And so to the April edition of librarycook. Only eight days late, but in these unusual times, who’s counting? It’s difficult enough to know what day of the week it is, let alone the month.
The April issue of Delicious featured its usual Easter bonanza of chocolate-related recipes. The librarycook, fond though she is of chocolate, has always found this slightly bewildering, given that the Easter Bunny is headed towards most of us, labouring under the weight of eggs, bilbies and, of course rabbits. At the most intensively chocolatey time of the year, why does Delicious focus so intently on bringing more cocoa-laden goodies into our lives?
Putting this philosophical debate to one side, the librarycook turned her gaze onto the magazine. What delights awaited the librarycook household this month? Would it be the Ratatouille Salad with Eggplant Caviar and Goat’s Cheese? Perhaps the Poached Eggs, Chorizo, White Beans and Whipped Ricotta? Or the Seafood Gratin with Caramelised Apples (aka I need another recipe to fill the page – what on earth can I add?)?
Unsurprisingly, none of these met the librarycook’s strict criteria – that a recipe must both sound delicious, AND provide a high C:R ration (Cooking:Reading). Or be so fast that it can be on the table almost instantly. And so, it was the Chicken Pad Kra Pao with Crispy Fried Egg. Thai cooks mustn’t do a lot of reading, thought the librarycook, seeing as almost every Thai recipe is done and dusted within about 20 minutes. Or maybe they do their reading in sensibly long stretches of time whilst western cooks are still basting the roast an hour and a half later. The dish, a chicken mince stir fry with beans, Thai chilli jam, and Thai basil, plus those crispy eggs, was bursting with flavour, and was hoovered up by the librarycook’s family. Calls for the recipe to make a swift return to the menu were heard, too – so, despite the impossibility of getting even a page or two read, this recipe is a winner.
Loyal librarycook readers may recall that chocolate is life-blood to her, so the siren call of at least one of the issue’s 17 chocolate recipes was not to be resisted. And this time it was a recipe with an excellent C:R ratio – 40 minutes
during the first stage of baking, then a further 15 minutes, and finally, an hour or so before the last stage – all dedicated to Jeffrey Eugenides’ Middlesex – what a read! The name of this excellent, literary-focussed recipe? Chocolate Caramel Bars with a Salty Sprinkle. No diet food, this one, but more than worth an extra few minutes of exercise.
The librarycook’s tardiness in not managing to post the April issue until early May did have one benefit – a late call-out to a recipe in the March issue – the Pork Tenderloin with Coriander Dressing – not only melt-in-the-mouth delectable, but a whole hour of reading time prior to a fast finish in the char-grill pan.