Sunday, 6 July 2014

Cookery book challenge: weeks 21-24

It's time for the monthly update of my cookery book challenge. If you're new to this challenge, you can find out how it all started here. However, if you're a regular reader, let's crack on and see what I've been making this month.

Week 21 : delicious. 5 of the best - Valli Little

One of my favourite cookery books. My Mum's neighbour's daughter had a subscription to Delicious magazine (along with several others) and used to pass them on after she'd finished with them. It was always interesting to see which she'd put a star against or ripped out as it often wasn't something which appealed to me. That definitely isn't a problem with this book as there was plenty to appeal to both me and Chickpea. I'd already made lots of the recipes so chose a few that were new to us.

Cajun salmon with corn salsa

The corn salsa was lovely and fresh and was actually better the next day after the flavours had time to develop. The salmon probably would have been better but I overcooked it as I was too busy trying to make pina coladas at the same time! Never try to make cocktails whilst cooking fish! I'll be trying this again when less distracted and, if you'd like to join me, you can find the recipe here.

Pork with strawberry balsamic sauce

I was completely intrigued at the idea of using strawberries with pork. The balsamic sauce worked well but I'll stick to having my strawberries with cream in future. If you'd like to try this odd combination, the recipe is here.

Blintzes with sour cream and cherries

When I was growing up, our Pancake Day treat was to have a tin of cherry pie filling and cream with our pancakes: very '70s. This recipe brought back those memories though in a more sophisticated version. The cream cheese filling was good but it would have been just as good a combination of flavours without it. If you'd like to try it, the recipe is here.

Week 22 : Cook simple - Diana Henry

Another of my absolute favourites. By the time Chickpea had been through to make her selection, there was a slip of paper between almost every page. In the end, the decision came down to us having some chorizo in the fridge.

Spanish sweet potato with chorizo, peppers and fried egg

Real comfort food and full of flavour. We'll definitely making this recipe or a variation in the future.

Week 23 : The Little Paris Kitchen - Rachel Khoo

A Christmas present from Chickpea's boyfriend who knows I love cooking. You'd think I would like French food having studied French for my degree and having lived there for almost a year. Maybe I was having a bad day but it left me uninspired. Having browsed through it again today, there are a few things I'd like to try so it will be given a second chance, at least for the desserts.

Iles flottantes (Floating islands)

We'd seen the contestants on Great British Bake Off making these and were intrigued. Very simple to make as it's only poached meringue and custard. Our reaction though was a Gallic shrug - OK but nothing special or memorable. You might feel differently, in which case the recipe is here.

Week 24 : Regional Italian Cooking - Valentina Harris

Chickpea declared this the most boring cookery book ever and only managed to find two recipes she wanted to try. It was another discount shop find and contains only 94 pages. I love the linocut illustrations by David Sim and the introductions to each of the regions of Italy. However, Chickpea was right, there isn't much I wanted to cook and I really struggled to decide on this one.

Tagliatelle with walnut and garlic sauce

Very simple to make, edible but unmemorable.

A mixed bag this time then: two of my favourites and two which didn't quite live up to expectations. I wonder what next month will bring?

Hope you've been enjoying lovely weather this weekend. Chickpea is currently very pink in the face after not putting on enough sun cream yesterday. I ventured out to watch my Dad bowling in a charity match this afternoon (that's crown green bowling). Unfortunately, he lost in the semi-final but was well below his usual standard. I also made a cake and, if it turns out ok, will share the recipe at some point. I have a few posts stacked up now with photos but no words but the sun keeps tempting me away from the computer. Bear with me and I'll get there in the end. Enjoy the remainder of your Sunday. x


  1. Well, I guess you win some, you lose some. At least you're making good use of your collection of books and trying new things!

  2. It sounds as though it has been a mixed, but not bad month recipe book wise! I think the best thing is that you actually are using your books. Not sure that I would fancy the strawberries with the pork, I think that like you I would stick to strawberries and cream!! xx

  3. Some interesting meals, I go through fazes of cooking and backing. Wish I was a bit more organised, now the boys are all grown up and with girlfriends.I never know who's home for tea, It can range from me to six.. hard to plan.
    Amanda xx

  4. I really enjoy these posts of your Julie and the food looks great as always. I have the Rachel Khoo book as well and although it is a gorgeous book with great photos, I think I have only cooked one thing from it!
    Marianne x

  5. Yay, I do so love these posts! Next year I'm really going to try to do the same. The chorizo with the egg looked so good, I could eat that right now. I really like the Little Paris Kitchen book and would recommend another look. I seem to remember that the lentil salad and madeleines were both lovely. xx