Sunday, 22 February 2015

Cookery book challenge: Weeks 45-49

It's taken just over a year but I've reached the penultimate post of my cookery book challenge. I can hardly believe I made it all the way to the end! It felt such an achievement to draw out the final book and I've actually missed having it to look forward to each week. Next time I'll be looking back over the last year but before that, here are weeks 45-49.

Week 45: How to Cook Book 3 - Delia Smith

I've already reviewed Books 1 and 2 which had varying amounts to tempt us and, this time, we were pleased to find several. In fact, I think it was the most interesting of the 3 volumes. We chose 2 recipes and both happened to be in the Waist Watchers chapter.

Oriental chicken

Very simple to make. You prepare a marinade/sauce, pour it over some chicken thighs in a casserole dish and put the whole lot in the oven for 40 minutes. I didn't have Chinese brown rice wine so used sherry which I'd read was a good substitute. Full of flavour though we found it overly salty because of the amount of soy sauce it contains. I'd use a low sodium version next time.

Marinated chicken brochettes with green couscous

My overrriding memory of this meal is wolfing it down as fast as I could. I'd underestimated how long it would take to cook and we were minutes away from needing to leave for the carol service (yes it was back in December - I'm very late with posting). I do also remember it being very tasty though: you can find the recipe here.

Week 46 : North Country Cooking - Dorothy & Bob Igoe

Not the North Country in England that you might assume, but the Adirondacks in New York State, USA. As you might expect, it's full of simple, hearty fare with names like 'Aunt Hattie's clam pie', 'Ted's chilli' and 'Grandma Gregory's pickles'. I love this kind of book - it's so evocative and full of history.

Turkey noodle bake

An easy choice as it happened to be Christmas week and there was plenty of leftover turkey to be had. The other main ingredient is a tin of cream of mushroom soup. I made the recipe exactly as specified but, for me, it needed more seasoning (either that or a better brand of soup). Also, I wasn't sure what kind of 'noodles' they might be but it sounded like a pasta bake so I used penne. You can find a similar recipe here.

Week 47 : Kitchen - Nigella Lawson

I was surprised when this came out as I thought we'd worked our way through all my Nigella books. Well, except for one and it wasn't this!

Vietnamese pork noodle soup

It was the weekend after New Year's Day, and, as you do, I wanted to cook something light and vaguely healthy after all the mountains of mince pies and chocolates: this recipe fit the bill nicely. I omitted the beansprouts, as I'm not keen on them, and added mangetout instead. Gently spicy and flavourful. You can find the recipe here.

Week 48 : How to Eat - Nigella Lawson

This was the book I expected to draw out the previous week. It's not the easiest to browse through as it's very densely written and no photos. I've used a few recipes from it before, including her recipes for Victoria sponge and clementine cake, both of which never fail. However, we chose a savoury recipe. It was only when I uploaded the photo that I realised it's almost identical to the one in the previous week! Actually they were a couple of weeks apart as I had a bout of flu in between, so my memory and powers of observation aren't that bad, honest!

Aromatic chilli beef noodle soup

The basic look of the recipe might be the same but the flavour was very different: ginger, garlic and cinnamon. We were both impressed with this and I'd definitely use the marinade for other recipes. If you'd like to try it, you can find the recipe here.

Week 49 : Real Fast Food - Nigel Slater

And so to the final book of the challenge! This little book is packed with recipes. Like How to Eat, it has no photos but the recipes are clearly marked. I liked that Nigel gives a basic recipe, like an omelette, then a whole series of flavour/filling options. We opted to try a lunch recipe.

Hot kipper toasts

Really tasty and I've made this a couple of times now. The only downside is the bones in the kippers but I've since found skinless and boneless fillets in tins which are much easier. The recipe can be found here.

And that's it, the final recipe, the final review! In time honoured fashion, next time I'll be looking back over the good, the bad and the ugly of the challenge. x


  1. Lots of lovely food Julie, like the look of Vietnamese pork noodle soup and Aromatic chilli beef noodle soup, are you going to set your self a new challenge ?
    Amanda xx

  2. Lots of wonderful food. Well done.


  3. You have cooked such a varied selection of meals through this challenge! Well done! Are you going to carry on with this to try more books/recipes or have you a new challenge in mind now this one is done?!

  4. How great that you followed this all the way through and found some good recipes! I will be interested in your review and to know what you are going do with the books that you cooked things from that you didn't like. xx

  5. What a great challenge it has been and you've cooked so many different dishes, what will you do for menu planning now? xx

  6. Hey Julie,
    What great looking food and I know I have said this before but I really love your polka dot dishes!
    And I don't know about kippers but a lot of people throw away the skin and bones in a can of salmon but if you just mash it all up, you can eat it all, even the bones. The bones are really a good source of calcium. That is what I have read anyway! xx

  7. I have enjoyed your journey and been inspired to actually try the recipes I cut out not just file them for later use. My guess for pasta on the turkey noodle bake would be egg noodles like a tuna casserole. At least that seems to be the choice for these bakes around here. I love smoked kippers in a can but have never cooked with the fresh kind. Wonder if I can even get them here? Might try recipe with the canned anyhow.