Sunday, 7 September 2014

Cookery book challenge : weeks 29-32

It's been back to work this week after a couple of weeks off. With that and busy evenings, there's not been much time for blogging though I do have lots to show and tell. However, first it's my regular cookery book challenge update. Those of you who are new to this series of posts can find out how it all began here.

Week 29 : Return of the Naked Chef - Jamie Oliver

I think this is the third of Jamie's books to appear in the Challenge and there are still more to come! There was lots to tempt us this time.

Mozzarella, mint, nectarine and prosciutto salad

The original recipe had peaches which you were supposed to peel. That seemed a faff and I don't like the fuzzy skin of peaches, so I used nectarines instead. It also didn't seem to be substantial enough for dinner so I fleshed it out with some cucumber and broad beans given to me by a colleague who has an allotment. A lovely combination of flavours and another dish which leaves you feeling smugly healthy. Well, until I had the fruit pie and ice cream for dessert :)

Tray-baked cod with beans, prosciutto and pine nuts

I think I've said before that one of our favourite Jamie recipes is his tray-baked salmon, so it was an easy choice to try a different version. This one is just as delicious and particularly with the addition of my home-grown yellow courgettes. The yellow beans were home-grown too.

Week 30 : Crazy Water, Pickled Lemons - Diana Henry

I own three of Diana's books and this one is probably the least used. I think some of the ingredients were probably harder to get hold of when I first bought it and the Mediterranean, African and Middle Eastern inspired recipes probably didn't seem as appealing at first glance. It has very few photos which I can find off-putting in a cookery book. That said, I've made her Greek herb pilaf with prawns and feta many times.

Arab-Andalusian monkfish with saffron, honey and vinegar

Chickpea has clearly been watching far too many cookery programmes because, when I asked what she thought of this, she replied that it had the kind of 'flavour profile' she enjoys, sweet with a hint of spicy warmth. Flavour profile! It tasted better than it looks but I was underwhelmed. However, if you share Chickpea's taste in food, you can find the recipe here.

Moroccan chicken with tomatoes and saffron-honey jam

On the surface this is a very similar recipe to the one above as they both use saffron, honey and cinnamon. However, the addition of the tomatoes mean they taste very different. This one is much more my flavour profile ;)

Week 31 : The Kitchen Diaries - Nigel Slater

As the title suggest, the book is written in the form of a diary but concentrating solely on food: what he eats and what he buys. This is one of the very few cookery books that I've read the whole way through. Apart from a quick glance at all the pages, I read it over the year following him through the months and seasons, which seems the perfect way to do it. I also pick it up every now and again just to see what he would have been cooking at that point. As it turns out though, the recipe we chose came from March...

Chicken with mushrooms and lemongrass

A lovely warm and fragrant Thai-inspired dish. I added some soya beans for a bit of added green veg and, as Nigel didn't suggest an accompaniment, I chose to serve it with noodles. I'll definitely make this again.

Week 32 : Delia's How to Cook Book 2 - Delia Smith

This book contains probably my favourite cake recipe of all time: preserved ginger cake with lemon icing. It's worth buying for that reason alone though you can find the recipe here. No cakes today though, just a savoury course.

Marinated pork with jerk seasoning and grilled pineapple salsa

A tale of two halves. We really liked the marinated pork but the pineapple salsa just wasn't to our taste. If you feel differently you can find the recipe here.

And that concludes this update: next one in a month's time.


We had the excitement of the arrival of a new washing machine yesterday! Unfortunately that means I'll have to do all my own laundry again: Mum and Dad had been washing, drying and ironing it all while I've been waiting for delivery which has been wonderful!

It's a gloriously sunny day so we'll be spending time outside, hopefully fitting in a walk but also going to watch Dad in one of his last crown green bowling matches of the season. The photo was taken on Tuesday on a walk with my yoga group. We've really enjoyed walking together over the summer and will definitely continue it next summer. For now though it's back to our regular yoga classes.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend. x


  1. Flavour profile! That cracks me up! But hey, what great meals you've been enjoying! I have the Jamie Oliver book, those are some of our most-loved recipes (the cod is a weeknight standby!), and the Nigel Slater book is just wonderful, too! Thanks for sharing all these great cooking reviews! Chrissie x

  2. What a lot of cooking you've been doing, what a lucky family you have. I do like Nigel Slater and Jamie Oliver has things we pick and choose from (my daughter and I are terribly faddy eaters). loving the flavour profile comment... lol xx

  3. Food looks lovely Julie, I bought Good Food (BBC magazine ) this week, I'm hoping to make some of the recipes, and try something new each week. I'm back at work full time after the summer holl's , it takes some time to get used to fitting everything in...
    Amanda xx

  4. Oh, so much yumminess here! I'm never convinced that a salad counts as an "big" meal - a lunch, maybe, but it still looks delicious. And I think the monkfish and cod dishes both look fantastic.

    Flavour profile - hee hee. But it does kind of makes sense, when I think of the sort of foods and flavours I'm drawn to. x

  5. They all look delicious dishes, Julie, I'd give them a try. My kids are quite adventurous with food and will give anything a go. I might have to give the cous cous a miss though, I like it but no one else here is that keen. Besides I still have memories of it getting stuck in between the floor tiles under the table!! X

  6. You are inspiring me with these gorgeous looking meals! I have made both those Jamie dishes and enjoyed both but I agree the salad isn't very substantial on it's own, if I remember correctly we had a lot of bread with ours! I am enjoying Jamie's new series on TV are you watching it?! Oh and I am so sad that channel 5 won't be showing Once Upon A Time anymore :(
    Marianne x