Posts Tagged cookbook challange

A day of baking

This was actually last week, but I haven’t had time to write about it until now. Last wednesday I had a baking day and made 3 dozen fairy cakes (double the recipe of p39 of Nigella’s ‘How to be a Domestic Goddess‘) including icing most of them in tasteful shades of pink, yellow and white. Her recipe warns you it doesn’t look enough for 12 (one quantity) but I had no problems making a double quantity fill 36 cases, perhaps she uses the larger muffin sized cases whereas I used the small fairy cake sized ones. One day I will make tiny ones in petite four cases, they will be so cute. Can you tell I like fairy cakes?

I also made her Banana bread for the first time; this includes sultanas soaked in rum so it yery yummy but possibly not one for children. This might become my new favorite banana cake recipe, my previous one is a really quick one from one of Cas Clarke’s ‘Grub on a Grant‘ books, although that one uses less bowls and makes less washing up, the Nigella one is a lovely light, moist banana cake. I’m sure I could omit the rum next time and there will be a next time both because the recipe was yummy and because I often end up with slightly too ripe bananas that need using up. Actually, I have been know to let bananas go very ripe on purpose, I just like banana cake.

The final lot of baking was actually a recipe from my cookbook challange book: Flapjacks. I usually use my Mum’s recipe which, in my opinion, is the nicest flapjack ever, just the right amount of crunch, but I couldn’t find it. This recipe also includes coconut and sesame seeds and the only sugar comes from honey (actually the recipe calls for 2 tablespoons of malt extract and 1 of honey or 3 of honey which I used as I don’t have malt extract. The malt extract might make the honey taste less pronounced). They are yummy, and are probably better for you with the coconut and sesame seeds, so I’ll be cooking these again but I do hope I find Mum’s recipe soon. Flapjacks are great for lunch boxes as they don’t end up a mass of crumbs.

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Quick pasta supper

Last night we had this quick mushroom pasta for tea. I spotted the recipe on maggiedon’s blog and thought it would be nice and quick when we got in after swimming. I could have done with a few more mushrooms (I pinched some sunday for my lunch, woops!) and I also cut down the amount of butter. I used some real Italian pasta I was given after someone’s holiday in Italy. I don’t know what the shape is called but it looke like long bunny ears (individual, not pairs!) and had a nice bite to the edges. Very tasty, very garliky and judging by how fast A ate his he liked it too.

I do need to cook more of my cookbook challange recipes, rather than other peoples, trouble is reading all these yummy cooking blogs is giving me more ideas than time to cook.

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Big cooking weekend

We had guests this weekend so the little one happy and out of the kitchen and I got a lot of cooking done.

Saturday lunch was leek and potato soup, recipe from ‘The Vegetarian Bible’ (Published by Marks and Spencer 2005) with multi grain bread from the bread machine.

For nibbles I made some little cheese biscuits from p157 of ‘the book’ (Seasonal vegetarian, see cookbook challange post) which were lovely and I think you could change the cheese for whatever you have available.

Saturday dinner started with homemade gnocci with pesto and mushrooms. ‘The book’ has a recipe for pesto in it, but I barely glanced at it and didn’t follow the quantities so I don’t think I’ll count that – I’ll wait until summer when my basil has grown and try it properly.

Then chicken on a bed of roasted veg (aubergine, cougette, red pepper, celery and cherry tomatoes) with kohl rabi and potato gratin (Able and Cole cookbook, pg 142). I had hallumi cheese on the veg instead of chicken. If I was cooking the chicken again I’d put it in a tent of foil, I did mess up the timings slightly and it looked a little dry.

Dessert was a lovely chocolate pudding from a recipe given to me by an OU friend.

Sunday lunch started with asparagus and palma ham, no ham for me.

Then roast lamb, a boned and rolled leg; Its more expensive, but I think its easier to cook a larger joint than a smaller one. I use Hugh’s timings from his ‘Meat‘ book and a meat thermometer to check how well done it is. With the meat I did roast potatoes, parmesan roast parsnips, braised red cabbage, carrots and green beans. I was going to cook a stuffed squash recipe that involved cottage cheese for me, but I can’t find the recipe book it’s in. I’m beginning to think there is another box of cookery books somewhere I haven’t unpacked yet, which is bad news as the bookcase in the kitchen is already full, woops. Instead I had a bought nut cutlet.

For pudding I made rhubarb and orange cake which was yummy even tho know one could remember hearing the timer going off that signalled when to turn the oven down so I had no idea how long it had been cooking. I didn’t look at the recipe and think I turned the oven down too much, so the cake took a lot longer to cook than I expected. Very more-ish. The recipe is a waitrose one, but direct links do not work, however it is easy to find via the search facility. Trust me, its worth it 🙂

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Cookbook challange

Someone in the OU Food and Drink forum came up with the idea of picking a cook book and trying to cook as many of the recipes from that book during 2009. I have decided to join in and the book I have chosen is ‘Seasonal Vegetarian’ by Sarah Bounds. This is now out of print I believe, but I am using the ‘revised and extended’ edition, with a publication date of 1986. Its a Mark’s and Spencer book, if this helps anyone track down a copy.

I have chosen a vegetarian book as I am vegetarian but my husband (M) and little boy (A) aren’t and I want to cook more especially for me. Sometimes I cook something different for the boys with meat in it, or add meat at the end for them but M doesn’t like a lot of vegetables so this restricts what I can cook. If its just me and A I can be more adventurous, even tho he is only 16 months old, he eats pretty much anything and loves his veg. Sunday roast is probably his favorite meal though.

The book is divided into seasons although I am looking at the chapters either side and not sticking ridgidly to their definition of seasons. According to the book it is winter until the end of Feburary, and then it will be spring. I am hoping this is going to hold true.

I also get a weekly veg box delivery on a wednesday so I adapt recipes to what I have received or need to use up. At the moment I am cooking a lot of soup to use things up – parsnips again, anyone have any more recipes for parsnip soup? – and because I like A to have something hot at lunchtime. He likes dunking his bread into soup, very cute.

Hopefully this gives you some idea what sort of cook I am. Please don’t expect lots of pretty pictures of what I cook, I’m afraid I don’t usually have time to grab the camera before it gets eaten, and photography is more M’s thing. If you want to see the blogs of other people doing this challange please look at the list at the side.

Now I have most of a large celeriac to use up from this weeks box and ‘the book’ doesn’t mention them which is a good start. Yesterday I adapted a favorite recipe from here, using onions instead of shallots, celeriac instead of celery and I added a carrot for good measure. I forgot to add a parsnip, doh! I cooked it a little longer because of the harder root veg and I had no basil (still need to get the herb garden up and growing) but it was jolly tasty anyway and used up some of the enormous (and pretty ugly!) celeriac. Not sure what to do with the rest.

Tonight was mushroom and white wine risotto, a favorite I don’t use a recipe for, and used up the mushrooms from the box. I haven’t decided what to cook for the rest of the week but celeriac, cabbage and parsnips are likely to feature a lot. Suggestions welcome 🙂

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