Today’s Find, with its brightly coloured stripes, is a real ‘investment cookbook.’ The Cook’s Companion: The Complete Book of Ingredients and Recipes for the Australian Kitchen by Australian cook Stephanie Alexander, is the perfect gift because anything you could ever possibly need to know about food or cooking is in there. When I mentioned it to Rebecca, she’d already heard of it and knew friends who had it… apparently it’s something of a cult item! We were given our copy as a wedding present, (my Great Aunt Anne actually sent ours from Australia – the package was about the size and weight of two bricks tied together) and with over 1000 pages of recipes, it covers every basic dish you can think of as well as more advanced cooking techniques and stacks of info about how to prepare various ingredients, how to match flavours, and what to cook when.
In the 6 months we’ve had ours, it’s become something of a touchstone for my cooking. With it I’ve made the perfect white sauce for seafood, home made pizza bases and various desserts as well as using it as a reference for converting measurements and swapping herbs in recipes according to what I could find at ASDA. Sure, I could have done all that on the internet, but a, I’m not allowed to put our laptop anywhere near water or foodstuffs, and b, it’s not as pretty. Not to mention that the book has two ribbon bookmarks and is perfect for just browsing through for inspiration. I think it would be a totally fantastic gift for someone moving out of home for the first time, too. It’s not inexpensive (listed on Amazon for around the £80-£90 mark, although there are also some available second hand for less,) but it’s something which will last a lifetime.
Have you been converted to Stephanie Alexander? Or have another favourite recipe book with everything in it? Let us know!