Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Cottage Cooking Club - October 2015

Once again, our lovely group leader Andrea selected some wonderful recipes from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's book River Cottage Veg for us to make this month. I chose five: 

Roasted Parsnip, Green Lentil, and Watercress (Arugula) Salad (page 90)
One of these days, I hope to find watercress that I actually want to eat rather than the sad little wilted bunches that are widely available in the grocery stores around here. Until then, arugula will be my go-to substitute. Apart from that one change, I made the recipe for this terrific salad as written.
We really enjoyed this dish of sweet, caramelized roasted parsnips that contrasted so nicely with the tangy dressed lentils, crisp, peppery greens, and sharp cheese. I'll definitely make this one again.

Beets with Walnuts and Cumin (page 113)
I've become quite adept at making beet recipes for one but I really wish I had made the full amount of this one....it was so good, I could have happily eaten it all.
I've made raw beet "slaws" before, even ones that included cumin and walnuts which go so beautifully with beets, but it was the orange and lemon juices in this recipe that really enlivened this salad. I loved it! I have two beets left from the bunch and I know what I'm doing with them.

Porotos Granados (page 146)
This dish was chock full of good things, and hearty but not as heavy as one might expect from the ingredients. We loved the smoked paprika and oregano flavours but between the squash and the corn it was just a little too sweet for the family so I added some passata to create a better balance. Interestingly, some recipes I found online for this Chilean stew included tomatoes so I don't think my adjusted version was too far from traditional. It did get eaten but it's not something that will be repeated any time soon.

Oven-Dried Tomatoes (page 304)
Field-grown Roma tomatoes were still available at the farmers' market early in the month so I took advantage and made these. I baked them for 5 hours as directed, then left them in the oven as it cooled to dry out a bit more. The flavour was spectacular with this method intensifying the vibrancy and zing of the tomatoes. They would be delicious in so many applications but for this post, I combined them with some Fiori di latte (fresh cow's milk mozzarella) to top some crostini. The rest I froze to brighten some future dishes with a little taste of summer once we're in the midst of the deep-freeze that is surely coming.

Broiled Eggplant with Chile and Honey (page 340)
Sweet, tangy and a little spicy, this was much more delicious than I anticipated. And, I discovered with this recipe that broiling is a great alternative to frying, browning and crisping the eggplant slices brushed with minimal oil. I mixed the lemon juice with the honey for a more even distribution of the flavours and served the dish as a side with some broiled fish. Eggplant is not a favourite around here and I generally have to hide it amongst other ingredients but both the dressing flavour and the texture of the broiled vegetable made this a surprise hit.

Visit here to see what everyone else made.


  1. What wonderful dishes. I am convinced that the roasted parsnips, etc., are a must-try and the Porotos Granados look delicious. Just the name itself suggests I must try them. I also love beets and anything that has to do with beets. The eggplant dish looks tasty. And, the tomatoes. I've done those before and, you're right, the flavor is wonderful. Great month for you. Nicely done, Zosta.

  2. Hi Zosia, I made the salad exactly as written too, but substituted spinach for the watercress, really loved that one. And the eggplant was another one, I was surprised about how much we really liked it, so simple to make. Hope everything is going well for you. Take care!

  3. Hi Zosia, lovely dishes and happy you enjoyed them. Your photos are really lovely. I prepared the Porotos granadas which reminded me of a sofrito. I too loved the spice combination but felt it needed something... and atop a bed of rice made it the perfect complement. Your oven dried tomatoes look sensational and I should like to give them a try next summer. Now the eggplant, that might be nice anytime in the upcoming month. Great Post.

  4. Dear Zosia, beautiful pictures, fabulous descriptions and explanations and just wonderful food! So nice to read that your devoted taste testers still joyfully taste their way through all your delicious creations - I especially liked the broiled aubergines this month - your version looks quite elegant. The roasted parsnip salad will be my "make-up dish" this weekend - I had bought the ingredients but ran out of time - again, your presentation looks absolutely fabulous!
    What a delightful post, dera friend!
    Looking forward to more delicious vegetable cooking in the month of November!

  5. All of your dishes turned out beautifully! I will have to try the parsnips and lentils with arugula some time, but they worked really well over wilted spinach, too. And I'm going to be trying the Porotos Granados this weekend, I think. Now, though, I might also get some beets for that salad - it looks amazing in everyone's posts.

    Thanks for the info about why my comments don't always post on your blog. I might have to switch from Firefox to Chrome after all - it's not the only problem I've been having with it, unfortunately.

  6. Lovely dishes you made there! Wonderful presentation by you. Hope to get to make the beets salad soon!

  7. Lovely dishes you made there! Wonderful presentation by you. Hope to get to make the beets salad soon!

  8. Hi Zosia, Your choices look so tempting! I also made the oven-dried tomatoes. Too bad I discovered that recipe at the end of tomato season. I'll have to make more next year. I especially like the look of the broiled eggplant. I will try that one. Just to let you know, I actually prefer the taste of arugula to watercress, so in my opinion, that's the preferable green. Have a good month.

  9. Hi Zosia! I made the eggplant, too, and was happy with the flavors and how nice it was to broil it! Every one of your dishes look fabulous--looks like you had a great month! I also wanted to comment on the watercress situation. What a bummer! I've been keeping an eye out for it since buying Ottolenghi's books...that watercress popularity is totally a European thing, huh? I even bought seeds to grow my own, but an animal dug through before they could sprout. I know arugula can stand in, but I want to try a lot of these recipes with real watercress. Okay, I'll stop ranting now. :) Happy November!

  10. Hi Zosia, here is the link to the pumpkin zeppole


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