Well it’s been a while between posts but I have been cooking – just been too busy to write about it, what with doing up my front garden and all that. Anyway, I need to cover off on quite a few books in this post so better get cracking.
First up was French Provincial Cooking by Elizabeth David. I really should sit down and just read this book one day. There seems to be a heap of info in it and everyone says it is a good read. I did sausages with sweet peppers and wine which utilised my home-made chorizos and also sweet peppers stewed with tomatoes. So it was a bit of a sweet pepper festival – all good though, except I must admit my sausages were a bit dry.
Next up was steak night – I think it was last Thursday. I had some Cape Grim porterhouse that needed to be eaten. I made a couple of what I thought were relatively unusual things – Sauce Albert from Sauces by Michel Roux and Parsnip and Mushroom Gratin from Jane Grigson’s Vegetable Book. Sauces is a very handy little reference book and the cumberland sauce gets a good work out. Sauce Albert is essentially a thickened horseradish sauce and goes really well with steak. Parsnip and mushroom gratin is a bit more of an oddity and I served it fearfully. Luckily everyone seemed to like it.
Possibly the smallest cookbook on the shelf – Unforgettable: a coconut cookbook which I think we bought in Fiji. Tropical chicken curry made me fill all nostalgic. Got to love a curry with pineapple in it, well maybe occasionally.
Charmaine Solomon was probably my introduction to Asian cooking and Charmaine Solomon’s Thai Cookbook gave me to start. It was given to me by my sister for Christmas 18 years ago and its interesting to have a look through it now – how book layouts and photography have changed. I cooked a fairly basic red pork curry with young corn. Good recipe.
Tried another corn chowder out of The Essential Vegetarian Cookbook. Not much to say except, pretty simple and tasty.
I’m a bit of a Phaidon fanatic so picked up Paella by Alberto Herraiz soon after it was published. Very nicely presented book, particularly the cloth dust cover reminiscent of a calasparra rice bag. But there is a bit more to it than that. A heap of paella recipes and good coverage of the basics. I also had a new paella pan I wanted to try out so I chose ‘Return to India’ paella rice which contains chicken, green capsicum, spring onions, savoy cabbage, zucchini and indian flavourings.
My son did an exchange with an English school five years ago and brought back for me The Great British Menu Cookbook. This book contains recipes from the BBC series of the same name. I have since been able to catch some of the later series on Foxtel and have got quite addicted to it. It is pretty tricked up food though. Fortunately I was able to find a bit of an easier recipe – Uncle Arwyn’s beetroot soup which was provided by Bryn Williams. Quite a simple recipe of beetroot and vege stock puree, roasted baby beetroot and creme fraiche.
I admit I bought Claudia Roden’s A New Book of Middle Eastern Food as it always seemed to be on ‘best cookbooks’ lists. As with French Provincial Cooking, this book needs some serious read time.
I made chicken with chick peas which is essentially chicken browned in onion and turmeric and then braised for an hour with chickpeas, flavoured with lemon and garlic. One of the good things of doing this blog is that my eyes are being opened to new recipes that often have very few ingredients but are surprisingly good. I like it.
The next cookbook is really a novelty book – Intercourses, an aphrodisiac cookbook. The book is divided by ingredient and under rosemary I found rosemary scented lamb over pasta
I like Kylie Kwong’s cooking and I also like fried rice. When I was a student I lived with a couple of other blokes and we all had our ‘specialty’ dishes. Lester did a mean fried rice, pumped up with some serious cayenne pepper at times.
Within Kylie Kwong’s Heart and Soul there is a recipe for delicious fried rice. It is a good fried rice, it must be said, but I did go a bit easy on the chilli in deference to the rest of my family. For me it probably needed a bit more heat – some cayenne pepper perhaps?
South East Asian Food by Rosemary Brissendon was originally published over 50 years ago and has recently been updated. It covers a broad range of cuisine including Vietnam and as we are heading over there in a couple of weeks, I was keen to cook up one of these dishes.
Stir fried chicken with lemongrass and chilli was fun to make and tasty to eat. This required making a paste of lemongrass, shallots, garlic and chillies. I have to say, a bit of action with a mortar and pestle is a great way to unwind after a stressful day – every home should have one!
Finally, on the weekend I cooked roast lamb with onions and green peppers from Piri Piri Starfish by Tessa Kiros, a book of Portuguese food. This was a beautiful dish which had a great start in that I was able to buy a very nice small leg of lamb from the Vic Market. It also works well as the whole meal is cooked in one dish with the veges and sauce being completed with the meat. The point of difference of this roast lamb is that it is initially rubbed with a mix of oil and paprika.