Thursday, 6 July 2017

FEAST (Cookbook Challenge)




I have a large stash of recipe books - below is only a small selection!  I spend a lot more time reading and flicking through them than I do cooking anything from them.  So my husband set me a challenge to see if I could cook 3 recipes from each book. I've decided to blog it to keep me semi accountable, to remind me what I liked and didn't like and hopefully over time to improve my terrible food photography!



I have always had a cook crush on Nigella and it was an obvious choice to start with one of her many books from my shelf.  I've purchased most of Nigella's books as soon as they came out and watched her tv programmes whilst salivating.  One of the things I like most about her books is that you can read them.  It's not just a series of recipes, there are musings on where the recipe came from, what inspired it, tips on making or adapting it.   I went to a book signing for her latest book Simply Nigella and found her charming and actually very funny answering questions.  I was too embarrassed to ask any but hope I can rectify this if I make it to another signing for her newest book due out later this year. I was also thrilled to discover that she has contributed to the Vintage Mini series with Eating. I took it as a very good omen when I was told my Oncologist looked a little like Nigella and she does a little!  I keep expecting her to whip out a batch of brownies or cookies in our consultations and still always feel a little disappointed when she doesn't! 



Feast is my most well thumbed and food stained book of hers.  It was the cook book of my 20s - any invite to friends almost certainly involved me pulling out Feast to choose a dish to cook. The Cornbread Chilli is definitely a top 5 in our household. So I decided to start this project there but to try new recipes from it that I hadn't made before.

See terrible food photo - with shadow!

I actually started this at Easter when I had my in laws staying so it was the perfect excuse to bake cakes that would get eaten by lots of people.  This is the Chocolate Easter Egg Nest cake and its a perfect easy make as its supposed to sink in the middle like a nest.  Load it up with icing and mini eggs and it was delicious!




It's really hard to make some of this look as appetising as it was to eat!  Ham baked in cherry coke, squashed dauphinoise potatoes and cauliflower cheese.  While the ham was lovely I have a favourite recipe of my Mum's for cooking ham and thus far nothing has topped it!  But I think that is one of the lovely things about recipes and cooking - trying new ones but also savouring and enjoying the ones from my childhood that have been passed down from my Mum or Granny.



I'm a huge fan of a tray bake meal - chuck it all together (often in advance) and pop in the oven!  This one is delicious and very clever as it uses chicken, sausages and other ingredients which give it the flavour of a roast chicken dinner.  It's definitely made it onto the "make again list".



And lastly the absolute winner recipe from the book - Lemon Curd Meringue Cake.  I actually made the curd and given the season made it as Passionfruit Curd as per the variation suggestion.  Was the curd delicious? Yes.  Would I make it again?  Probably not at £1 a passionfruit and needing 8, a jar of good quality passionfruit curd from the local farm shop will definitely suffice next time!  I would however make lemon curd again as its so easy to make and tastes delicious!  Anyway onto the cake - it was divine.  Layers of cake, meringue, curd and double cream - I can't think of anything not to love and am waiting for guests or an excuse to make it again soon.

I've really enjoyed cooking some new recipes as part of this project.  Next up is Jamie Oliver's 30 Minute Meals!

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