This is my first post of February so I thought it might be fun write an update on my New Years Resolution but I will be back later this week with a Valentines treat for you all! For those of you who missed my post in January on it, my goal for 2015 is to cook one recipe from each of my currently 56 cookbooks, which I have been documenting through the wonderful medium of Instagram. You can see a full list of the books in my challenge here. January was a productive month, I worked my way through 5 books, so just over my one a week aim. My favourite part was seeking out a tiny deli in Soho I have wanted to go to for almost a year in search of cotechina sausages. Not falling back on favourite, tried and tested recipes from the books was a little tough, but I’m glad I stuck it out (for the most part) to expand my cooking skills and repertoire.
Broccoli Pasta and Chopped Green Salad (pg 192)
Jamies 15 Minute Meals – Jamie Oliver
This was one of my most used cookbooks when I worked in an office. Though I’ve never managed to make any of the meals in 15 minutes or under, they are consistently delicious and not too much hassle after work. I loved that this dish came with a side salad as the anchovies made it quite rich and the veggies added a bright aspect to the meal. This was so good that we made it again the next night, and could easily eat it every week from now until eternity! Though I did not love cleaning anchovy and garlic out of my (frequently used for smoothies) blender.
Ginger Beef (pg 46) and Aromatic Wok Fried Beans (pg 36)
Gok Cooks Chinese – Gok Wan
When I told Rosie Birkett that everything I made from this book was fantastic she looked at me with disbelief. The son of the owner of a chain of chinese restaurants, Gok grew up in the kitchen and I think this book is probably as much his father’s as his own. I’ve blogged about his Sticky Chicken before, it’s one of my favourite things to make when I have guests over, as it’s simple to make and everyone always asks for seconds. The Ginger Beef was absolutely incredible, the outside was crispy and the steak was so tender. Because the recipe calls for sirloin I doubt I will make this again anytime soon as it seemed a little like blasphemy to eat my favourite cut of beef any other way than medium rare with peppercorn sauce. The green beans were nice enough, but not worth the effort it took to make them, which included a trip to China Town to buy a £7 bottle of Shoaxing rice wine that you only need one tablespoon of.
Steamed Apple and Treacle Pudding (pg 66)
One A Cook and Her Cupboard – Florence Knight
Wow. I could not get enough of this pudding (even if I did serve it to my guests at gone midnight). I don’t think I have had a steamed pudding since I was about 7, and then they were made either in a microwave or came out of a tin. The inclusion of apples gave the dessert a satisfying tart dimension against the sweetness of the syrup. I made it the day before, and then reheated it whilst we were eating, as it does have a long steaming time (over an hour).
Steamed Egg Pudding (pg 99)
My Vietnamese Kitchen – Uyen Luu
This recipe if from my boss’s book, and it’s become a bit of a running joke that whenever someone buys it, I always recommend this recipe. It is so delicious, I am completely addicted! I did break my new dish rule as I have made this dish before, but as I have made quite a few things from that book over the year I gave myself a pass. This dish is incredibly frugal once you’ve made the initial outlay (which was only about £7 for all the specialist ingredients) as you only use a small amount. As I have said, I love, love, love this dish, it’s really savoury and meaty. Paired with plain boiled rice and a simple soup of stock, ginger and cabbage you have something really special. The whole meal only takes about 40 minutes and it had become a regular midweek meal round here.
Risotto Con Cipolle Bianche Dolce, Cotechino e Timo (pg 148) and Ricetta Topics Per Verdure Verdi (pg 264)
Jamie’s Italy – Jamie Oliver
Which loosely translates as sausage and onion risotto and wilted greens. I was planning on spacing out my Jamie Oliver books a bit. When Dan asked me on our day off what I wanted to do, I jumped at the opportunity to drag him into the seedy depths of soho in search of specialist ingredients. Special sausage in fact, which is not something you want to ask out loud on the road that Lina Stores resides on. The staff were so kind and knowledgeable, when they told us they had run out of cotechino, they asked us to explain our recipe then took us through the options they thought would work as subsitutes. We settled for a chilli sausage made in store, which had just the right amount of heat and a delicious hint of fennel. Every stage of this risotto took longer than I would usually spend on it, and the result was just incredible. The flavours really deepened and matured and the tip at the end to put the parmesan and butter in the pan then cover with a lid made the creamiest risotto I have ever tasted. Honestly, I was surprised that something that good was made by me! I really liked the wilted greens, the lemon juice really perked up it’s taste. It’s a great way to use up slightly worst for wear lettuce and cabbage at the end of the week, and turn it into something really tasty.
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To keep up with my cookbook new years resolution see the full list here.