For our final month of cooking together with this book, I completed seven recipes:
Various Rarebits (page 209)
Cooking from this book, I've learned many things from the author, one of which is just how good an open-faced sandwich loaded with stuff, often leftovers, and popped under the broiler, can be.
With this recipe, he brought us one of the classics, cheese on toast. The cheese wasn't just any good melting cheese but a cheesy béchamel or mornay sauce that had the consistency of a thick spread. I made both the Welsh and Tomato Rarebits and both were delicious with the tomato variation the favourite, but I would have preferred it a little saucier. I'll definitely make this again but with just a little less flour in the sauce.
Raid-the-Larder Spelt Broth (page 243)
If ever there were a soup to make one feel virtuous, this is it. It's simply brimming with high fibre, low fat and nutrient dense ingredients. You could use just about any grain, bean and vegetable combination and it would still taste great as long as you started with a flavourful stock. I used farro, white beans, carrots, kale and edamame. Yum!
Linguine with Mint and Almond Pesto and Tomatoes (page 266)
Everyone knows how perfectly basil and tomatoes go together but I discovered the beautiful combination of mint and tomatoes in Hugh's recipe for Tomatoes with Thai Dressing so I was quite excited to try this pasta.
The dish began with a pesto of almond and mint which had a lovely flavour, much gentler than a traditional basil pesto. I did hit a little snag while making it; it was originally too thick to coat the pasta, nothing a little pasta cooking water couldn't fix, but that diluted its flavour so some extra mint, garlic, lemon zest etc was needed as well. Tossed with cooked pasta and sweet cherry tomatoes, it was very light and bright.
New Potato Gnocchi (page 284)
Roasted Tomato Sauce (page 366)
This sauce, made last summer, really captured the flavour of tomatoes picked at their peak. My batch was on the thin side because of the variety of tomato I used so I simmered it for a bit to thicken before serving it with the gnocchi. With its notes of thyme and garlic, it was fresh tasting and delicious.
Spinach and Thyme Pasties (page 326)
My family will eat just about anything in a hand pie but spinach-cheese filling is a favourite so I wasn't at all surprised that they loved these. And I really enjoyed making them. The crust was very cooperative, baked into flaky goodness, and wasn't particularly greasy in the hand, important for a hand-held pastry. And the filling, made with a little ricotta and Parmesan and a lot of spinach, was very flavourful.
Oven-Roasted Ratatouille (page 362)
Ratatouille is one of my favourite dishes; I think the combination of peppers, zucchini, eggplant and tomatoes is perfection.
I've tried many recipes and enjoyed most the ones where each of the vegetables retained some of their original integrity. So I wasn't sure at first about making a tomato sauce separately to be added to the roasted vegetables as we do in this recipe. But it worked...extremely well. The sauce, a tasty stand alone tomato sauce, provided the moisture the caramelized vegetables needed as well as loads of flavour. I served the ratatouille with bread and salad as suggested and with the leftovers and a bit of frozen puff pastry, made these:
The group is moving on to another of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's books, River Cottage Everyday, and much as I enjoy the author's approach to food and his recipes - and there appear to be quite a few gems in this book - cooking through this book is not something I can commit to right now. However, I will certainly continue to follow the cooking exploits of this fantastic group.