Thursday, August 30, 2012

A Gwyneth At My Table

I have a bit of an ongoing joke with Johnny.  He tends to tell the same stories, or say the same things over and over again.  Sometimes I act totally surprised by them, other times I finish them. He makes me laugh.

I did a bit of Johnny a few weeks ago and repeated myself countless times.  But I had good reason to.  I was completely and utterly surprised and impressed with how good Gwyneth Paltrow's book, Notes From My Kitchen Table was.

I grabbed it off the shelf at the library on a whim.  I didn't expect to like it, I just thought I'd take it home and have a quick flick through it.  I remember seeing her on Graham Norton a while ago talking about her book.  She'd made a vegetable paella and was talking up her brussel sprouts.  It didn't get me racing to The Book Depository!

It sat on the table for about a week before I actually picked it up to look through it, post it notes ready to mark any pages.  I soon stopped marking the pages.  I was marking nearly every page!

"This book is really good!"  I said for about the fifth time to Johnny.

I've been a bit bored with my meals lately.  I try new things, but they either don't work out, are too complicated and take too long to cook, or the kids won't eat it.  So I go back to the same tried and true meals. 

Gwyneth's book is just what I've been looking for.  The recipes are uncomplicated, healthy, generally kid friendly, and made from ingredients that are either already in the pantry or are at least easily accessible from the supermarket.  Some would say it's a fairly basic cook book, which it is to an extent.  I wouldn't say this is a book for the cook who knows what flavours work together and can throw together a gourmet meal off the cuff.  I'm not that cook.  This book has given me the inspiration I need for everyday cooking for my family.  It's not a book for meat lovers though.  Gwyneth does not eat red meat, so many of the dishes are fish, poultry or vegetarian based.

Along with the recipes, the images are beautiful, and you get a little bit of insight into the family life of the Martin/Paltrow's.  It portrays Gwyneth in a very down to earth manner, and while Johnny seems to scoff at the notion that Gwyneth even cooks at all, I like to think that this book represents a part of her normal family life.

Before we moved into this house Johnny would always say that when we had a bigger kitchen he wouldn't mind doing a bit of cooking.  Well, it had been a year, and apart from the odd bacon and eggs, there had not been a meal cooked by my dear husband.  He remedied this a couple of weeks ago when he picked the best Stir Fried Chicken from this book.  He declared it the best meal he's ever cooked.  I would agree.  It rocked.  I asked him if it was an easy recipe to follow.  He said the hardest part was finely chopping the 4 tablespoons each of garlic and ginger! There's a lot to be said about a recipe cooked by a man who harldy ever cooks and then nails it.  Or perhaps there is more to be said about the man!

Today I returned the book to the Library.  Just in time to receive some new mail.  Gwyneth now lives on my kitchen bench.  I'll let you know how the brussel sprouts go when I try them.

Is it really cheesy that I have to listen to Coldplay whenever I'm cooking from her book??


  1. Thanks for the reminder about this! I'm off to check my local library! (I'm the same as you - I love to cook but I get really nervous about mixing flavours etc and generally need to follow a recipe or use one as inspiration).

  2. hahaha a bit of Chris in the ears while cooking can only make it taste better, surely :) I saw her on GN too, she was very funny - especially when she did the rapping..!? I am so bored in the dinner dept lately too, maybe I should try a bit of gwynnie x

  3. Of course you have to listen to Coldplay when cooking! :)Monika.


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