I'm a longtime fan of the Smitten Kitchen blog. Deb started her blog four years ago, cooking from her own tiny New York kitchen. In my flat in London, the kitchen is small, but at least the kitchen/living room is open plan so it feels a little less cramped and I can spread out onto the kitchen table as extra chopping space. Even so, I get shouty if people get in a 2 metre radius of the stove when I'm trying to cook. The space isn't big enough for two with a control freak like me in the kitchen, so I appreciate the challenges that a small kitchen can create, not least where workspace is at something of a premium.
Like me, she is a former vegetarian so the recipes fit very well with the way I tend to eat on a day to day basis - the vegetables are clearly the main feature, with meat seemingly more of an aside. There's a fantastic array of vegetarian main dishes, though Deb has taken one step further down the path to omnivorous eating than I have as there's also some delicious looking pork, beef and lamb dishes too. Sadly, I am not yet brave enough to branch out further myself and try these but the chicken and fish dishes look to be such thing as foodie dreams are made.
Sesame-spiced turkey meatballs with smashed chickpea salad
Deb is an obsessive cook - something which I cannot claim to be - always looking how to better and improve a recipe she has stumbled upon. She knows which ingredients shouldn't be scrimped on, and the ones where any old brand will do. And she knows that if something is worth doing, it is worth doing well which is something I definitely adhere to.
Red wine velvet cake with whipped mascarpone
This copy landed on my doorstep with fortuitous good timing - it pulled me out of a creative rut when trying to dream up a birthday cake to make for the husband's birthday as there was the most fantastic red wine velvet cake featured in its pages. And even better, there's not a drop of food colouring in it!
Similarly, a slightly quieter spell at work allowed me to indulge in a few post-work cooking sessions, which always helps me relax. Fabulous spiced turkey meatballs, wild mushroom tart and seared halibut were all perfect (if not a little indulgent) weekday dinner treats. I can see the meatballs rivalling my favourite Ottolenghi ones and going into regular rotation.
I was sent a copy of Smitten Kitchen for review, however all views are my own.