Archive for January 31st, 2010

January ‘Meanderings’ …

Pictured (top to bottom)
Thatched Cauliflower Cheese Soup
Erwtensoep – Dutch Pea Soup
Spiced Chick Pea & Tomato Soup
Sausage & Apple Cassoulet
Special Chilli con Carne 

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

‘Oh the weather outside is (well, has been) frightful … let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!’  However, it has been a ‘souper’ January in my kitchen and we have also been full of beans (and other pulses).  However, before listing the selection of soups and dishes including pulses here is a special dessert that is wonderful for the New Year buffet table, Sherry Jelly Berry Trifle.  There have been so many good recipes to add recently I have been posting three times a week, something which may well not continue for long as though enjoyable I am finding it rather time consuming.

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Pulses, beans, peas and lentils, have featured during January in soups and in winter stews.  With the exception of Chicken & Rice Casserole all the stew dishes contain a pulse of some kind.  Having got my slow cooker  out to cook a ham (which I find gives me a wonderfully moist and tender piece of meat with minimal effort) I used it again the next day for a Beef & Bean Casserole. I simply added some quick suet dumplings towards the end of the cooking time.  I looked back towards Christmas using the last of the turkey with Midwinter Turkey Chilli Beanpot  and we had a foretaste of planned summer holidays with a nod towards the famous dish from the south of France in my own anglicised Cassoulet ‘Franglais’ and Sausage & Apple Cassoulet, two very different Cassoulet type dishes.  Finally, there is a family favourite, my Special Chilli con Carne

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

I make no apology that many of the soups this month are rather spicy, however not all are.  Thatched Cauliflower Cheese Soup was posted after a lunchtime meal in a local pub led me to seek out a recipe and Erwtensoep – Dutch Pea Soup was inspired by our trip to Amsterdam at the end of October.  I find that good recipes can come from a variety of sources.  Following a forum request on the Nigella Lawson website I posted a recipe for Spiced Chick Pea & Tomato Soup.  (The original version was found on my shelf in a book written by vegetarian food writer Sarah Brown.)  There is also a simple Cream of Tomato Soup, which can be made with or without basil (so much better than packet or tinned), plus two spicy ones: thick, warming Gingered Very Veggie Soup and bringing the flavours of the Far East Thai Style Pumpkin Soup.  I have more great soup recipes but I will have to save these for a future date.  

100_8344 Sausage & Apple Cassoulet

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

I wonder how many people have been watching the new series on BBC following the long television career of Delia Smith?  I have realised just how many of her books I own: not just the well known ones, but a couple of her early Look East TV pamphlets, the Food Aid book and the early paperbacks of How to Cheat at Cooking and the Book of Cakes, recently superceded and updated.  I also have a book called Frugal Food, which is excellent but did not get a mention.  I also managed to watch the remaining episodes of Nigel Slater’s Autumn TV Series, Simply Suppers.  I intend to make several of his quick and easy recipes and have already made my own version of one from the series: Mulled Stewed Plums.  

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

It was good to entertain friends to dinner again at the end of January after a break for the busy Christmas season: I did plenty of cooking but no dinner parties.  I decided on a fairly simple Sunday roast pork joint with all the trimmings, but followed it with Candlemas Crumble, a final look back towards Christmas using the last of the Mincemeat

I was pleased to receive several cookery books as presents for Christmas which enabled me to return some that had been on (long) loan from the library: Feast by Nigella Lawson, The French Kitchen by Joanne Harris & Fran Warde and Women’s Institute Soups for all Seasons by Liz Herbert.  I have already made several recipes from these: some posted and others to appear in due course.  I have a February birthday and have already chosen my present: an attractive striped Tagine (from Lakeland) with a book of Moroccan recipes to go with it.  I will be posting recipies eventually, I hope, but as officially I cannot open my gift until next week, it will be a while before it is fully in use. 

For a full list of postings since my December Meanderings see below. (Recipes already posted have been highlighted and the others will appear in coming weeks.)      


January Recipes …

Sherry Jelly Berry Trifle        

Cream of Tomato Soup with Basil
Erwtensoep – Dutch Pea Soup
Gingered Very Veggie Soup
Spiced Chick Pea & Tomato Soup
Thai Style Pumpkin Soup
Thatched Cauliflower Cheese Soup      

Beef & Bean Casserole
Cassoulet ‘Franglais’
Chicken & Rice Casserole
Midwinter Turkey Chilli Beanpot
Sausage & Apple Cassoulet
Special Chilli con Carne    Back to basics:
Suet Dumplings      

Read Meanderings ‘a la carte’ from previous months 


‘For what we are about to receive…’ February 2010 and beyond

Food Focus – Warming Desserts for Winter – Indian Style dishes & accompaniments
Recipe Books
…from my shelf
Madhur Jaffrey’s Indian Cookery (see Posts/Recipes)
…from the LibraryCurry: Easy Recipes for all your favourites by Sunil Vijayakar 
Non Fiction Food book Climbing the Mango Trees by Madhur Jaffrey

During January, apart from the very first post, everything was savoury and so in February I want to counter that a little by posting a selection of comforting, mostly warm, desserts for the winter months.  I have also just bought some Seville oranges to make marmalade, just a basic type but we do like our peel to be chunky.  There is a lovely recipe in my book for (Old English) ‘Oxford’ Marmalade, which includes treacle to make it dark, so if I have time (and can get some more Sevilles) I would like to have a go at that as well.  

Alongside the pudding recipes I will be adding a selection of Indian style dishes and accompaniments: we do love these spicy and flavoursome dishes. I used to make Indian dishes regularly, including for entertaining and I am hoping to get back into the habit.  My original copy of Madhur Jaffrey’s Indian Cookery is well used and I shall be dipping into it again to find some of our favourites along with my other Indian cookery books.  Although our supermarkets are getting much better at stocking unusual ingredients I feel I am so fortunate to live in multi-ethnic East London, where we have shops from many different cultures which stock an amazing range of foods and spices.  I keep finding new and interesting things and then, of course, have to find out how they are used.  Nowadays one can say that cooking is boring and there is no excuse for it to be so!



…Happy Eating!

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