Wednesday, 1 February 2017

cookery book challenge - January

Now that I have a kitchen to use, I thought I'd join Penny at The Homemade Heart for her monthly cookery book challenge again. If you click here, you can find out more. I like to try out new recipes. One might turn out to be a new favourite, you just never know.

Just after Christmas I announced grandly over a big meal (possibly a beef stew) that January was going
to be a vegetarian month in our house. As it often goes with grand announcements, the reality is a bit less grand and Vegetarian January hasn't quite happened.

I quite like the idea of being a vegetarian but I do love a good burger and nothing is quite as amazing as a bacon roll for breakfast after a cold night in a tent. I am not alone. It seems that I am - for once - right on trend being,a part time vegetarian or flexitarian. I like a good label, don't you? I have a few vegetarian cookery books, some better than others. Most don't stand the test of hungry teenagers. I even have a vegan cookery book. If you have been visiting here for a while you'll know that the exploration of vegan cuisine was not much appreciated in my house. I haven't used the book since the infamous vegan lasagne incident.

Although Vegetarian January is not happening, we've had many vegetarian meals. For this first cookery book challenge I chose a cookery book that I have used before but not for a while: Rachel Demuth's Green World Cookbook a book that CJ at Above the River recommended to me ages ago. It has some really scrumptious recipes and if I were living a single life, I'd use it several times a week.





The first dish I cooked was a Laksa Lemak with fried tofu. I am particularly fond of coconut flavoured soupy food. I also love tofu. Where can I find really good tofu? The best I have found is Cauldron's but it is not nearly as good as the tofu you get at the Hanoi Bike Club in Glasgow (they make their own). There is more choice at the big Chinese supermarket but this is a bit out of the way and unpractical. Alas, the subtleties of tofu flavour and texture went unnoticed by all but myself. There's a surprise. Alistair must have eaten half of it. The others were less enthusiastic. The alternative (nothing) was probably worse. Comments were that the noodles were too slippery, the tofu too spongy, the soup too soupy... you know, the usual, nothing to take seriously. I'll cook that one again. It is versatile and happily accepts whatever vegetables wait to be eaten. For the version here I didn't have pak choi but used tender stem broccoli instead.




The second dish was a Creole Rice and Beans, accompanied by kiwi and avocado salsa. The latter caused some barely disguised gagging but I rather liked it. I admit it is not a combination of flavours I would have chosen but it worked. Unfortunately it doesn't keep so any leftovers must be eaten pronto, unless you like greyish brown mush that is. I used dry mixed beans instead of canned ones because they are better value and generally taste nicer, too. I thought there was a bit too much cumin in the recipe. I am a cumin super taster and always reduce the amount suggested by half. I don't know how others experience cumin but I find it overpowering even in trace amounts. There is quite a lot of research into flavour experience actually, it is so very interesting. I know some people experience cucumbers as pungent. A cucumber!. Apart from the salsa, the dish was relatively well received. Everyone picked out the green peppers. I can't blame them, these are just so bitter. I ate them to prove a point. I don't know why I followed the instructions here, I know that nobody (including myself) in our family likes green peppers.

On the whole, the kids are not particularly happy with my cooking. Too many new things apparently. They are creatures of habit and would probably eat macaroni and cheese every day, alternating peas with broccoli for their veggies. Me, I am bored with the food that we often have and I like to challenge my taste buds. I have started writing on the notice board what we are going to eat to avoid lengthy discussions with various offspring. Unking words are uttered when something unknown appears. I find it rather amusing and I have been trying to disguise old favourites with new names, just because.

I am not sure which cookery book I will be exploring in February but you'll find out if you check in here at the beginning of March.

Thanks for stopping by xx


17 comments:

  1. Lovely to see some recipes from that book, and thanks for the mention. I really must have a go at something from it again, it has some scrumptious things in it. Mine often tell me they don't like something before they've even seen it. And they'll leave the peppers, green or not. I used to cut yellow ones up really small and try and pass them off as sweetcorn niblets, but everyone has wised up to that one now. It worked with yellow courgettes for a while as well. I shall look forward to seeing what you cook next month. Lots of January things haven't quite happened here either. I shall get around to it all soon I think. Soon. CJ xx

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  2. I love veggies, but could never be a vegetarian, love meat too much and I'm such a fussy eater. My Mother despaired of me growing up. I've gotten better, but still don't like eating "different" things. When the choice was between eat what is cooked or do without, i frequently went without.
    Good luck with February.

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  3. I am seeing some great looking food on your blog post. I'm not a vegetarian but I am trying to eat healthier. Hope you will give my new blog 'A Healthy Me' a look-see. The link can be found on my sidebar. Have a great week.

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  4. Like most I love veg but sadly love meat more, we are trying a more holistic approach to our health and are eating a healthier diet. It is always a joy to visit, the comments your children make always remind me of my children growing up and the joys of parenting teenagers.

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  5. I could never be vegetarian and even less so vegan and be self sufficient in food,impossible to achieve in the UK and have a healthy diet, I love meat but dont eat it at every meal, tofu sorry I find it yuck

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  6. Hey Christina,
    I'd have a mutiny on my hands if I gave my boys anything without meat. All four of them are meat and three veg types, which is a shame as I'm quite a good cook, and would love to have more flexibility around meals. I've noticed Sam's taste buds changing now he lives away from home, and Olly will try something new. Alf would eat spag Bol or chicken korma every day. I like vegetarian options, and try to have them myself. I do like the idea of changing the name of a known favourite to something different,just to gauge their reactions; a Mum needs a few private giggles from time to time!
    Leanne xx

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  7. I think they both sound delicious but then I haven't eaten meat for years... although I often think I'll have a bacon roll one day! It's not easy to make meals that please everyone in a large family.

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  8. Those dinners look really great, I would eat them straight away. This post is quite timely - I cooked risotto tonight the first time in about 2 years after both children used to describe it as 'Ugh, wet rice'but big girl said it was nice and little girl has a cold but said it didn't taste of anything (but then she can't taste anything at the moment!) so not a total loss yet. I put our dinners on the fridge too. I treated myself to a big magnet board from paperchase with a tear off weekly meal planner. I have so much to say on the matter, I think I should write a post of my own... Jo x

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  9. Glad you had a good months eating in January, I hope that February is good too. I can see the advantages of announcing the menu in advance!

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  10. I think these look really good. I don't imagine an all-vegetarian diet would go over very well in my house but we have been practicing Meatless Monday for about a decade and everyone is used to it. Our big problem here is that both children have decided they hate potatoes all of a sudden. Potatoes are awesome! I don't know how anybody can hate them. I make them anyway because I'm mean, ha. I hope they'll get back to liking them again the way they used to, so I'm going to keep trying...

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  11. Well done for trying out these new recipes. I am not very adventurous with my cooking. I only have a few dishes that I cook well, my husband does the rest of the cooking in our house. I still want to try making new Filipino dishes though as I do miss them and I also want the girls to try them. I might dig up my Filipino cookbooks and try something new this February. Wish me luck!

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  12. I love that term Flexitarian, I was going to turn vegetarian in Bangkok but am sure I can't pass up a roast beef on my next trip home. Your recipe challenge is a great idea. We have just joined Hello Fresh here, who deliver three meals with all the ingredients and the recipes each week. It was great when I worked and I wanted the kids to cook dinner on those days. I think it is good to get out of your foody comfort zone otherwise it tends to fall to the same old each night...
    Wren x

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  13. Great pictures! I like how you arrange the prep. Thanks for sharing.

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  14. Thank you so much for joining me again this year, in your lovely shiny new kitchen! Being veggi myself, I would have loved both of these dishes. I laughed about the 'barely disguised gagging'. The upside is that you will be the household goddess when you allow them to eat meat again now that it's February! X

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  15. These are some really interesting recipes, though I can't say I'd ever have thought to combine avocado and kiwi! I love the idea of you renaming old favourites, examples please!! x

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  16. Your tofu dish looks very tempting (sadly, the others here are not in favour of broth based meals). I've been buying a brand of tofu (The Tofoo Co's naked tofu) in Tesco which I really liked, but apparently they've stopped selling it. Good luck with the Feb recipes. I really need to shake things up mealswise.

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  17. Your tofu dish looks very tempting (sadly, the others here are not in favour of broth based meals). I've been buying a brand of tofu (The Tofoo Co's naked tofu) in Tesco which I really liked, but apparently they've stopped selling it. Good luck with the Feb recipes. I really need to shake things up mealswise.

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Thank you for visiting and leaving a comment, I love to hear from you, I really do. I sometimes reply by email but I am not all that reliable... Christina xx