My immediate response would usually be Jamie Oliver. Mostly, I think, because when I first started to get excited about cooking, it was his cooking. But time has passed and my cookbook collection has expanded (modestly), and I've made room in my heart for a few others...
The River Café. Sophia Loren. Giorgio Locatelli. (Hm, I'm sensing a bit of a theme here...) Julia Child. Skye Gyngell. What's more, the way a cookbook is written has begun to appeal to me more than the pretty pictures.
Sometimes I just sit and look at the spines, wondering if I'll ever get around to cooking even a quarter of the dishes between those covers.
I also have a scrap book packed with recipes printed out from various blogs and websites over the years. (You too? I think we print-out kleptos should form a support group.) I've begun to refer to it affectionately as the 'recipe graveyard'. Most of the pages are loose, jammed in there haphazardly with the thought (more of a prayer, really) that one day I will actually sit down, order them and stick their asses down.
But yesterday was not that day.
In fact, I'm wretchedly grateful I hadn't got round to sorting that hellish mess of paper print-outs, because then I probably wouldn't have discovered this recipe for another five or ten... okay, fine: probably never.
I was reaching for another book entirely when the recipe graveyard went tumbling to the floor. Miraculously, only one piece of paper escaped, and on it was the recipe you see below.
Anchovy and walnut sauce. Let's just think about that... Anchovy. And Walnut. Sauce. I'm not particlarly religious, but in that moment I felt I was being called upon by a higher power to create something divine.
And now I'm going to spread the word.
Anchovy and walnut sauce by Skye Gyngell
Makes enough for 6
This sauce is best made on the day it is to be eaten.
2 good-quality anchovies
1 clove of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1 small bunch of flat-leaf parsley
A handful of shelled walnuts, finely chopped
100ml/31/2fl oz extra-virgin olive oil
Pound all the ingredients except the oil in a pestle and mortar until smooth, then pour in the oil and stir well to combine. Spoon over any lightly cooked green vegetable, such as broccoli, spinach or chard.
[I spooned the sauce over lightly steamed broccoli and zucchini, but I can’t wait to try it on fish, crusty bread and even chicken.]
Pssst, by the way, I've created a recipe index, which you may have noticed, on the right, beneath my prattle about myself. I hope it'll make our lives easier.