MN Cook Club - September suggestions, everyone welcome

(66 Posts)
ColdSancerre Wed 14-Sep-11 19:49:32

The idea is to have 'a book club for recipes' where every fortnight or so we choose some recipes to try, try them and report back on how easy they were, what went right, what went wrong and how everyone in your family liked them etc.

For special events like Halloween we'll see if we can do themed recipes and we'll have some weeks where the recipes are under a tenner, anything people want really.

For our first recipe club it's been suggested we have the following selection of recipes to try from:

1 starter
1 veggie main
1 meat/fish main
1 pudding

This is a thread for everyone to suggest recipes in those categories. I'll leave the thread open for suggestions until Saturday night then we can all vote on which we'd like to do.

So please post your suggested recipes from the above categories, either link to it or type it out.

LaWeasel Wed 14-Sep-11 20:09:59

Just marking place, back in a moment.

pudding - Apple and almond tart

LaWeasel Wed 14-Sep-11 20:13:17

Okay I want to try a tomato and basil soup recipe as it's DD's favourite... although this seems to randomly have french bread chucked in it?

LaWeasel Wed 14-Sep-11 20:16:11
Annunziata Wed 14-Sep-11 20:22:25

Braised pork with lemon (meat main):

Saute chunks of potatoes (about 2lbs worth) in 2 tablespoons of olive oil, add about 2lbs worth chunks of pork, leave to braise with the cover on, add lemon juice, salt and pepper when potatoes and meat are thoroughly cooked (about hour and a half).

Homemade sugo pasta sauce (veggie main or can add chicken or meat):

Brown a clove of mashed onion in olive oil, then add 3 tins of tomatoes and 3 fresh chopped tomatoes, some basil, a tablespoon of salt and cook for 20 mins. Can add chili, olives, carrots, etc.

I have loads of pasta recipes too but they all need a pasta machine.

ColdSancerre Wed 14-Sep-11 20:28:22

Itsjustafleshwound can you post link or recipe for the apple and almond tart please?

californiaburrito Wed 14-Sep-11 20:32:38

Here's the recipe for the almond cake that I mentioned on the other thread. It is easy, and in my experience, reliable. I'm really selling it here, aren't I?

1/2 cup, 112g, 4oz butter
1 cup, 225 g, 8oz sugar
1 tsp almond extract (I like Star Kay)
1 egg
1 cup, 125g, 4.5oz flour
Flaked almonds

Cream butter and sugar, add almond extract and egg. Add flour, mix until combined. Spread into pie dish or round cake pan. Sprinkle flaked almonds on top and lightly press into cake. Bake at 325F, 150C, Gas Mark 3 for 20-25 min.

Choux swans.

Make choux pastry and pipe profiterole sized balls. On a non-stick baking sheet pipe s shapes to make the neck with a blob at the end. Use a cocktail stick to put a beak on the head


Fill with cream and top swans backs with white chocolate icing.

Will look up recipes if chosen!

I will post my recipe for slow cooked lamb casserole tomorrow smile

Furball Thu 15-Sep-11 09:03:46

I'm in

Apple and Almond Tart

750g/6 cooking apples (Granny Smith)
1/4 c honey
30ml butter
1 cinnamon stick
1t grated lemon rind
5ml lemon juice
15ml brandy

Peel and core the apples and cut into thin slices
Make a syrup by cooking the remaining ingredients together
Add the apple slices and cook for 10 minutes

Put this mixture into a greased pie dish

100g butter
100g castor sugar
2 eggs, beaten
100g ground almonds

Cream butter and sugar together
Add the eggs and beat well
Fold in the almonds
Put topping on to the apples
Bake at 180ºC for 45 mins/until golden brown and cooked

Serve with custard/ice-cream or cream

TobyLeWolef Thu 15-Sep-11 09:48:12

Marking place.

ColdSancerre Thu 15-Sep-11 10:31:54

I have linked to this on MN before but it is truly truly very very delicious so I'm doing so again as a suggestion for a meat main course.

Chorizo and pork belly with haricot beans

doesn't mention you can do it in the slow cooker as I know that's controversial

TobyLeWolef Thu 15-Sep-11 10:36:45

That chorizo/pork belly thing gets my vote.

ColdSancerre Thu 15-Sep-11 10:38:48

And the best thing is its a one pot dish. Just needs some nice bread.

TobyLeWolef Thu 15-Sep-11 10:48:56

It's exactly the sort of thing I make often, without a recipe. I have made a version of this several times, by just bunging everything in. So definitely easy to do.

It would be nice to have something a bit more challenging sometimes (although I'm fucked if I'll be making choux pastry swans! grin), but definitely a good one to start with.

JenaiMarrHePlaysGuitar Thu 15-Sep-11 10:49:22

Oh oh oh! I remembered my brilliant idea (not my ridiculous name association)!

When we report back we should include how much the recipe cost us to prepare (either in total or item by item) - it would be interesting to compare the cost between the supermarkets.

The pork belly absolutely gets my vote btw.

TobyLeWolef Thu 15-Sep-11 10:55:40

Brilliant idea, Jenai!

I'd like to take that a bit further by having criteria for us to report back on.

For example:

Cost per portion (which would be interesting because some of us will have a lot of ingredients as store cupboard stuff, and some will have to buy them especially)
Ease of obtaining ingredients
Ease of following recipe
Time taken to prepare/cook
Family opinion on finished product


Where's your sense of adventure TobyLeWolef

They're dead easy BTW.

Pork belly and chorizo gets my absolute 100% definite final vote!

TobyLeWolef Thu 15-Sep-11 11:19:40

I must admit that I've never made choux pastry and I would like to give it a go. But they're a bit of a faff and would only be eaten in my house by those of us who SHOULDN'T be eating them!

I would totally do it, though, if it were chosen as the recipe of the fortnight.

ColdSancerre Thu 15-Sep-11 11:23:06

I've made choux patry but never swans but would have a pop too if it were voted. We don't often have pud as DP has diabetes but choux pastry has no sugar. They're probably actually very good for you. In fact almost a health food.

TobyLeWolef Thu 15-Sep-11 11:26:08

Until you fill them with cream and put chocolate on them grin

ColdSancerre Thu 15-Sep-11 11:27:43


LaWeasel Thu 15-Sep-11 12:30:32

I have no idea what choux pastry is <now feeling quite ignorant>

ColdSancerre Thu 15-Sep-11 12:31:49

The stuff you make eclairs & profiteroles with.

TobyLeWolef Thu 15-Sep-11 12:39:56

This is what TheSkiingGardener would have us making grin

JenaiMarrHePlaysGuitar Thu 15-Sep-11 12:55:37

I whipped up a tray of those before work this morning, Toby. For ds's cake sale.

TobyLeWolef Thu 15-Sep-11 13:01:18

I would have done, but I was busy with my croquembouche for the local homeless shelter.

I really must get more organised.

Kveta Thu 15-Sep-11 13:57:03

chorizo/pork belly thing gets my vote too!

would a preserves recipe be a good idea for this time of year too?

I love the jamie oliver toffee apple (or pear) pie for a dessert, or a nice eve's pudding - we should make the most of the seasonal fruit and veg!!

ColdSancerre Thu 15-Sep-11 13:59:07

Hugh FW suggested we try:

The Porotos Granados from the new River Cottage Veg book is a lovely, heartwarming, spicy squash, bean and sweetcorn soupy stew from South America. Serve it with homemade garlicky flatbreads and a red cabbage, parsnip, date and orange salad.

So, errr, anyone got a recipe for any of that?

ComradeJing Thu 15-Sep-11 14:02:10

I'm IN! Don't care what we cook but I may be restricted by what is and isn't available here.

TobyLeWolef Thu 15-Sep-11 14:03:03

Of course he did! He wants us to buy the book hmm

Also, my daughter doesn't like squash, so I'd have to give that one a miss.

TobyLeWolef Thu 15-Sep-11 14:04:17
ComradeJing Thu 15-Sep-11 14:04:28

grin Cold

ColdSancerre Thu 15-Sep-11 14:20:28

He responded to request for the recipe:

Just fry up a sliced onion, throw in half a kilo or so of cubed squash, sizzle for a while with a teaspoon of sweet paprika, a sprig of thyme and a pinch of chilli, then cover with veg stock and simmer. When the pumpkin is almost tender, add in the kernels sliced off two corn cobs, a handful of sliced green beans and a tin of cooked beans such as pinto or cannellini. Give it a few more minutes, check the seasoning and dish it up with flatbreads or a good crusty loaf. You can dot a bit of sour cream on it and scatter a bit of grated cheese over it too if you like.

Anyway once we have everyone's suggestions we'll have a vote and decide.

More suggestions please!

TobyLeWolef Thu 15-Sep-11 14:35:48

Oh THANKS A LOT, Huge Furry-Wishingstool. Now I feel bad for doing the humphy face.

Furball Thu 15-Sep-11 14:51:55

this 'preserve' is from another thread - and sounds easy enough?

LaurieFairyCake Thu 15-Sep-11 09:19:23
The actual cooking is no faff at all and if your apples are larger then it would be easier. I peeled the apples but didn't bother taking the core out or the top/bottom as I had so many and I just chopped the clean sides off to use in the chutney.

I got the recipe out of Red magazine this month:

1.5kg of apples
750g of light muscovado sugar
500g raisins
2 medium chopped onions
2 teaspoons mustard seeds
2 teaspoons ground ginger
one teaspoon salt
700ml of cider vinegar

Boil it all together for 40 minutes - mine took longer (about an hour and five minutes) to get that browny caramelised consistency.

Furball Thu 15-Sep-11 14:52:30

and yes to pork

californiaburrito Thu 15-Sep-11 14:55:06

Oh, Hugh just makes everything soooo easy doesn't he.

Good work getting the recipe, I'd definitely give it a go. And that pork and chorizo thing, I don't even have to look at the recipe. DH would love it (who, also, incidentally thinks that he gets a vote on this after seeing the thread open last night)

I'm off to find my cajeta (spicy caramel) recipe to suggest in light of these new suggestions.

californiaburrito Thu 15-Sep-11 15:05:04


1 qt goat's milk (or cow's)
1 cup sugar
1 tbsp golden syrup
cinnamon stick
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp sherry, rum or brandy, or whatever

Bring milk, sugar, golden syrup, and cinnamon to boil. Remove from heat and add baking soda mixed in a little water. WARNING mixture will start bubbling- stir down with spoon. Cook over medium/low heat for about 25-30 minutes, stirring frequently. Strain through sieve and add booze of you choice.

Can be poured over ice cream, or victoria sponge (with a little extra cream for good measure) depending on how much time you want to invest in the pudding.

Xiaoxiong Thu 15-Sep-11 15:16:38

I really like a lot of the ideas on this thread already, but in the interests of this not being a pure place-marking post here are four sort of seasonal suggestions:

starter: roast pumpkin/squash and chickpea salad with garlic tahini dressing

veggie main: butternut squash, mushroom and chard lasagne (though needless to say I wouldn't serve it at the same meal as that starter)

meaty main: pork chops boulangere (basically boulangere potatoes with pork chops layered inside, cooked long and slow)

dessert: tarte tatin made with pears? I'm not very good at desserts...usually we just have fruit and cheese...

brookeslay Thu 15-Sep-11 15:48:16

I wonder if we can make a cake once a month ? perhaps optional veggie or meat main to give flexibility.

Does Cake qualify as Pud ?? warm served with a slosh of cream ?

I was feeling autumnal and ordered the ingredients for cake

Similar is the Gary Rhodes Cake

Apple Cinnamon

350g cooking apples,225g self-raising flour, large pinch cinnamon, pinch nutmeg ,115g butter, roughly chopped ,115g soft brown sugar 2-3 tbsp milk 1-2 tbsp demerara sugar (single cream or creme fraiche to serve)

The Veggie from Hugh sounds great as does the pork.

ColdSancerre Thu 15-Sep-11 15:49:44

That apple cake sounds lovely. I love that people are posting recipes that have seasonal ingredients!

LaWeasel Thu 15-Sep-11 17:07:47

Okay, a bit of inspiration from the childhood food thread:

Stuffed hearts with mashed potato, red cabbage and pears

I can't be the only one that quite fancies trying it?

Kveta Thu 15-Sep-11 17:30:08

actually, if we're going seasonal, we should incorporate a lot of bloody tomatoes into the recipe! <grumbles about ruddy things taking over my house and garden>

pizza?! grin

I'd love to try this pasta pie one day too.

ColdSancerre Thu 15-Sep-11 21:19:01

God yes to tomatoes, I've got loads. Actually I'm going to make tomato and chilli jam with some over the weekend. Will let you know how it goes.

I did do some oven dried ones which I stored in jars in olive oil which are lovely.

I'm not a big fan of offal, so not sure about hearts. But then point of this is, we all post our suggestions then we all get a vote in each category. So post what you want to try, see if enough people agree with you!

I'm looking forward to trying whatever vegetarian recipe we agree on as we don't have enough veggie meals.

<Thinks about flouncing over swan ridicule, but realises no one would take a swan flounce seriously>

Not the stuffed hearts! Please! They were the nightmare of my childhood.

I see a lot of recipes that would take me out of my comfort zone, which is a very good thing. Still want to do pork belly and chorizo though.

How about a competition then. Choux animal of choice?

californiaburrito Fri 16-Sep-11 09:19:10

<conjures mental image of flouncing swans>

Let me just say that choux pastry IS a good idea. It's one of those things that is surprisingly easy yet impressive. Those of us who have never replaced our piping bags after moving country can just do round ones. With a little work I could probably conjure a choux turtle!

ColdSancerre Fri 16-Sep-11 20:34:51

Bump for more recipe suggestions!

Jackaroo Sat 17-Sep-11 04:45:52

I would love to do this too, but will need to think of recipes. Meanwhile, do we have a position on substituting ingredients?

I realise that sometimes it's necessary, or someone will have a brainwave (although that won't be me)..but I really get a little peeved with online reviews that say, "well, I used chicken instead of beef, and tarragon instead of chilli, and carrots not peas, and it turned out beautifully"!!
Just looked up the port and chorizo (def. voting for that!) and someone had written "didn't bother with the pork", hmm.

Too picky for a first CCC post?

Jackaroo Sat 17-Sep-11 05:03:40

* pork, not port.

Recipe ideas - baked mushroom risotto, apple and blackberry cobbler,

Mushroom Risotto - always use this one, and it is great, but if Delia objects, i will dig out another form!!

one version of the Apple and Blackberry, can't find my written version

Love the pork dish, so not contributing a meat main... neither of my contributions need to be voted for, these are just things I make i the autumn and love. <self indulgent moment>

ColdSancerre Sat 17-Sep-11 09:28:30

Jackaroo I get annoyed at comments like that too, when it's then ends up being a completely different recipe so why are they commenting? But tbh if there are ingredients that family members just won't eat then it just has to be substituted. I would happily substitute the beans in the pork and chorizo recipe for a different type say cannellini if I didn't have haricot in for example. And I have done that recipe with pieces of chicken but it was nicer with pork.

brookeslay Sat 17-Sep-11 11:10:53

Chicken Recipe my friend makes this alot its easy cheap and yummy I do like the flavour of chicken thighs.

This pudding is a winner too here

Still trying to use my apple glut you see !


Sweet Potato and Sweetcorn Chowder

For 2 people: (double for 4 ppl0
2 small leeks
1 tsp butter
1 tsp fresh rosemary
1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
(about 1/4 pint) of vegetable stock
1 sweetcorn cob
1 tsp cornflour
4 tbsp milk

Slice the leeks and soften them in the butter on a low heat.Add fresh rosemary (finely chopped) and the sweet potato (peeled if necessary and diced into 1cm pieces). Cook gently for two minutes before adding the vegetable stock, and bringing to a simmer.

After 6 minutes add the kernels of sweetcorn cob, and simmer for another 2 minutes. Stir cornflour into milk and add it to the pan. Taste and season, then very gently heat the soup.

thinbridewaitingtogetout Sat 17-Sep-11 13:50:19

Ooh all these look lovely,

I will add my Ministrone soup recipe which is a started and veggie and also a couple of large bowls and some crusty bread and its a veggie main.

1 large onion chopped
4 med carrots diced
3 celery stalks diced
i tin chopped toms
2 veg stock cubes
1 tin mixed beans
shredded savoy cabbage
salt and pepper
mixed herbs
tom puree

Sweat onion, carrots and celery in a large pan till soft and translcent (onions) add 2 pints stock and the rest of the ingerdients apart form the cabbage and bring to the boil then simmer untill carrots are softened. Test for seasoning. When almost done add cabbage for 2-3 mins till cooked and serve.

Am I too late to join....

I have some suggestions to throw in too, though the pork belly sounds DELICIOUS. IT's not something I can get hold of particularly easily here, but can go to Gib to get if necessary.

My suggestions are:

Starter: French Onion Soup or Broccoli and Stilton Soup

Main: Roast Chicken with Lemon, Garlic and Basil

8 chicken thighs and legs, bone in.
Olive oil, good quality and fruity.
2 heads of garlic
1 lemon
Large handful of basil, about 30 leaves.
medium glass of white wine

Season the chicken and put the pieces in a roasting tin. Pour over enough olive oil to moisten them and make a shallow pool in the tin. Lightly squash the garlic cloves in their skin and tuck in with the chicken. Squeeze the lemon over the chicken and drop the empty shells in too. Roast for 30 mins in an oven preheated to 200°C/Gas 6, then tear up the basil leaves and toss them about a bit with the chicken. Return to the oven for 10 mins. Remove from the oven, pour the wine over the chicken, then put the roasting tin over a hot flame and let the wine bubble for a minute.

I serve this with a green salad and some potato wedges, but I peel the potatoes so more of the juices can be mopped up...

Veggie Main: Roasted Vegetable Lasagne. I use this Saint Delia one, it is seriously tasty and I mix and match veg according to what I have in the fridge.

Pudding: Bakewell Tart - this is one of the most delicious and easy recipes I've ever come across and will happily eat the whole thing

125g butter
125g caster sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
125g ground rice
½ tsp almond extract
2 tbsp raspberry jam
Icing sugar for sprinkling

For the pastry

175g plain flour
45g chilled butter, cubed
45g chilled white vegetable fat, cubed
About 2 tbsp cold water
Milk for glazing

Make the pastry, line a loose bottomed 19cm flan dish and put in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes. Keep the scraps for decorating later.

Melt the butter in a saucepan, stir in the caster sugar, and cook for about 1 minute. Remove from the heat, leave to cool a little, then gradually stir in the egg, ground rice and almond extract.

Spread the jam evenly over the bottom of the pastry case, and pour the almond mixture on top.

Roll out the reserved pastry trimmings, and cut into strips and arrange on top of filling to form a lattice, attaching them to the pastry case with a little milk.

Bake on a hot baking tray in a preheated oven at 200°C/gas mark 6 for 45–50 minutes until the filling is well risen and golden and springs back when lightly pressed with a finger. Sprinkle with icing sugar and serve the tart warm or cold.

LoveBeingAMummyAgain Sat 17-Sep-11 14:17:11

Defo vote for the pork one but just to play the game can I suggest the chicken and veg pie

I am famous among family and friends for these Green Chile Enchiladas, despite the fact that it's an Internet recipe.

I am not sure what kind of chiles are available in the UK, the green chile in this recipe is the New Mexico Hatch chile. Here, a good substitute for Hatch is green Anaheim chiles with some jalapeño for heat.

I forgot to say "Tex Mex" cheese is just a combination of cheddar and Monterey jack.

QueenofJacksDreams Sat 17-Sep-11 15:05:22

Just marking my place I have no suggestions hence I joined this grin

thinbridewaitingtogetout Sat 17-Sep-11 18:41:47

Ok i will also add a main

Turkey Milnes - recipe pinched form the net and tweaked.

A turkey breast steak per person
wholemeal breadcrumbs
beaten egg
seasoned flour
Table spoon of mixed herbs

for the sauce

2 tins of chopped tomatoes
1 diced onion
splash of white wine
Tome puree

Dried pasta of your choice

Dip the turkey in flour, then in egg then bread crumbs (mix the mixed herbs into bread crumbs) cook for 1-2 mins on either side till golden and pop in oven for 15-20 mins (i cook most things on 200c in my crap electric cooker so just adjust) wipe pan with kitchen paper to remove excess oil, sautee onion and garlic in smidgen olive oil and then add the wine.After the alcohol has cooked out add the tomatoes and tom puree. Cook pasta at the same time.

Serve pasta then sauce then turkey on top and sprinkle liberaly with parmesan. Also add parmesan to breadcrumbs if you like too.

Tis lovely and the kids liked it too.

Dessert for me would be pink pavlova with strawberrys and cream.

ColdSancerre Sun 18-Sep-11 11:36:46
LadyGooGoo Sun 18-Sep-11 13:51:56

Guess I should have posted here rather than voting thread first, but...

Have recently turned vegan so have been watching this thread with interest for inspiration.

I have no recipes to offer as yet, but would welcome the chance to join in with the club!

Xiaoxiong Mon 19-Sep-11 11:40:52

LadyGooGoo - my ex was vegan and I got very good at adapting recipes, and many things I make are still vegan.

The chickpea and roast squash/pumpkin salad I suggested above is vegan - dressing is tahini, garlic, lemon juice and olive oil.

The vegetarian lasagna I suggested has a white sauce with nutmeg but this is easily replaced with blended soft tofu, tofu ricotta or okara (if you make your own tofu, which is very easy). It makes the lasagna a bit heavier though.

I will post the recipes later on when I get home.

LadyGooGoo Mon 19-Sep-11 15:46:16

Ooh, thanks!

Voted for the salad already. Sounds like your very experienced, I've never heard of okara, as for making your own tofu...

<<bows in awe>>

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