My bookshelf: Spooning with Rosie

I stumbled across the recipe book Spooning with Rosie, by Rosie Lovell, whilst spending a rain sodden lunch hour exploring the cookery section in Waterstones. I was instantly drawn to the vibrant red cover and the strap-line “Food, Friendship & Kitchen Loving”

Those words resonated with me. I loved cooking for friends and family and cherished the time I spent in my kitchen. I started to flick through the pages and immediately felt hungry; Rosie has a wonderful way with words which mirrors perfectly her style of cooking. Every one of her recipes has a story behind them, an association to her past or present, which I found incredibly endearing and relatable. It made me we want to cook her dishes.

It’s not fancy restaurant cuisine, but my god it tastes good. It’s the kind of food you want to share with friends, family and those you cherish, it instantly screams ‘I love you’ and will have you clamouring for more.

Let me share a couple of my most favourite dishes: the first, Tomato & Pont L’Eveque Proposal Tart, prompted a proposal from an old boyfriend of Rosie’s; the guy obviously has taste, it’s glorious! Short, buttery pastry encases a base of sticky, balsamic roasted cherry tomatoes and savoury custard filling all topped with the sweet and tangy Pont L’Eveque cheese, and a scattering of thyme leaves. It is just too good.

Another is Rosie’s Herby Spare Ribs, Porchetta-style; I honestly can not get enough of these. They are a staple at all my summer BBQ events. Sticky with honey and fragrant with garlic and dill, they are the perfect excuse to get mucky over.

What I also adore about this book is that Rosie is not afraid to explore cuisines from all around the world.  Indian Stuffed Squid, Jeera Rice and Tumeric Cabbage, inspired by her travels through southern India, sits comfortably next to a recipe she calls Esme’s Hot Wings, Daddy’s Jamican Ackee & Saltfish, Fried Plantain & Coconut Coleslaw, which is heavily influenced by the Jamican girlfriends her Dad dated in his youth. Rosie’s nod to a memorable summer time date, Vietnamese Salad with Steak, is followed by a recipe for Pyrenean Duck with Champ, a homage to her time holidaying in the Pyrenees. Every recipe is unique, delicious and full of personality – a delight from start to finish.

It was after reading this book that I begin to seriously entertain the idea of pursuing a career in food. She was 2 years younger than me, owned a beautiful deli in the heart of Brixton market, was writing interesting and culturally diverse recipes and looked effortlessly cool to boot. At that time I wanted to be Rosie – I haven’t quite succeeded but I’m hoping I’ve made a good start to achieving my culinary dreams.

Note: Her book is no longer available to buy ‘new’ from amazon but you can get your hands on 2nd hand copies for a steal.