Monday, September 28, 2015

Cottage Cooking Club - September 2015

Blissfully surrounded by beautiful end of summer vegetables and early fall produce, I found it difficult to narrow my choice of recipes from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's book River Cottage Veg for September's Cottage Cooking Club make-up month, when members have an opportunity to make dishes featured in previous months. I finally settled on five:

Peperonata (page 20) from July 2015 
I love peperonata, the Italian dish of stewed vegetables starring sweet bell peppers highlighted by tomatoes, onions and garlic. Cooked slowly until the ingredients are silky in texture and the flavours are perfectly melded, it's lovely as a side dish but seeing the photo of chachouka in the book, I couldn't resist baking it with eggs and serving it as a main. And for daughter who won't eat baked eggs, it was the topping of a flatbread pizza. A delicious version of the classic.

Belgian Endive (Radicchio), Pears, and Salty-Sweet Roasted Almonds (page 118) from November 2014
This salad was a fine marriage of salty, sweet and bitter flavours, and crisp and crunchy textures. Andrea, the lovely founder of this group, encouraged us to use whatever produce was in season in our area of the world so Belgian endive was replaced with the last of the summer radicchio and combined with the first Bartlett pears of the season. This made a delicious starter that perked up the taste buds but my advice is to make double the almonds because they're sooo good, half of them won't make it into the salad!

Tomato, Rosemary, and Pecorino Tart (page 216) from July 2014  
I'd intended to make the tomato, thyme and goat's cheese tart only to discover I was out of goat's cheese. Instead I made this variation.
Tomatoes at their peak really don't need anything to make them shine and this minimalist tart respected that, using small amounts of select ingredients that drew attention to the fruit. With a crisp puff pastry base, a little garlic, rosemary and sprinkling of sharp cheese, this was easy to make and enjoy.

Beet "Pizza" with Cheddar (page 180) from January 2015
With a half package of puff pastry remaining from the tomato tart, and this pizza recipe at the top of my "to-make" list since it was first chosen last January, this tart became my take on it. The combination of beets and goat's cheese is a classic but I found that the salty and tangy sharp cheddar was just as good a foil for the sweet vegetable and fried onions. There was mozzarella on there as well, cheese that should have been added part-way through baking rather than at the start since it over-browned (and could actually have been omitted since it didn't add much). Delicious nonetheless! An excellent topping for either a tart or a pizza. 

Quinoa with Zucchini and Onions (page 279) from May 2014
I am not a fan of quinoa. It really doesn't have any interesting flavour or texture to commend it, but it's an easy way to add a complete protein to a meatless dish, something I always consider when cooking for my vegetarian daughter. So I'm always on the lookout for delicious recipes that feature this seed.
Unfortunately, this wasn't one. However, in the interest of full disclosure, I changed the recipe - isn't it annoying when someone changes a recipe and then complains that it didn't turn out well? ;)

With three onions for four servings, this was an onion lover's dish. I am not an onion lover. I used only one but grilled the zucchini for added flavour. It didn't work. The dish was quite bland with the topping of toasted almonds and drizzle of lemon juice its saving grace. Daughter's suggestions for improvement included garlic and some hot chile peppers, both of which would add much needed flavour. But do try it's probably delicious made as written.

Next month, we'll be cooking up new recipes from this wonderful cookbook focusing on fall vegetables. In the meantime, visit here to see what the other members chose to make this month.


  1. Lovely colors in all your dishes!

  2. Hi Zosia, you really went to town, beautiful dishes. Love how you served the Italian dish with baked eggs. Another great month.

  3. Hello Zosia, your dishes of the month each look spectacular and really glean onto the seasonal products. Your tomato tart looks stunning and delicious, and I like your creative use of the raddichio matched with the pear. Very nice how you provided two uses with the Peperonata using the egg for you, and the flat bread for your daughter, the beets and cheese on puff pastry look good too. Really nice choices, thanks for sharing!

  4. Dear Zosia, all of your dishes look picture perfect and absolutely delicious - with respect to the Quinoa dish, I must say that we loved, loved it with red organic quinoa instead and some lovely local fall courgettes but be that as it may, it looks as if your family ate extremley well this past month! And it is quite wonderful to see how successfully you "adjust" some of the recipes to your vegetarian (no egg) eater at home! Respect, dear friend, respect!
    Love all your bright presentations!
    "See" you soon - October choices coming up today!
    Thank you for your continued participation in The Cottage Cooking Club!

  5. Zosia, I'm salivating over here (and I just ate lunch!)! Phew those are some gorgeous dishes. I chuckled at the changing the recipe and how it can be annoying--I say it's only annoying if you complain to the person who gave it to/wrote the thing that it wasn't very good. :) Glad they worked for the most part, though! Happy October and happy fall!

  6. Everything looks fantastic! I wanted to mention that I've been having trouble commenting on your blog - the captcha doesn't seem to want to come up the last few times I've visited. Hope it works this time! :)

  7. Zosia, I loved what you did with your dishes. I'm not a fan of bitter greens, but your salad looks spectacular! And perfect for the season. I had made the peperonata at the time, and think it's really quite good - and great when I look at what I've picked up and then think - what am I going to do with all of those peppers!!

    Your tart and "pizza" both look good. I've made both - and you can never go wrong with puff pastry! I did like the beet pizza a lot, and agree with you that different cheeses might do well/better. But altogether delicious.

    The quinoa dish is one that I alway look at, but never make. If I cook quinoa in stock, it' always makes it better - but I'm thankful for your insights. In all - beautiful dishes!!


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