Cookbook Food

A book?

Or: what on earth is Roger up to at the moment?

Hot water pastry dough

The short version is: yes, I’m working on a cookbook.

The long version is to add that I’ve got a chunk of time off to do the groundwork, but can’t possibly finish a whole thing in that period, and so make precisely no promises about when it’ll be done. Or what’s in it. Or whether it’ll be any good.

I’m working on that last one.


What’s the deal?

My employers are a bit lovely (we’re hiring), and one of the benefits they offer is a six week sabbatical after five years service. Yeah, I know. At least I realise I’m a pampered tech sector brat.

Anyway, that’s a great opportunity to do some stuff, and that stuff in this case, is reworking some of this blog into the basis for a cookbook. So far, I’ve got about fifty existing recipes that sit in the sweet spot of the Good Enough/Original Enough/Sensible Enough venn, a couple of new ones in the bag, and ideas for a few more.

Assuming I finish – and I’m caveating the blistering fuck out of this – it’s shaping up to be somewhere in the 75-100 recipes range. There’s an accent on slightly indulgent main courses (possible working title: Mainly Louche), plenty of veggie stuff, far more cheese and broccoli than is sensible, and virtually no desserts.

The only one that’s in for definite is an apple pie that isn’t even vegetarian. I may have problems.

When – if – I’m done, I’ll yell about it, and bung it online as a cheap-ish eBook.

Progress so far

As discussed: software brat. So, sprints and post-its, and the accouterments of cargo-cult Agile. As with software projects: not remotely to schedule.


More helpfully, it’s going a little more slowly than I’d hoped, because I’ve decided to actually have a nice time, rather than bust my ass cranking out recipes for six weeks. But it’s going pretty well. The hard part is the photography (this is good, if you’re learning yourself), or at least it will be until I face off against Gnocchi again. My implacable starchy nemesis.

It looks like, provided I keep on track, I’ll finish the backlog by the end of the sabbatical. That’s good. From there, it’s on to new recipes, and actually compositing the whole thing into something that feels a bit like a book. I have no idea how long that will take, but there’s an aspirational goal of January.


More interestingly than all the blather, here are a few of the things you can expect to find in there, assuming I don’t rage-quit in a giant, grease-slicked, sherry-sodden princess tantrum.

I am so going to need more tableware.

These are a couple of old favourites spruced up, and a couple of dishes that’ll only be in the book:

I’m happy to take any suggestions or requests, and if you know me personally, the odds are I’ll be inviting you to dinner over the next few weeks, because this stuff is not going to eat itself.

3 replies on “A book?”

Reuben Chelsea Buns? I get the feeling that this won’t be appearing at Fitzbillies any time soon…

Damn, I miss that place. Really ought to get back to Cambridge at some point.

To be honest, Tim Hayward is just mental enough that I suspect he’d love the idea of a savoury Chelsea bun. FWIW, I do know that he was agonising over the ideal breakfast / savoury pastry sometime last year.

Shamefully, I’ve not had one of the Fitzbillies ones in a shade over ten years. I must correct that.

The savoury ones work pretty well, but you do feel the lack of the sticky glaze their sweeter counterparts benefit from. Other possible filling ideas I’ve been batting around include thin-sliced pear and gorgonzola, and or pesto and prosciutto.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.