Welcome to the Cookery Calendar Challenge for May.
Click here for the Cookery Calendar Challenge page, which has all the information about the challenge.
My cookery book for April was 'French Leave' by John Bourton Race.
I have owned this recipe book for a long time (I talked about it here), but have not cooked many recipes from it. It is not what I would consider an everyday or family recipe book, as many of the dishes use expensive ingredients, however the recipes are interesting, and inspiring, and the book feels very much like the work of one man who knows exactly what he is talking about. It is a genuine cook book, built on the strength of the recipes and writing, not a 'celebrity chef' pumping out a meaningless volume for the sake of it (though it was originally written to accompany a television series, so perhaps without that project it would never have been written). In addition the recipes, though sometimes involving many steps, are reliable, and easy to follow. John Bourton Race is a chef, and it is clear when reading the recipes that he is used to having someone else in the kitchen washing up after him; he is keen on a multi-pot approach! With a little kitchen know-how, however, some of the steps in his recipes can be simplified. Probably not a book for a novice for this reason.
The two new recipes I tried from this book were Daube de Boeuf, and Warm Chocolate Tart.
The Daube de Boeuf was a big success, and was simple to make. The flavour (as I was reliably informed by the meat eaters of the family) was excellent, very rich and delicious. John Bourton Race advocates home made beef stock, but I can honestly say I will never in my life make beef stock, I used a Knorr stock pot, and it seemed perfectly adequate. It didn't look particularly pretty on the plate, being essentially brown meat; no doubt a handful of finely chopped parsley would have lifted the appearance, but these small finishing touches can elude me on busy week nights. I served it with roast onions and small new potatoes. Here is the recipe, which I simplified very slightly by making in one pot rather than the plethora of pots and casserole dishes advised by the book (with apologies to Mr Bourton Race).
Daube de Boeuf.
500g smoked bacon lardons
50 ml vegetable oil
1 litre beef stock
salt and pepper
For the marinade:
1 bottle red wine
2 garlic cloves peeled and chopped
1 bay leaf
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 strips orange rind
Place the beef; lardons, garlic, herbs and orange peel in a large bowl. Pour over the bottle of wine. Stir to ensure everything is well combined. Cover the bowl with cling film and leave in a cool place, or in the fridge, overnight.
Next day, strain the marinade and reserve. Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed, oven proof pot and fry off the beef in batches, removing to a plate or bowl until all meat is browned.
Pour the marinade into the pot; bring to the boil and reduce by half. Add the beef back into the pot, along with the orange peel, herbs and lardons. Add the beef stock and bring to the boil. Cover with a tight fitting lid and place in the oven for two hours or until the meat is tender. Check the pot; if there is still a lot of liquid round the meat, simmer gently on the stove top with the lid off, checking frequently. Remove from the heat when the meat is still very moist, and there is only a small amount of liquid in the bottom of the pot.
Eat same day with veg and carbohydrate of your choice, or even better, cool quickly, store overnight in the fridge, and gently reheat until piping hot next day.
My second recipe from 'French Leave' was Warm Chocolate Tart. Due to time constraints, I did not make the sweet shortcrust pastry specified; instead I used filo, which looked pretty, and was easy to use. The filling in this tart was, unusually, a light chocolate sponge.
I had a slice, and thought it had a delicate flavour; the chocolate cake was light, and not too rich, and the filo gave a pleasant contrasting texture. As ever, my dear family were tripping over themselves to give me their opinions; and this received a universal thumbs down. Everyone felt it was neither cake nor tart, but a strange combination of both. Can you hear my resigned sigh from where you sit?
My cookery book choice for May is ' How to Cook' by Annie Bell. Annie Bell is one of my favourite cookery writers; her recipes are simple, elegant, and totally reliable. This is her most recent book, I have already made a few recipes from it, and am looking forward to getting to know it even better during May.
Many thanks to those who joined the link up last month, I hope you enjoyed it and will continue the challenge with me. If you haven't joined before, and would like to, here's how to take part.
How it works:
The challenge is simple: the first week of every month, select a cookery book from your shelf, and cook two new recipes from it. The recipes can be for any meal. Cakes and bakes are excluded, but puddings are included. At the beginning of the following month, blog about the recipes you have used, and announce your chosen cookery book for the month ahead. This is an ongoing project, it's never too late to get involved, and everyone is very welcome.
I would appreciate a link back to this Cookery Calendar Challenge post in your post. Grab the Cookery Calendar Challenge badge to display on your blog too, if you like (just copy and paste the code on to your dashboard to display). You can also join via Instagram using hashtag #cookerycalendarchallenge (you will find me on Instagram @penny.homemadeheart )