Saturday, June 28, 2014

Cottage Cooking Club - June 2014

Within a few days of receiving the cookbook River Cottage Veg: 200 Inspired Vegetable Recipes by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, I discovered The Cottage Cooking Club founded by Andrea of The Kitchen Lioness (you really must visit her beautiful blog), an online group that's committed to cooking their way through it. With a flexible set up that allows members to make as many or as few of the 10 recipes selected monthly, I thought this would be a great way of working my way through the book. I joined in a little late so made only 2 recipes this month.

I decided it was time to introduce blue cheese to the family and since pizza is a family favourite, I chose Pizza with New Potatoes, Rosemary, and Blue Cheese (page 182), which uses the author's Magic Bread Dough (page 172) for the crust. 
I used a mild, creamy Danish cheese that mellowed a little during baking; the sweetness of the new potatoes and sautéed onions in the topping helped take some of the edge off as well. I served it as suggested with a salad and I made sure to include more of those sweet elements that worked so well with the strong cheese: dried cranberries and a honeyed Dijon vinaigrette.
Common consensus was that goat's cheese would have been preferred, but the pizza was eaten so it was a success in my book! I must say though, that the crust was the star! It was crisp and chewy and because I had made it using half multi-grain bread flour and let the dough ferment overnight, it was very flavourful; it may well be my new go-to crust! 

Vegetable Tempura with Chilli Dipping Sauce (page 308) was the second recipe I made. I'm not a fan of eating fried foods and even less of frying them myself, but I'd never made tempura and I was up for the challenge. 

Since almost setting the kitchen (and myself) aflame years ago with a pot of oil that boiled over onto my stove (fortunately it doused the flame of the gas burner rather than alighting), I'm very wary of large quantities of hot oil in open pots. Enter the electric deep fryer, my least used appliance and one that stays tucked away for most of the year. I'd intended to cook only the beautiful bunch of asparagus I had but there was quite a bit of batter so red pepper strips and baby bellas joined the queue for the fryer.  
Delicious! The batter* was light and crisp and the sweet-tart dipping sauce with its spicy chilli kick was a great accompaniment. 

*There's an error in the batter recipe in the Canadian edition: the (North American) volume requirement of sparkling water should be ~3/4 cup - 1 cup, not 1/2 cup........I think I'll be sticking to the original metric weights and volumes provided from now on ;)!

I'm really pleased with the recipes I tried this month and am looking forward to next month's selection. Visit here to see what other members have prepared.


  1. I love the salad you paired your pizza with perfect contrast and you are so brave making the tempura, it came out fabulous.

  2. Your dishes look absolutely delicious!! I like being able to see both the recipes that I did NOT make, as well as comparing those that I did. I made the pizza, not the tempura. But your version looks delicious - I love it, just don't ever make it at home - it would be fun!!

  3. Both dishes you made look wonderful, I agree, goat cheese would of been a nice cheese as well. Love the way the batter looks on your veggies, light and crisp. I've used sparkling water before but it was not the right consistency. Will be trying my hand at this. Thanks!

  4. Looks like the pizza was a big hit among the group as well as with your family. The tempura looks lovely too. I'm not much on the fried dishes like you but as presented it looks worth a try, maybe some zucchini..ummm.

  5. Hi Zosia,
    Looks delicious! I have never tried goat cheese before!
    And what a fun group! Will be checking it out!

  6. Zosia, thank you so much for joining our online cooking group and a big welcome to the Cottage Cooking Club. I love the way you presented both recipes so nicely and I am certainly glad that you enjoyed both of them so much - the tempura and the pizza are two wonderful recipes to get started with this lovely book!
    So glad that you could join us for some vegetable cooking - I am looking forward to your up-coming posts!

  7. Beautiful presentations! I too made both these recipes and enjoyed them both. I agree with you about the batter - I had to add more water as well.

  8. Your pizza crust is perfect! Love the colour and the shape! I freestyled on mine but we still liked the pizza :) Good for you for getting the deep fryer out.


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