Thursday, 30 September 2010

Recipe challenge

So at the beginning of the week I set myself a small cookery challenge, based on the recent research that we only cook on average 5-7 recipes all the time despite owning on average 15 cook books each. So how have I faired this week?

After the bread bake off at the weekend, we have done very well. On Sunday night I cooked a meal for the Monday night, as it was the first day of Freshers at work and I wasn't relishing the fact of getting home and cooking that night. So inspired by Hugh Fernley Whittenstall on his new programme Everyday River Cottage, I decided to cook a sausage and root veg stew. On the programme and in the cookbook it does recommend using meaty sausages but being a veggie, I decided to cook it with some cauldron Veg sausages instead. The stew had leeks, onions, celeriac, celery, potatoes, cider, herbs and some other things in it, but I have to say it didn't hit the spot for me. I found it a bit bland depsite seasoning to the hilt and adding more herbs. I was desperate to add more carrots as it looked a bit insipid.

Tuesday I decided to use up some mushrooms that we had in the fridge that were begging to be cooked and eaten. Sometimes you have to listen to your fridge. So as inspiration I used a Vegetarian cookbook which I bought cheap when I was at University. Despite its rather unispiring cover and cheapness, the book is brilliant. You can always tell a good cook book in someones cupboard by the bent, and sticky pages! The quickest and easiest recipe I could find was Mushroom Stroganoff. All it has in it is butter, mushrooms, garlic, lemon juice, white wine, cream and cornflour. Quick and easy it may be but it is tasty. I served it with some rice, leftover Stuffed Foccacia and some stuffed olives we bought at the weekend. It was delicious until I stumbled on a rogue olive with anchovies in it. Now if there is one thing I cannot stomach and that is fish particularly anchovies. The reaction to this, is to put it bluntly dramatic. I spent 20 minutes then being violently ill. Moral of the story..don't buy olives from a self serve olive counter ever again. It was such a shame as I was really noshing back my food until then. Oh well.

Wednesday: We had some leftover mushroom stroganoff, but in the spirit of the challenge I used the Good Housekeeping Veggie cookbook to make some mediterranean cheese puffs.
Again really simple with the following ingredients: Halloumi and ricotta cheese mixed with some fresh herbs (I used coriander), black mustard seeds, olive oil  and some olives (not the ones with anchovies!).  You mix this all up and then make pasties with puff pasty. Egg wash and sprinkle some more mustard seeds on top. I realised when I just put them in the oven they were supposed to have pine nuts in too but I forget to add them. So I quickly sprinkled them on top too. Once cooked I put some of the mushroom strog on the side and result was a very delicious tea!

So all going fine so far...not sure about tonight but there is some butternut squash sitting in the cupboard which needs to be used up...so that will be my inspiration. Wish me luck!

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