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Photo taken from the cover of Mandy Lee’s cookbook
Since many years i. e. even before the start of my blogging adventure I enjoy reading Mandy Lee’s blog Lady & Pups – and from time to time I start trying a recipe … w/ more or less success.
For the record:
I learnt how to prepare the best scrambled eggs ever.
In 2019 after having slowed down her blog activities for long months Mandy Lee’s cookbook was published. Beyond question that I managed to get a copy as soon as possible – I wasn’t disappointed: I was thrilled!
However, for a start the cookbook*:
Sorry, no German version so far!
… & some thoughts of Mandy Lee about cooking:
In life, I guess, we’re all after some sort of abstraction of happiness. Cooking, wether by choice or not, just turned out to be my medium. If you ask me, the most important thing in learning how to cook is not the techniques but how to harness curiosity and fulfillment from the process, the puzzles and the answers, the failures and the triumphs, the hunt. It’s a deeply personal, ever-evolving, solitary sport.
This cookbook is a very personal book. Cooking & blogging became essential for the author when living abroad i. e. China for some years. In the cookbook as also on her blog she shares her feelings & adventures. Cooking & developing new recipes resp. improving existing recipes & trying to get better & better results led to a bunch of dishes we can now read about in her cookbook.
(Attention: It won’t be easy!)
It is an extraordinary cookbook w/ stunning photos. To put it bluntly: when I look at the photos I suddenly want to have it on a plate just before me so that I can dig in.
Of course I’m (& always was) a fan of Far Eastern cuisine. The recipes of the cookbook heavily rely on Far Eastern spices & combinations of meat & fish & vegetables … no: there are also influences from the Mediterranean … So in short: it’s a mix – a often really hot & spicy mix!
… and here we meet a challenge – at least for some of us. The author has meticulously developed recipes w/ perfect combinations of spices, herbs & vegetables (for me e. g. chili peppers are vegetables). I didn’t try all of them, but as a rule they are hot & spicy!
My better half & I are softies when coming to “hot & spicy”. We like some heat & spiciness, however, only some …
For the record:
Years ago I was a hardcore fan of chili & co. My then-partner was also fond of it. I learnt during the years that you can get accustomed to heat & spiciness as well as you can get accustomed to much less heat & spiciness. My better half never was a fan. So we ended up as softies – finally.
I once made a perfect sauce resp. dip (on my blog: a dip inspired by L&P (and a trip across Southwestern USA!) which I had to downsize concerning the heat. Nevertheless it was a perfect sauce resp. dip. So I’m sure you can work w/ the recipes having in mind how much heat you really may stand.
I hope that the author will forgive me when I adjust the recipes to less heat & spiciness. Based on this approach I tried … just meeting the next challenge. It’s simply: where to get some very special ingredients?
For the record:
I live in Germany. Few ingredients are on the shelves of my trusted food store. Sometimes I make a trip to a rather well-provided China-East-Asia-India shop. There I can lay hands on some special items, however, … for the rest?
So I started getting creative – and I hope that the author will forgive me once more.
In a nutshell: If you want you can try everything by the recipe, but it’s also possible to use some shortcuts depending on the region & the availability of ingredients where you live.
I mentioned that the cookbook is also a very personal diary of the years abroad. That’s a main point when reading the book, I think: You’ll learn about the author’s experience in general & with special dishes.
Concerning the table of contents it’s a quite unusual approach (which reflects the lifestyle of the author). The following photo shows the structure. We are talking about breakfast, about small dishes (for lunch or dinner), about entertain guests, about snacks & sweet delights. It’s a modern way of living – I may say so.
… and I also like her way to attack food: straighforward, powerful, determined & also down-to-earth.
All the recipes are inspiring & to prevent misunderstandings: NOT all recipes are hot & spicy!!!
Alas, you have to have in mind that the author is a perfectionist having worked long hours on the perfect combination of ingredients as well as how to prepare i. e. cook, bake, simmer or whatever something. The cookbook leaves no doubt about the endless hours Mandy Lee has spent in her kitchen to create something extraordinary, delicious, well-balanced …
Be sure that the recipes won’t let you escape from a long well-planned day in your kitchen. It’ll take its time to re-create some of the dishes – always remember the stunning, mouth-watering photos. So be prepared for work & take your time.
For the record:
I know that this doesn’t get along w/ the philosophy of “the businesswoman’s kitchen” where I try to simplify recipes & speed up preparation time for busy people w/ too many hours to be spent at work.
Mandy Lee’s cookbook (as well as the blog) will always be a source of inspiration when thinking about trying something new or transforming a well-worn dish into a new dimension.
Once again the cookbook*:
*The book is my personal property; I use affiliate links to www.amazon.de (details Datenschutz).
Das Buch habe ich für mich persönlich gekauft; ich nutze Affiliate Links zur Verknüpfung mit www.amazon.de (s. a. Datenschutz).