"No love sincerer than the love of food"

Launch of the 2013 Recipe Book Challenge


medium_360603368 (1)How many recipe books do you own?  10, 20, 30, 40 or more?  I have 75 recipe books languishing on my bookshelf and a few on active service in the kitchen.  I only recently got the collection down to 75 following the ruthless cull of 2011 when a number of books were re-homed.   I love recipe books and despite telling myself every year that I do not need more, by Christmas time I crumble and another recipe book hits the shelf.  This year it was Jamie’s 15 minute meals.

Another question for you.  How many recipe books do you regularly use?  For sometime I have been using only two books with any regularity  – ‘Everyday Veg’ from the wonderful Hugh Fearnley Whittingstal and Nigel Slater’s ‘The 30 Minute Cook’.  These books are well-thumbed and splattered with a good variety of ingredients.  However far too many recipe books on my shelf could be removed, wrapped and gifted with the recipient being none the wiser, so pristine and untouched are they.  Jamie’s Dinners, Jamie’s Italy and Rick Stein’s French Odyssey are just a few examples of my collection of unsullied books.

It’s not only celebrity chefs who make it onto my bookshelves.  There are books dedicated to Greek, Italian, French, Scottish, Moroccan and Indian food; speciality books for the healthy heart, the follower of the low GI diet (rather too many of them!) and the detox enthusiast; books with ideas for your organic veg box; baking books (despite the fact that I don’t really bake), chutney books and the list goes on, and on, and on….


I have decided to make these recipe books work for their space on my shelf and have set myself a challenge.  In 2013 I will choose a different recipe book every single week and cook a recipe from that book that I have never attempted before. In a day or two there will be a new page on this blog dedicated to the challenge so you can see what I am cooking up each week.

52 weeks, 52 cookbooks, 52 new recipes  – I am up for the challenge.  How about you?

After telling my good friend Nicola at she has decided to join in as has the mum of another friend.  Why don’t you try it too.  I would genuinely be interested to hear about the new recipes that you try out.

I have just randomly picked out the book which will feature in week one of the challenge.  It is called ‘The Best Traditional Recipes of Greek Cooking’. The recipe I will attempt is Pita me Kyma – translated as Minced Meat Pie.  How hard can it be?

Have a fantastic New Year and if you do accept the challenge I wish you luck.

13 thoughts on “Launch of the 2013 Recipe Book Challenge

  1. This is something I’ve been thinking about doing myself for 2013 as I have around 50 books plus about 2 years worth of food magazines which hardly ever get used. I accept the challenge and good luck to you with your attempt!

  2. This sounds like a great idea! I have considerably fewer cook books than you but I definitely need to delve into the savoury ones a bit more.

  3. Not sure I am up to the challenge but it was nice to see Nigel Slater’s book mentioned – I remember buying it when I lived in Edinburgh and I still use it, 11 years later. It is well-worn and well-splattered!

  4. Enjoy it – and we look forward to reading the results.

    I will try to do the same – with 41 books I will get to mid-October, at which point I will have to work out a formula to pick from the 100-plus cooking / food mags which are currently stacked at the back of the shelf.

    The logical place to start must be my Christmas present to myself – Antonio Carluccio’s Collection.

    Like many recent additions it came from The Book People – distributors set up stall in offices, hospitals etc at various times of the year, offering huge discounts.

    Carluccio (list price £25) was less than a tenner and last year’s treat was the new Larousse Gastronomique. I had browsed it in the shops but wasn’t brave enough to buy at £60 – then picked it up from the local hospital for £20!

    These prices often undercut Amazon – and you take the book home. [But if you buy from their website, postage charges may erode the difference.]

  5. Way ahead of you, sister! 21st December: smoked haddock in tomato sauce (Ainsley Harriot); 30 December: tomato soup (Jamie Oliver’s ministry of Food); 31 December: beef bourgignon (M&S French cookbook). Ain’t no stopping me now!

  6. A little later than planned, but I made 3 new recipes but all from one book. Easy Tapas from M&S (Christmas pressie to self!) Chickpea & Chorizo, Spicy Chicken & Tomato dressing & Anchovy, Oive & Cheese Triangles. Like my FB page – Vickie the Pampered Chef – and you can see photos too 🙂

    • Excellent -you are doing lots better than me who is struggling to get through my one a week. Starting a diet is not very helpful. This weeks was a chickpea and chicken fandango from Jamie’s American book (to be added to blog soon)

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