Family Nature

More Cooking

We’re well into the New Year and I’m thinking about my More or Less Resolutions. Since I didn’t give myself any set-in-stone resolutions, I’m not going to beat myself up over the things I haven’t done yet. Still, I thought I’d post an update.

More Cooking was one of my More or Less Resolutions, and I’m happy to report that I have been doing more cooking.

I think the merits of a good cookbook can be judged on the condition of the book: how many spills, how many missing or falling out pages and just generally how well used the book looks. Take, for example, my trusty old copy of The Joy of Cooking.

Pretty gross, eh? This is the book that taught me about dough, apple pie, how to pick, chop and cook any vegetable I’ve ever come across, how to make shepherd’s pie, how to cook a big turkey dinner and gave me the best vegan chocolate cake recipe ever. Any basic recipe or cooking technique is covered in this book. It is my cooking bible. I don’t use it very much anymore but I will never get rid of it.

Right around Christmas, I got three new cookbooks. First, from dear Mr. Family Nature, I got Rose Elliot’s New Complete Vegetarian. Then with a gift card from my brother, I bought Seductions of Rice by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid and Indian Home Cooking by Suvir Saran.

(My friend, MoneyGal, has the best cookbook collection I’ve seen outside of a library. Every time I’m at her house, I like to browse her shelves. Many great cookbook recommendations have come from her, including Seductions of Rice and Indian Home Cooking.)

Of my new cookbooks, the one I’ve used the most so far is Indian Home Cooking. I absolutely love it. As you can see, there are a fair few splashes and sticky notes in the book already.

This book sent me in search of a whole bunch of new and interesting spices that I’d never bought before, like cumin seeds, dried red chillies, green cardamom pods, black mustard seeds, fresh curry leaves and amchur. It also has me using cinnamon sticks and whole cloves in something other than baked goods. The combination of all these spices and more gives foods such rich flavour.

If you like Indian food, I highly recommend this book. The recipes are easy to follow and best of all, the kids (for the most part) like it. Some of the recipes are a bit spicy but I make a note a use a bit less chilli the next time.

Having all these spices on hand has also helped me rediscover my love of chai tea. I leave you with the recipe that I’ve been using. I have a great little pot that has measurements marked on the inside, plus it has a strainer lid, so I whip this up really easily:

Chai Tea

  • 2 cups water
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 1 small cinnamon stick
  • 3 cardamom pods
  • 5 peppercorns
  • ½ inch of ginger root, rinsed and smashed
  • 2 tbsp honey (or sweetener of choice)
  • 1 cup milk (soy milk, almond milk or milk of choice)
  • 2 tea bags (or 2 teaspoons of black tea leaves)

Bring the water and the spices to a boil on the stove. Turn down the heat, cover and simmer gently for a few minutes. Add the honey and milk, and bring back to a boil. Add the tea bags, remove from heat and let steep for 5 minutes. Remove tea bags, strain and enjoy!

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