Wednesday, March 30, 2016
The Cottage Cooking Club - March Recipes
The month of March marks the twenty-third 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, entitled „River Cottage Everyday Veg".
One of the declared aims of our cooking group is 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 March post is the Dressed Puy lentils (page 237) from the chapter "Store-Cupboard Suppers“. We are a lentil loving nation and I have had a lot of fun trying out different types of lentils lately – after all, 2016 is also the International Year of the Pulses (for more info, please go here).
After reviewing the contents of my cupboard, I noticed that I was out of Puy lentils – they tend to be a bit hard to find around here and I should really make a habit of stocking them. But I did stock up on one of my other favorite lentils, the utterly delicious and very elegant looking black Beluga lentils. Aptly named Beluga lentils, these beauties look like little beads of caviar. Not only do they cook quickly, but they also hold their shape during cooking.
What´s not to love about these black lentils in a salad with fresh spring greens and a simple dressing of olive oil, Dijon mustard, sea salt, freshly ground black pepper and let´s not forget some local cider vinegar. There is an apple orchard not far from our home and they produce a lovely apple cider – all bottled in some very pretty glass bottles and adorned with a nice vintage logo. It tastes likes apples, smooth and a bit sweet – a perfect combination with the nutty taste of the lentils.
My second recipe this month is the Roasted new potatoes with harissa (page 225) from the chapter „Bready Things“. Although I am quite aware of the fact that the sweet potato is a root vegetable that resembles a potato, and although it is quite different in taste and texture and is not related to the potato - the new potatoes in this recipe had to make room for sweet potatoes instead – I had this vision in my head of roasted orange fleshed potatoes, blissfully caramelized with harissa - for this recipe I used the dry version of the popular North African spice mix. A harissa spice mix usually contains cumin seed, coriander seed, dried chilli, smoked paprika, sea salt, and caraway seeds. Since Mr. Whittingstall did not specify wether he means the harissa paste or the harissa spice mix, I to chose to use the later, as it made more sense when roasting veggies with it.
The potoes were gone in a flash – this is a recipe I will most definitely make again with new potatoes as well as sweet potatoes. We enjoyed the harissa-roasted sweet potoes plain, no dip, but I might go for a nice feta dip with new potatoes next time I make this wonderful recipe.
The third recipe in March is the The vegiflette toastie (page 206) from the chapter „Bready Things“.
I love this recipe – I used my French Purple Potatoes. I was, of course, just waiting for another opportunity to show off my exquisite spuds. They have a rich, somewhat chestnutty taste and a dry floury texture which makes these ideal for adding them to a rich toastie treat like this one. Together with roasted spring onions and some wild garlic as well as Gorgonzola dolce, this is a true treat indeed. And as an added bonus their lovely violet color is retained during the cooking process.
The fourth recipe in March is the Potato dauphinoise (page 60) from the chapter „Comfort Food & Feasts“.
I will admit to being a potato gratin addict – I have made so many of them and I still cannot get enough of them. Ever. Sometimes I will mix different kinds of potatoes. Sometimes I will mix the thinly sliced potatoes with other veggies. Sometimes I will use homemade broth and for extra flavor, lots of fresh thyme from the garden. Sometimes I go for the creamy, decadent version like this one…but I will never add cheese to a potato gratin as the starch from the potatoes works its magic without the help from cheese.
There is not much to say about gratins other than that they are utterly amazing – this one from Hugh is no exceptuion. With loads of butter, double cream, garlic, freshly grated nutmeg, black pepper and salt who would not want to indulge every once in a while…it was Easter after all and I always serve potato gratin at this time of year alonside some lovely lamb roast. Bliss on a plate.
The fifth recipe that cought my attention this month is the Dhal (page 238) from the chapter „Pasta & Rice“.
That, on the other hand, is a recipe that I had never prepared before. This recipe calls for red lentils – easily found in stores around here. As opposed to the Beluga lentils that hold their shape during cooking, red lentils disintegrate into a thick, dry, yellowish purée when cooked. They rae best used for soups and spicy Indian dhals.
Hugh´s recipe is rather easy to prepare with ingredients I always have at home. Other than the lentils, you need only turmeric, salt, sunflower oil, cumin and an onion.
While we enjoyed this, I will make sure to prepare the Biryani alonside next time like I was planning to in the first place. For me a Dhal like this one makes for a great appetizer with a bit of a seasonal green salad alongside.
The sixth recipe is the Nachos with refried beans (page 190) from the chapter „Bready Things“.
This is a fun dish I expressely made for the younger crowds. I remember how much they enjoyed the Refried bean foldovers when we made them back in February 2015 - if you are curious to know how that dish looked liked, please go here.
The Nachos with refried beans is one easy, crowd-pleaser of a recipe with but a few staple ingredients such as tomatoes, cannellini beans, Spanish smoked paprika, onion, garlic etc.
Served with sour cream, sliced avocados, red onions and my baked corn tortilla chips – this is one recipe that I will return to many times. If you prefer an extra kick here - make sure to use the spicy version of the Spanish smoked paprika here and make sure it is the real thing from a trusted spice merchant. I love the depth of flavor from the paprika called "Pimentón de La Vera El Caballo de Oros" de (here). - just had to mention that fancy name.
In summary, we loved each and every dish this month - the kids were pleased as punch with the Nachos with refried beans, the Sweet potatoes with harissa and the Potato gratin but also enjoyed the other recipes quite a bit. We enjoyed all six recipes but loved the Dressed Beluga lentils and the Vegiflette toastie the most. Happy all around again. Th eonly regret I have is having been able to more of the recipes this month.
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 - we will be moving on to more of Hugh´s cookbook in May!
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.
Subscribe to: Post Comments (Atom)
It sounds like you had a wonderful, delicious month! Your photos of the lentils are wonderful - they're so hard to photograph. And I love your purple potato vegiflette. I used harissa paste on my potatoes, but I love the idea of using the spice mix for oven fries.ReplyDelete
I can't believe we have only one month left with this book! You've done such a wonderful job leading us through it. I'm especially pleased at how much this group has expanded Kevin's eating. He's a much more adventurous eater than he was when we began.
Dear Teresa, a wonderful month indeed although I really, really had to wait for some decent sunshine this month...but it is all well that ends well and I managed to make most of the dishes I had planned omn making. And you do not know how happy you make me when you tell me that Kevin enjoys and has grown to enjoy many of Hugh´s recipes, that´s what this cooking club is all about (in my humble opinion)!Delete
Thank you for your kind and considerate comments & your continued particpation,
Andrea....your dishes look absolutely amazing! Your photos are beautiful, especially the beluga lentils. I am going to keep my eyes out for those. And I had thought to make the harissa potatoes with sweet potatoes. I wish I had, now. What a great sweet and spicy blend! So many of your dishes I wish I could have made. But since I came in late, I'll be cooking from this book even as we move forward with another. Thank you for all you do for this wonderful group. I'm so glad I've joined! : )ReplyDelete
Anne, so very kind of you, thank you! Worked a bit on my photos lately and had a bit of fun with that. I am so happy that you enjoy our little online cooking group and that you have decided to continue on with us!Delete
Thank you for your wonderful comment and for your passionate participation,
This may be your best month ever! The potato gratin has to be my favorite with the sweet potatoes and lentils close behind. It's been great fun following along on this cooking adventure!!! Hope you had a marvelous Easter! xoReplyDelete
Dear Liz, thank you - I am trying to "modernize" my food styling - glad that it seems to show a bit. A breath of fresh air never hurt...although we are almost through with this book, we will be moving on to another one/two from Hugh starting in May. I am very much looking forward to continuing the CCC cooking adventure.Delete
Oh Andrea, I am here reading your post right before dinner...and let me tell you...you are torturing me...everything looks so good, and I am having leftover for dinner...I love potato gratin, but somehow do not make it often...okay, very rarely...yours look fabulous...I sure should love to try a bit of everything...ReplyDelete
Thanks for sharing this wonderful post my dear...
Hope you are having a fabulous week :)
Juliana, you should definitely try a bit of everything because it was all good but, yes, the potato gartin is rather hard to beat alongside a nice lamb roast. But the harissa roasted potatoes (or oven fries, as Teresa so aptly put it) were not bad either, neither was the lovely Vegiflette with Gorgonzola dolce and purple potatoes...Delete
Thank you so much for your kind comments, dear friend. I always appreciate your "visits",
Okay, you had me sold with that first beautiful dish but each one after I also stared at with amazement. Not sure which I'd pick if I was being forced. :) They all look wonderful Andrea!ReplyDelete
Chris, I was hoping that my dishes would look nice this month - not always the easiest of tasks to take pictures of lentil dishes (talk about a rather unphotogenic Dhal....).Delete
Thank you for stopping by,
Hi Andrea, another great month. I'm a huge fan of potatoes too, anyway. Love the gratin. Actually loved all three dishes that I prepared. Wish I would have prepared the roasted potatoes with harissa, yours looks fabulous. Beautiful pics!ReplyDelete
Cheri, thanks for participating again this month - great to see your post!Delete
Andrea, I really enjoy everyone's Cottage Cooking Club posts! I'm going to try a recipe with lentils this weekend. I've seen so many recipes using them around lately, and I'm so curious :) I would be happy to eat every dish in this post, especially that gratin. They all look delicious!ReplyDelete
Marcelle, if you need a recipe for a lentil dish, just let me know but I am aware that there are a lot of great lentil recipes out there...and as we are nearing the end of the first chapter in our River Cottage saga, I am still surprised at just how much I enjoy Hugh´s recipes.Delete
Thank you for stopping by,
Your food looks delicious as always - so tempting!! We did make a couple of the same things - this month had some terrific recipes! Beautiful!ReplyDelete
Candy, yes, thank you, I saw that you made the Lentils as well as the Potatoas Dauphinoise as well and that they were enjoyed by all.Delete
Yum! The potatoes dauphinoise have my heart though.ReplyDelete
Gaye, mine too...Delete
Your food styling and photographs are gorgeous as always, enticing me to make the dishes I passed on. I just picked up some sweet potatoes....I know exactly what I'm doing with them now.ReplyDelete
Zosia, very kind of you! The sweet potatoes with harissa (the dry spice mixture version) are a new favorite at our house. I am serving them again today. Hope that you and your family will enjoy them as much as ours did. Just as an aside - I used the toned-down version of the harissa and used "a mild one" that my favorite spice merchant around here carries now.Delete
"See" you soon!
Andrea, your styling is exceptional! I will have to go back and make some of your choices, especially the lentils, the nachos, and the potatoes with harissa. I'm hungry! Thank you for all you do for this group!ReplyDelete
Betsy, well, just got lucky with the weather which was not that nice for the last couple of weeks. I am glad that you enjoyed your dishes - the three dishes that you mention in your comment are definitely worth making if you find the time, dear friend. As you said in a comment I read on Candy´s lovely blog "so many recipes, so little time...".Delete
Andrea all look amazing and beautiful!!!ReplyDelete
The pictures look amazing and delicious.
Hugs to you !!!
Dear Gloria, that is very kind of you my dear! Love all your wonderful comments!Delete
Take good care of yourself!
I adore your French purple spuds, absolutely gorgeous color! With regards to Dhal, I had in mind to use split yellow lentils if I did not get the red lentils...luckily I finally found some. Now after having cooked both the yellow and the red... they are totally different! The red lentils disintegrate within a short cooking time while the yellow lentils need a much longer spell on the fire! But they have one thing in common, they are both yellow at the end of cooking time!
Emily, these purple ones are my very favorite potatoes to use - they look fabulous and taste so different from the regular potatoes but they can be a bit hard to find.Delete
Thank you for your kind comment and your participation in the CCC!
Wow, this post was amazing and all your food looked as delicious as you wrote it was. You are right about not adding any cheese to the Potato dauphinoise. I had some leftover grated cheese in the fridge and just decided to add it at the end. What a mistake and I was made at myself for doing it. This dish could stand alone, that's for sure. Bliss on a plate is right. Of course your take on Roasted new potatoes with harissa was a perfect one. You really were able to change up the recipe into something even better and something that is very kid-friendly. I know your family is good about trying everything but this month's recipes must really have appealed to them. Wish I had been at the table.ReplyDelete
Mary, thank you very much for your kind and thoughtful comment - it is a busy time of year with spring produce flooding in and so many projects to work on but I am trying hard to stay on track with all my CCC cooking.Delete
Dear Andrea, As always your dishes for March are lovely. Canadian Lentils was one of the sponsors for the IACP conference in Los Angeles and besides a lovely salad as you shared in your first selection there were interesting lentil wraps, flautas, and a diverse range of uses including a dessert muffin, all in recognition of the UN Year of the Pulses. Looking forward to our final preparations of River Cottage veg in April and emerging in a new selection of creative recipe choices. See you soon.ReplyDelete
Peggy, sounds like you had a grand time in LA!Delete
Thank you for your Cottage Cooking Club post - I will be over for comments asap.