Thursday, April 28, 2016
The Cottage Cooking Club & April`s final Recipes
The month of April marks the twenty-fourth and thereby last month of our international online cooking group, The Cottage Cooking Club. As a group, recipe by recipe, we cooked our way through a wonderful vegetable cookbook written in 2011 by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, entitled „River Cottage Everyday Veg".
One of the declared aims of our cooking group was to make a decided effort to use as much regional, organic and seasonal produce as is sensible.
This month I prepared six of the ten designated recipes. I will write about each dish in the order in which I prepared them.
My first recipe for this April post is the Dry-roasted ratatouille (page 362) from the chapter "Roast, Grill & Barbecue“. Who would have thought it possible that after cooking my way through the majority of Hugh´s recipes, I could still find another favorite. I loved, loved the way the Dry-roasted ratatouille tasted. The first day on pasta. The second day on tosted country bread.
This is a great recipe, especially when the veggies that this recipe calls for are a bit out of season. For this take on the classic ratatouille, a wonderful mix of tomatoes, courgettes, peppers and aubergines that seems to capture the essential simplicity of Provençal flavor, you will oven-roast cherry tomatoes in one tray and onions, red and yellow peppers, courgettes and aubergines in another.
The oven-roasting intensifies the veggie flavors in the most delicious of ways. Once all are roasted, you carefully bring them all togeher in a bowl, then enjoy with your favorite pasta, as part of a mezze spread or simply with some bread.
My second recipe this month is the New potato gnocchi (page 284) from the chapter „Pasta & Rice“. Gnocchi are a sort of pasta for potato lovers. They are small Italian dumplings usually made from potatoes, flour (traditionally buckwheat flour) and eggs and shaped into small ovals with a ridged pattern on one side. They can also be made from semolina flour, as they are in Rome. Hugh´s recipe call for new potatoes as well as soft crumbled goat cheese.
It is not the first time I have made gnocchi and I still think that a few of these lovelies go a long way. And they take a long time to prepare when you are feeding a crowd. So remember to serve small portions of these with either Hugh´s Roasted tomato sauce (page 366), with olive or butter or even Cacio E Pepe style (literally "cheese and pepper“). I chose to serve the gnocchi with wild garlic pesto as well as some oven-roasted cherry tomatoes, to sweeten the deal. Very nice indeed.
The third recipe in April is the Spiced spinach and potatoes (page 321) from the chapter „Mezze & Tapas“.
This recipe is a wonderful way to serve new potatoes with a little kick. Hugh call this his take on Sag Aloo, a traditional, healthy Indian side dish, which combines spinach with potato and spices. And this dish is all about those lovely new potatoes, fresh spinach, garlic, chili, ginger, garam masala, and coconut cream. Delightful!
The fourth recipe in April is the Linguine with mint and almond pesto (page 266) from the chapter „Pasta & Rice“. The one recipe I knew I would change before I even got started. Mint is the one herb that we enjoy in our teas but not in our food. So, I used rocket instead and added some chili but other than those two additions, I did not change the pesto recipe. With almonds, garlic, lemon, Dijon mustard and olive oil, this was a nice pesto with a lot of zing. And I did use wholemeal linguine – the robust, nutty taste of those pairs very well with the pesto.
The fifth recipe in April is the Chickpea ketchup curry (page 245) from the chapter „Store-Cupboard Suppers“.
A fun and easy weeknight shortcut recipe that will make a lot of young taste testers happy. With simple ingredients such as onion, ginger, chili, garlic, a mild curry powder, chickpeas and a high quality tomato ketchup, plus some lemon juice – this is a easily jazzed up with some lovely limes, sour cream, warm flatbread and a bit of greenery. Fun. And a good one to remember for those very busy days.
The sixth and final recipe for April is the Roasted spiced aubergines with chickpeas (page 351) from the chapter „Roast, Grill & Barbecue“. I cannot believe this is my last recipe…
The sweetness of the deep burgundy aubergines, all wrapped up in lovely spices (cumin, ground coriander, and chili) and served together with chickpeas on a lovely bed of peppery rocket, is just the best. No qualms with this recipe. A keeper.
In summary, we loved each and every dish this month - the kids were pleased as punch with the Chickpea ketchup curry but also enjoyed the other recipes quite a bit. We enjoyed all six recipes but loved the Roasted spiced aubergines and the Dry-roasted ratatouille the most. Happy all around again.
Please note, that for copyright reasons, we did NOT publish the recipes. If you enjoyed the recipes in our series, hopefully, the wonderfully talented and enthusiastic members of The Cottage Cooking Club and their wonderful posts convinced you to get a copy of this lovely book. Better yet, do make sure to join us when we continue our cooking adventure - we will be moving on to more of Hugh´s cookbook(s) in May!
And a big and heartfelt Thank you! To all my fellow members of The Cottage Cooking Club! Could not have done it without you! There will be news on our up-coming cooking adventures in the next few days – so do make sure to check back here soon!
To see how wonderful all the dishes from my fellow Cottage Cooking Club members turned out this month, please make sure to take a look at their personal links and to do so, just visit here.