Thursday, 16 October 2014

Cookery book challenge : weeks 33-36

Another month and another update on my cookery book challenge. Overall, I think it was a pretty good month, so let's take a look at what we found and what we tried.

Week 33 : Delia's Winter Collection - Delia Smith

One of the downfalls of randomly picking books out of a hat is that there's always the chance you'll end up with a winter cookbook in the middle of summer! Luckily there was still plenty to tempt us and we ended up choosing one of the more summery dishes.

Seared spiced salmon with black bean salsa

I couldn't find black beans in the supermarket so substituted pinto beans. I don't know if it would have made much of a difference as we found it very tasty anyway. Simple and flavourful. The recipe is here if you fancy trying it yourself.

Week 34 : Chinese Food Made Easy - Ching-He Huan

Chickpea is a huge Ching fan so was thrilled when this finally made an appearance. Unsurprisingly she picked out a lot of recipes to try but, for some reason, I just wasn't as enthusiastic. Looking back now, the photos look tempting and the recipe I chose was delicious: I guess sometimes you just have to be in the mood.

Bang-Bang chicken

I'd definitely be in the mood to eat this again. It took me a while to make but only because I'm slow at chopping. The dressing couldn't be easier as you just chuck everything in a blender and then warm it up. Fresh and tasty. You can find the recipe here.

Week 35 : Jamie's Dinners - Jamie Oliver

Another of my Jamie Oliver books: I own six and I think there are still a couple to go though it's hard to keep track after all these months! Lots to tempt us so I ended up choosing two recipes.

Tray-baked chicken Maryland

Chicken stuffed with banana! It was just so intriguing I had to make it.

I'm not sure the banana did add anything except sweetness. Odd but not unpleasant! However, chicken, bacon and sweetcorn are such a classic flavour combination that it couldn't really go wrong. Surprisingly, what made the dish for me was the fresh mint. I don't think I'd have thought to add mint myself but it worked so well and really lifted the flavour of the whole dish.

I'd make this again, with or without the banana, and especially because it was a one-pot meal and so saved on the washing up! If you're as intrigued as I was, you can find the recipe here.

Chicken Tikka Masala

I expected this to be full of flavour but was underwhelmed. It was good but just not memorable. You might think differently, in which case you can find the recipe here. I notice his latest cookery book has another version though which might be worth a go.

Week 36 : The River Cottage Family Cookbook - Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall & Fizz Carr

This was close to being the first cookery book from which we chose no recipes! Not that there aren't recipes but they're aimed at beginners so there was nothing to really grab our attention. Having said that it's an interesting read with lots of information about ingredients. It's just not something I'll be consulting on a regular basis for meal ideas. Having said that, I did manage to pick out a cracker.

Spicy bean stew with sausages

Oh my, this was so good! You can't really go wrong with beans and sausage but it was so full of flavour and I particularly liked the unusual addition of ground cloves which added a perfumed warmth. This would be lovely eaten around the fire on Bonfire Night. The recipe can be found here.

And so concludes this update. I'm surprised I'm still going strong after 10 months and reckon there's about 3 months worth of books to go - the finishing line is in sight!

I've had a day off today and spent it with my friend, Sue - oh the luxury of a mid-week day to myself! We had lunch and went to the cinema to see The Maze Runner. We both really enjoyed it and, if you like sci-fi or enjoyed films like The Hunger Games and Divergent, then I think you'll like this one too. Hope you've had a good day - the weekend is almost here :0) x


  1. Hello Julie

    My mouth is watering as I write and I've just eaten. Your meals look delicious, they are so colourful and well presented, and I must admit I like the look of your Spicy Bean Stew with sausages.

    Thank you for sharing,.


  2. They do look like good meals, lots of lovely colours! I wouldn't eat any of them as I'm a fussy veggie, but I always wish I was more adventurous with food (I'm getting better, hehe!). I'm impressed you've managed to keep this up for ten months but what a great way to try new things and get some use out of the recipe book collection. We have a few but if we do ever look in them, we never get round to making anything from them! Terrible!

    My quilt arrived today - it's great. I will reply to your email with a proper thank you soon as I'm so tired now after a long day, I can't face emails!

  3. They all look realy nice to eat, we have a bad habit of eating the same easy meals, can you believe it but I have had fresh made Ravioli for the first time for tea tonight, gosh I know how to live.
    Amanda xx

  4. I think this might be one of your most successful months so far! I love the look of that sausage dish, and the salmon. Not sure about the chicken and banana though... x

  5. I love a sausage casserole of any kind, they are always a winner aren't they. Not sure about that banana with the chicken though, I think that I could give that one a miss, but good on you for giving it a go because you never know if you don't try otherwise do you! xx

  6. Agree you can't go wrong with sausage and bean combo! Actually the rest of your dishes look pretty good too. Although I think I might have a mini riot on my hands if I made the chicken Maryland for dinner! Bravo for giving it a go x