Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Cottage Cooking Club - January 2016

January 2016, the beginning of a new year and we're off to a delicious start at The Cottage Cooking Club, as we near the end of our journey cooking through Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's cookbook, River Cottage Veg. This month, I prepared a meatless main and a vegetable side, both of which were enjoyed by all.

Chickpeas with Cumin and Spinach (page 246) 
This was a very quick and tasty pantry-friendly dish, one of those recipes I like to have up my sleeve for when I'm rushed or completely uninspired. Hugh has a few of those recipes, thank goodness.
It was flavourful and filling with tomatoes and lemon adding freshness to a hearty chickpea-onion mixture. I served it with naan but I think it would be delicious with some diced potatoes (leftover or cooked with the tomatoes before the greens go in), sort of like a potato chickpea stew.

Rutabaga with Onion and Sage (page 382)
Rutabaga doesn't have too many fans here. Even I don't much like it cooked; eaten raw as I prefer, its inherent sweetness is more apparent than its bitterness and it has a lovely crunch to it. Cooking it as I have in the past always seemed to bring out its most undesirable characteristics. 
But the method used here, a combination steam-sauté (in only 2 tbsp olive oil) produced tender, caramelized cubes that were sweet and mellow. Onions cooked until golden and sage were the perfect complements. Another keeper.

Only three months remain before we reach the end of the book and I'm looking forward to each and every one of them. To see what the others cooked up, visit here.


  1. We really enjoyed the chickpeas, too. It's encouraging to know that Hugh's method results in such mellow rutabaga - I sometimes have a hard time with that vegetable. I can't believe we're in the home stretch!

  2. I rather agree with you that this month's selection are easy to make! I hope to get to your first dish soon. I enjoyed the rutabaga on toast! Love love the colors in both your plates!

  3. I made the rutabaga, too, and we generally enjoyed it! The chickpeas look lovely and I really like the color contrast in your photos!

  4. Hi Zosia, your month selections look enticing, and beautifully presented. I didn't prepare the chick pea dish but it looks and sounds terrific especially for a quick dinner. The rutabaga was my favorite of the month and I very much agree with you on the mellowed, tender caramelized flavor depth. I do love rutabaga in soups and stews as well but I shall be preparing this version again.

  5. Zosia, two wonderful recipes - beautiful presentation and great comments (can always count on you to share your helpful hints and inspirations). It is always nice to have a few of these recipes in your repertoire for those busy times that we all encounter - could not agree with you more. And the rutabaga is a bit of a "forgotten vegetable" around here because it was cooked rather extensively at a certain time and people were getting tired of it. But it has found new fans lately - withrecipes such as this one from Hugh with caramelized onions and fresh sage - who is surprised?!
    Glad you liked your choices this month and thank you for your continued participation!

  6. Hi Zosia, both of your dishes look delicious, I love that most of Hugh's recipes are so simple and tasty. Beleive it or not I have never tasted rutabaga, for that reason alone I should of tried that recipe but I can always make it later, another great month. Take care, Cheri

  7. Zosia, that chickpea curry might be a pantry winner, but the spinach makes it stand out as something fresh too. I really want to try that! I made the rutabaga also, but unfortunately I wasn't a fan. See you next month!

  8. I love your chick peas and spinach spinach dish, it looks absolutely delicious . I do like chick peas and spinach too, I made my own home made chick peas soup, I'm Italian ��

    1. Thank you Rosa. Chickpea soup sounds delicious! I'm Polish but love Italian food. I'm hoping to cook quite a bit of it this month from one of my Italian cookbooks, Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking.

  9. I'm so glad to know about the chickpeas recipes. I always need to have some quick and easy choices on hand. It looks healthy too.

  10. Your dishes look terrific. And so happy that you enjoyed them so much!


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