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Cookbook club - September is GBBO month!

(61 Posts)
ScienceRocks Sun 31-Aug-14 13:36:11

This is a thread for all those wanting to share their experiences of cooking from any of the recipe books or blogs written by the Great British Bake Off judges Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood, and any of the contestants or spin off books.

For those not familiar with the MN cookbook club, the idea is to choose a couple of books each month and then cook a few of the recipes from one or both. The thread means anyone taking part can celebrate successes, highlight problems or mistakes in recipes, and pass on any tips or changes that others may want to incorporate when they cook the same recipe. And if course, we have tried and tested the MN cookbook Top Bananas!

In the past we have done books by well known cooks such as nigella lawson and nigel slater, searched through blogs by the likes of smitten kitchen and been wowed by the flavours of yotam ottolenghi and Thomasina miers. Some of us find it gives focus to our menu planning, others feel it is the encouragement needed to try something different, whereas for some people it is the push needed to dust down an ignored book from the kitchen shelf and leaf through its pages for inspiration.

All welcome!

HuevosRancheros Sun 31-Aug-14 15:11:48

I'm in smile
I have the Showstoppers book (a gift), but I am not really a showstopper kind of baker. I will try to be this month smile
Also keen to try some Paul Hollywood breads

Didn't fancy either of last month's authors, I'm afraid, hence my absence, but I am back now grin

(Also need to make a new batch of chipotle en adobo, as my last batch has run out grin)

HuevosRancheros Sun 31-Aug-14 15:12:59

Oh, sorry, first thing I meant to say was Thanks to Science for starting the thread blush smile

ScienceRocks Sun 31-Aug-14 17:37:32


<runs for a hug, which neatly covers the leaning in to whisper "you can buy chipotle in adobo from Cool Chile, along with fresh tortillas and many many other Mexican goodies">


ScienceRocks Sun 31-Aug-14 17:39:01

I have Mary berry cooks so will do some from that. I have done a lot of mr hollywood's breads so probably won't do anymore, but if am happy to share what I have learned if anyone does do some.

I also have How To Avoid A Soggy Bottom and Mary Berry's Fast Cakes so will dip into those too.

Cantdothisagain Sun 31-Aug-14 18:05:20

I have Mary Berry Cooks and Paul H How to Bake, so I'm in! Though I am not a huge PH fan...

Pantah630 Sun 31-Aug-14 19:48:32

Thanks science for the new thread! signing in. I have been very neglectful of August, have the books but have been home so little that I've not been cooking new things. Will try and do August and September books this month.

ScienceRocks Sun 31-Aug-14 23:09:21

Hello cantdothisagain and Pantah!

I'm not a fan of PH either, but his bread recipes are the best I have ever done. His cakes? Not so much.

glorious Mon 01-Sep-14 20:48:25

Woo thanks for the new thread.

HuevosRancheros Mon 01-Sep-14 21:23:03

OK Science, that's the second time you've mentioned this chilli company - you on commission? wink

I still have a shed load of chipotles left, so best to 'en adobo' them, and frankly, I enjoy it, sad I know grin

But tell me about these fresh tortillas........ I should 'fess up now and admit that I use Discovery ones atm, just cos they are the only ones that don't all stick together!!
What's so great about the fresh ones?
Daft question, but could I freeze them and they'd still be good?

Last Mexican shopping I did, I bought a tortilla press, I do get carried away blush But mine weren't very good, too thick and chewy.....

ScienceRocks Mon 01-Sep-14 22:33:52

Huevos, no commission for me, alas! I think I've just really got back into cooking from the wahaca books, and when I sat down and planned what I wanted to make, it made sense to do a specialist order for the ingredients I was missing. And then, as I was paying for delivery anyway, it made even more sense to add a few bits and pieces, you know, just to try wink

I really like the tortillas from there because they are little and make great tacos (like you get in wahaca). You can big ones too, even blue corn ones! They arrive fresh but vacuum packed so can be frozen. I haven't tried the tortilla press yet but have masa harina poised and ready to go.

But anyway, onto this month. Tonight I did the triple tomato risotto from Mary berry cooks, though I didn't have tomato purée (how does that happen?) and only had sundried tomatoes rather than sunblush, and didn't have any jarred peppers. However, it was very nice and I would definitely do it again. It would make a nice family dinner, I reckon.

I also did the double chocolate chip cookies from the same book, though a lack of cocoa meant they were just singles! I used self raising flour to make them chewy rather than crunchy and they went down well with my two DDs. Very easy too.

ScienceRocks Tue 02-Sep-14 12:32:19

If anyone is interested, here are my thoughts on other things I have cooked from MB Cooks:

Spinach, ham and gruyere quiche - very tasty, made a good dinner dish for the ILs and my parents.

Raspberry and lime cream pots - very simple but very nice.

Summer pudding loaf - accidentally used summer fruits and plums as the label had fallen off in the freezer, but it was really good.

Warm chocolate fondant tart - looks impressive and really not difficult to do. Tasted great as well.

Scones - very easy (mr hollywood, kindly take note!) and excellent.

I have made a lot from PH's How To Bake, more than I can easily list here, but please say if anyone wants to know if something works etc, as I may well know!

HuevosRancheros Wed 03-Sep-14 12:20:08

Thanks Science
Have How to Bake, Pies & Puds and Mary Berry Cooks on order from the library, so have to be patient for a while smile

Off topic, can anyone recommend a Korean cookbook?
Sous Chef have just emailed me with "5 Korean ingredients you must have"!! and now I want to cook Korean! grin

OhTheHugeManatee Wed 03-Sep-14 19:07:19

I failed utterly last month. I got books by both Fay Ripley and The Barefoot Contessa from the library but didn't want to cook anything from either book - which I know is kind of the challenge, so I really should have just chosen something at random.

I'll do better this month! How to Bake and Mary Berry Cooks are on order from the library.

I've made Mary Berry's Florentines from the bbc website - very quick, easy and utterly delicious.

madamecake Mon 08-Sep-14 08:51:01

Managed to get Paul Hollywood - How to Bake and Edd Kimber - The boy who bakes from the library, so will be using those alongside any recipes I find online.

Made PH's garlic bread at the weekend and it came out perfectly with a lovely texture, we just found it far to garlickly as it used 3 bulbs between 2 smallish loaves.

I also made Dulce de leche banana bread pudding and ginger creme anglais from EK. The pudding was very easy to make and the crème anglais was delicious, even if I did manage to scramble it very slightly!

Looking forward to trying more of PH's bread recipes. Does anyone have any recommendations?

ScienceRocks Mon 08-Sep-14 20:43:57

Madamecake, I have done most of the bread from How To Bake, even the sourdough. High points for me - off the top of my head -are the pittas, the milk loaf, the ale bread, the cheddar and apple bread, and the barm cakes. I quite like the lemon drizzle cake, but the scones are far too much faff and taste of baking powder.

I will have a look and report more of my findings if you want?

I've made hobie's tuna pasta bake from Mary berry cooks this evening. It is much nicer than the component parts suggested to me (eggs plus fish plus cheese can equal barf) but it has confirmed my suspicion that nobody in my family likes tinned tuna!

ScienceRocks Tue 09-Sep-14 20:24:34

Starting to feel like this is my personal thread...

Did the cottage pie with dauphinois topping from Mary Berry Cooks tonight. A huge hit, particularly with dd1 who isn't keen on mash and loved this as an alternative. I added carrots as I thought it a little light on veg. I also halved the recipe, but even so, it would easily have fed four or five, even at my huge portion size blush

I haven't completely discounted last night's pasta bake, but I think I would try it with chicken instead of tuna next time.

HuevosRancheros Tue 09-Sep-14 20:58:28

I will be on here soon, had an email from the library to say my PH books are in, will collect tomorrow

(Been chipotle-ing today, have enough to last me a couple of years!)

ScienceRocks Tue 09-Sep-14 22:49:01

Huevos! I have a code for cool chile if you want it...

HuevosRancheros Wed 10-Sep-14 07:30:26

Ooh, go on then, never can resist a bargain! wink

DH bought me loads of chillies for Christmas, which I'm still working my way through, plus he bought me a growing kit so I've got loads of fresh ones....

But those fresh tortillas looked tempting grin

madamecake Wed 10-Sep-14 07:40:33

Yes please Science, I'm off to buy some organic apples this morning to get my sourdough starter going. Glad you recommended the cheddar and apple bread as that's the next recipe I want to try!

ScienceRocks Wed 10-Sep-14 07:50:51

It's MEXICO, and you need to use it by sep 11 smile

Madamecake, do note what ph says about the size of container for the sourdough starter. It grows and grows and grows at one stage, which is awesome but also a little scary if you have the wrong size jar like I did! You also don't have discard half when he says - instead you could donate it to a like minded person for them to make their own starter...

The cheese and apple bread is very good, I think it was the first thing I made from the book. I halved the recipe and just did one loaf instead of two. Have fun!

ScienceRocks Wed 10-Sep-14 07:51:15

Sorry Huevos, the code is 10 per cent off smile

Cantdothisagain Wed 10-Sep-14 12:39:30

Thanks for the code Science.
Reporting back:
Mary Berry's lamb curry is lovely - very inauthentic and almost tagine- like - but very nice nonetheless.

Her shortbread is also v good (but I prefer Jamie's).

Pantah630 Wed 10-Sep-14 12:41:29

I have brought TGBBO How to Bake into work today, in a desperate attempt for inspiration smile

Am tempted to make the drop scones, we are having a camp out night with Cubs and I thought these might work cooked over the BBQ for breakfast. I have an old welsh cast iron griddle. Has anyone made them and are they as good as the ones in Top Bananas?

Also tempted by the cheese and onion tear and share bread, double choc marbled loaf cake and the quick choc fudge cake.

I will report back when I've tried some.

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