Saturday 19 December 2009

Cooking the books

No, I do not refer to an accounting anomaly, nor to the tv programme that is hosted by the rather incongruous Jeremy Edwards, but to the fact that since eating out has become a bit of a rarity we have taken to doing quite a bit of cooking, some of which has been more sucessful than others. Rather than go into each recipe in detail I thought I would reference the book, provide a link if possible, tell you the pros and cons of each, and ultimately what we thought.

John Pawson and Annie Bell-Living and Dining- kedgeree
I love this. It's one of those breakfasts you have when its wet and cold outside and you feel like a treat. This book is a couple of years old and was given to me by my good friend John. I remember he made this for me for breakfast one day. I have to say though, Kedgeree is not Kedgeree without boiled eggs, so I add these quartered at the end.

Sunday Suppers at Lucques-Suzanne Goin
I first heard of this book on one of my favourite food blogs the Amateur Gourmet. He had made the spicy pork stew which is one of the tastiest things I have ever made. I got this book last year for Christmas but with one thing and another have only just got round to exploring it. I have to say the beef stew is very similar in concept to the pork stew but for some reason I find the pork stew to be better.

Beouf a la nicoise braisedbeef stew with red wine, tomato, olives and buttered noodles (spiced pork stew with polenta root vegetables and gremolata)
grilled pork burgers with rob's famous coleslaw

These pork burgers are amazing! How can something that contains 3 different types of pork loveliness not be delicious? A must. The coleslaw was also a revelation and could be eaten on it's own or with anything else you fancy.

Roast figs, sugar, snow- Diana Henry
Stryian venison with chesnuts cranberries and wild mushrooms

I don't think I really like venison which is a shame, for HI loves it and insists on putting it in everything he cooks. Having said that, I did quite like this stew. The mushrooms and cranberries are simmered down for ages and provide that earthy foil that venison sems to require.

Roast chicken and other stories/ second helpings of roast chicken- simon hopkinson
braised rabbit with white wine, shallots, rosemary and cream/ braised rabbit with cabbage, garlic and bacon
This is yum especially with goose roasties. We amalgamated the two recipes to end up with a pot of loveliness. I highly recommend both these books.

Nutmeg and custard-Marcus Wareing

poached and roasted chicken with almond and thyme crust and chargrilled cauliflower

Was not a big fan of this. The crust to me seemed pointless and was hard and tasteless and the cauliflower turned into an insipid mush. The book did not really have many things in it that I would want to cook and seemed a mish mash of recipes from various continents, going for that homely feel rather than exploring the fine dining cuisine that Marcus is known for, which seems a shame, as someone with his skill would have many things to teach.

Waitrose magazine
rioja pot roasted chicken vicky boghal

This is one of the tastiest chicken dishes I have had in a long time. The addition of chorizo results in a very, very rich and unctous sauce at the bottom. Very moreish, but probably quite bad for you as all that lovely chicken fat gets eaten up as opposed to thrown away!

Week in week out-Simon Hopkinson
Pot roasted chicken with potatoes, bacon, garlic and thyme.
Pot roasting is our new favourite way of cooking birds, and I amalgated this with the rioja chicken recipe so that the sauce was absorbed by the potatoes-very yum.

Sainsbury's magazine ragu, then ragu and mushroom lasagne April 2007

This ragu is probably one of the best smelling dishes we have cooked. It is also very tasty. I would forget about the lasagne and just eat it with rice. Unfortunately, I can't find a link online so you will just have to take my word for it.

Pot roasted guinea fowl with apples clavados and cream- delia online

Continuing on the pot-roasting theme, this was yum. Guinea fowl is a lovely bird and the sauce is rich and good with, you guessed it, goose roasties. The apples provide just enough sharpness to cut against the cream. It's the first time I had followed a Delia recipe, despite having the bible, but it will not be the last if, they all taste as good as this.

All in all only one dud. I would eat any of the others again and again and definitely cook them for my friends. Having said all that it must be said that my favourite food writer is Nigel Slater. His Kitchen Diaries is not only a beautiful book but beautiful to read. Forget Jules and Julia if you wanted to have a gourmet year try replicating what Nigel eats.. Now there is an idea. Shame my name is not Nigella, then there could be Nigella and Nigel. Book deal anyone? Forget the book I want the movie!

Anyway, although I love to read the Kitchen Diaries, Real Food is responsble for some of my most favourite meals- sausage pasta, coq au reisling, spicy chicken sandwiches, roast chicken lemon, basil and garlic, garlicky prawns. I could go on. The only problem being the liberal use of olive oil and butter, so, whilst these dishes were so very tasty they were also responsible, in part to, an expansion of my waistline.


willbuchan said...

As you know Curious One i love the kitchen diaries. His new book Tender is every bit as good.. A worthwhile investment!!

Unknown said...

Good cook book tips here - a few I haven't heard of so will have to investigate them.

curious eater said...

will-believe it or not Tender completely passed me by! will remedy that immediately!

gourmet chick- thanks for reading the blog even though it seems to be dying a slow and painful death! We are visiting London at the beginning of March so I hope to keep it alive by drip feeding it then. Cay Tre, Harwood Arms, La Trompette and Hawksmoor are on the list. Glad you liked some of the books, more to come!