The Cottage Cooking Club may be close to the end of cooking its way through Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's book River Cottage Veg but some fabulous recipes still remain. I tackled four of them this month.
Rutabaga and Potato Pasties (page 52)
My family is usually quite receptive to hand pies regardless of their filling but these were not among their favourites. Of course, if I'd followed the recipe, they might have felt differently!
I thought Hugh's method of finely dicing vegetables and cooking them raw inside a turnover was an interesting one, but having neither the time nor the inclination to brunoise over a half kilo of root vegetables, I cut them into a much larger dice and partially cooked them in the microwave instead.
Potatoes, rutabaga, carrots, onions, thyme and a bit of sharp cheddar in a flaky pastry package sounded delicious but I failed in my execution of it: having omitted the powdered vegetable boullion and butter, I think I omitted much of the flavour as well so these ended up a little bland. The consensus was also that they were too large and quite heavy - smaller pasties would have been preferred.
Mushroom Ragout with Soft Polenta (page 57)
This ragout more than made up for the vegetable pasty "fail". The ingredients were simple but the dish was incredibly flavourful thanks in part to the red wine and mushroom stock at its base. I served it over instant polenta and though it was a good vehicle for the saucy mushrooms and did make for a fairly quick meal, I think I'll stick to regular polenta in future as the instant didn't seem to retain its creaminess for very long.
Apple and Blue Cheese (Cheddar Cheese) Toastie (page 204)
Since apple and cheddar is a favourite combination here, and apple and blue cheese is not, I substituted sharp cheddar for the recommended blue. Mounded on crispbreads and slipped under the broiler until the cheese was bubbly and the fruit was slightly softened, this made a quick and delicious snack. We loved the salty-sweet topping with the crisp rye cracker.
DIY Pot Noodles (248)
This was a cinch to make, easy to customize, and better
still, could be assembled the night before for a quick school/work lunch
next day. Best of all, with only a 10-minute "cook time" in boiled water, it resulted in a wonderful meal of al dente noodles and tender-crisp vegetables in flavourful broth.
The first time I made it, I used the ingredients listed (those pictured) but since then, I've discovered that the pre-cut vegetables in grocery stores, especially the vegetable slaws, reduce the prep time and work equally well with just a few extra ingredients: hot chiles, green onions, edamame....
My daughters in particular were quite taken with these so they are now in regular lunch rotation.
Visit here to see what the other group members made this month.