Thursday, May 28, 2015

The Cottage Cooking Club - May Recipes


The month of May marks the thirteenth month of our international online cooking group, The Cottage Cooking Club. As a group, recipe by recipe, we are cooking and learning our way through a wonderful vegetable cookbook written in 2011 by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, called „River Cottage Everyday Veg“.




The Cottage Cooking Club is meant to be a project aimed at incorporating more vegetable dishes into our everyday cooking, learning about less known, forgotten or heritage vegetables, trying out  new ways to prepare tasty and healthy dishes, and sharing them with family and friends.

All the members of this cooking group will make an effort to use as much local, regional, organic and also seasonal produce as is resonably possible.

Since I prepared all ten recipes this month, I will write about each dish according to the order in which I prepared them. My first recipe for this May post is the Pearl barley broth (page 160), from the chapter "Hefty Soups“.




The base of this soup is a vegetable stock (page 130), a recipe in this book that I keep coming back to on a regular basis. The finely diced vegetables in this pearl barley broth include onions, celery, carrots, and parsnip. The spices used are ground coriander, nutmeg, cayenne pepper and mace. Then as herbs some fresh thyme and a bay leaf from the garden and, of course, medium sized pearl barley. Around here, the stores carry pearl barley in three different grades, the medium one being my favorite to use in substantial soups like this one. There was lots of flavor from the spices, the veg and the soup base. Just remember that the pearly barley will absorb quite a bit of liquid and you will end up with a rather thick soup if you prepare it in advance.

Add some wonderful crunchy, homemade croutons and a bit of sour cream and you end up with our kind of comfort-style, feel-good kind of soup. When frying the bread cubes for the croutons, I always add  a clove of crushed garlic to the olive oil - that way, they get a hint of garlic taste to them which we really enjoy.




The second recipe that I prepared is the Kohlrabi carpaccio (page 116) from the chapter „Raw Assemblies“. Before getting started on this recipe make sure to go for small sized kohlrabi (or as hugh points out, "not bigger than an apple") – I used to be a real kohlrabi addict as a child and I still know that when it comes to this lovely veg, the smaller it is, the sweeter it is and the less fibrous it is likely going to be. Always buy the freshest produce you can when putting together these raw assembllies recipes – you do need the crunchiness of the vegetable to stand up to the bold dressings.




Slice as thinly as possible, make a dressing with lemon juice, mild olive oil, sea salt, freshly ground black pepper and fresh thyme – this is where I used "my darling lemon thmye" that makes this dressing extra special and lemony tasting.Then top with some hard goat cheese.  I also added a bit of cress for a bit of sharpness. This is a very elegant dish and I loved serving it on a large white platter that I placed in the middle of the table so everyone could serve themselves.




The third recipe for May are the very summery and bright green looking Garlicky, minty mushy peas (page 387) from the chapter of „Side Dishes“. Lots of green color from the peas (frozen – as the fresh ones were not appealing – not quite the best season yet) – I do not think that the taste of this dish is affected by frozen versus fresh peas.




All you need apart form those peas is some of the cooking liquid, shallots, garlic, salt, pepper and mint (no – I used Italian parsley because mint and fresh coriander are the only herbs that we do not like in our food). And some fresh vegetables for dipping or a bit of bread to spread it on. Next time I make this, I would love to add some of the pea purée to my salmon burgers, I think that would make a darn good taste combination and be very pretty to look at too.




The fourth recipe is the Courgette bruschetta (page 200) from the chapter of „Bready Things“.  A recipe that I turn to quite often. Love bruschetta and fresh courgettes and grilled bread and goat cheese. Who does not?!




This bruschetta pairs extremely well with tomato bruschetta and it is one of the true rustic treats to enjoy in late spring and then all summer long.




The fifth recipe is the recipe that I would consider to be a „must know“ for all of us, and especially students. The Pasta with Broccoli (page 261) from the chapter of „Pasta & Rice“ is so tasty and so easy to put together, that it is quite simply a cinch to put together. Plus it has very few ingredients and yet it is still one of those very tasty pasta recipes that will come in very handy on those very busy days/evenings when everyone is craving a nutritious home cooked meal with tons of taste.




Boil some fun shaped pasta, add fresh broccoli florets to the cooking water during the last few minutes (if you are pressed for time you can always add frozen broccoli florets here). Warm olive oil with some chili and garlic. Mix everything together. Add fresh basil and shaved parmesan on top and you are all set to enjoy a wonderful dinner.




The sixth recipe for May is the Griddled Asparagus with lemon dressing (page 339) from the chapter „Roast, Grill & Barbecue“.




We are in the midst of asparagus season around here. The season lasts „officially“ until the 24th of June. And presently there is asparagus everywhere. Each and every market offers it and we eat it almost daily. Since there is mostly white asparagus being planted here, that´s what I used for this lovely recipe.




The previously blanched asparagus gets threaded on skewers. Then you brush them with a bit of olive oil, season with salt and pepper and grill either in a griddle pan or on the BBQ outside – this is a recipe that works well wherever your grill or grill pan is.




Serve the hot asparagus with some lemon dressing poured over and some more on the side – so, so good. The dressing with the lemon juice and chopped basil, Italian parsley and chives complements griddled asparagus in the most delicious of ways.




Onto recipe number seven, one of my kids two favorites this month, the Herby, peanutty, noodly salad (page 71), from the chapter of“ Hearty Salads“.




For the noodles I chose to use wholewheat spaghetti instead of the egg or rice noodles that the recipe calls for – I like their nutty taste and that they hold their shape so well when cooked al dente and when paired with a hearty salad dressing.




The dressing consists of rice vinegar, zest and juice of a lime, chili, garlic, brown sugar, toasted sesame oil and soy sauce. The veggies I chose to add to the cooked noodles were green asparagus, string beans and an English cucumber. I replaced the coriander and the fresh mint with basil and the peanuts with sesame seeds – I did change the recipe according to what is available and fresh as well as to what we like. Nothing wrong with adjusting recipes to your family´s taste and preferences. It is a wonderful basic recipe that I think calls for some creative interpretations. I must admit that I really prefer a light dressing such as this one to one of those heavy ones with peanut butter added to it – I never liked those salads and was pleased as punch to prepare an Asian-inspired vinegary dressing for this one.




Recipe number eight is the top favorite recipe at our house this month – the Spicy merguez oven chips with yoghurt dip (page 225) from the chapter „Store-cupboard suppers“ is quite simply put a stellar recipe and, according to the kids, „out-of-this-world delicious“.




Use good potatoes here, the ones that can withstand a lot of heat without falling to pieces. And par-boil them only shortly before adding all those spices to them that are meant to mimic the spiciness of the French merguez sausages. And no need to peel the potatoes, if you give them a good scrub and especially if you bought them at a farmer´s market.




The spices used here are cumin, fennel, coriander, caraway, black pepper, Spanish sweet smoked paprika, cayenne pepper and fine sea salt. Time to get out my wonderful pestle and mortar once again, this is one kitchen gadget that although I do not use it too often, I actually love to use.




Roast potatoes and spices in a hot oven for about 45 minutes and prepare the dip in the meantime with plain yoghurt, a bit of garlic and some cayenne sprinkled on top. And. Enjoy!




Onto recipe number nine for May, the Cambodian Wedding Day Dip as Hugh calls it or the Tyrolean Wedding Day Dip as one of our daughters calls it (hence the bowl I served it in). The recipe can be found on page 299 in the chapter „Mezze & Tapas“.




The dip is wonderful with pita chips or fresh vegetables on the side and consists of chestnut mushrooms, chili, garlic, curry powder (I used a mild one), crunchy peanut butter, coconut milk, lime juice, soy sauce and chopped coriander (I used Italian parsley here).




We loved the bit of heat from the chilis, the sweetness from the peanut butter and the creaminess from the coconut milk – an utterly delightful combination of flavors and textures, not to be missed when preparing your next mezze spread.




The last recipe is the Spinach, penne and cheese spoufflé – yes spoufflé, not soufflée (page 43) from the chapter of „Comfort Foods & Feasts“. With cooked pasta, fresh spinach, a sauce béchamel, grated cheese, egg yolks and beaten egg whites – this recipe had a few steps that you had to follow before it was ready to be baked in the oven. I decided to add some chopped fresh wild garlic to the spinach mix.




The kids loved it and I served it with some grilled chicken as a side dish – texture wise, this was my personal least favorite one of the line-up and I think I would be better off using a smaller vessel for t the spoufflé than I did but it was still worth making and I like the idea to use left-over pasta and spinach in a dish that the kids will happily eat.




Another month full of wonderful vegetable dishes – we certainly love the recipes from this cookbook.

Please note, that for copyright reasons, we do NOT publish the recipes. If you enjoy the recipes in our series, hopefully, the wonderfully talented and enthusiastic members of the Cottage Cooking Club and their wonderful posts can convince you to get a copy of this lovely book. Better yet, do make sure to join us in this cooking adventure! There is still time!



„The Kitchen Lioness – Home is where you can be yourself“


For more information on the participation rules, please go here.

To see which wonderful dishes the other members of the Cottage Cooking Club prepared during the month of April, please go here.


33 comments:

  1. Andrea, your dishes look so delicious that they are making me hungry... and I just had lunch! (with one of my brothers in Northern California :) ). As you know, I only made 2 of the recipes, and they were both hits! I so very much appreciate that you took the time to make and blog about the others (must make the Cambodian/Tyrolean dip!) - it's inspiring!! It's great to see what all everyone else made and what they liked, changed, etc. As always, your photos are stunning!

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    1. Candy, thank you for being such a trooper in month despite your very busy schedule! The dip is certainly a recipe that you should try, it can be prepared in advance and you can pair it with so many wonderful things from pita chips to cherry tomatoes, fresh bread or veg sticks. I did make all the recipes as May is my favorite month for cooking - so many fresh produce to use and such beautiful weather outside!
      Thank you for your wonderful comment!
      Andrea

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  2. I adore your photos Andrea! And all these beautiful dishes - scrumptious!

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    1. Barbara, freut mich sehr, dass dir mein Post mit all den vegetarischen Gerichten gefällt - war eine ganze Menge Arbeit diesen Monat aber uns hat es vorzüglich geschmeckt.
      Herzlichen Dank für deinen lieben Kommentar und herzliche Grüße in die Provence,
      Andrea

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  3. hmm, damn delicious!!!
    but i omit that i'm focus with your fancy plates even more tou, lol
    Dedy@Dentist Chef

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    1. Dedy, that is quite all right - my props are very dear to my heart (as my readers already know) but my food is equally important to me - so getting compliments on both makes me even more happy!
      Thank you kindly for stopping by, dear friend,
      andrea

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  4. What a great roundup of recipes! They all look wonderful, and I'd hardly know which one to start with. Thanks for another month's worth of inspiration.

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    1. Beth, thank you very much - how nice to read that you find my post inspiring - this is what this adventure is all about!

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  5. Your recipe round-up is spectacular as always, Andrea. I always enjoy reading about the recipes I didn't make, and your take on the ones I did. It seems the potatoes were as popular with your children as they were with mine and the spouffle too was a hit here, with a texture between a souffle and a light frittata when I baked it in ramekins. They both sound so good, I'll have to add the bruschetta and "Tyrolean" wedding day dip to the list of recipes I still need to make. I can't wait to see what you have in store for us for June.

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    1. Zosia, only the most wonderful of recipes in store for The Cottage Cooking Club in June, of course! I know that your kids enjoyed the Merguez Oven Baked Chips as much as ours did - Gretchen, one of the girls, is a true spice head and she just could not get enough of them. The Spoufflé seems to be a real crowd-pleaser as well - the kids were crazy about this rather substantial dish and I am glad to have found a recipe for leftover pasta and spinach.
      Thank you so much for participating again this month - so nice to have you cooking along with us,
      Andrea

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  6. Andrea all look absolutely delicious and yours pictures are lovely!
    I love bruschetta!

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    1. Gloria, how kind of you - we quite enjoy bruschetta with all kinds of toppings as well - no end to what you can put on grilled bread it seems.
      Thank you kindly for stopping by,
      Andrea

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  7. Andrea, as always your post and pictures are beautiful. I'm amazed at all the effort and work you put into preparing and posting all these recipes. I love Kohlrabi but just like white asparagus it is difficult to find in my little town. Take care☺️

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    1. Gerlinde, I must admit that this post was a heck of a lot of work and last night when I finished this, I was utterly exhausted but the kids and my darling husband so enjoyed the food this month and,a as a group, we are cooking our way through 200 recipes after all - I am up to a good 130, not bad and I have learned so much.
      Liebe Grüße nach Santa Cruz, meine Liebe!
      Andrea

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  8. Home is, indeed, where you can be yourself.

    What a bountiful table, Andrea. Everything looks so delicious, but I'm most curious about that Tyrolean wedding soup (I'm a romantic) and those chips your li'l sweethearts loved to much.

    Wishing you all a fun and relaxing w/end.
    Love from California xo

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    1. Dear Colette, you should give this dip a try, being romantic or not, it is delicious, has a ton of flavor and great texture to it.Just enough heat from the chilies and nice sweetness form the peanut butter and coconut milk.You have got the recipe in your copy of the book, or look here: https://www.rivercottage.net/recipes/cambodian-wedding-day-dip
      Thanks for stopping by,
      All the best to you and your family,
      Andrea

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  9. Wow Andrea, you certainly went all out. Yours pictures with such wonderful detail and color are always wonderful to see. Thank you for another great month!

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  10. Dear Andrea, another spectacular month on the Kitchen Lioness among your selections for the Cottage Cooking Club. Not only do I appreciate each of the dishes you prepare, and your notations, but the special attention you pay to your photographs that are without exception, always so beautiful. I admit, I specifically wait and read your Post the very last among the group, and then, I come back a second time to look through again at all of your photos which really inspire me. Though I cannot single out I favorite, they are equally gorgeous, but this month, I loved your unique pick on the white rather than green asparagus which looks rather amazing. Love the croutons for the Barley soup as well. Looking forward to your June choices. Thanks again for all you do to make our group so special, really, you couldn't do more- it is perfect already, sorry some are missing out on such a great opportunity- but you have certainly welcomed folks in every way possible. We have a terrific group, lots of fun, plenty to enjoy. I'm appreciative of that.

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    1. Peggy, thank you for the fabulous comment, dear friend. You certainly make me feel good - it was an exhausting month (as it was for so many of us) but I am glad that I managed all the dishes - we just love late spring/early summer produce. I believe it is my very favorite time to year to cook and bake. Now June is almost there and I am putting together the list of recipes today - we shall see... I am looking forward to many more months full of veggie cooking with all of you talented, kind and enthusiastic ladies!
      Thank you for all your do and say - I really appreciate it!
      Andrea

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  11. Bravo, Andrea, this is a magnificient replay of our May recipes and a blog post I will be returning to read over and over as I make some of these recipes this summer. Honestly, I am still waiting for wonderful local asparagus and other fresh Colorado fruits and vegetables to arrive. May has been a snowy and wet month (we are not complaing, however, we need the moisture) and one in which the Pearled Barley Broth worked beautifully. I could store away so many creative and delicious ideas and suggestions from this post for future summer meals. My favorite photos - all of them were beautiful - were the white aspargus pictures. When we (and, later, I) would go to France, it was usually May and we indulged ourselves at every meal with the white asparagues. I have tried to "make" it taste as special here as it did in Provence but I couldn't pull it off!!! Not too surprising, huh. I also have herb-envy. I still plant two flower boxes to hang on my balcony but it is not the same as the herb selection I used to have in our big garden. I know this has been a busy month for the mother of 4 girls so I salute you for blogging this inspiring CCC post.

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    1. Oh, Mary, what a fantastic comment! The white asparagus is like a "must" around here - tons of it being planted and so delicious - I think we all eat it. Until June 24th, the official last day for the harvest. I bought some more yesterday and we devoured that last night after the Heritage Plant and Flower Show - I bought so many herbs there, I cannot wait to plant them tonight and I learned so many new facts and thing about herbs and plants - love, love that. The girls were listening carefully as well as were were given a tour of what they call "Heritage Garden" - tone of smells to be explored. It just felt right!
      I am putting together the list of the June recipes right now, it will be up on the Cottage Cooking Club site later today.
      Thank you again for taking the time to leave such a warm and wonderful comment - love and hugs,
      Andrea & the girls

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  12. You have been busy in an incredibly delicious way Andrea. Oh my goodness, these all look amazing. It would be hard to choose a favorite but I'm between the Kohlrabi carpaccio and the Pasta with Broccoli, but only if I HAD to! You are amazing!

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    1. Chris, thank you for your wonderful comment - you certainly know yourself how much love and a tad bit of determination flows into these kinds of posts before they are done!
      I appreciate your kind words, dear friend!
      Andrea

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  13. Andrea, breath taking photos in a wonderful blog. Love all of them. Espacially the one with the kohlrabi and the reflections of the light. You are a great photographer and a great cook. The whole wheat pasta salad would be a nice summer salad. Wonderful inspirations for great meals.
    Thanks!

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    1. Liebe Wally - dein Kommentar freut mich unheimlich! Ganz lieben Dank dafür!
      Morgen soll es doch tatsächlich 30 Grad warm werden, ich weiß nicht, ich hoffe, es bleibt nicht so, damit meine neu gepflanzten Kräuter nicht gleich eingehen. Wir werden sehen.
      Der asiatische Pasta Salat ist wunderbar and man kann auch gerne die Gemüse variieren. Uns hat eigentlich Alles vorzüglich geschmeckt, aber der Salat lohnt sich wirklich.
      Liebe Grüße aus dem schon recht warmen Bonn,
      Andrea

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  14. Fabulous as always, Andrea! You amaze me each and every month. It was a good month of recipes, I enjoyed all the ones I made. Love the look of the white asparagus!

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  15. Oh, dear - so many wonderful recipes this month! The pearl barley soup reminds me of my recipe for Graupensuppe - a soup I love. I have not had kohlrabi in this way, so it is perfect to try now that the temperatures are over 38°C every day. The merguez oven chips look so perfect... and, of course, der weißer Spargel schaut ausgezeichnet! As always, your photos are truly beautiful. Liebe Grüße von immer heißsen Tucson! David

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  16. Oh my dear Andrea, you have here a festival of awesome dishes...I would not know where to start...they all look so good and the pictures sure reflect their yumminess...thank you for the inspiration!
    Have a great day :)

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  17. What a great review of ALL the June recipes, Andrea! You make some of them more appealing than Hugh does in the book. Your pictures are way better. I was short on time this month, but I'm making a note to be sure and make the oven fries, the spouffle, the dip, and the peas. I made the noodle salad and I agree it was delicious. I think next time I need to add more vegetables. Thank you for all of your encouragement. Onward to the June recipes!

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  18. Great recipes.
    Congratulations.
    olguis.

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  19. Everything is absolutely beautiful, as always. I couldn't find kohlrabi in May but saw it at my CSA last week. Thanks for the reminder. I need to get some so I can try out the carpaccio. I loved the bruschetta too. I imagine I'll be making that one a lot this summer.

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