We’re only on day 14, and we’re up to 15 recipes, so it feels appropriate to change the challenge to completing 69 recipes in 69 days. I’m sure we can do it and I’ve moved the deadline day to 28th July instead of end of September. Go us!
And rather than drown you in detail, here is a quick whistle stop tour of all the nine recipes we cooked this week:
Beetroot Brownies: Red Velvet Chocolate Heartache (all the cakes in this book are made from vegetables). These brownies were a revelation. Easy to make even if the beetroot peeling and chopping was a little messy on the hands. And MY GOD, they packed a punch – moist, rich, earthy. I couldn’t get enough of them.
Moroccan chicken kebabs and panzella salad: Good Housekeeping Step by Step Cook Book. I’ve wanted to make panzella salad ever since I had one that blew my mind in Tuscany a few years ago. Who would have thought that some stale bread, tomatoes and cucumber could taste so good? But it’s quite something. And the whole meal was a magical combination for a stunningly sunny bank holiday sunday.
Griddled nectarines with feta salad: Good Food 101 Veggie Dishes. This was a saturday lunchtime quickie – just a few simple ingredients compiled in ten minutes. A gorgeous, light combination of salty feta, sweet melty hot nectarines and fresh mint.
Jamie chose a slow roasted Persian Lamb recipe with pomegranate salad: Good Food 101 Slow-Cooking Recipes. I was not keen – it involved pomegranate molasses and a pomegranate – I wasn’t convinced we’d find either of those in the Stockport suburbs of Hazel Grove. However Jamie’s enthusiasm won out. He even MADE the pomegranate molasses! The thing that impressed us most was the pomegranate salad. Yes the lamb was succulent and delicious (four hours of cooking in molasses), but the salad was tart, juicy and beautiful – a wonderful compliment to the lamb.
Smoked haddock with white beans and parsley : Gordon Ramsey Cooking for Friends was last friday night’s supper treat. Jamie found it a bit fiddly – there was pureeing and faffy stages to the dish, but as the consumer of the dish, I was delighted. It was stylish and showy to look at and just felt like something that you would be served in a posh restaurant. Bacon and smoked haddock is a great combination and the bean/thyme mash was lovely.
Jamaican chops: Caribbean Food Made Easy with Levi Roots. A week day simple dinner for us – pork chops slow cooked in a fiery, sweet tomato sauce with celery, peppers and lime. Easy to assemble, tasty and comforting.
Salmon fillet wrapped in proscuitto with herby lentils, spinach and yoghurt: Jamie Oliver The Return of the Naked Chef was a desperation choice. It was late in the evening and I needed to pick something easy for the next day. Everything else in this cookbook looked long-winded, but when I spied this I was a happy girl. Speedy, simple and healthy. And it really delivered. It’s not the most aesthetically pleasing dish but prosciutto and salmon REALLY works – the salty meat enhances the salmon and those herby lentils were a nice earthy, flavourful background to the dish.
Keralan Coconut Curry: Anjum’s Indian Vegetarian Feast. Another beautiful book that had never been cooked from. The curry was creamy, spicy and had lovely depth – for me it was delicious but nothing earth shattering as I’ve had many similar curries, but it really wowed Jamie.
Spurred on by last week’s pitta success I baked oatmeal and potato bread: Home Baking Cookbook. It was a cheap and easy number (apart from having to make the mash which was a pain!). Admittedly we did burn the entire top of the loaf, but it really had no affect on the flavour. It was a dense bread wholesome bread – perfect for making picnic sandwiches with the leftover feta from the salad. I’m definitely getting into this bread making thing – it’s satisfyingly easy and I love the therapeutic process of kneading the dough.
It’s been an intense week of cooking and eating and I’ve loved it. This challenge is proving to be a real adventure – it’s a heartening and nostalgic experience re-connecting with my neglected books. Fancy joining me in a similar challenge? Comment below and fill me in!