My cooking class: preserving basics.

My Cooking Class:  Preserving Basics (77 Recipes Illustrated Step By Step) – Jody Vassallo (2011, Firefly Books Ltd., Ontario)

My Cooking Class is a series of themed cookbooks, unique for the way that they are photographed and the recipes are presented:  overhead shots illustrate how individual ingredients are combined and prepared to yield the final product, and the instructions to follow are printed in very exacting and simple sentences at the bottom of each page.  The effect gives the reader the sense that they are attending a cooking-class-in-a-book, and presumably makes the recipes far more accessible and easy to create.  (Unfortunately I haven’t yet had a chance to try any of the recipes in Preserving Basics, but the hazelnut-chocolate spread is going to happen in my kitchen very, very soon! :)). 

I’ve made quite a few jars of jam and jelly in the past, and I’ve even dabbled in creating chutneys and fruit butters, but there’s always room to learn some new tips and tricks, and I’m always, always, ALWAYS on the hunt for new and special recipes, so this book was a delectable read.  Preserving Basics contains barely any of the tried and true recipes that have been passed down for generations – the only standards in the book are strawberry jam, blueberry jam, blackberry jam, and lemon curd.  Everything else is an exotic, tantalizing concoction of ingredients:  pineapple and peppercorn; quince and elderberry; banana and pistachio; tomato and passionfruit; kiwifruit and jasmine; chocolate and mixed fruit, to name just a few.  It’s a mouthwatering thrill just to think about these recipes…and then relish in Clive Bozzard-Hill’s photographs.  Curds, butters, jams, jellies, mustards, chocolate spreads, chutneys – they’re all here and looking marvellous.  I can hardly wait to test them out!

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