Welcome to the Cookery Calendar Challenge for October. If you would like to join the challenge this month, please take a quick look at the Cookery Calendar Challenge page, which will tell you everything you need to know.
My chosen recipe book for September was 'Stirring Slowly', by Georgina Hayden. I loved the title of this book; stirring slowly is just what I want to do in the kitchen, and when I reached this paragraph in the introduction......
"The current trend for healthy eating is great, and I'm sure it has made many of us more aware of what we put in our bodies.
But for me any meal that is made from scratch, lovingly, is good and clean"
..I mentally jumped for joy! Georgina divides her book into chapters such as 'A Sunny Start to The Day'; 'Bowl Food', 'Quick and Light', 'Long, Slow and Hearty'. There are lots of modern tasting recipes here, and a good mixture of very quick snacks and meals, and dishes that take longer to make. The recipes are well written, and I am convinced that Georgina has cooked every one of these recipes in her kitchen before putting them in her book. This book reeks of integrity.
For this month's challenge I made Georgina's 'Chicken soup for the Soul' This involved poaching a whole chicken with fresh herbs and aromatics, then making a broth with the strained cooking liquid, and meat shredded off the chicken carcase, then returning everything to the pan to cook through. Fresh dumplings are poached in the broth during the last five minutes of the cooking time. This recipe felt quite involved, and as the resident vegetarian I had to steel myself to shred the chicken off the hot chicken bones, but my highland resolve and a pair of disposable gloves helped. The carnivores reported that the soup was truly delicious, it had a depth of flavour that the simple 'thrown together' soups I usually make don't have (thanks guys).
Although the recipe was simple, it did take a while to cook (I seemed to spend a lot of time hovering over the poaching chicken), but it was perfect for a Sunday morning pottering about in the kitchen, and I would definitely make it again. Next time I would poach the dumplings separately in a little of the broth, as they broke up slightly and made the broth somewhat cloudy.
My second selected dish was Wholemeal Nasi Goreng with Spinach. A simple but very full flavoured savoury rice with chilli, ginger, turmeric and various other spices, topped off with a fried egg. Georgina recommends this for breakfast, but we had it on a weeknight teatime. I did make a slight adaptation; Jacob was so aghast at the thought of a vegetarian dinner that I relented and stirred some prawns in to the rice. A very quick, easy, spicy, nicey weeknight dinner.
Overall, I loved this book, and Georgina's writing is very sincere; she has a light touch with prose, but you feel that her life is rooted in family and food, which for me is perfect. In a world of glossy celebrity volumes with as much soul as a white sliced supermarket loaf, it is reassuring to find a book full of good, tasty, cookable, but exciting food. I am so glad I found this book.
My book choice for October is 'Simple' by Diana Henry.
I have never owned a Diana Henry recipe book before, and know very little about her. I had pre-ordered this book and then forgotten all about it, so it was a delightful surprise when it dropped through the letterbox a couple of weeks ago.
If you joined me last month, thank you. If you would like to join the challenge this month, this is what to do:
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. Don't worry about photographs; if you haven't taken a photograph of the dish, post a photograph of the recipe book you used. Similarly, you are welcome to share a recipe if you wish, but there is no pressure to do so. This project is more about the process of reconnecting with your cookery book collection, than about recipe sharing or food photography.
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 ).