Welcome to the Cookery Calendar Challenge for August.
If you would like to take part (and it would be very nice if you did) please take a quick look at the Cookery Calendar Challenge page, which gives you all the information you need.
My chosen book for July was A Year at Avoca. This book is visually very beautiful . It is a pleasure to browse through. The food photography is exquisite; the overall design is warm, inviting, suggestive of good company, good food, and gorgeous interiors (I am assuming that the images are from the various Avoca Cafes in Ireland)
Initially I wondered if the café recipes would translate well to a domestic kitchen, however this was not a problem. The book is not too 'chef-y', and with very little kitchen know-how, can be easily used by the domestic cook.
The book is divided seasonally, so it is easy to find recipes that suit the month, or just the mood.
My two chosen recipes for the Cookery Calendar Challenge were Pappardelle Salad (augmented with chicken breasts fried off in olive oil and butter for the carnivores in the family), and Pork Meatballs.
The Pappardelle Salad comprised summer vegetables, chargrilled on a griddle pan, served with fresh pappardelle pasta, toasted pine nuts, and shavings of parmesan cheese. There was also some sundried tomato pesto stirred through to sharpen up the flavour. As our house is burdened with highly sensitive smoke alarms (it's disastrous if I ever burn the toast), I did not chargrill the vegetables, but instead tossed them in a tiny quantity of olive oil and quickly cooked them in a thick bottomed saute pan over a high heat. This lent them a smoky, charred flavour, without the need to throw open doors and windows, reassure our dog, our children, and our neighbours that our house was not, in fact, alight, or call off the local fire brigade (see what I mean about the toast?)
It may be summer, and this may have been a salad, but cold pasta never does much for my family (except Isaac, who occasionally has cold pasta pesto for lunch), so I served this dish hot, and everyone thoroughly enjoyed it, including me (sans le poulet). It is always helpful to find a recipe which, with a few tweaks/ommissions/additions, will suit the whole family.
My second selected recipe was Pork Meatballs. I love making meatballs; they are savoury, delicious (for non veggies) and freeze well, so I am always on the lookout for variations on my well worn beef meatball recipe. The list of ingredients for the pork meatballs was shorter than any I have seen before, just 800g minced pork, 75g breadcrumbs, 1 egg, 1 crushed clove of garlic, and 2 tbsp. finely chopped parsley, and seasoning. These were a speedy make (further helped by the fact that I keep a few bags of ready whizzed breadcrumbs in the freezer). The sauce was a standard tomato sauce, but with the addition of smoked paprika (1/2 tsp), a diced red pepper, and 100g diced chorizo sausage. It also called for butterbeans, but as I am the lone butterbean fan in the family, I omitted them.
I fried the meatballs off to seal them, then finished cooking them in the sauce. This dish was a big hit with the meat eaters, and I was pleased that I had made a large quantity, as I was able to stash a few portions in the freezer.
The Avoca book surprised me, I didn't expect the recipes to be as good as they are, but I am very pleased that I took the time to investigate this book further, and I suspect it will become a favourite.
My chosen book for August is The Vicar's Wife Cookbook. This is a charming cookbook, written by Elisa Baynon, who, in 2007, entered a competition to write a cookery book, and won. ( Here is a excerpt from her introduction to the book). I have skimmed through this book many times, but have never cooked anything from it. I suspect I will like this book a lot.
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 ).