Meike Peters recipe book has landed

Meike Peters

365 – A Year of Everyday Cooking & Baking, is the new Meike Peters book.

In 2016, Meike Peters scooped the James Beard Award from right under the nose of The Barefoot Contessa with her first book.

Now, she is back with a new recipe book that gives us exquisite dishes for each day of the year.

It has already made it on the New York Times list of 1 best cookbooks of Autumn 2019.

And it is also dedicated to the memory of the journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.

Check out the review of the book that I wrote for the Sunday Times of Malta:

When I was asked to review Meike Petersโ€™s new cookery book, 365 โ€“ A Year of Everyday Cooking and Baking, I baulked somewhat and almost asked someone else to do it. The worldโ€™s best cook, I certainly am not. But then I remembered that, after all, this is exactly the purpose behind a good recipe book, helping people excel in an area where typically, maybe, one isnโ€™t that good. I re-thought my initial scepticism. Hey, after all Iโ€™ve been trying to improve my talents in that department for quite a while. And Petersโ€™s book is simply gorgeous, replete with stunning photography and intriguing recipes that make you dream about turning yourself into a Nigella Lawson overnight.

It also comes with a very thorough index at the back, for those who โ€“ like me โ€“ operate very much on the basis of daily whims when it comes to preparing the dayโ€™s mealplan. If you wake up jonesing for a good, old-fashioned carbonara, or maybe a beef stew, all you need to do is look it up in the index and there you go: youโ€™re directed to the relevant recipes. No muss, no fuss.

Thus, my top reasons for loving this book: to begin with, there will never be a single day when youโ€™re at a loss what to eat. Ever. Itโ€™s called 365 for a reason โ€“ the book offers a recipe for every single day of the year. We kick off January 1 with an appropriately chaste and low-calorie, albeit tasty, winter Caprese and we move all the way through the produce of the seasons until we end December in massive style with a Limoncello Panna Cotta and a Tuscan Truffle Carbonara.

As Meike Peters herself writes in the foreward to the book, there is one dreaded question likely to cause more strife than the unexpected appearance of the in-laws on the doorstep โ€“ โ€œwhat shall we cook tonight?โ€ No suggestion is every clever or exciting enough, and the critics rarely come up with a better alternative themselves. Cue, World War III and goodbye to any hopes of a serene evening of Netflix โ€™nโ€™ Chill. 365 โ€“ A Year of Everyday Cooking and Baking puts a definitive end to all these squabbles. If itโ€™s good enough for the woman whose earlier book beat The Barefoot Contessa for the James Beard Award, then itโ€™s good enough for this household, thank you very much. Replete with stunning photography and intriguing recipes that make you dream about turning yourself into a Nigella Lawson overnight

Thanks to Kris Micallef for the photography.

Another big advantage to this collection is that you wonโ€™t be made to hunt for silly ingredients that cost an arm and a leg. You know the sort I mean โ€“ those recipes that call for a punnel of strawberries in mid-December? Or those that expect you to source fresh peaches in January? Well, this isnโ€™t that sort of book. All the recipes by Meike Peters follow the natural order of the seasons, which is why theyโ€™re conveniently divided by month, and further sub-divided by week. Thereโ€™s eggplant, marrows and spinach in January; purple potatoes and beans in February; cherry tomatoes, tzatziki and yellow bell peppers in June; artichoke, prawns and fish in July; ricotta, squash and casseroles in November… you get the gist! A quick trip to the local store will probably sort you out with all the ingredients and you wonโ€™t break the bank in the process.

It also helps that the recipes are idiot-proof, at least judging by the handful that I have tried my hand at. Donโ€™t you hate it when you are seduced by a most beautifully-designed cookery book โ€“ and you end up spending a lovely afternoon poring over the oh-so-perfect photos, only to realise that there is no way in hell youโ€™re going to manage to reproduce this perfection in your own, more humdrum kitchen? Welcome to my world. So I have to confess that, while I thoroughly enjoyed poring over this gorgeous book I was a bit less enthused about actually trying out stuff.

Fast-forward to a couple of pep talks in front of the mirror and I took the plunge. For starters (see what I did there?) I had a good look at Meike Petersโ€™s foreward, where she offers some super-practical advice, down to which kind of pots and pans to use, cleaning seafood, and guidelines about quantities. With the practicalities out of the way, it was time to choose a couple of debut recipes.

Because Iโ€™m a sucker for a good plate of pasta, I opted for Januaryโ€™s Spinach Gnocchi with Mushrooms and Bacon. Pasta, but with a bit of a homemade difference. This was my first time making gnocchi from scratch, but it worked out, mostly because Meike Peters takes a step-by-step approach which makes it difficult to get wrong.

Next, because Iโ€™m a pig and I canโ€™t get enough limoncello in my life, I opted for the afore-mentioned Limoncello Panna Cotta, combining together two of my favourite things in life. Iโ€™d never tried my hand at making this dessert before, so the apprehension was doubled. The end result did not look as amazing as Meike Petersโ€™s and was definitely more wobbly. But it still tasted ace, so no complaints.

Want to see more food related posts? Check out this exclusive Sticky Banana Bread recipe from Meike Peters‘ book; or how about treating yourself to AKI Restaurant, Asian in the City? Want a more casual vibe? 64 Gun might hit the spot. For more food related posts, check out my main food page.

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