The bank holiday weekend is a great time to unwind with a book and over the last weekend I had a chance to open up Nikkei Cuisine – Japanese Food the South American Way by Luiz Hara, born in Brazil to Japanese and Italian parents and living in the UK. The food cultures of both Japan and Brazil are incredibly different and crammed with amazing styles, techniques, flavours and smells so cooking Nikkei – the cooking of the Japanese diaspora – with a Brazilian flavour was always going to make for a good read.
This month sees the released of Cinead McTernan’s Kitchen Garden Experts which landed across my desk in the past week or two. Published by Frances Lincoln in London and featuring some cracking photos by Jason Ingram, Kitchen Garden Experts takes a look at 20 of the UK’s most exciting hotels, restaurants, pubs and cafés, but more importantly, the chefs and head gardeners behind the dishes that wind up on their menus.
While restaurants and cafés in the UK and Ireland have been using their own gardens and gardeners for years, it’s certainly something that’s coming more to the forefront these days as people look to return to and, as Raymond Blanc puts it quite simply in his foreword, “reconnect with the land”.
If I have one piece of advice to food bloggers travelling abroad, it’s this: don’t let your bag out of your sight at any time.
My to my own despair, I get to learn this the hard and, unfortunately, expensive way. Last week I penned a short post on five fond food memories of France. Yes, I got to chase down each of them in turn and while I’m now back on home soil, my trip started out with the opening lesson.
Hindsight tells me it was against my better judgement to carry my 2 year old iPad (a present from herself), a year old white Sony Vaio laptop containing a wealth of photos and my six month old Canon 6D (the most expensive piece of kit complete with charger, spare batteries, memory cards and an additional lens) in my hand luggage, but I did just that. Packed tightly into a rucksack, never left my side from Kilkenny all the way to landing in Perpignan, until we landed at the airport.
In just under a month, local chef Edward Hayden (he of TV3, KCLR96FM and a myriad of other places) will launch his third book, Food For Friends, at the Springhill Court Hotel in Kilkenny.
I was in Springhill for Edward’s last book launch, the hotel absolutely jam packed for the reveal of his second book, Food To Love, in May 2011. I had Edward in studio as a guest a few months back to find out how the third book was progressing and on April 26 coming, it will go public with The O’Brien Press.
The book will be launched at 8pm by Ireland’s Queen of Home Baking, Celebrity Chef from Ireland AM, Catherine Leyden.
MC on the evening is KCLR96FM’s Sue Nunn From and music will be provided on the evening by the Wonderful ‘Two Of A Kind’. No doubt there will be a truckload of copies of the book available to buy on the night and if the last launch is anything to go by, I wouldn’t expect the copies to stick around long.
The evening is free to attend and gets underway at 8pm. Check the Facebook event for details.
Cataloguing: present participle of cat·a·log (Verb), meaning to
- Make a systematic list of (items of the same type).
- Enter (an item) in such a list.
I’ve been threatening to put some order on the cookbooks in the kitchen for some time and this week as I take a few extra days away from the office before getting 2012’s development works underway, I’ve finally made a start. In fairness, it’s not like there’s a library in the kitchen. The boxes of books in the attic, the bookshelves upstairs, the bags of books in the office and wardrobes around the house would certainly take some more time but I reckon there’s between 50 and 60 books in there. The thing is, even at 50 or 60 books, there’s maybe 20% of those I could name off hand if I was heading out. With food and cookbooks always on the cards around Christmas and birthdays, I figure it would be helpful for myself (and others involved) to know what’s on the shelf in the kitchen, so I’ve taken to cataloguing the books online.
At time of writing, I’ve 45 done and published to a temporary library here before figuring out the best way to port all the info in the library into WordPress and integrate with the blog here.
Enter, Delicious Library
To get me along the way, I’m using a desktop app for the Mac by the name of Delicious Library, an app I picked up as part of a software bundle a year or two ago in its first version. Now on version 2.7 and retailing for $35, Delicious catalogues not only books but also movies, music, videogames, clothes, gadgets, tools, toys and software, or, pretty much the majority of what can be bought through Amazon. How does it work? It’s quite simple really – hold the barcode of the book up in front of your Mac’s iSight camera, the bar code gets scanned and all book info (including artwork) gets pulled into your Library. If it’s not available in the UK store, a drop down menu allows you to scan the American, French, German and Japanese stores as well. Entering a book into the library on your desktop only takes a few seconds and of the 45 books scanned so far this evening, only 1 required manual entry (a book I picked up in M&S with their own internal barcoding).
The initial results of the book scanning can be seen here – http://www.anygivenfood.com/deliciouslibrary/
Built into the app is also a remote publishing feature, allowing you to publish to your MobileMe account, any FTP server or a local folder to create a mini library website for you to upload. The resulting publication is a bit basic for my own requirements but it makes all of your books searchable online, handy if you need to flip open a browser page to find out what you have or don’t have on the shelf in the kitchen. A change to the Amazon API T&Cs in recent times scrapped the iPhone version but the desktop version holds pretty well.
And, if you’re hoarding books (like me with the office wall upstairs) and you regularly lend books to friends as well, they’ve got that one covered as well with an in-built lending function, allow you to assign books as ‘out’ to friends, finding out who you gave a book to, when, and what they borrowed. You can also sell books from your library on Amazon, and buy books from your library there as well. I’ve spotted that the links in the published library (and within the application) have an affiliate key for the developers to earn them a few cent here and there on that side of the functionality, something I’m not in any way concerned about.
If it sounds useful to you, you can get a free download at Delicious-Monster.com which allows scanning and storing of up to 25 items in the library. After that, a license key (one off) will cost you US$35.
Tracking Books On The Go
One other app that might be of use to you in terms of cataloging books that you both have read and want to read is the new iPhone app from Goodreads.com. The scanning functionality behind the app is quite simple – open the app, log in with your email address and password (you need a free goodreads.com account to use it), scan the barcode from inside the app and add to a list of books you have read, or books you want to read. Easy.
All the info from the app is then duplicated to your goodreads.com account online, again with the book title, description, cover, ISBN and links to buy online, handy if you’re browsing the bookshelves in town and want to do an order online at a later date (or for keeping track of the aforementioned Christmas and birthday presents). You can see my sample Goodreads.com list made from the mobile app today.
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Want to get in touch? Drop an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or find me on Twitter via @anygivenfood.
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