Archives for category: Recipe Books

Some months ago I slipped into a second hand bookshop while waiting for Richard who was in the barber. I think at the time we were in the midst of our food waste challenge so I was cooking strictly from the pantry and vegetable garden and was determined not to buy any food. There were however no rules in place regarding the buying of cookery books. In the time it took for Richard to have a very speedy grooming I managed to find and buy three cook books all of which were of the ‘cooking from the garden’ variety. I was delighted with them. Blue Eggs and Yellow Tomatoes by Jeanne Kelley, Plum Gorgeous by Romney Steele and I’m afraid I just can’t remember what number three was, let alone find it. It might be buried under the mountains of paperwork waiting to be tamed into a tax return. Now there’s an incentive to get that done.

Blue Eggs and Yellow TomatoesThis morning when I was looking for inspiration for my weekend ritual of making something for Scarlet’s creative challenge while at the same time treating my family to a little surprise, I reached for Blue Eggs and Yellow Tomatoes and idly flipped through it with no real expectations. I knew I had to make two things: a nice healthy (carb free) breakfast for Richard preferably using things from the garden, maybe a variation on last week’s frittata, and something muffin-like and way more indulgent for the kids using only ingredients we had on hand.

Two recipes jumped out at me: ‘Bittersweet One Pot Brownies’ and a Swiss chard encased baked egg recipe. ‘Perfect’, I thought,’those recipes are just crying out to be made – with some modification.’

And into the garden I went. I couldn’t keep my eyes off the lovage growing so abundantly in its corner and its companion, the French tarragon. They did work rather well together last week. And then there were the spring onions in desperate need of picking.

Spring Onion Flower

That was the healthy/low carb diet option taken care of. Now I just needed to come up with something creative for the brownie. I rummaged around in the cupboard and found half a packet of blanched almonds and a jar of instant espresso powder bought for one of Nigella’s recipes. A nice start but what else? There was some left-over halva from last week. ‘Could that work in a Brownie?’ I wondered.

And so I ended up with Green Eggs and Halva, Almond, Mocha Brownies and a happy little family.

Halva Almond Mocha Brownie

Green Egg

Green Eggs

Ingredients

  •  olive oil and or butter for frying
  • 4 Swiss chard leaves
  • 6 large spring onions finely sliced (include some of the green part)
  • two stalks of lovage including the leaves, finely chopped
  • a very generous handful of tarragon, finely chopped
  • a heaped teaspoon of tomato jam
  • salt and pepper
  • feta cheese
  • 4 extra large free range eggs

Method

  1. Heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Butter four small ramekins.
  2. Cut the stalk out of the Swiss chard (keeping the leaves whole) and chop the stalk finely
  3. Fry the Swiss chard stalk, spring onions and lovage very gently in a generous amount of olive oil and butter until very soft.
  4. While frying the spring onion mixture lie the Swiss chard leaves on top of the mixture in the pan one at a time until just wilted. Set aside.
  5. Add the tarragon, salt, pepper and the tomato jam to the spring onion mix stirring until nicely mixed together.
  6. Line the ramekins with the Swiss chard leaves.
  7. Crumble a little feta into each ramekin, add a couple of spoons of the spring onion mix, crack an egg into each ramekin, spoon in some more of the spring onion mix and top with the remaining crumbled feta.
  8. Place on a baking tray and bake for 12 minutes or until the egg is just set.
  9. Turn out onto a plate and serve with a little fresh chopped chilli.

Halva, Almond, Mocha Brownies

Ingredients

  • 140 grams butter
  • 245 grams dark chocolate, broken into chunks
  • 170 grams sugar
  • 3 extra large free range eggs
  • seeds of half a vanilla pod
  • 115 g cake flour
  • 10 ml instant espresso powder
  • 50 g chopped roasted almonds ( I roasted them in the oven in the baking tray for ten minutes while mixing the batter)
  • 100 g sesame halva cut into 1cm cubes

Method

  1. Heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Grease a 15 x 27 cm baking pan and line the base with baking paper.
  2. Melt the butter and chocolate together in a heavy pot over a very low heat stirring constantly. Remove from the heat.
  3. Stir in the sugar.
  4. Beat in the eggs and vanilla.
  5. Fold in the flour and espresso powder, and then gently fold in the almonds and halva.
  6. Pour into the pan and bake for about 20 minutes. Be careful not to overcook – you want the brownies to be moist inside.
  7. Remove from the oven and cool in the pan. Cut into squares.

 

Serendipity struck this week when I made the trip to the Hospice book shop to try to buy a book voucher for the winning writer of one of the Allaboutwriting 150 word writing challenges.

Cosmopolitan C00kbook Phillippa Cheifitz

I have been dipping into my rather dog eared copy of The Cosmopolitan Cookbook by Phillippa Cheifitz quite often lately and it’s been pretty annoying to have to re-order the pages each time I’ve wanted to find a trusted old recipe. In fact I have been thinking of contacting the publishers to say ‘Why don’t you reprint this book since there are a couple of generations of cooks out there that would probably love to have it on their shelves?’.

The recipes in the book, as well as on the torn-out magazine pages I have been hoarding, have been very much part of my cooking life for almost 30 years. The book, I believe, is a classic – delicious recipes, simple clean layout and stunning photographs.

I have never been a ‘Cosmo’ kind of a girl but I used to buy the magazine every month without fail just for  Phillippa Cheifitz’s recipes. As Jane Raphaely, the publisher, says in her forward, ‘We don’t live to eat – we love to eat and the results are the most delectable food ever featured in a magazine. Our secret ingredient is the cook.’ She was right.

Having been unlucky with the purchase of the gift voucher I thought I’d have a quick look at the cooking section and was bowled over to find an unused copy of The Cosmopolitan Cookbook. Naturally I snapped it up immediately along with Nigel Slater’s Eating for England and James Beard’s Beard on Food.  All three for the very reasonable price of R55.

Beard on Food, Eating for England, The Cosmopolitan Cookbook

So what are my top ten recipes from The Cosmopolitan Cookbook?

  1. I have to start with the Homemade Pasta recipe which, along with a pasta machine  I received as a wedding present, inspired me to make my own pasta for many years.
  2. Caviar and Cream Sauce  to serve with pasta. You’d be hard pressed to lay your hands on a more luxurious yet quick-and-easy recipe. It even found its way onto my hiking foods menu when my younger sister and I made it on day one of the eight day 120km Namib Naukluft hiking trail. The pop of the caviar (actually Danish lumpfish roe) in your mouth, with the acidy lemon, silky creamy pasta and spicy black pepper is just about as perfect a combination of flavours and textures as can be imagined. I’ll sneak in the Fresh Tomato and Anchovy Sauce here too. This incredibly flavoursome sauce once eaten at dinner parties by my friends and me now finds its way into school lunch boxes.
  3. The Mexican recipes –  Guacamole, Tortillas, Chilli Con Carne, Salsa and Frozen Margarita – have been made to death and in great quantities over the years and served on all occasions from tequila-fuelled dinner parties to school night suppers. These days, though, Woolworths is part of the process with their pre-packaged tortillas. Good or bad? I’m not sure.
  4. Rose Petal Tart, so beautiful and perfect, was made by a friend for my wedding. I must make that again! The Strawberry Tart is also beautiful and perfect.
  5. Janssen’s Temptation – served with a green salad for the most perfect week-night supper.
  6. Fig and Ricotta Mould – a staple of my younger sister’s repertoire and a perfect way to end any meal.
  7. Tropical Crayfish Cocktail. An exquisite combination of avo, papino and shellfish with a lightly curried dressing topped with crunchy nuts and fresh coriander  first made by my older sister but now a firm family favourite. The dressing is delicious and I use it all the time on a variety of salads, most recently on a chicken and prickly pear salad.
  8. Croquembouche – the spectacular French dessert I once made for a friend’s wedding. Although we filled the profiteroles with chocolate mousse and not custard.
  9. The Baked Orange Chicken has been a thirty year stalwart, present from carefree single days through to family weekday suppers.
  10. The fillet recipes with both green and black peppercorns and the various mushroom sauce recipes are the inspiration for many a steak supper.

That’s my top ten from the book  and if I had to go through the magazine clippings the list could easily treble. I’ll leave that for another day. It is a little worrying though that this list is very weddingy. What is this –  a Cosmo girl kind of a thing?

Tropical Crayfish Cocktail Phillippa Cheifitz

Just to prove I’m no typical Cosmo girl here is a list of Cosmo girl attributes with their matching recipes:

  • Fun – Frozen Margarita
  • Fearless – Croquembouche
  • Female – Rose Petal Tart

Oops, well maybe it’s not so bad to be a Cosmo girl after all.

Petal Tart Phillippa Cheifitz

P.S – If you are tempted to buy the book – just Google it – there are a number of copies available online. and for tons of Phillippa Cheifitz’s more recent recipes have a look at Woolworths Taste magazine.