Friday, 10 July 2009

My Next Project - Unloved Cookbooks

I have amassed a fair number of cook books over the years. Some of them I return to time and time again, some are reliable reference books, some I take to bed with me now and then to look at the pictures and plan some fantasy dinner party or baking bonanza (I'm not the only person who does this right?!). A few, however, get overlooked entirely for one reason or another - maybe the recipes didn't appeal to me as much as I thought they would or take more time to make than I have available. Some have just been superseded over time by new favourites.

So, in an effort to get a bit more value for money out of some of these poor rejects I have chosen a selection of the most unloved from my shelves and have set myself the challenge of cooking two or three recipes from each one.

The books I have selected are as follows:

The Best - Silvana Franco, Paul Merrett & Ben O'Donoghue
Sunday Lunch - Gordon Ramsey
Indian Food Made Easy - Anjum Anand
Everyday - Bill Granger
Real Fast Food - Nigel Slater
The River Cottage Cookbook - Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall
Jamie's Italy - Jamie Oliver

The first book off the top of the pile is The Best by Silvana Franco, Paul Merrett and Ben O'Donoghue. You may remember the BBC series where the aformentioned each had to create a dish based on a different theme every week, for example Best Sweet Breakfast, Best Summer Soup etc. I really enjoyed the programme and bought the book off the back of it but I can't remember the last time I actually cooked a recipe from it.

So, here are the first two I've tried....

Curried Scrambled Eggs

I nearly didn't make this - I just couldn't get my head round the egg/curry combination. However, I'm really glad I did as it actually tasted great and was a nice change from regular scrambled eggs. A perfect dish for lunch or a light dinner.

1 Naan Bread, warmed as per instructions (I used two small ones)
a large knob of butter
2 spring onions, thinly sliced
a pinch of cumin seeds
3 eggs (this seemed like quite a lot to me so I just used two)
1-2 teaspoons curry paste
a handful of coriander leaves
S & P

1) Melt the butter in a non-stick frying pan and cook the spring onions and cumin seeds for a minute or so until beginning to soften.

2) Meanwhile whisk together the eggs and curry paste together with two tablespoons of cold water and some salt and pepper. Pour into the pan and leave for a minute or two.

3) Continue to cook for another couple of minutes, stirring until almost set. Stir in the coriander leaves and spoon on to the warmed naan.

Goat's Cheese & Cranberry Toast

Now this was really good. So easy and SO yummy! I reckon this would make a great dinner party starter if you scaled down the portions a bit. I will be making this again a LOT.

1 thick slice of sourdough bread *
1-2 teaspoons of cranberry or redcurrant jelly
100g/4oz disc of goats cheese
about 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
a handful of wild rocket leaves
balsamic vinegar

* I couldn't find sourdough bread so just used a slice of plain white bread, which was fine but a bit on the thin side. Next time I'll cut myself a nice thick slice from an unsliced loaf.

1) Toast the bread on one side under a medium grill. Spread the jelly on the uncooked side and sit the cheese on top. Drizzle over some olive oil and season.

2) Return to the grill for 3-4 minutes until the cheese is golden and beginning to melt. Top with a handful of rocket leaves and a splash of balsamic vinegar and olive oil.

A good start by all accounts. I also have my eye on a couple of sweet recipes in this book and will report back in a few days.


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  2. I fully understand regarding cookbooks how they amass over the years and then like you I return to my old faithful ones. Yep I remember the programme Best my daughter always tuned into this when it was on. Those recipes turned out a treat and I like the idea of curried eggs mmmm