Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Cookery challenge February -choosing a cookery book

Another month draws towards an end and as usual it's time for the cookery challenge again. Lucent who has organised the challenge has come up with a Year-Long Challenge instead of a monthly one. This is to choose a recipe book and try and cook as many recipes out of it as you can during the year!


My first challenge was to decide which book to use. My kitchen cupboard is quite full of cookery books already and I have probably only cooked a fraction of the recipes they contain - are you like this too?
My husband has recently converted to a dairy free diet and initially I was going to choose the book Eating for better health that has inspired the dairy free diet and contains many delicious recipes.

My son knew of these dietary changes and decided to give me River Cottage Veg for my birthday. As I looked though the delicious recipes I thought that this book would fit better to the challenge, as there wasn't a recipe that I didn't want to try! Although we are not vegetarians we don't eat very much meat. Hugh is one of my favourite cookery writers/chef/ campaigners and I have followed his adventures since his first TV programmes in 1998 when he moved into a cottage in the Dorset countryside and set out to achieve of form of rural self efficiency in Escape to River Cottage.  I have followed all his TV programmes, have two of his books and have also met him twice and been to days out at River Cottage and attended Sarah Raven courses there. I can confirm that he is just as friendly and natural as he appears on the TV! The 'Growing cutting flowers course' was held at the first River Cottage HQ and I think Hugh was more involved in the courses in those days. He met Sarah Raven when they were both training as doctors and they have remained good friends as their careers have taken different directions!


These pictures are taken at River Cottage back in 2007 when they were undertaking work of restoring the original farm building - the kitchen garden was already looking magnificent.


Sorry I slightly side-tracked - getting back to the cookery challenge ! I have only had my cookery book for a week and have already tried out a few recipes with great success!

 Aubergine parmigiana,  cauliflower and chickpea curry and pea and parsley soup.

Although these recipes were good, our favourite so far was the Aubergine see recipe here. Those with a keen eye may have noticed the grated cheese - this was a soya version I wouldn't recommend it to eat on it's own, but it is quite acceptable in cooking. We have been quite impressed with the soya and dairy-free products we have tried and I am rapidly converting and experimenting with my favourite recipes to make them dairy-free. Does anyone else have special diets they have to follow, or any tips for a dairy-free diet?
What is your favourite cookery book?

The other participants  in the cookery challenge are:-


  If you are interested in joining, please contact Lucent- you can start at any time.

Sarah


37 comments:

  1. I have had the river cottage veg book in my amazon wish list for ages - good to hear that you have been enjoying it. Juliex

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  2. I was also thinking about doing this book! Looking forward to your updates throughout the year! :)

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  3. I haven't had meat or fish for the last 27 years - I became a vegetarian at 14 and now i eat mostly vegan when I'm at home. I still eat vegetarian when I'm dining out and there are no better options. I never heard of this guy but I'm very interested! I'll see if I can find some of his tv programmes online...a cottage? Self sufficiency? My thing, definetly.

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  4. Hi Sarah, we love Hugh at our house, the kids have watched his programmes, and the re-runs. I didn't realise River Cottage was in Dorset, yet another reason to visit ONE day! My kids have allergies, but thankfully Lucy outgrew her dairy one by 7 yrs, they still can't eat eggs, and Hunter is highly allergic to peanuts. I've been introducing them to vegetarian meals, and its been going well, especially curries. So will check out Hugh's veg book! S:)

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  5. Good luck with this lovely challenge Sarah - I am thinking how lucky your family will feel!

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  6. I got that cookbook for Christmas and totally agree - I wanted to make everything! I need to pull it back out again, so thanks for the reminder!

    I'm vegetarian but don't eat a lot of dairy either. I have recently switched from soy milk to almond milk for my smoothies and muesli and I'm really enjoying it. Making your baking dairy free is also quite simple - you can substitute eggs for apple sauce or mashed banana, or buy an egg-replacer powder. Plus there's lots of great vegan recipes out there these day!

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    1. We have tried almond milk this week I found the almond milk quite sweet. I like the oat milk.I have tried chocolate cake with mashed banana it was delicious I will have to try apple too.
      Sarah x

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    2. Sarah, have you tried unsweetened almond milk?

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    3. In the US you can buy unsweetened almond milk which is what I buy. My daughter makes her own and says it is easy.

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    4. We get unsweetened almond milk in Australia too, so I buy an organic unsweetened version which is really nice.

      I pulled out the cookbook over the weekend and made a couple of things for dinner last night - they were great! I'll do a post in the next few days about it hopefully - thanks so much for the reminder to use this book!

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  7. I don't think that you can go far wrong with Hugh's book. I have never tried soya cheese, in fact I am not sure that I have ever seen it. Love aubergines and I could imagine that is a delicious dish. You mentioned your husband, and hope that he is getting on alright.

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    1. My husband is doing OK he is has to wait a few months for an operation, so it feels as if we are doing something ourselves to hopefully help in the meantime.
      Sarah x

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  8. Hi Sarah,

    We have enjoyed watching Hugh's River Cottage shows - he is such a good cook and his recipe book looks great. Thanks for sharing and will look out for this.
    I have a lot of recipe books and lately I have been trying new recipes, instead of so often just making the same old meals from week to week.
    Hope you are having a great week
    hugs
    Carolyn

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  9. Oh my gosh I'm so excited you went off on the tangent about River Cottage! I don't know how, but i've only just discovered his shows in the last few weeks and have been recording everything I can. I just adore the cottage and was thinking the other day that if we get to that area, I hope it coincides with some kind of public event. We'll have to go together! Sometimes the landscape shots of the cottage and surrounding land as the sun sets makes me pause the show and just look at it like a photo - so beautiful. I'm so so happy to have you beside me on this challenge. (i'm attempting to turn as many of my recipes into gluten-free or will sometimes just bake those gluten-containing ones for other people or my husband's colleagues, won't they love that! xx

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    1. That's a co-incidence that you have recently found River Cottage! It is a spectacular setting in the valley, it would be fun to go to event together.
      Sarah x

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  10. Hi Sarah - hope you and hubby are ok. Love River Cottage too, especially the early ones, the later ones not so much, feel like Hugh isnt involved in them as much as he used to be. We met him fishing on Charmouth beach! Julie x

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  11. I'm on a dairy free diet too, his series was brill...might try and get this one! :) x

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  12. I'm really interested in the book, we eat far too much meat in our house but I can get away with more vegge meals in things like curry. I'm not a great fan of any kind of meat myself, but husband and children are.

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  13. This sounds an excellent idea Sarah and I think I might join you. I have loads of books stashed away in all sorts of nooks and crannies so I'll sort one out and go with it. I take it we can do this as and when we have the motivation/time etc? It sounds a lot of fun. I make that Aubergine parmigiana myself and love it.
    Patricia x

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    1. Lucent is always very keen to make life as simple as possible so you can post about the book as many or as little times during the year as you like - I have always found the challenges fun rather than a chore.

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  14. PS - sorry Sarah I meant to say I hope your husband's feeling better x

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    1. He is doing OK -see my response to Rosemary above!
      Sarah x

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  15. Good morning Sarah and Daisy!

    There is nothing like a little side-track to the shore, to a stone cottage, to enhance your spirit! Whether you are challenged by new ideas for the kitchen and table, or you are sharing your walks along the shore, you make me happy. Cheers dear! Anita

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  16. That sounds like a good book to follow, and thanks for the review and recommendation! My husband isn't a fan of all-veg diet, but I'm sure we'll be needing that some day in the future.

    I'm glad you shared with us these photos too -- my goodness, look at that vegetable garden!

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  17. Hi Sarah,
    I am not familiar with Hugh's cooking or cook books.
    I thought this post rather interesting, as yesterday, for the first time. I made soya curry.. it turned out really well.
    Coconut milk is very good.. I often substitute with it. Although i am drinking less and less milk.. water is the finest drink for our system.
    I love your dishes.. they all sound good.. I have made chic pea curry before . i must try it with the cauliflower... I have Indian friends and learnt from them some nice vegetarian dishes. I just dont want to eat meat anymore.
    wish you good cooking days Sarah.all sounds so exciting.
    val x

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  18. I was going to set myself the challenge of choosing a different cookery book from my shelves each week and making a recipe. I've even taken photos of said shelves for a blog post but never got any further than that! Good luck with your challenge - I look forward to seeing what else you make. x

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  20. Hi Sarah - Having been vegetarian for over 30 years it’s nice to see something like River Cottage Veg come along – I enjoyed the TV series especially the challenges he set for his chefs who weren’t all that keen on the no meat idea. As my two sons are now away at uni I only have myself to please so you’ve got me thinking about dusting off some recipe books and trying this cookery challenge.
    Well off to take my Daisy (also a Westie) for a walk . . . no sun , but no rain either so that must be good
    Have a lovely day what ever your weather x

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  21. lovely to read this! After trying Aubergines last week I may have to give that dish a go

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  22. Oh yes, shelves full of cookery books here too.. very rarely used! What a great idea for a challenge.
    I've enjoyed many of the River Cottage programmes, but not yet seen the book.
    I'd dearly love to go vegetarian but Mike is not keen and I refuse to cook twice!
    Little by little I am finding recipes to tempt him.

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  23. Hello Sarah,
    I have a few cook books but no recipes that are diet. I should at least have one so I can substitute a meal or two each week. It is hard when you have a spouse that is a meat and potatoes kind of guy. After 20 years I have at least gotten in the rotation fish at least once a week. : )
    I feel bad when I post the nice weather we are having. I hope you have some warm day ahead soon. My rose bushes are starting to bud and I'm going to start sowing some summer vegetables soon. Hope you have a great weekend and thank you for visiting my blog.
    Blessings,
    Bobbie Lynn

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  24. I saw Hugh's cooking programmes when I was over last November. He does seem down to earth (no pun intended with the veg garden) and I like cooking shows in a setting rather than a fake studio set.

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  25. I have never heard of River cottage before but from everyone's comments it sounds pretty excellent. I will have to try and find some on the interwebs! Good luck for the challenge.

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  26. Hi Sarah
    My daughter has this book and has tried several of the recipes and I have wondered about buying it too. I probably won;t be trying the aubergine one though as this is the only food that my husband doesn't like! My favourite recipe book at the moment is A Year at Avoca, Cooking for Ireland. Thank you for you comments on my last post. I don't actually have physical contact with the trainer, it is just advise by email. I have to admit that I don't like exercise and the only thing I do is walk down along the beach!

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  27. Great idea! I have so many cookery books I hardly touch - or where I do just one recipe again and again. Have you seen the film Julie & Julia? I recently saw it on TV and your project reminded me of it - only maybe not quite so obsessive! Good luck!

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    1. I have read the book sometime ago,I must try and catch the film!
      Sarah x

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  28. Thanks to this post I have started cooking all kinds of things from this cookbook which was being neglected on my shelf (with all the others!). Cheers for the inspiration!

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