. Some of the recipes are on the more complicated side but they're explained clearly so it shouldn't be too much of an issue. My favourite so far is the Malaysian lentil and squash curry, but I used courgette instead of squash. It was lovely.

Next is 'Mildred's: The Vegetarian Cookbook' by Sarah Wasserman and Dan Acevedo. Another gorgeous book but I like this one a bit more than the last because it's really fuss-free and uncomplicated. It has some really different and interesting recipes in it but they make it seem really quite simple. Vegetarian cookbooks can sometimes be quite intimidating but not this one. The photos are beautiful and make everything look amazing, and I really like the way it's written. The ingredients aren't super fancy and it's all vegetarian which is a plus. It has an amazing guacamole recipe in it and a pepper and sweet potato soup which my full family loved. It's just great.

Lastly is my newest one but potentially my favourite: 'Keep It Vegan' by Áine Carlin. I've been looking into veganism for quite a while now as it just kinda seems like the natural next step for me, as I've been vegetarian for a couple of years (I was vegetarian between the ages of 7 and 12, then became vegetarian again 2 or 3 years ago). I like the idea of veganism and would love to be vegan but I think I would be best doing it gradually. I'm cutting out dairy a little bit at a time and starting to make mostly vegan meals. This book really makes being a vegan look a lot easier and less scary because it's fuss-free, doesn't use fancy ingredients and has over 100 vegan recipes that genuinely all look delicious. I'll probably keep you updated on how I get on cutting out dairy if that's something people want to hear about. Anyways, this looks like an amazing book and I can't wait to try out the recipes.

Do you have any favourite cookbooks? Have you tried any of these ones?

16 August 2015

You're More Than Your Label

For as long as I can remember, I've been called "the short one". That's my label: short. I've never really minded, I mean, it's said with affection and (surprisingly) I've never really been bullied for my size, but sometimes when I hear someone describe me as "the short one", I want to tell them that there's more to me than my general small-ness. Yeah, I'm only 5 foot 3 but there are other things people notice about me. Like, I have this pair of scabby walking boots that I've worn every single day without fail for well over a year now. I like to think that they're a part of who I am now. And I have a weird hybrid accent despite the fact that I've lived in the same Scottish town for 18 years. People notice that. I sometimes get called "the kinda english-y one" if the short label wasn't effective enough. I dress kinda differently. You could use that as my label if you want. I've been called flamboyant a number of times. I love that. Use that one. My point is, there's more to me than my lack of height. 

Labels are the worst. People like to label everything and everyone so they can sort stuff into neat little boxes and categories. People label themselves so it's easier for them to tell people who and what they are. Life can get very disorganised sometimes so it can feel comforting to be able to give yourself a nice little label but some labels get old very fast. You're so much more than your label. I was talking about this with a friend the other day and he said that "I think it all comes down to that fundamentally human desire to feel a part of something". I couldn't agree more. You might disagree. Maybe you have a label for yourself and you like that label. Maybe you find comfort in your label. Maybe you finally feel like you can be yourself because of you label. If that's the case, that's brilliant. A label can be a badge of honour. I just think it's vital that you know that you are more than your label because you are. You are so freaking complex and that's wonderful.


12 August 2015

I've Been Book-Buying #5

Worn Stories by Emily Spivack 
The Establishment: And How They Get Away With It by Owen Jones // Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami 
 Important Artifacts and Personal Property From the Collection of Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris, Including Books, Street Fashion and Jewelry by Leanne Shapton 
 Palo Alto by James Franco // Ayoade On Ayoade: A Cinematic Odyssey by Richard Ayoade

It's been quite a while since I did a book haul so I thought I'd come back with a collection of books that I've acquired over the past month of so. I say acquired because I bought a few of them but the rest were given to me by family because...drum-roll please...it was my 18th birthday on Saturday the 8th. I now feel very old. Everyone knows how much of a bookworm I am so I got a few really lovely books as birthday presents, including 'Worn Stories' by Emily Spivack. It's such a gorgeous book that shares little stories from famous people that are attached to items of clothing. It's amazing to see how a piece of clothing can bring back so many memories. We probably all have a worn out pair of jeans or a scabby t.shirt that remind us of a certain day. It's cool. Talking of hella cool books with interesting formats, my sister got me 'Important Artifacts and Personal Property...' by Leanne Shapton (I'm not going to write out the full title every time, it's crazy long). This book tells you the story of a failed relationship (between Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris) but it's not just another romance novel, oh no, it's set out like an auction catalogue and the story is told through the descriptions of the items. How amazing is that?! I can't wait to read this. The last book I got for my birthday is 'Palo Alto' by James Franco. I saw the film last month (then re-watched a few times) and really loved it so when I discovered that it was a book first, I was all over it. Should be good. 

I bought the others over the past couple of months: 'Ayoade On Ayoade' by Richard Ayoade has already been read and oh my goodness it was brilliant. So bizarre. I'm a huge Richard Ayoade fan and this book had made me love and admire him even more. 'The Establishment' by Owen Jones is a political one so it won't be to everyone's taste but I've heard great things about Owen Jones so I wanted to give it a shot. It's essentially about the group of people behind the government who really hold all the power, despite the UK being a "democracy". I think this'll be really quite interesting. Lastly, my first Murakami: 'Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage'. I've been meaning to read some Murakami for ages now and this one sounds like my kinda thing so I'm looking forward to finally joining the Murakami club. 

What have you been reading/buying recently? Have you read any of these?
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