Inspiration can come from anywhere and should be from everywhere, especially when it comes to cuisine.
And while a meal out can be an amazing exploration into new flavours and textures, I find so much more comfort in the pages of cookbooks and magazines for my own home cooking.
However I've become increasingly frustrated with the sea of books, riddled with recipes requiring such specific and exotic ingredients that it's impossible to make without either a trip to the gourmet deli or a flight to the Amazonian rainforest - both of which would cost us an arm and a leg... literally.
I exaggerate, but you get the picture.
So along with my sometime-regular buys of Super Food Ideas magazine, I find myself jumping at the opportunity to pick up old cookbooks - the kind where salt was salt, not kosher salt, Fleur de sel or sea salt. Books published at a time when recipes were simple and were more focused on maximising the flavour of what little ingredients were available.
So despite the number of books not worth the paper they're printed on at the Lifeline Bookfest, I was determined not to leave without something to show for the effort of straining my neck at a permanent angle to read the book spines. And I struck lucky with 2 old Chinese cook books, with authors who sport beehives in their book jacket photos - Home Style Chinese Cooking in Pictures and The Cooking of China.
Wish me culinary luck with their recipes!