Project Cookbook: update…

It’s been a big day. One of my favourite days of the year. My absolute favourite event of the year on the Melbourne calendar. The Good Food & Wine Show. Husband and I go almost every year, and have since we started dating 12 years ago. I love going because I love seeing people get excited over food. I love seeing the new ideas, and how many ways we can use a simple meal to bring people together. I love getting motivated to try something different at home, go out to a new place for a meal, finding inspiration for my travels. And having spent the better part of the day surrounded by so much deliciousness, it’s given me the second wind and renewed excitement to finish my cookbook.
Honestly, it’s not been a difficult process for me. I put together a little cookbook back in 2012 while I was writing my old blog, and while it started off pretty fun, I ended up becoming a little bogged down in the technicalities. Was it all formatted perfectly? Was it written in a way that was easy to understand? Did anyone give a crap about my stories that accompanied the recipes? Were they even good enough? Would people understand that I wasn’t trying to do a pretentious la-di-la fancy collection, and just simple food? Would that be good enough to interest anyone if it was just simple and basic? Were the photos good enough? Some of them looked good at the time, then the more I looked at them through the proof reading and editing process, the more amateur they looked. And I spent every spare minute on it, so instead of it being a fun hobby undertaken in my spare time, it became an all-consuming obsession to finish it to the high standards I held myself, in the amount of time I deemed acceptable. So much for a passion project!
This time around, it’s been very different. I’m not caring quite as much about the way I’m writing it and if it sounds eloquent, yet believable, or any of that crap. I’m writing like I talk, same as I do on here. I’m still aiming for it to be another unpretentious, down-to-earth volume, but I’m not trying as hard to make it appear that way, if that even makes sense. It’s not Michellin star food, and I make no apologies for that. It’s food inspired by my travels, and it’s meant to be accessible and easy to recreate. Because no one needs another bloody cookbook taking up space that they can’t actually cook from. And this time, I’ve set no strict deadlines. It’s ready when it’s ready. I am actually only working on it when I have the time and inclination to do so, which is making it more fun and easier to write. I’m not trying to cook 4 fancy meals in the space of 3 hours on Saturday arvo; when I feel like re-visiting my trip to Barcelona, then I re-test and photograph the paella recipe.
And because of all this, putting this little cook together has been the most fun I’ve had in ages! It’s allowed me to revisit my past few years’ travels not only through photos, but through taste, as well, which conjures up way stronger memories. And all of a sudden, without really noticing, it’s actually not that far off done! So exciting! The last steps now are to re-test and photograph a few more recipes, then it’ll be time to proof-read and get a test version printed up to check out…. but before that, I’m putting out one last call to see if anyone else would like to assist in recipes testing for this crazy project!
I’ve got a little army of a few wonderful real life and bloggy friends helping me out, testing some of the recipes that’ll appear in the book in their own kitchens for me; the reason for this is that I want the recipes to actually be do-able! If you’ve also been to Positano and had some amazing gnocchi and would give anything to get a bowl of it at home, I want to make sure the recipe I have is easy enough to actually follow for you! While most recipes have been tested by someone other than me at least once, there are still a few more that haven’t; if anyone’s interested in giving any of these a go, please let me know by commenting below or emailing me at!
– almond croissants
– bagels
– beef bourguignon
– bun cha
– castagne (roasted chestnuts)
– chocolate filled donuts
– coconut poached fish
– gnocchi al pomodoro
– hipster eggs
– limoncello curd & mascarpone tart
– lolly cake
– pineapple & ginger cupcakes
– potato tortilla
– pork & prawn banh xeo
– pork & shiitake dumplings
– poutine potatoes
– pulled pork with mac & cheese
– red beans & rice
– red velvet cheesecake cups
– seafood cocktail cup
– seafood paella
– smashed avo & egg breakfast piadinas
– tamagoyaki (rolled omelette)

14 thoughts on “Project Cookbook: update…

      • Oh don’t worry at all Divya, you’ve already been a huge help with what you have tested!! And thank you for your encouragement as well – I can’t wait to have it done so the lovely people who’ve helped me out like you can see it, too! I’ve got one of the photos you sent me in there as well!

  1. HI Jess, best of luck with your Cookbook, I also will purchase a book! If you need someone to try out a recipe, happy to give a try. Regards Maree, Australia

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