Cookery book club - August - Short and Sweet by Dan Lepard and Every Grain of Rice by Fuchsia Dunlop

(223 Posts)
Wearytiger Mon 29-Jul-13 17:59:15

Welcome to the Mumsnet cookery bookclub! Each month we choose two cookery books. We cook a minimum of two recipes each - you choose the recipe, they just have to be ones you have never cooked before- which works out at four new recipes each month.Then we chat about them!

For July our books were:
- Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall Veg Every Day
- Madhur Jaffrey Ultimate Curry Bible AND / OR madhur Jaffrey's Curry Easy AND / OR Hairy Bikers' Great Curries
And we posted here.

For August, our books are:
- Fuchsia Dunlop Every Grain of Rice
- Dan Lepard Short and Sweet

For September our books will be:
- Tessa Kiros Falling Cloudberries
- any book from the River Cafe books

We will always try to pick at least one book with recipes available on the Internet, and local libraries are great for cookbooks if you can order in advance. We pick books three months ahead so will be choosing October's books this month.

slightlysoupstained Tue 30-Jul-13 21:25:24

Ooh, got Short & Sweet already (used to read his forum/website which seems to have disappeared now sad ).

I like it because I am an inveterate tweaker of recipes and he positively encourages this, giving you enough info about what various ingredients contribute to be able to modify amounts or substitute.

Agree with the poster who said he uses a lot of salt though - I made one of the rye bread recipes which asked for 3 tsp - seemed like a lot but as am not familiar with rye dough & know it's different from wheat dough didn't want to change stuff first time around. It was nice, but noticeably salty. I reduce all the salt amounts now and am happy.

HuevosRancheros Tue 30-Jul-13 21:31:45

Forgetfulmog, I love his writing style too, especially the bit at the beginning of the Sugar, Sugar section - [to paraphrase] confessing you love sugar is like admitting you love gin.... choose who you tell carefully, and make sure they will react in the right way.

But he is also incredibly good at explaining techniques and processes, and he positively encourages you to tweak the recipes to get something that is perfect for you. And he explains how to do it. Love him smile

Just made Gong Bao chicken (except we had quorn!) with peanuts from EGoR. Served with the Sichuanese Dry Fried Green beans (and plain rice). Excellent, to be added to my list of regular Chinese food. Only thing I did differently was not to use whole sichuan peppercorns, as I don't like biting into them, so I added ground sichuan pepper right at the end.

Yum smile

HuevosRancheros Tue 30-Jul-13 21:33:33

OK, slightlysoupstained, I promise I did not just copy what you said about tweaking recipes, it just takes me a long time to write a post!

blush grin

madamecake Tue 30-Jul-13 21:39:04

Picked short and sweet up from the library at the weekend and the recipes look so good I've ordered the book from amazon.
Made the butterscotch banana cake today, is delicious, although I left the mixed spice out by accident. The butterscotch bananas would be great without the cake and just eaten with a spoon!

Have no idea where to start with FD, so will wait for some recommendations.

Forgetfulmog Tue 30-Jul-13 21:53:48

Huevos - I forget the recipe but it was one of the tray bake ones & he said something about cutting out the sugar or you could just have a salad & stop to erupting yourself - I'm still laughing about it now grin

slightlysoupstained Tue 30-Jul-13 23:25:53

Huevos grin

snowlie Wed 31-Jul-13 09:29:51

So excited about finally giving proper Chinese Cooking a bash and I managed to get good info from a Vietnamese Dad a school who give me the heads up on a good local Chinese supermarket. Had Vietnamese at the weekend - it was amazing....somewhere between Chinese and Thai.

Forgetfulmog Wed 31-Jul-13 10:16:33

Does anyone know if Every Grain of Rice has any recipes online? I can't find it in my local library & funds are low so don't want to have to buy it

Hello! I was on the first thread (Feast/KD) a while ago but twin babies brought me to my knees for about 2 months. They are now nearly six months and I am just about getting some sleep and therefore ready to get cooking again!

I have short and sweet on kindle from earlier this year when it was on offer. Not sure i really need to eat more cake though! Anything v quick to make to get me started? my DTs are basically crawling already so my time is limited!

Will see how people get on with EGoR - I don't tend to do much Chinese cooking but if people love it, will do an amazon order.

UptoapointLordCopper Wed 31-Jul-13 13:54:51

Short and Sweet - best baking book ever! I've tried quite a few recipes. Yesterday we did the tortilla wrap for lunch. So so so easy and so so so nice. smile The bread recipes are easy and nice. The cookies are great. The muffins too. There's also a shockingly easy apple pie.

Re: salt in Dan Lepard's bread - he concedes in Handmade Loaf that many people want to reduce salt intake and you can do so without harming the recipes. grin

OneDayWhenIGrowUp Wed 31-Jul-13 13:59:22

Thanks for the welcome :-) aargh don't tell me there's gluten free/healthy baking in short & sweet!!!

Are any of these in there? http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2013/jun/14/dan-lepard-gluten-free-teatime-bakes

ELR Wed 31-Jul-13 14:42:48

Well so far I've flicked through EGoR and a few recipes look good but have to admit its not really doing it for me! I ordered the book as the books cover is beautiful.

HuevosRancheros Wed 31-Jul-13 15:07:27

OneDay....in a word, no! But there is, for example, a recipe for Rye Hazelnut brownies, where he says 'if you want to experiment with a gluten free version, try using two parts buckwheat flour to one part potato flour'. So he often gives options.

Things I have made from Short & Sweet:

Sour Cream Sandwich Loaf Fab, lovely soft crust that fussy DD will eat. But, far too much salt imo. 2 tsp salt to 550g flour is just far too much, I do it with 1. Also works well in a bread machine, I reduce salt to 1tsp and yeast to 1 1/2tsp..... otherwise it rises too much and sticks to the roof of the machine!

Simple Walnut Loaf Very good, looks great too.

Cider Vinegar Muffins. Hated these sad. Vinegar flavour was very strong despite me reducing the amount, and almost tasted cheesy, prob because of the yoghurt? I made the ones on the Smitten Kitchen site, they were delicious and much quicker!

Apple, Walnut and Custard cake. God, I had forgotten about this! Divine smile

Marbled Chocolate Crumble cake. Lovely

Chocolate Custard Muffins. Quite simply, the best muffins I have ever had. Like those from cafes, but better. Flavour and texture better the day after baking.

Banana Bran muffins. Good, but very sweet, I would leave out the caster sugar, just use the muscovado next time.

Toll house Yo-yos. Didn't really like these, an odd texture from the oats and custard powder.

Macarons. Very sweet, as you would expect, would need filling to counteract this i.e. a bitter chocolate one.

Malted chocolate and caramel tart. Heavenly.

Everyday shortcrust pastry. Works for me every time. I do it in a food processor though, just blitz everything except water to crumb stage, then add water til it comes together. Perfect.

Spiced aubergine and lentil pies. Very good, I made them as pasties instead of pies. Added some chopped fried onion and used lemon juice instead of zest.

Garlic butter and Cheddar scones. These were good, but too much cheese imo. Well, that's what I have written next to the recipe.

Sorry, quite a lot there. Will have a look through EGoR, but I've only had that a few weeks, so not made nearly so much from that!

Xiaoxiong Wed 31-Jul-13 15:09:09

Yay two of my favourite cookbooks in one month! I've made so much from both.

I have one wok, carbon steel - I bought it for £5 from a chinese supermarket but you can get a very similar one from Amazon. Apart from that I just use regular pots & pans.

Recipes we love:
Smacked cucumber in garlicky sauce
Spiced cucumber salad
Silken tofu with avocado
Cold chicken with spicy sichuanese sauce
Spinach in ginger sauce
Pockmarked old woman tofu (we add pork mince)
Bear paw tofu
Twice cooked pork (though a bit of a faff)
Any of the braised dishes - red braised beef, braised pork & potatoes
Gong bao chicken
Stirfried eggs and tomatoes
Broad beans and spring onions
Simple stirfried spinach
Broccoli with garlic
Fish fragrant aubergines (no fish, totally vegan)
Green peppers with pork slivers
Stirfried potato slivers with spring onions
Yangzhou fried rice
Dan dan noodles (we add pork mince to this too)
Fuschia's emergency midnight noodles

If I was going to start by cooking a family meal from this book I'd make the smacked cucumber and stick in fridge, put the rice on to steam, make the pockmarked old woman tofu in your wok and then decant into a pot to keep warm, and then finally the stir-fried eggs and tomatoes.

Also in terms of bare minimum of special ingredients to try out a few dishes, you can get away with:
- dark soy sauce
- light soy sauce
- Chinkiang vinegar
- sesame oil
- potato flour (I actually found this in Sainsbury's with the kosher foods the other day)

Pretty much everything else is wonderful (chili bean paste, black beans, chilies, sichuan pepper etc) and you can order from Wing Yip online, but if you just want to try out a few dishes, the ingredients above are really all you need.

UptoapointLordCopper Wed 31-Jul-13 16:52:18

DS1 made the Marbled Chocolate Crumble cake. It's such a good cake in so many ways, not least the hidden surprise chunks of lovely dark chocolate. Yum yum yum.

We made the toll house yo-yo but with various types of gf flour (I think we used buckwheat instead of oats and various tail end of various bags of gf flour). It was very good. He did say cookies are forgiving with regards to gluten. We took it literally.

The sponge method of making bread is what I do for our regular everyday loaves. The milk loaf is heavenly and so easy.

The frying pan naan is very good and very easy. I've also made the pita, and the olive oil and potato flatbread, the spiced stout buns, the tea cakes, the brioche, the sourdough. They are all very good and very easy.

Cake-wise we've done the carrot cake, the butterscotch banana cake, the rye apple cake, the sticky lemon and poppy seed cake, the alchemist chocolate cake, the quinoa hazelnut cake (which the grownups like but not the kids) and the christmas caramel cake.

OMG when did I ever find time to do anything else! shock grin And I haven't even listed the small cakes and the cookies and the pies ...

Parsnipcake Wed 31-Jul-13 18:22:42

I have just made the sweet and sour fish tiles, they were lovely. The sauce was more caramelly than gloppy and went down well with everyone. My only issue is that I cooked the fish in my deep fat fryer and now I think the oil is tainted - I usuall y use it just for churros and doughnuts.

ZuleikaJambiere Wed 31-Jul-13 22:09:05

Just marking my place and hoping my copy of Every Grain of Rice is available from the library soon

Nolda Thu 01-Aug-13 09:22:21

I'm going to make vanilla cupcakes this am. Can anyone advise on egg sizes? It just says 2 eggs but I see in some other recipes he specifies large eggs. Do you think he means medium unless large are specified or that he generally uses large and forgot to write it down?

ELR Thu 01-Aug-13 09:39:33

I think generally its large eggs

mimolette Thu 01-Aug-13 14:28:24

Ooh very excited about prospect of cheesy scones - if others found them too cheesy, I am bound to love them smile Any other nice and easy savouries in there?

For recipes on Internet, quite often random bloggers repost them, so I find it easier to search by recipe name once it has been recommended by this good thread.

LeonardoAcropolis Thu 01-Aug-13 14:53:46

Hooray! I won't be able to join in until the middle of the month because i am getting Every Grain of Rice for my birthday, but I look forward to seeing your reviews.

May i be so bold as to suggest Raymond Blanc Kitchen Secrets for October?

UptoapointLordCopper Thu 01-Aug-13 15:24:36

mimolette These cheese and black pepper buttons are in Short and Sweet.

Xiaoxiong Thu 01-Aug-13 16:49:18

Uptoapoint those cheese and pepper buttons are delicious and perfect with a glass of wine, but I find they go stale really quickly, even stored in an airtight container.

Other things I've made -
the easy white bread
the farmhouse tin loaf
the multigrain and honey loaf (our standard loaf for breakfast toast here now, before it got really hot I was making 2 loaves a week!)
corn oil flour tortillas (SO much better than the store bought ones)
sticky lemon poppyseed cake (DIVINE)

The recipe for the lemon poppyseed cake appears to be all over the internet as well for those interested in giving it a go.

I notice in my lists that I haven't made any fish recipes from Fuchsia Dunlop, and almost nothing sweet from Dan Lepard! So that will be my cookery book club challenge this month.

UptoapointLordCopper Thu 01-Aug-13 17:07:56

Xiaoxiong I freeze them. Seems to be ok.

I've baked the walnut loaf with red wine. Haven't sliced it yet though...

Wearytiger Thu 01-Aug-13 17:50:34

Leonardo - good point. Books for October anyone? Raymond Blanc is an unusual choice, I don't think I have any of his books (unless he wrote that one on sauces which I have? Might be Michel roux)

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