Cookery Book Club February - Claudia Roden and Rachel Allen

(60 Posts)
Pantah630 Wed 29-Jan-14 10:54:57

Welcome to February, Spring is on it's way but it's still cold or wet enough for hearty stews and one pots. This month is a no Cookbook buying month for me anyway so we have any Claudia Roden and Rachel Allen books you can lay your hands on. CR should be readily available in libraries and I found some of her recipes with a quick google search. Likewise Rachel Allen, she is a regular in the Good Food channel so they have lots of her recipes on their website. I'll put some links up in a bit. Happy cooking folks.

Pantah630 Wed 29-Jan-14 10:58:51
Pantah630 Wed 29-Jan-14 11:00:12

RA recipes here there are plenty more if you google. I have a few of her books so can try and scan in if anyone wants one in particular.

HuevosRancheros Wed 29-Jan-14 11:39:10

I'm in, and promise to try something this month!
Claudia look promising for a veggie, haven't looked at Rachel yet, thanks for the links smile

IpanemaMeisje Wed 29-Jan-14 11:59:13

Can I join in? Feeling a bit isolated having just moved to South America. Haven't done cooking club before. Only potential problem is that I might struggle to buy all the ingredients over here...

Pantah630 Wed 29-Jan-14 12:15:30

Of course you can. Whereabouts in South America are you, hopefully most foods available nearby or online. I imagine you have better access to fresh fruit and veg than us, just different ones smile

Pantah630 Wed 29-Jan-14 12:16:28

Huevos I've not looked in my RA books yet, will have a gander tonight and see if anything good in there. Though one if them is a baking one smile

glorious Wed 29-Jan-14 12:44:25

Thanks pantah , and for the links to save me from myself!

Thanks for the new thread pantah.
I have Rachel Allens everyday, and have made the quick chicken casserole, it's very orange, but absolutely delicious. I'm a real fan of this book it so family based and I want to cook a lot from it. I've got a few more recipes from last months books to do, but come February I'm planning on making the chorizo dough balls, the risotto and arancini at leastsmile

madamecake Sat 01-Feb-14 18:29:37

Thanks for the new thread and the links pantah.

I'm making my first recipes from RA tonight, spicy lamb pittas and fattoush salad. I think they're both from Easy but the recipes are on the link pantah posted. Will post later on to let know how they go.

Cantdothisagain Sat 01-Feb-14 18:40:22

RA enchiladas tonight here. Have made them before - they are probably highly inauthentic but they are good and comforting in the current weather... Liking the look of her fish gratin too - book is v family friendly with v accessible ingredients which is good.

madamecake Sun 02-Feb-14 19:43:18

Well the spicy lamb pittas were lovely, not spicy enough for my taste but I just added some chilli powder. Really easy to do and didn't need any special ingredients, I think they will become a regular in our house.

The fattoush was also good, although I prefer my dressing slightly more acidic.

Have been on a roll and also made RA's orange sour cream cake this afternoon. Perfect cake to go with a cup of tea, very buttery tasting and not too sweet.

I'm surprised by how much I'm enjoying Rachel Allen's recipes, but they seem very family friendly and straightforward. I've requested her Everyday book from the library so hope it comes in soon.

ELR Tue 04-Feb-14 16:19:00

Marking place, thanks for thread pantah xx

I'm making Rachel Allen everyday perfect mash potato tonight. I'm sceptical, but then, before we did river cafe I thought James Martins was the best mash, I've since switched to the river cafe olive oil mash (sounds odd- it's beautiful) so I'm clearly somewhat whorish in the ways of mash, so maybe this will be my new mashwink

glorious Wed 05-Feb-14 20:16:53

Right from RA I'm going to do cheesy chorizo dough balls and leek and fennel roast chicken. Cakes look fun but I'm egg free atm as DD is allergic.

Mash is very nice- not perfect though. Dough balls tomorrowwink

ELR Wed 05-Feb-14 22:39:02

So today from Rachel Allen I made the butternut and leek grata nit was delicious. I didn't bother to layer it and just did it in an oven dish. Gonna check out those dough balls they sound delish!

Didn't get round to the dough balls yesterday- too many sick children for dough. But I made Rachel Allen everyday lentil soup- it is absolutely delicious, gorgeously buttery (with no butter) warm and comforting. I felt silly following a lentil soup recipe, as it's so often a chuck it in and make in a rush dinner here that I thought I had lentil soup down- I didn't, this will now be my go to lentil soup for the family. smile

HuevosRancheros Fri 07-Feb-14 10:47:21

OK pregnant, you've convinced me smile
I'm exactly the same, didn't see the point in following a lentil soup recipe, but it was one of the few things that tempted me, I'm not really in a cake mood atm.
Will give it a go smile

Pantah630 Fri 07-Feb-14 11:49:48

Bookmarking the soup and leek gratin. Keep the recommendations coming please. Not sure how much cooking I'll get done this month. dS2 off skiing with school in half term and lots on in the evenings beforehand. I don't know if I can bring myself to bother cooking when he's not here, on the other hand DH may be in for a treat and I start cooking intimate dinners for two grin

My DC loved the soup.

I did RA everday chicken with wine, leeks and carrots this evening. it too was very very nice, easy, family based comfort food. The chicken was lovely and moist infused with the garlic and thyme, and the leeks took on a very sweet savoury taste baked in the wine. Another hit with the family (though dd1 asked for 'the warm taste soup' which I thought was a lovely description of the lentil soup.) This book is turning out to be a favourite- it's none too exciting but so so family basedsmile it's great IMO

Cantdothisagain Fri 07-Feb-14 22:47:22

I agree that this is a very family friendly book. The double choc chip cookies went down a treat with the kids today.

Steak fajitas were good too - maybe not Thomasina level, but good easy everyday food.

HuevosRancheros Sun 09-Feb-14 12:34:24

Claudia Roden on Radio 4 food programme right now smile

glorious Tue 11-Feb-14 12:41:34

Cool must listen to the podcast

mimolette Tue 11-Feb-14 21:52:07

ELR, can you please share the leek and butternut gratin recipe? Can't find it online and it sounds like a perfect match for the current contents of my vegetable drawer! (No need for full recipe, necessarily, just the gist and what she uses as sauce.)

madamecake Wed 12-Feb-14 10:51:52

Made the chorizo dough balls on Monday to serve with soup. They were great, and the recipe made lots so I've now got a bag in the freezer for another day. Dd wasn't keen but she's not a fan of chorizo.

However, the absolutely best thing I've made in ages is the banana blondie recipe from Easy. They were divine and only lasted a couple of days before we had eaten them all. The almond praline that goes in them really gave them a toffee flavour.

I'm planning on making the Thai pork noodle soup tonight, followed by the apple butterscotch pudding. I'm very tempted to buy RA everyday kitchen, will have to look out for a cheap copy.

Not made any Claudia Roden recipes yet, but I like the sound of her chicken tagine with lemons and green olives from arabesque.

Still not got around to the dough ballsangry they will be made before the month is out.

I have made Rachel everyday tartiflette though. Hardly traditional, but very easy and delicious, and a real treat when it's raining so much outside. The thyme really complimented the cheese, and I thought a generous amount of pepper and a side salad for crunch made it.

I've got hold of Claudia arabesque for the next two Weeks so will get cracking on her recipes shortly, though not as impressed with this book as other similarly themed books I own, but, as most cookbooks do, I'm sure it'll grow on mesmile

IpanemaMeisje Thu 13-Feb-14 22:24:12

Pantah fruit and veg great here but usual store cupboard stuff harder to find.

Having flicked back and forth through Food for Living, think I will try the Bacon, Sausage, Bean Stew, beans popular in Rio but haven't found bacon yet sad

Also the Mocha Kisses look good and it is Valentines. Do you think I can substitute drinking choc for instant coffee in half of mix so kids can also enjoy?

glorious Fri 14-Feb-14 08:40:53

Bit ott but could you make bacon? it's easy but getting hold of stuff to cure could be tricky I guess.

We had RA roast chicken with leek and fennel last night. So easy it barely qualifies as cooking! It needed a good season and we made a sauce with the pan juices which I'd recommend. I'd add more of the veg next time and some chunky slices of lemon would really bring it together. But it was tasty as it was and a good jumping off point.

Pantah630 Fri 14-Feb-14 09:38:32

I can ask my DB's partner, he is Brazilian and loves his meat. Should know where to get bacon or if it's available there.

Pantah630 Fri 14-Feb-14 11:26:27

Apparently, you do have it in Brazil just uncut, readily available in supermarkets and butchers. Good look in your hunt smile

I need to get cooking but am now worried about DS2s ski trip, they're due to get ferry from Dover very late tonight, I think it will be cancelled due to the wind and am waiting on tenterhooks for school to make the logical decision of switching to the tunnel, even if they charge us an extra £20 each. Completely off topic...apologies.

Pantah630 Fri 14-Feb-14 11:55:59

ipanema he just sent me this picture as what you need to look for grin

glorious Fri 14-Feb-14 12:02:58

Excellent bacon advice! grin

Sorry about the ski trip pantah hope it won't ruin your Valentine plans. Mysteriously ill baby here sad

ELR Fri 14-Feb-14 12:32:07

minmolet sorry only just saw your post so probably a little late now but here hoes a quick version.

Chop butternut into small chunks season and roast.
Sauté leeks, garlic and a little onion in butter then add grain or Dijon mustard, white wine and cream then fold in a few handfuls of spinach. Add the roasted butternut squash and place in an oven proof dish. I added a few ladles of stock as it was a little dry.
For the gratin topping mix equal quantities of grated Parmesan, bread crumbs and chopped hazelnuts season and chuck on top of the veg and roast until golden.
Make a sauce of cream, wine and stock by reducing in a pan I added a little corn flour to thicken, and serve alongside the gratin would be lovely as a side to some roast meat but I just ate it on its own with some asparagus and it was really nice.
Haven't really made much just lamb Kofte and shortbread my own recipes but flicked through RA which gave me insertion!

I made another couple of Rachel Allen everyday recipes last night, the ginger pork stir fry, more of an idea than a recipe, but which dh loved- it was very simple, not authentic, but lovely and tasty as are all the recipes.

I also made the butterscotch apple pudding, which my children liked, but I felt was far too stodgy and sweet. A nice apple crumble would have been less fuss and tastier IMO. But then I'm neither good at nor a fan of desert.

IpanemaMeisje Fri 14-Feb-14 14:55:10

Pantah yes please.

glorious your idea made me smile as I was vegetarian until quite recently. Might be a bit beyond me at the moment smile but I will google it and see what I need to do!

IpanemaMeisje Fri 14-Feb-14 15:02:52

Sorry, should have refreshed before my previous post.

I will look up some appropriate Portuguese phrases and get down to the deli!

Hope the ski trip goes ahead, can't believe how bad the UK weather has been.

glorious Fri 14-Feb-14 15:24:12

You just basically whack a load of salt and stuff on it, but former veggies are definitely excused, sorry! grin

madamecake Fri 14-Feb-14 16:04:45

I completely agree with you about the butterscotch apple pudding pregnant, and I say this as a big dessert fan. A crumble would have been simpler.

But we did enjoy the Thai pork noodle soup, very simple and only needed store cupboard ingredients.

Have also made the double chocolate cookies, really good recipe, not too gooey, not too crunchy and seem to keep quite well unlike some cookies that are either stale or completely soft by the next day.

Fingers crossed for your ds's ski trip pantah.

Mmm, we had Rachel honey duck and red cabbage today with roast baby new potatoes. Delicious. The duck was like butter to cut, and so flavourful, I'm looking forward to the duck soup tomorrow as it's so lovely. The cabbage was a wonderful accompaniment, perhaps made too much, as it was an accompaniment and not a side IMO as it's so sweet, but it can be frozen and as I will be making the duck again, then that is to it's favour tbh.
I've never cooked duck well done before, as I'm generally a rare person, but it was worth it and I will do it again (with a whole duck, I wouldn't so bastardize a breast alone) it's so meltingly tender cooked slow and well done.

Very happy again.

I had planned a Claudia recipe yesterday while todays duck defrosted- the chicken thighs I bought on the day, were off- gone chicken has such a disgusting smell I'm off chicken for a few days nowsad angry dh wouldn't let me take the rotten chicken back either as I had opened it and apparently 'its embarrassing for four quid' - four quidshock angry he clearly hasn't noticed my weekly budget it 40, ten percent is a lot, and eventually I will run out of frozen meat! Argh! Sorry ranted a bit more than intended.

glorious Sun 16-Feb-14 20:45:34

Oh no that's awful pregnant, where were they from? Grr to DH too.

We finally had the doughballs, yum. But was I the only one not to squeeze all the cheese in?!

Tesco. I don't want to defame tesco though- the likelihood is they'd have taken them back happily and meat is a product that IMO can't be dated for fresh after the first two days post slaughter, not their fault necessarily.
I am going to try the balls, but based on the tartiflette she can over cheese- I used less than was suggested.

glorious Sun 16-Feb-14 21:57:33

That's very fair of you. I like the phrase 'over cheese', going to use that

Pantah630 Tue 18-Feb-14 18:52:00

Finally getting started this month. I'm cooking Claudia Rodens puttanesca sauce from Food of Italy to go with some baked chicken breasts and frozen chips tasting in the pan and it's good.

DS2 arrived at the ski resort 24hrs after leaving school, 6hr delay at ferry and it was predictably very, very rough. No contact since so no news is good news I hope. We had our own disaster as a tree came down Friday night, missing car by an inch. Luckily DH had moved my bike just beforehand or I'd still be crying now. We are a quick clean up crew so lots of logs for my fab MiLs wood burner, in her 70s she came over and helped in the log shifting as DH chainsawed merrily. I hope the rest of you managed to dodge the falling trees and other debris.

Cantdothisagain Tue 18-Feb-14 19:41:34

Stressful time for you Pantah! Glad the falling tree didn't cause too much damage.

Made the double choc chip cookies from Rachel again. Kids really like them and they are v easy to make, good half term fun.

Also made the salted caramel sauce and choc mousse - really good.

mimolette Tue 18-Feb-14 20:41:33

Yikes, Pantah, hope the weather behaves itself for you and your family from now on!
ELR, thank you very much - I made the butternut squash and leek gratin tonight to your instructions. It was nice, and I especially liked the addition of hazelnuts. Now have the rest of the bag (don't think I'd ever bought them before!), so will be on the look out for ideas on how to use them.

IpanemaMeisje Tue 18-Feb-14 23:24:34

I like the 'over cheese' phrase too. I made her Fish Gratin a while ago for friends and it got the thumbs down sad too cheesy apparently.

I haven't dare try it since but am looking again thinking maybe my children would enjoy it mmmm

Oh pantahshock that must have been awful! I would be terrified , if the tree outside our house came down I think dd1 and I would be hurt badly at best- it's a scary thought. I'm sure your ds will make all the more adventure from the rough crossing and will have a great time.

Rachel duck soup recipe for the leftover duck was indeed delicious. Best packed lunch I've had in ages. Not committing to it, but as I have the last leg of duck to use today, I'm considering the duck spring rolls- but anything seems possible before the DC are up and the mood of the day is set doesn't it?

HuevosRancheros Wed 19-Feb-14 16:07:22

Mimolette, I have hazelnuts in the house for two recipes right now!

Roasted cauliflower and hazelnut salad, from Ottolenghi's Jerusalem, link here
and these amazing looking biscuits from the ever-reliable Smitten Kitchen are just screaming at me to be made!

Cantdothisagain Wed 19-Feb-14 20:04:27

Huevos, the Jerusalem cauli hazelnut salad is gorgeous...

HuevosRancheros Wed 19-Feb-14 20:54:05

Yes, I've done the salad before, after everyone on here raved about it, and loved it, though a tad too sweet for me, for a salad smile

But not made those biscuits yet, and they keep staring at me on Pinterest, so they may be tomorrow's project with the kids grin

glorious Thu 20-Feb-14 20:42:08

Had the RA sausage and bean bake today, which was lovely in a simple way. Avoided any risk of over-cheesing by not weighing it out grin

I love that over cheese is catching on.grin
I did the spring rolls- as ever unauthentic, simple and tasty. I added a chilli, as DC were not eating them, and IMO they were better for it. She really doesn't like heat does she? I've added a bit of chilli to a few things of hers I've made and it usually improves it. It's in the interest of family and DC I suppose.

madamecake Mon 24-Feb-14 15:25:48

Made the quick chicken casserole at the weekend with leftover roast chicken. Nice, easy dinner, and I'll eat almost anything if it's got tarragon in it so I loved it.

I also made the double chocolaye cookies and the banana blondies again. These have both become favourites in our house, even dh who doesn't have a sweet tooth asked if I would make the blondies again.

Don't think I'll be cooking much else this month, I'm using up all the batch cooked food in the freezer before we move out for a month and the builders move in!

ELR Tue 25-Feb-14 13:28:30

Hi all, just caught up and pleased I don't need to feel too bad about not cooking much this month as the thread hasn't moved on too much.
Use hazelnuts: make a chocolate cake add chopped pears and crushed hazelnuts in, or sprinkle on top of a chocolate and banana cake or just eat them!!
Did the chorizo ball things in half term and they were nice.
The blondies sound good which book are they in?

glorious Tue 25-Feb-14 17:34:11

So what are we doing for March? Don't think we decided but may have forgotten.

That Food Programme episode is really interesting, CR is quite a woman. I need to actually cook something from her...

I believe hairy dieters and Paul Hollywood were in for March, with any Leon book and the jewelled kitchen for April. But if I am wrong feel free to correct me.

Pantah630 Wed 26-Feb-14 22:19:50

I've been useless this month, just the one CR recipe for me. Thankfully DS2 back S&S desperate for decent food, the only thing he didn't like on the ski trip smile

Yes, Hairy Dieters and Paul Hollywood for March, will sort new thread ASAP.

I haven't cooked one thing from the 3/4 RA books I've got, they're not the same as you all had and nothing jumped out when I scanned at the beginning of the month. When things calm down here I'll have another look.

glorious Thu 27-Feb-14 07:16:43

oops, so we did! smile

Pantah630 Thu 27-Feb-14 07:49:57

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