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Cooking from Diana Henry's Books

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Thanks to the enthusiasm several Chowhounds have expressed for British Author Diana Henry's cookbooks, it seems like a good idea to have a thread where we can share our experiences of cooking from her approachable, appealing books.

I hope you'll join me in reporting on how things go from these books (to date):

*Food from Plenty/Plenty: Good Food Made from the Plentiful, the Seasonal and the Leftover with Over 300 Recipes, None of Them Extravagant

*Cook Simple/Pure Simple Cooking: Effortless Meals Every Day

*Crazy Water, Pickled Lemons: Enchanting Dishes from the Middle East, Mediterranean and North Africa

*Roast Figs, Sugar Snow: Food to Warm the Soul

*The Gastropub Cookbook

*Salt Sugar Smoke: How to Preserve Fruit, Vegetables, Meat and Fish: The Definitive Guide to Conserving, from Jams and Jellies to Smoking and Curing

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  1. Copying over my comments about two recipes from Salt Sugar Smoke (I originally posted these in a "What cookbooks have you recently acquired thread, after herby asked about the book):

    Blood Orange Curd
    The blood orange curd turned out wonderfully. I made the sweet pastry recipe from Ottolenghi: The Cookbook; blind baked the shells in a muffin pan & filled them up with blood orange curd then topped off with some meringue. The blood orange curd was quite easy to make (although it did need a full half-hour of careful stirring in the double-boiler... I got in a half hour of reading standing at the stove) and I only needed a few blood oranges to get enough juice. The finished product is a glorious salmon-rose-pink colour and the flavour is sublime - not as bitingly tart as a lemon curd, but with a definite citrus flavour. My friend who came over for dinner said that the tarts were so good, she was glad that she was cheating on her diet to eat one.
    The curd recipe can be found in this article which has a fantastic serving suggestion of making a cake and putting this curd & some mascarpone into it. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/foodanddri...

    Nick's Good Morning Marmalade
    Quite involved compared to typical jam making. I had to hunt down blood oranges and Sevilles, then there was about an hour's prep time (for two batches) before leaving the chopped peels and some grapefruit wrapped in muslin/cheesecloth (for pectin) to soak overnight in juice and water. Next day you have to sieve everything, check the liquid levels, cook for at least an hour to soften the peels, then put in 2kg of sugar (!!!) and a fairly substantial amount of lemon juice (so there is more time involved here in juicing lemons). After that you proceed as you would with regular jam-making - cook till set, then can. The results were fantastic - a lovely sunny orange colour and the flavour has the perfect balance (for me) of tart and sweet. I did have a quibble with the way the instructions refer back to another page with general jam-making tips so that while you're cooking up your marmalade and have sugar all over your hands you have to then flip back and forth in the book. I ended up having to use my Ball blue book to find out how long to put my jars in the boiling water bath because DH says to put a wax seal on top then screw on the canning lid and just leave it that way. To me that doesn't seem to be in line with the current food safety guidelines for canning but apparently this is still very common and accepted in Europe.

    To sum up - great result, excellent flavour, time-consuming recipe...

    Recipe here: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/foodanddri...

    3 Replies
    1. re: geekmom

      I've always used the wax seal method and sometimes not even that. Never had a problem. The boiling water thing is definitely an American method.

      1. re: greedygirl

        I've had some very disappointing experiences - always, of course, with my large mason jars - when I skipped the boiling water method. I am intrigued by the wax though. I don't mind the work of making the jam, and I love enjoying the results throughout the year, but I really loathe working for hours in a steaming kitchen with water dripping off everything while the water bath is boiling away.

        1. re: geekmom

          The wax seal is just a waxed paper disc that you can buy in most kitchenware stores/departments. I sometimes use Kilner jars - not sure if they're the same as mason jars. Again, never had a preserve go bad.

    2. Thanks so much for starting this thread Caitlin. I'll go ahead and cut and paste my post so that it shows up here, where it will be most useful:

      Just a note for anyone who has this Diana Henry book (Pure, Simple Cooking, I believe it is called) - made a full meal from it last night that was loved (raved about!) by everyone. As I mentioned above, I made the cod with anchovies and white bean puree, and served the roasted tomatoes with herbed breadcrumbs on the side. Going for the pasta with roasted onions, Gorgonzola and walnuts next week.

      1. Thanks Caitlin! Just dipping my toe in the thread so it will pop up on my profile page.

        1. Here is a link to her spot on the Telegraph's website:

          http://www.telegraph.co.uk/journalist...

          1. Thanks for setting this up, Caitlin. I'm out of town right now, but I'll start posting next week once I'm back home. Looking forward to hearing everyone else's experiences with this author.

            1. Hi! I purchased Pure Simple Cooking during the voting period just because it sounded so good--and now I'm glad to know that there will be a thread established about it. I look forward to cooking along with other Chowhounds.

              1. Roast Pork Loin, Porchetta Style, Pg. 40, PLENTY, UK Ed.
                http://www.telegraph.co.uk/foodanddri...

                We made this a couple of years ago when the book was first published. It was the first recipe from the book we cooked. It's a typical pork roast with slivers of garlic stuffed into slits all over the meat and crushed fennel seeds, rosemary leaves, S & P and EVOO rubbed over and stuffed into the slits as well. The roast is covered and refrigerated overnight.

                After bringing to room temp, place the roasting pan into a pre-heated 425F oven and cook 25 minutes. After which time reduce heat to 350F and cook for 1 hour 40 minutes, basting every so often.

                While the meat was tasty and redolent with the heady marinade we both felt it was overcooked. There's a variation recipe on the same page I'd like to try: Honey and Mustard Roast Pork Loin, and I'm sure that will happen being mindful of the roasting times.

                1. MEDITERRANEAN POTATO, TOMATO, AND GOAT CHEESE GRATIN Pg 77, PLENTY, UK Ed.

                  A tasty gratin with layers of roasted eggplant, sauteed onion and garlic slices, sliced potatoes, sliced tomatoes, chopped herbs, lemon zest, Nicoise olives, goat cheese, seasoned with S & P. The last layer is neatly arranged potato slices brushed with EVOO. This is cooked for 45 minutes in a pre-heated 375F oven.

                  Lots of zesty, garlicky flavor here and a definite do again recipe. Wonder why I haven't... must do it soon!

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Gio

                    Gio, this sounds really good and perfect for early fall when all of these vegetables are fresh in the market, but there's just a touch of chill in the air making oven-roasting welcome. I will flag it to make then!

                    1. re: Westminstress

                      Hi WM... You're right about the Autumnal nature of the recipes,.
                      Both those were made 10.30.10. I'm trying to play catch-up here...

                    2. re: Gio

                      I made this using some lovely young goat's cheese I brought back from France. Really enjoyed the fresh flavours, and nice to have a lighter gratin in the repertoire. It was a very tasty, light dinner with a green salad.

                    3. SPANISH TOMATO AND BREAD SALAD, Pg. 65, PLENTY, UK Ed.
                      http://uktv.co.uk/food/recipe/aid/603618

                      We made this salad several times since getting the book, and last year especially, our CSA was extremely generous with their tomato distribution. This recipe is wonderful with tomatoes of varying sizes and colors. Plus, unlike the Italian panzanella, the ciabatta chunks are fried for a bit to get them golden and crisp.

                      As one can see in the link I provided anchovies and sugar are ingredients but for some reason, which escapes me now, I omitted both a couple of times. It didn't impact the out come as far as I can tell, since we both liked the contrast in texture and seasonings. Also, I alternated between balsamic and red wine vinegar. So you see this is a good recipe to tweak and adjust for what one has on hand.

                      1. Fried Kale and Turnip with Bacon Bits and Black Pepper, Pg. 88, UK Ed.

                        This is such an easy recipe! I used new baby turnips and their greens along with radish greens when I made this. It was in July and the vegetables were fresher than fresh. I included chopped scallions and substituted pancetta for the bacon.

                        The turnips are sliced into chunks and boiled in salted water till tender, then drained. Meanwhile the kale is prepped by stripping the leaves, shredding them, then boiling them in salted water about 4 minutes.. I used the turnip water.

                        Melt some butter in a skillet, fry the bacon, add the turnips, fry till golden. Add the greens to heat through and season with lots of freshly grated black pepper and some salt. Almost a meal all by itself. Make sure there's crusty bread to soak up all the juices.

                        As an aside I must say I like that in this book, the only one of hers I have, DH presents several other recipes using the original ingredients on each page... For example, on the fried kale page one has three additional recipes to cook: Stir-Fried Kale w Ginger/Garlic/Chili; Warm Salad of Bacon/Egg/kale w fried potatoes & mustard dressing; Penne w Kale/Roasted Onions and Gorgonzola... Love the way each of those sound.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Gio

                          I like that business in Plenty too, of offering different takes on a recipe. I saw a few where I thought "gosh, which of these would I go for first??"

                        2. Pacific Lime Chicken, Cook Simple, p9 (UK edition)

                          This is easy and very tasty - as she says, it's hard to resist sweet, honey-glazed meat.

                          Make incisions in chicken thighs and marinate in honey, dark soy, lime, brown sugar, garlic, thyme and black pepper. She says you can leave it in its bath for anything from 15 mins to a few hours. Roast in the oven for 35-40 minutes, basting every so often until cooked through. That's it!

                          This is a simple but yummy weeknight meal. Serving suggestions are rice and stir-fried greens, or a salad of leaves, spring onions, and julienned cucumber and carrot in summer.

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: greedygirl

                            This one is on my list, it sounds so good.

                            1. re: LulusMom

                              It sounds good to me, too!

                              http://www.ziplist.com/recipes/314077...

                              ~TDQ

                            2. re: greedygirl

                              We had a guest to dinner last night and I trust this book so much at this point (pure, simple cooking) that I made two things from it without test driving them first. One was the Pacific Lime Chicken. Loved it. Lots of flavor and wonderfully crackly and sweet/salty skin. The only thing I'd say is that the next time I make it I will skip the thyme (not sure what is Pacific about thyme) and maybe add some hot sauce. Anyway, it was wonderful and everyone loved it.

                              Also made the roasted squash with chile and ginger (variation of squash with garlic and thyme on page 136). I used squash that had already been cut into squares, and that might have effected the outcome; I think the thinner slices she asks for would have caramelized better. Still and all a tasty dish. Roast the squash with some olive oil, butter and seasoning. About 15 minutes before it is done add chopped red chile and ginger (and garlic, I believe - the variation note wasnt' totally clear on this but it seemed right to me to do so). Really nice mixture. It made a ton, so I've frozen the leftovers and will serve them reheated next week. I think any issues we had with this dish, which we mostly liked, were due to user error.

                              1. re: greedygirl

                                Adding me as a fan of this. I made this in the weekend. I forgot to make incisions into my chicken thighs and it was still very good. I served it with plain boiled rice, and an Asian style stir fry sweet and sour spring cabbage. The left over sauce in the roasting pan is great for drizzling over plain rice. It's a very simple but satisfying dinner.

                                1. re: greedygirl

                                  Pacific Lime Chicken, Pg. 9, Pure Simple Cooking

                                  Yes to everything greedygirl wrote about this recipe and finished dish! Absolutely delicious and we loved it. We marinated the chicken before we started the other recipes so I guess it was in the marinade for about 20 minutes or so before it was put into the oven. That seemed to be OK as the flavor of lime and the other ingredients came through nicely. Will definitely make this again... Served w a spinach stir-fry from Grace Young's Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge and steamed jasmine rice.

                                  1. re: greedygirl

                                    Pacific Lime Chicken - Pure Simple Cooking, p. 9

                                    I halved everything but the garlic, skipped the thyme and the brown sugar (I actually just forgot the sugar, but it didn't seem necessary on top of the honey). Instead of tossing out the marinade, I boiled it briefly in a small saucepan while the chicken was in the oven, and I liked the result - thicker than what's left in the baking pan.

                                    This is reminiscent of a stovetop dish I made a lot in the '80s and early '90s, with honey, soy sauce, and vinegar plus lots of garlic (it was first-place winner at the inaugural Gilroy Garlic Festival recipe contest). I liked the effect of the lime in this version, as well as the minimal effort. I ate mine on a plate of salad lettuces, drizzled with the boiled marinade and more lime juice.

                                  2. Simple gascon sausages and beans, Cook Simple, p45 (UK edition)

                                    This, says Henry, is a lazy person's cassoulet. I made it in France last summer, using the recommended Toulouse sausages, and it was a big hit. It's a hearty, rustic dish, perfect with a glass of red wine or four. I was feeding our good friend Rikki, who is a very big eater, and even he was stuffed after this stew!

                                    Brown bacon lardons and sausages and then put in a shallow casserole or ovenproof dish. Add chopped onion, celery, carrots, tinned tomatoes, 2 cans of cannellini beans (one drained, one not), wine, stock or water, a bay leaf, some parsley leaves and thyme and caster sugar plus lots of S&P.

                                    Sprinkle some breadcrumbs on top and cook for two hours, sprinkling more breadcrumbs in twice during the cooking time, stirring in the previous crumbs before adding the next one. Add more seasoning if necessary.

                                    It's freezing here still and just writing this recipe has made me want to cook it again! Good quality sausages are a must, which luckily are pretty easy to obtain in the UK. The variation, which is for chilli sausages and beans, also sounds good.

                                    1. Merguez sausages with roast peppers and cucumber tzatziki, Cook Simple, p49 (UK edition)

                                      I've made this one twice for casual suppers with friends. Big hit both times.

                                      Toss sliced red peppers, chilli with olive oil, seasoning and thyme and roast in a medium oven for 40 minutes.

                                      Make tzatziki in the usual way, with grated cucumber, squeezed of excess moisture, Greek yoghurt, garlic, EVOO and chopped mint.

                                      Brown the merguez sausage. When the roast peppers have only 15 minutes to go, stir in some passata, season and place the sausages on top, then return to the oven.

                                      Serve sprinkled with parsley, with flatbread, or couscous.

                                      Lovely combination of flavours here, with the smoky, chili-laced peppers and the spicy merguez offset by the cool, creamy tzatziki. Recommended if you love merguez, as I do.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: greedygirl

                                        Just wanted to say that I discovered this thread when I was doing a search for merguez pepper recipes - and was so excited by reading through the thread that I actually went to the bookstore and bought Pure Simple Cooking. Thank you greedygirl for the merguez post, thank you Caitlin for starting the thread and thank you ALL so much - this is not a cookbook I would have bought since I was not really familiar with the author, but it is already a book I love. I am so into the whole dutch oven/roasting pan kind of cooking - plus a whole chapter on sausages! a whole chapter on leg of lamb!

                                        1. re: ratgirlagogo

                                          Wow - I'm happy that you love the book so much! It's probably one of my most used cookbooks.

                                      2. Baked potatoes with chorizo, Cook Simple, p129 (UK edition)

                                        This was cooked alongside my fail-safe River Café roast chicken for a casual Sunday lunch with friends. It was enjoyed by all of us, including two slightly fussy kids!

                                        Halve small waxy potatoes and cut onions into wedges. Put in an roasting dish. Heat chicken stock with saffron and once it's boiling, pour over the vegetables. Season and cook at 200C for 45 minutes, adding the chorizo halfway through the cooking time and stiring around. The potatoes should absorb all the stock. Scatter with parsley or coriander before serving.

                                        The chorizo provides nuggets of spicy goodness which makes this recipe more than simple roast potatoes. Mind you, as I remember, it was completely overshadowed by the dessert which the kids just adored - iced berries with white chocolate sauce. This is an easy dessert which is really quite awesome, if quite the calorie bomb!

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: greedygirl

                                          All those sound wonderful, GG. Just yesterday I ordered Pure Simple Cooking which in the UK I believe is Cook Simple, For a minute there, I thought I was going to have buy yet another DH book...

                                        2. Baked Cod with a Zesty Crust - Pure Simple Cooking, p. 69

                                          This is a fast and easy recipe with a big ROI, flavor-wise. Cod fillets are topped with a mixture of fresh breadcrumbs, parsley, garlic, grated Parmesan, lemon zest and juice, and olive oil and baked. This was delicious. The lemon zest and juice in the topping, along with the parsley, give it a nice bright flavor, while the Parmesan adds savoriness. A great quick weeknight dish that I'll be repeating.

                                          8 Replies
                                          1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                            Baked Cod with a Zesty Crust, Pure Simple Cooking, p. 69.

                                            Caitlin has described this well, and I agree wholeheartedly with her conclusions. This is a fast, easy, very satisfying way to serve a nice thickish filet of white fish. The delicious topping is simply applied to the oiled filet in the baking dish, and then all is baked for 7-10 minutes (mine took a bit longer.) No flipping, no coating sliding off--just a crunchy, savory, pretty topping (the chopped parsley is attractive.) A keeper.

                                            1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                              I made this dish again last night, and didn't end up using all the crumb mixture on the fish. Tonight, I was roasting asparagus and sprinkled the rest of the crumbs over it before I put it in the oven. Well, it's no secret that garlic, lemon, and Parmesan are all great with asparagus, but the whole combo was so incredibly good that I will consider making this topping specifically for asparagus in the future!

                                              Incidentally, I only used a bit over 2 T. of oil in the crumbs rather than the 5 DH calls for, and that works fine for me.

                                              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                Baked Cod with a Zesty Crust - Pure Simple Cooking, p. 69

                                                Like others, we enjoyed this both in color and flavor, and prep was exceedingly easy. I'm pretty sure I preferred this dish to the very similar Thomas Keller dish tried last week. However ... my breadcrumbs were not crispy! I used the same ones as last week (from my freezer) and I think they may have been there too long.... liked this dish though. The cooking juices were delicious, so make sure to choose a side that will soak them up. And, yes, Caitlin, good call pairing this topping with asparagus!

                                                1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                  I've been meaning to note that this recipe, baked cod with a zesty crust, is something I continue to make with some regularity. In fact, I don't even refer to the book anymore. I've tried to streamline it as much as possible, and generally use the grating blade of my food processor for the parmesan, then switch it out for the steel blade (leaving the cheese in the bowl), then add the garlic, parsley, and bread and blitz it to crumbs. The exact proportions aren't a big deal, and I just use enough oil to moisten, along with the lemon juice. It's simple to make, delicious, and you're safe serving it to people of whatever persuasion, if they eat fish.

                                                  1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                    Great sounding recipe - I'll try it next time I have cod. What do you serve with? Asparagus would be nice and maybe a potato dish.

                                                    1. re: herby

                                                      I serve it with whatever green vegetables are around, but asparagus definitely when it's in season. On Saturday, I served it with asparagus and a potato dish from the same book, roasted potatoes and cherry tomatoes with cumin, coriander, and smoked paprika. I don't always find wild Pacific cod at the fish counter, but I also make it with other firm white fish fillets.

                                                      1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                        Thank you!

                                                    2. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                      I was recently thinking that I wanted to give this recipe another go. Thanks for the reminder.

                                                  2. Roasted Potatoes and Tomatoes with Spices - Pure Simple Cooking, p. 115

                                                    Wow, is this good! And super simple. Chunks of waxy potato and cherry tomatoes are tossed with a mixture of olive oil, toasted and crushed coriander and cumin seeds, and smoked paprika, seasoned with salt and pepper, and roasted at 350F for 40 minutes, tossing them a couple of times as they go. That's it, and the result is lovely: melting, sweet tomatoes, potatoes crisp outside and creamy inside, and a nice hit of aromatic spice. Would be a nice side with any number of things.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                      I made this again recently, adding a fennel bulb cut in wedges and a healthy shake of Aleppo pepper. Just as great as the original, but a bit spicy from the red pepper. Can't go wrong with this one.

                                                    2. Chicken Baked with Sweet Potatoes, Smoked Paprika, Olives, and Preserved Lemons - Pure Simple Cooking, p. 15

                                                      One feature in this book I like a lot is that for some recipes, DH includes a paragraph (or several) titled "and also..." that gives a completely different set of seasonings/toppings/flavorings to use with the same basic ingredients and cooking technique (similar, it seems, to what Gio describes in her Plenty). This one is a variation on chicken baked with red onions, potatoes, and rosemary (that also sounds very good; involves some balsamic vinegar and lots of whole garlic cloves).

                                                      To make this one, chicken thighs are marinated in olive oil, smoked paprika, the chopped flesh of preserved lemon, and a bit of the juice from the jar of preserved lemons. I did that earlier in the day. When you're ready to cook, chunks of sweet potato and wedges of red onion go in a roasting pan with the chicken, and 15 minutes before it's done cooking, the minced peel of the preserved lemon and a handful of olives (I used green, though she calls for black) are added. I decided some heat was called for, so added a healthy shake of Aleppo pepper.

                                                      This was a terrific dish. Tons of great flavor from the few ingredients in the marinade, and stirring the sweet potato and onion pieces in the juices produced as the chicken cooked before spooning them from the pan married it all. The sweetness of the potatoes and onion work well against the salty/savory flavors of the olives, lemons, and smoked paprika.

                                                      4 Replies
                                                      1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                        Made the baked chicken with sweet potatoes, smoked paprika, olives and preserved lemons. Fabulous. My husband was totally in love with this dish and Lulu and I liked it too. I did not end up adding the peel of the preserved lemon. My husband said I'd done the right thing - he thought it was perfect as made. Loads of flavor, and nicely different with the sweet potatoes under it and the olives.

                                                        I have to say, one of my favorite things in this book is the prevalence of full meals with baked chicken thighs. Easy and very flavorful meals that are out of the ordinary. I am thinking of trying the main recipe on this page next week (the baked chicken with red potatoes and rosemary) for a guest.

                                                        Husband firmly put is foot down that this book must be bought instead of re-renewed from the library. Totally agree.

                                                        1. re: LulusMom

                                                          i've had the book from the library for a week now but i've yet to make anything ... time to get cracking!

                                                          1. re: LulusMom

                                                            I'm so glad this was a hit for you guys! As for the lemon peel, I liked it with, but I do think it's the marinade that really makes this dish.

                                                          2. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                            Chicken with Sweet Potatoes, Smoked Paprika, Olives and Preserved Lemons, p. 15

                                                            This recipe has been on my list forever (well, since April), and last week I finally got around to it. It was absolutely wonderful, just delicious! The whole family loved it. I thought the red onion was particularly delicious and next time (there will be a next time) I will make more of it.

                                                            I served it with a couscous tabbouleh from Mediterranean Harvest, it was a good combo.

                                                          3. Penne with roasted onions, gorgonzola and walnuts (p. 84, Pure Simple Cooking)

                                                            Big hit. If this one sounds good to you, then chances are that you're going to love it. First you roast the onions (cut into moon shaped slices) with olive oil and a little balsamic, S&P. The balsamic makes the house smell wonderful. Toast your walnuts. Make the penne, drain, add the onions, gorgonzola, some chopped parsley, the walnuts and a bit of extra virgin olive oil. Easy and very tasty.

                                                            11 Replies
                                                            1. re: LulusMom

                                                              Well, that does sound pretty good to me LLM, but I'm worried about the walnuts. Are they roasted then chopped, or just used whole roasted? In any case, if the book ever arrives I'll read the recipe and see what it's all about... Maybe serve the walnuts to G and leave my portion w/o?

                                                              1. re: Gio

                                                                Yes, sorry, she calls for chopped walnuts. I thought last night that pine nuts would work too. I think this would be delicious with or without the nuts, although I liked that little bit of crunch myself.

                                                                1. re: LulusMom

                                                                  Thank you! Yeah, G won't mind the walnuts.. I Love Gorgonzola though!

                                                              2. re: LulusMom

                                                                When I saw this recipe in the book, I thought it sounded great - except for the gorgonzola (I'm one of those people who just can't deal w/blue cheese, it tastes old and musty to me in a bad way). But I think it would be good with feta or fresh goat cheese, too.

                                                                1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                  Goat would work beautifully in this, definitely.

                                                                2. re: LulusMom

                                                                  Penne with Roasted Onions, Gorgonzola and Walnuts, Pg. 84, Pure Simple Cooking

                                                                  Made this last night for a quick Saturday night dinner and the combination of ingredients was certainly an unusually tasty one. Paid strict attention to the recipe but.. after all the worry about walnuts I had to sub sliced almonds which G toasted. The prep and cooking is very simple as LLM outlines upthread. After the 30 minute roast the onions, I used 3 large red ones, were slightly caramelized and sweet.from the Balsamico.

                                                                  The combination with a good crumbly tangy Gorgonzola alone is worth the effort, with the crunch of nuts added the dish is quite unique. Chopped fresh parsley strewn over top gave the dish a pleasant verdant flavor.

                                                                  G had two helpings, declaring, "This is really good!". For me it was very filling but quite a good pasta dish to add to the repertoire.

                                                                  1. re: LulusMom

                                                                    Penne with Roasted Onions, (Feta) and Walnuts - Pure Simple Cooking, p. 84

                                                                    I made this the other night with feta instead of Gorgonzola, and enjoyed it. I used red onions, whole wheat penne, significantly less olive oil than DH calls for (by about half), and added some grated Parmesan and, because I had no parsley, a couple handfuls of baby arugula. What I didn't add was the walnuts - which I realized I had left on the kitchen counter, toasted and ready, halfway through dinner. Ah, well, they would have enhanced the dish but it was certainly good without them. I do feel that soft goat cheese would have given a creamier-feeling result, but feta was the middle choice, as I don't like blue cheese, and I was sharing with someone who doesn't like goat.

                                                                     
                                                                    1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                      Can't tell you how often I've left something like chopped green onions or parsley or nuts out of a dish, only to realize toward the end of a meal. Irritating feeling. Otherwise, I'm glad you liked this one.

                                                                      1. re: LulusMom

                                                                        Me too - usually parsley or coriander, which I've diligently chopped!

                                                                        1. re: greedygirl

                                                                          LOL--I thought I was the only one who overlooked something chopped, sliced, and/of toasted for garnishing in a recipe. Often happens when I'm entertaining and preoccupied with getting several dishes ready. I've taken to putting sternly-worded Post-It notes at eye-level: CHOPPED PARSLEY IN FRIDGE! TOASTED ALMONDS GO ON ICE CREAM!!

                                                                          1. re: Goblin

                                                                            I do the post-it thing too!

                                                                  2. These recipes from Pure Simple Cooking all sound really good. I've requested this book from the library as it sounds like I might like it better than Plenty.

                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                    1. re: Westminstress

                                                                      I marked more in PSC than in Plenty myself that I wanted to make, although both are good looking books.

                                                                      1. re: Westminstress

                                                                        I think I'm going to have to do the same!

                                                                        ~TDQ

                                                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                          I think the recipes in Pure Simple Cooking, at least (I haven't seen the other books yet) are just your speed these days, TDQ (no pun intended!). They don't require a ton of prep or long lists of ingredients, and when they have longer cooking times, it tends to be more hands-off (as with roasting), but the food is interesting and delicious - at least what I've made so far has been.

                                                                          1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                            Thank you, Caitlin.

                                                                            I think I'm going to take it and Plenty out of the library and maybe focus on these books instead of Thomas Keller this month. I'm not anti-TK or Ad Hoc at Home, but I think I'll wait for some of the other hounds to forge the new ground on those books and tell us which recipes are on easier side.

                                                                            ~TDQ

                                                                        2. re: Westminstress

                                                                          Woo-hoo! Received Pure Simple Cooking from the library yesterday. At first glance, it seems pretty similar to Plenty. But it is a bit easier to navigate (important for the harried cook) because there are fewer recipes to choose from, the organization is easier to follow, and ALL of the recipes look very, very simple! No long ingredient lists, which I like.

                                                                        3. I like Diana Henry a lot and have a few of her books. I think that Crazy Water, Pickled Lemons is my favourite and a few recipes there are staples that I cook without referring to the recipe. A good job too as all my cookery books are currently holed up in customs as we've recently moved from the UK to the States.

                                                                          My absolute favourite and most-cooked is bulgar wheat and spinach pilaf with labneh. The balsamic and harissa tomatoes and fried onions with a pinch of cinnamon absolutely make this! I used to use greek yoghurt instead of making labneh but I'm pleased to see labneh on the shelves of most supermarkets here! http://uktv.co.uk/food/recipe/aid/600522

                                                                          Moroccan chicken with saffron honey jam - I don't add as much honey as she suggests but it's a lovely, gently spiced chicken dish. Good with flatbread or couscous. http://uktv.co.uk/food/recipe/aid/589852

                                                                          I also love the pink grapefruit and campari granita.

                                                                          8 Replies
                                                                          1. re: helen_m

                                                                            Thanks for the recommendations and especially for the links. Welcome and good luck with the move.

                                                                            1. re: helen_m

                                                                              As a fully paid-up member of the Diana Henry fan club, have just ordered Crazy Water, Pickled Lemons for just a few pounds. Glad to hear it's your favourite.

                                                                              1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                LulusDad, who is quickly becoming a big Diana Henry fan, will be back on your side of the pond in about a week (Scotland though). Maybe this is the time to start bugging him about CW, PL.

                                                                                eh ... just found out it is available here in paperback, so I'll save my bugging for something else.

                                                                                1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                  Tell him to wrap up warm - it's still winter over here!

                                                                                  I have a few things still to write up from DH - must get on with it!

                                                                              2. re: helen_m

                                                                                Thanks for the recipe recommendations and links, Helen. That bulgur and spinach looks fabulous!

                                                                                There's a pomegranate, blood orange, and Campari granita in Pure Simple Cooking that I have my eye on. I'm a big fan of Campari.

                                                                                1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                  That sounds so good! I adore pomegranate, blood orange and everything campari! I'm totally tempted to get Pure Simple Cooking now.

                                                                                2. re: helen_m

                                                                                  Moroccan Chicken with Tomatoes and Saffron Jam, p. 12, Crazy Water Pickled Lemons

                                                                                  Thanks to Helen_M's review, and because I've become enamored of Middle Eastern Cooking, I purchased "Crazy Water Pickled Lemons" for my first exposure to Diana Henry's books. I headed right for this recipe. Helen provided a website, so I won't review the recipe in detail. It is indeed a "lovely, gently spiced chicken dish" and my dinner guests seemed to love it. The delicious blend of seasonings include onion, garlic, cinnamon, ginger (powdered), tomatoes, saffron, honey (I used the full quantity of honey) and orange flower water, with a sprinkling of toasted slivered almonds and chopped cilantro. What's not to like?

                                                                                  I thought of the dish as a tagine, and if I'd had a flameproof clay pot, would have used it (used a stainless steel pan instead.) I also placed a round of parchment paper over the top of the mixture before covering it for the final cooking of the chicken. This seems to make the chicken even moister.

                                                                                  The mellow blend of all the flavors was so savory, and yet with a certain delicacy. Just a few notes: my chicken took longer to become tender, and the sauce took longer to reduce to a "cream"--but that is not unusual for me. I always seem to have especially robust chicken breasts! I made the dish an hour ahead and kept it warm. I suspect I could have made it and reheated it for later as well.

                                                                                  Served it with a pilaf of basmati rice and orzo, plus a roasted cauliflower and hazlenut salad from Otolenghi's "Jerusalem," and green beans with bacon and onion.

                                                                                  1. re: Goblin

                                                                                    I'm pleased you liked it. The sides sound great too, I must try that ottolenghi cauliflower and hazelnut salad.

                                                                                3. Restorative Chicken and Parsley Risotto, Plenty, p. 22

                                                                                  One of the things that drew me to this book (Plenty) was the many variations on roast chicken and what to do with the leftovers. Roast chicken is a frequent meal at our house (as it may be in yours) so I thought this section could be especially useful.

                                                                                  Since I had some leftover roast chicken to use up, I decided to try this risotto, for which I already had all the ingredients on hand. I had to make a few changes to the recipe, though. Specifically, I really didn't have time to stand around stirring a pot of risotto, so I decided to boil my risotto rice instead. I like to do this on weeknights because the rice cooks much faster this way and does not need tending.

                                                                                  So, I minced one small onion and sauteed in a mix of olive oil and butter (recipe called for 1/3 cup butter(!) - I reduced to one tbsp), toasted my rice, then added 4 cups of chicken stock all at once and boiled the rice until done. The cooking liquid reduced to become a very thick sludgy liquid from all the starch released by the rice -- I saved some of it to stir into the risotto at the end. After pouring off the rice, I shredded my leftover chicken and warmed it in the sludgy cooking water. Meanwhile I stirred into the rice a thick liquid consisting of: 5 tbsp grated parmigiano reggiano, juice and zest of 1 meyer lemon, 1/4 cup creme fraiche, and 1 egg yolk). Mixed this into the rice with some of the reserved cooking liquid, the warmed plumped chicken shreds, and 3-4 tbsp finely chopped parsley. I ended up using about twice as much lemon and parsley as called for because I wanted the rice to be sharper and fresher tasting -- the recipe as written was very creamy and mild. And by the time I stirred in the starchy stock and egg/cream/lemon mixture, the texture of the dish was pretty much indistinguishable from regular risotto, even though I did not stand there stirring the pan. The verdict: very good!

                                                                                  However, I don't think the shredded chicken was necessary at all. The real star of this dish is the lemon and parsley (with the bit of cream, which I don't normally add, adding a welcome touch of sweetness). So while this is a perfectly nice way to use up some leftover chicken, this is not the recipe to choose if you want your leftovers to be the star.

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: Westminstress

                                                                                    Oh! I'm always looking for things to do with leftover chicken: lots of ideas in this book: http://www.eatyourbooks.com/library/r...

                                                                                    ~TDQ

                                                                                  2. Simple Roast Chicken with Herbs, Plenty, p. 16

                                                                                    This was an example of how sometimes it does not pay to deviate from your tried and true methods of doing a particular thing. Now I have made many roast chickens in my life, mostly perfectly delicious. My preferred method is small bird, high heat. If I am up to it, I salt in advance and cook a proper Zuni bird. Or sometimes I will do a Marcella Hazan lemon chicken. But more often than not, I simply put the bird thighs down in a preheated cast iron skillet and roast until done (no turning, no flipping). This method works well for me in part because I have a vintage stove, and my oven is a bit temperamental and cooks slowly, especially for certain dishes (roast chicken and carrots especially). For example, in my old apartment I used to like to cook my chicken on a bed of roasted vegetables, but I have found that if I do that in my current oven, neither the chicken nor the vegetables underneath the chicken will cook through properly. So now I tend to roast my vegetables separately.

                                                                                    Anyway. DH's tried and true roast chicken method is completely different. She uses a larger chicken (about 5 pounds) and advocates roasting at 350F for 20 minutes per pound, plus an extra 20 minutes. She also recommends rubbing the skin (on top and underneath) with softened butter, in this case, mixed with herbs (I think I used thyme, sage and parsley). The picture in the book looked so good, and it was so different from my usual method, I decided to give it a try and follow the recipe to a T.

                                                                                    Disaster! This was hands down the worst chicken I've ever cooked. After cooking for 20 minutes per pound plus an extra 20 minutes, my chicken was nowhere close to done. In the end, I had to turn the heat up and cook the bird over 2 hours and honestly it still could have been a bit more done in the deepest parts of the thighs, but my family was so famished, we couldn't wait any longer. By the time the thighs were done enough to eat, the breast meat was dried out, not at all like the usual tender and juicy breast meat I produce on a regular basis. I did not think the butter rub helped the breast stay moist. I did think it contributed to rubbery, greasy chicken skin (as opposed to the crispy skin that I easily achieve with higher heat and no butter). I didn't even get a lot of herb flavor out of it.

                                                                                    So, live and learn. This recipe was an epic fail for me, and I will not deviate from my tried and true method again, at least not until I get a new oven. Which is not something that will be happening any time soon.

                                                                                    I'm still tempted by some of the variations, so I may try adapting some of them to my preferred chicken-roasting method.

                                                                                    18 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: Westminstress

                                                                                      Oh no! I have a tried and true roast chicken method, too (Thomas Keller's from Bouchon, also available on Epicurious). Sounds similar to yours. I think I'll stick with it.

                                                                                      ~TDQ

                                                                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                        Yes, that's pretty much what I do, except I don't normally truss.

                                                                                      2. re: Westminstress

                                                                                        Wow, that is horrible. I'm so sorry. Thank you for the warning.

                                                                                        1. re: Westminstress

                                                                                          20 minutes per pound plus 20 minutes is pretty standard. I've also used the butter and herbs method before with no problem. If anything, though, my oven cooks too quickly (it is fan assisted), Sorry this didn't work out for you.

                                                                                          My go-to method is the River Cafe's lemon chicken. I made it the other day with a free-range supermarket chicken (I normally buy meat from a butcher or the farmer's market), and it wasn't nearly as tasty.

                                                                                          1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                            As I've said many times before, that River Cafe lemon chicken is also my go to. Never fails.

                                                                                            1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                              GG and LLM: I thought one of you posted a link to the River Cafe chicken recipe but now I can't find it. Could you repost it here? Even though I have my own go-to, never-fail roast chicken recipe, my curiousity has been piqued!

                                                                                              1. re: Westminstress

                                                                                                Meant to do this yesterday and then got too busy. Better late than never, I hope:

                                                                                                gg's original review (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7178...

                                                                                                )

                                                                                                Chicken with lemon, Italian Easy, p 147

                                                                                                This is basically a pared down version of Marcella Hazan's recipe for roast chicken with lemons, which is the way I usually roast chicken. This method has you roll a lemon on the counter to soften it, then pierce several times with a fork. Put the lemon in the cavity of the bird, along with some fresh thyme, season well and secure with a toothpick. Roast in a 200C oven, breast-side down, for an hour, then flip the chicken over and roast for another 30 minutes.

                                                                                                This was spectacular, really moist and juicy and falling-off the bone tender. It was a free-range bird from the farmer's market so the flavour of the meat was very good. I served it with the pan juices, and the courgettes from ITE, which I've reported on in the appropriate thread, and some sourdough for mopping.

                                                                                                The only difference between this recipe, and Hazan's is the addition of the thyme, and that you keep the oven temperature constant (Marcella has you raise it for the last portion of cooking time). I think you might also flip the bird later in the cooking process as well. Anyway, the results were just as good and as it's a slightly simpler method, with no faffing about with the oven temperature, this will become my new standard.

                                                                                                1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                  Thanks, LLM! What size bird do you usually use and do you roast at 400? Do you ever have problems with the chicken skin sticking to the pan and if so, how do you remedy? (I sometimes have this problem with Marcella's chicken despite her stern instructions to the contrary). Now I have two new roast chicken methods to try (this and Keller's).

                                                                                                  1. re: Westminstress

                                                                                                    Eeek, again, sorry it has taken me so long to get back to you. I usually use as close to 3.5-4 lbs as I can get, and roast at 400. I usually put a small (oh gosh, what do they call those things - the little rack like thing that you can set the chicken on in the pan? I'll call it a rack) rack in the pan and I've never had a problem. The skin is lovely with this, and there is a nice slight lemony flavor to the meat. I never really get enough of the juices to bother serving with it, but that doesn't seem to bother anyone because it is so juicy. I serve with either polenta or mashers and (pretty much every time - an easy do-ahead and a big favorite around here) fennel salad (the one from Flexitarian if you have that).

                                                                                                    1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                      Thanks! Will definitely give this a try one of these days, and will report back when I do!

                                                                                                    2. re: Westminstress

                                                                                                      You know, I always put a thin film of oil on the pan for the chicken with two lemons, despite Marcella's instructions not to. But then, I also squeeze the lemon over the carved chicken, despite her stern instructions to the contrary!

                                                                                              2. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                I have a vintage Chambers stove from 1949. One of the advertised features of the Chambers was the ability to "cook with the gas turned off." There is an old recipe book for Chambers' stoves ("The Idle Hour") and all the recipes in there involve cooking your roast for say, 20 minutes with the gas on, then turning the gas off and allowing the meat to continue cooking on retained heat until done (for up to several hours). To facilitate this, the insulation in the oven is intense so that little heat is lost. In addition, roasts were intended to be cooked inside a covered roaster such as the Lisk enamel roasters, which were actually designed for a Chambers stove. I've certainly noticed that my oven retains heat for a long time, but I've never tried cooking on retained heat as recommended. I don't have a covered roaster, and I'm not sure that my insulation is really up to stuff. One of these days, though, I'm going to track the roaster down on ebay and give it a try.

                                                                                                All of which is a long-winded way of explaining that I think there is a lack of air circulation in my oven (because it is built to retain heat) which means that certain items take longer to cook, as compared to modern ovens that have fans or even convection features.

                                                                                                The temperature in my oven is 100% accurate (I've tested multiple times with an oven thermometer), so that's not the source of the discrepancy.

                                                                                                My stove (though not in fully restored condition like this one): http://chambers.mgbotanicals.com/cham...
                                                                                                Lisk roaster advertisement: http://www.ebay.com/itm/LISK-Brand-EN...

                                                                                                Just think how easy and efficient life could be if I could just stick my chicken in the Lisk and cook it with the gas turned off! I really should try it sometime.

                                                                                                1. re: Westminstress

                                                                                                  OMGoodness, WM. I'm in love with your Stove! LOL

                                                                                                  1. re: Westminstress

                                                                                                    Wow, Westminstress, that stove is amazing! Where did you find it?

                                                                                                    Reminds me of the time I visited a boyfriend's granny who lived in a fabulous flat overlooking Central Park with her husband, the celebrated British journalist Alistair Cook. She was notoriously thrifty, which meant she still had the original, enamel Fifties kitchen. Beautiful. I don't think she was much of a cook though, as it was pristine.

                                                                                                    1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                      What! Alistair Cooke? The television presenter I watched from the 1950's to the end of his career?

                                                                                                      1. re: Gio

                                                                                                        That's the one.

                                                                                                    2. re: Westminstress

                                                                                                      Lucky you - I would absolutely love to have a stove like yours :)

                                                                                                      1. re: Westminstress

                                                                                                        Thanks! We found our stove on craigslist for a few hundred dollars. Due to lots of doors and odd-sized windows in our kitchen, our stove stands alone with no countertop around it. We needed something that looked good from three sides, not just the front, and we didn't have an extra $5000 to spend on an Aga or similar. I've been pretty happy with the cooking performance, though it does have its quirks, so I'll be hanging onto it for a while.

                                                                                                  2. I received a notice from the library this evening that Roast Figs, Sugar Snow is read to be picked-up. Plan to pick it up tomorrow. If anyone has recommendations for this book I would love to hear about them.

                                                                                                    1. Le Bettelman, Plenty, p. 295

                                                                                                      I made this a while back, but I thought I'd report on it now. This is a recipe for bread pudding with apples. I decided to make it because I had half a loaf of *extremely* stale, absolutely rock hard bread, as well as a few apples that I deemed too mushy to eat. The pudding is made with cubed stale bread, chopped apples, milk, cream (I subbed half and half for both of these, eggs, sugar, and lemon. This little dessert came together easily and was tasty, though a little dry. I think that was my fault though. She specified day old bread, but mine was more like week old -- so much drier than hers would have been. I should've added more liquid to compensate. (And I don't bake often enough to have known to do this, though I'm sure an experienced baker would have.) The slight dryness could easily have been remedied with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, or just more cream, but I didn't have any on hand. Anyway, if you like bread pudding and apples, I think you'd like this.

                                                                                                      1. Pure Simple Cooking finally arrived. Clapping for joy. I'll sit down with it later and mark my game plan...

                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                        1. re: Gio

                                                                                                          There is nothing like that time with a new book and a piece of paper and nothing else to do, is there? Heaven. Enjoy.

                                                                                                        2. Picked up Roast Figs, Sugar Snow from the library and briefly searched for a dessert for tomorrow. Lots of recipes using cranberries and I have both, fresh and dried, maybe a cranberry something will be on the menu for tomorrow.

                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: herby

                                                                                                            I made the Italian chocolate cake at Christmas and it was very good.

                                                                                                            1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                              Thanks GG!

                                                                                                          2. Pickled Lemons - Crazy Water, Pickled Lemons, p. 165

                                                                                                            Seemed like a good idea to make the title recipe from this book. The book has recipes for both "preserved lemons" and "pickled lemons". What's the difference? The preserved lemon recipe is like many others that are out there. You cut the lemons into quarters lengthwise, but not all the way through. Pack with salt and leave for a few days. The recipe then has you add cinnamon sticks, coriander seeds, black peppercorns, and bay leaves. Add more lemon juice to cover, then a layer of olive oil on top. These are ready in about a month.

                                                                                                            The pickled lemons are sliced crosswise. The slices are sprinkled with salt and left to drain in a colander overnight. The next day, the slices are packed into a jar, layered with sprinklings of paprika. The jar is then topped off with olive oil, and refrigerated. The lemons are supposed to be ready in 3 weeks.

                                                                                                            The latter recipe is the one I've made, they are curing in the fridge now, and I'll report back in a few weeks when they are "done". I hope to make the preserved lemon recipe as well.

                                                                                                            10 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                              Mel, what will the pickled lemons be used for? As a condiment? Or as... er... a pickle? Which I suppose is a condiment in a sense.

                                                                                                              1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                The book says to use in any recipe where you would use "preserved lemons". Also to serve in slices with fish or meat. Interestingly enough, the current COTM, Ad Hoc at Home, also has recipes for whole preserved lemons and for "cured lemons" which are done in slices. The "cured lemons" are different from DH's though. They are layered with salt and sugar. Keller points out that with the preserved lemons, you are using only the peel, and with the "cured lemons" you use whole slices, so the meat plus the peel of the lemon.

                                                                                                                1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                  OK... thanks very much! Good to know... I do like the idea of both the pickled and cured lemons.

                                                                                                                  1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                    You know, I've always only used the peel of preserved lemons, as that is standard, so it was interesting to discover that Henry calls for using the flesh, as well as some of the brine, in the marinade portion of the Chicken Baked with Sweet Potatoes, Smoked Paprika, Olives, and Preserved Lemons from Pure Simple Cooking I reported on above (the peel is also used in the dish), with great results. It has me thinking about using those parts in a similar way in the future (with the caveat that one needs to use restraint in adding salt because the flesh and brine are quite salty).

                                                                                                                    1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                      I always use the whole business - peel, flesh and goo - regardless of what the recipe says and yet to regret it.

                                                                                                                      1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                        I seem to always use less than called for with preserved lemon; otherwise it tends to make the dish (to me) taste like house cleaner. I love a lemony taste to stuff but it is easy to overwhelm with preserved lemons. I'm going to be trying the chicken dish you wrote about next week. Any thoughts on whether I should stick to my usual hold-back?

                                                                                                                        1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                          LLM, I understand what you mean, though I don't usually have that experience. I'd say that in that chicken recipe, the marinade really gives a ton of flavor but the lemon flesh/brine in it doesn't have the strong presence of the rind, so I wouldn't worry about that part vs. the chopped rind added later. I think she calls for using half a lemon, so I'd suggest making a judgment based on the size of your preserved lemons, or use all the flesh but less of the rind.

                                                                                                                          1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                            Thanks Caitlin, that helps a lot. I hope to make this next Thursday.

                                                                                                                  2. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                    Mel, there is no extra lemon juice in the pickled lemons? Is amount of salt specified or do you just sprinkle at your discretion?

                                                                                                                    1. re: herby

                                                                                                                      No extra lemon juice. The amount of salt is not specified. Which has me second-guessing myself as to whether I used enough.

                                                                                                                  3. Caribbean lazy chicken and rice (Pure Simple Cooking, p. 18)

                                                                                                                    We liked this a lot although none of us could detect a hint of the hot sauce that had gone into the marinade (and seemed to be what was supposed to make this Caribbean). I went with the amount she calls for - 1/2 tablespoon - against my guess at my tastes because Lulu had just lost a tooth and I didn't want to cause pain. But even Lulu was saying "this isn't spicy AT ALL." Anyway, we did all like it very much and it is so easy.

                                                                                                                    This is one of the ... and also ... type recipes. You take 8 chicken thighs and marinate them in garlic, lime juice, thyme leaves and hot sauce (which I will definitely use more of next time around). Wash basmati rice until clear, then spread in baking pan with chopped onion and sliced mushrooms. Lay the chicken on top of this and pour marinade and hot chicken stock on top. Season well. Roast for about 45 minutes. Nice crisp skin. She suggests serving with a spinach and avocado salad; I went with a salad of baby greens and herbs with avocado and a very simple vinaigrette. Ended the meal with Donna Hay's Raspberry Fool. Everyone happy.

                                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                      Made this (Caribbean lazy chicken and rice) again last night and again it was a hit. This time I bumped the hot sauce up to a full tablespoon, and it still didn't get any "gee, this is spicy" comments. I actually brought the hot sauce out to the table to spice it up a bit for myself (just because I like spicy food, not because it wasn't already tasty). I really love the rice in this. This time around I used skinless boneless thighs and I don't think I'd do that again - they got a bit dried out. The side was a salad of spinach and avocado, just as DH suggests, this time with just lime, evoo, S&P and some pepitas - very simple but delicious.

                                                                                                                      1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                        Thanks for the follow-up; I will make a note in my book about the lack of spiciness even when doubling the hot sauce (what brand did you use?). I guess when I make this I'll try 1.5 tbsp of hot sauce so that we can actually taste it!

                                                                                                                        1. re: geekmom

                                                                                                                          My hot sauce is called Tropical Pepper Co. Scotch Bonnet Caribbean Pepper Sauce. You'd *think* anything with Scotch bonnet peppers in it would be plenty hot, but ... not so much. You might want to be careful and just serve on the side the first time - I'm a big fan of very hot and spicy flavors. But honestly, even Lulu didn't flinch (and even the first time, when she had just lost a tooth).

                                                                                                                    2. Baked Salmon with Mustard and Honey - Pure Simple Cooking, p. 79

                                                                                                                      So this isn't exactly groundbreaking, but fast, minimal ingredients, and tasty. Essentially, it's just grainy mustard, honey, and chopped fresh dill combined and slathered on salmon fillets, which are then baked. I tweaked the proportions a bit. For four fillets, she calls for 2 T each mustard and honey, and 1 1/2 tsp. dill. For three fillets, I used 2 T Dijon mustard, maybe 1 1/2 T honey, and oh, maybe 1 T dill. She doesn't mention seasoning the fish, but S and P went on mine.

                                                                                                                      1. Lentils with [Spring] Cabbage and Peperoncino, Plenty, p. 102

                                                                                                                        OK, I have to confess that I have never heard of "spring cabbage." Around here, cabbage is a winter vegetable. In any event, I chose to make this dish because I had half of an ordinary green winter cabbage to use up, and I had all the remaining ingredients in my pantry. No shopping required! We loved this dish.

                                                                                                                        Puy lentils are boiled for 20 minutes until tender, then drained. Meanwhile, 1/2 a cabbage is shredded, then sauteed in olive oil with 4 thinly sliced garlic cloves and some red pepper flakes. When the cabbage is tender and lentils are drained, stir them together, then add a dressing consisting of: 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 tsp balsamic vinegar, 1/2 a lemon (I used a whole meyer lemon), 2 tbsp finely chopped parsley (I used more) and quite a lot of salt and pepper to taste. The combination of these humble ingredients is simply delicious and well more than the sum of its parts. As DH mentions in the headnotes, use a good olive oil, for it is the olive oil that makes this dish sing.

                                                                                                                        My favorite dish from this book so far, a definite repeater, and now I am motivated to see what other humble delights I can discover in this book.

                                                                                                                        20 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: Westminstress

                                                                                                                          Wow! This sounds SO good. Is "peperoncino" their way of saying "red pepper flakes"? Or do you actually add pieces of peperoncini?

                                                                                                                          1. re: geekmom

                                                                                                                            It Does sound good! Peperoncino in Italy refers to hot red pepper. When I see it in an ingredient list I reach for crushed red pepper flakes. Peperonci are the light green pickled peppers.

                                                                                                                            1. re: geekmom

                                                                                                                              It was good! I was confused by "peperoncino" also, but as you surmise, it's just crushed red pepper flakes.

                                                                                                                            2. re: Westminstress

                                                                                                                              Spring cabbage is lovely, and about the only veg in season here right now! It's very tender and mild.

                                                                                                                              1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                It must be a UK thing! Like purple sprouting broccoli -- isn't that another spring veg you have? We don't have it here, or at least, I've never seen it.

                                                                                                                                ETA: the recipe in my book actually called for savoy cabbage -- maybe that's the north american sub for spring cabbage.

                                                                                                                                1. re: Westminstress

                                                                                                                                  I know what you mean! The British food writers have me salivating with their descriptions of this vegetable and I've never seen it for sale anywhere. I also cannot find lemon thyme anywhere in Vancouver, although I've seen it in Toronto. Jamie Oliver calls for lemon thyme in a lot of recipes.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: geekmom

                                                                                                                                    I've purchased lemon thyme at the farmers market here, but only in the height of summer. I think it's pretty easy to grow.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Westminstress

                                                                                                                                      Yeah, I plan to pick some up if I can find a seedling plant when the farmer's market opens this year. I am not so good at keeping these things alive though.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Westminstress

                                                                                                                                        Ditto - I see it everywhere in the summer and spring at local farmers markets. Never seen it in a store. Anyone have any thoughts on what one might do to mimic the flavor (like use regular thyme and add a bit of lemon juice or something)?

                                                                                                                                        1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                          Going to answer my own question here. I did a web search and read that regular thyme and a little lemon zest should do the trick as a substitute. I've been seeing a lot of lemon thyme in the Donna Hay recipes that interest me (different thread, I realize).

                                                                                                                                          1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                            Lemon juice would be too strong, and would add an acidity that wouldn't otherwise be present. The lemon is very subtle in lemon thyme. A tiny bit of zest would be more like it. If you have an herb patch, I recommend growing it. It is easy to grow, as are all thymes, and where you live, you'll have it all year round.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                                              Thanks Mel. Unfortunately between lack of sun (too many trees) and vociferous squirrels we are pretty much unable to grow any herbs (anything edible at all!). However, I have talked LulusDad into buying me an AeroGarden and hope to start growing some herbs in the next week. Very excited about it. I'm going to start with the herbs they gave me, though, and lemon thyme isn't one of them. But if it works out, I'll go for it.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                What is AeroGarden? I am looking for something for the balcony. Our planting season is not until the end of May and maybe even later this year - we are expecting snow/ice storm to start this evening! Glad that I still have snow tires on.

                                                                                                                                                You could grow any thyme inside - it grows well if you have plenty of light and remember to water :)

                                                                                                                                                1. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                  Well, the light is the problem. We live in a house that is surrounded by very tall trees. We have 3 skylights in the kitchen and sometimes it is *still* really dark in there on cloudy days. So we need some sort of grow light no matter what. AeroGarden was recommended by a local Chowhound friend. Here is a link to it via amazon: http://www.amazon.com/AeroGarden-Clas...

                                                                                                                                                  I have to admit to having high hopes for it. You'd need a plug point on your balcony in order to use this. There is a chowhound discussion (probably in gardening - my friend sent the link to me but I can't find it this moment) all about it. Fingers crossed.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                    Thank you for a quick reply, LLM! Neat concept and I wish you lots of luck with it. I am sure you'll do well - it doesn't really require light and as long as you have the counter space, you'll have a garden at your fingertips :)

                                                                                                                                                    It will not work for me - no power on the balcony and most importantly our growing season in Canada is short; my kitchen is tiny and I can't even keep the blender on the counter. But I am going to check the gardening board and might find some useful info about balcony gardening. A trip to Lee Valley is on my long "to-do" list and one of these days I'll make it there.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                      Good luck! I do remember my aunt always having grow lights with her African violets and they looked just beautiful so I have high hopes.

                                                                                                                                                      Would growing season matter if you were growing things inside? I guess that doesn't really matter if you don't have room, but is there maybe another room you could use?

                                                                                                                                                      I have the least green thumb in the world, but ... hope springs eternal. I really do want to have fresh herbs. I had some tarragon for a while, then that died. I had Chinese chives for a while - they lasted a surprising 8 months or so. But the rosemary bush (which no one in the world but me seems to be able to kill) died very quickly.

                                                                                                                                          2. re: Westminstress

                                                                                                                                            Just wanted to add to Westminstress' comment about lemon thyme--it is very easy to grow, plus it's perennial, so even though it turns brown in winter here in Massachusetts, it comes right back as soon as the weather starts to warm up--mine is now sending up some nice green branches. Squirrels don't seem to go for it, nor do rabbits; I think because it's sort of prickly. Just needs a sunny area, a lean soil and no overwatering. I've got some in a window box outside on my deck that's four years old.
                                                                                                                                            But I think the regular thyme-lemon zest sub would also be fine.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Goblin

                                                                                                                                              The sun is definitely a problem. I'll try the regular thyme-lemon zest sub. But thanks.

                                                                                                                                        2. re: Westminstress

                                                                                                                                          Purple sprouting broccoli is one of my favourite vegetables, but it's only become popular in the last few years. I don't remember it at all as a child.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                            I have been curious about purple sprouting broccoli after seeing so many recipes for it in contemporary British cookbooks. I don't think I've seen it here, but it seems/looks similar to what I know as broccolini, only, you know, with purple heads.

                                                                                                                                            PSB: https://www.google.com/search?q=purpl...

                                                                                                                                            Broccolini: https://www.google.com/search?q=brocc...

                                                                                                                                    2. Chicken Baked with Red Onions, Potatoes, and Rosemary, Pg. 15, Pure Simple Cooking

                                                                                                                                      This method of cooking chicken and vegetables is very familiar to me, the ingredients may change but the theme remains the same. Meat or seafood, chopped vegetables, fresh or dry herbs, EVOO, S & P, oven at high heat, and dinner's on the table in no time at all. This particular recipe actually comes from renowned Antonio Carluccio of London's food scene: chef, caffe and food shop owner, TV presenter, and prolific cookbook author. The recipe hits home because I grew up eating a dish extremely similar.

                                                                                                                                      A whole chicken or bone-in chicken thighs are called for and since I had them I used the thighs. The red onions sliced into wedges, tiny red potatoes left whole, and unpeeled cloves from 2 heads of garlic are placed into a roasting pan, seasoned with rosemary and S & P, sprinkled with balsamic vinegar, and drizzled with olive oil. After the chicken is seasoned with S & P the pieces are snuggled into the vegetables. Roast for about 45 minutes then serve.

                                                                                                                                      This was a delight. I served steamed asparagus along side and placed the chicken atop a simple green salad so the juices from the chicken mingled with the vinaigrette, an Ottolenghi idea guaranteed to produce prolonged yum sounds. In my own version of this recipe I sometimes roast lemon slices or halves right in with all the other goodies in the pan. In Carluccio's rendition the balsamico takes the flavor to another height. This is G's very favorite dinner.

                                                                                                                                      10 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                        Yum indeed. Is that from the Simple Cooking book, Gio?

                                                                                                                                        1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                          Yes, it is from Pure Simple Cooking (US Ed.) I just got in under the wire to edit, thank you GG!

                                                                                                                                        2. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                          My turn on the Chicken baked with red onions, potatoes and rosemary (+ some cut up fennel)

                                                                                                                                          Not sure exactly what happened, but the potatoes took *forever* and didn't even feel fully cooked after an hour (she calls for 45 minutes). Took the chicken out at 45 minutes and let the potatoes continue to cook at an even higher temp than the 400 called for. I had cut them up into small, bite size pieces so I really have no idea what was going on with those potatoes, but next time I think I'd roast them first for about 20 minutes, then add the chicken and do another 45 minutes. The taste on this was wonderful, but biting into not totally cooked potatoes put a damper on things.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                            Oh what a shame about the potatoes! Mine were what someone else - Thomas Keller? - calls "marble potatoes". IOW those really tiny tiny potatoes one finds every now and then. These came from Trader Joe's. This kind of meal is my Go To when I don't feel like cooking because it's so utilitarian and forgiving.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                              It was a shame, because like you, I feel that these kinds of meals (which there are so many of in this book) are great for when you have a lot of other stuff to do and can't devote lots of time to dinner. I'll look at TJs for those marble potatoes.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                They were in a mesh bag; a mix of the larger minis and then really smaller ones...

                                                                                                                                            2. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                              Bummer about the misbehaving potatoes, but I like the idea of the added fennel.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                The fennel was lovely in this, and I didn't feel guilty about not serving a side salad (as she suggests). Yeah, I'm still bummed about the potatoes, but my husband wanted some of them to fry up with eggs this afternoon for lunch, so not a total loss.

                                                                                                                                            3. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                              Chicken Baked with Red Onions, Potatoes, and Rosemary

                                                                                                                                              This dish was very delicious! Loved what the balsamic vinegar did for the roasted onions and potatoes. I used a mix of thighs and legs. (When the chicken is freshly cooked I like thighs best, but I'm not crazy about leftover thighs for some reason.) And keeping in mind LLM's troubles with the timing, I cut the potatoes pretty small, and I spread everything out on a sheet pan Ottolenghi style, so that the chicken and vegetables could roast in a single layer. This did the trick -- the chicken and vegetables cooked through in the same amount of time (45-50 minutes in my slow oven) and were very good indeed. I liked the tip to rub the chicken skin with coarse salt before baking in order to crisp the skin. This really worked! Anyway, this is a great dish and I am looking forward to trying more from this book.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Westminstress

                                                                                                                                                I don't know many of Diana Henry's recipes, and I haven't made this myself, but my sister made this chicken dish for Rosh Hashanah and it was excellent. I have it on file and I'm just waiting for an opportunity to make it. It was so good that I recommended it to a friend who was having company and she said it came out great as well. I'm looking forward to making it myself!

                                                                                                                                            4. Roasted Vegetables with Indian Spices, Pg. 130, Pure Simple Cooking

                                                                                                                                              Loved this! We roast vegetables of all kinds regularly and we're always happy to find other combinations and other seasonings. The spice mixture here is heady and full of flavor, nothing unusual but still enticing. I used the last of our winter vegetables and halved the recipe.

                                                                                                                                              Instead of the 2 sweet potatoes listed I used a rutabaga (swede), 2 carrots, 1/2 butternut squash, and 1 large white onion. (I included 1 head of garlic, not on the ingredient list, the cloves separated but peel left on after trimming off the root end.) These are all peeled, seeded if nec, and sliced more or less in large chunks. The spice mixture is: cumin, coriander, chili powder, ginger - all ground - S & P. Toss the vegetables into a roasting pan, combine the spices with olive oil and drizzle over the vegetables. Mix with impeccably clean hands to cover all and roast in a pre-heated 375F oven. When everything is tender remove pan from oven and sprinkle a chopped bunch of cilantro over all.

                                                                                                                                              Henry calls this "hassle free" and it certainly is. I'm a great fan of anything hassle free and especially spicy tender root vegetables. It went very well with Donna Hay's Couscous Salad from her Off the Shelf book and roasted chicken thighs.

                                                                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                                                                              1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                Roasted Autumn Vegetables with the Maple and Mustard Variation, Pure Simple Cooking, p. 132.

                                                                                                                                                I'm entering this as a reply to Gio's report above for Roasted Vegetables with Indian Spices, because the method is the same. In this case, root vegetables--potatoes, peeled carrots, peeled red onions, and parsnips (which I did not have)--are cut up or sliced and tossed with olive oil, s & p, fresh thyme leaves and some balsamic vinegar (which gives a lovely mild acidity.) Roast at 375 F until tender and browned. Like Gio, I also added some unpeeled garlic cloves, which we then squeezed over the roasted veggies at serving time. I didn't have any parsnips so I tossed in a fennel bulb cut in wedges. Finally, I spooned over a mixture of 1/4 cup each of maple syrup and grainy mustard about 10 minutes before they were done, and we LOVED the sweet spiciness this added.

                                                                                                                                                Of course one can vary the veggies (sweet potatoes, squash, beets) and herbs (rosemary or sage). Though it is technically Spring, this "autumnal mixture" was comforting and delicious on a coolish evening and we enjoyed every bite. Served with the Baked Cod with a Zesty Crust on p. 69.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Goblin

                                                                                                                                                  I've made the basic recipe (without the maple syrup or mustard) twice now as we haven't got spring veggies yet. A very tasty and versatile recipe. The first time I added beetroot to the mix; the second time beet root and cauliflower, but no potatoes. I will make this a lot in the colder months I think (and that's most of the time she says bitterly!). Will try the maple and mustard variation next time.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Goblin

                                                                                                                                                    Maple and Mustard Roasted Vegetables - Pure Simple Cooking, p. 132.

                                                                                                                                                    One of those things about a CSA delivery is the occasional challenge of using produce you wouldn't buy of your own volition, and so it was with some roots I'm less than crazy for: rutabagas, Tokyo turnips, and red daikon. Roasting with lots of seasoning seemed the likeliest solution, and so it was that I made this dish with them, along with a large carrot, a small red onion, and a large yellow onion. I used rosemary in place of thyme. And while it didn't convert me to the rutabaga cause, it was easy to eat and enjoy well enough, especially with the sweet counterparts of roasted onion and carrot. And it gives me a good template when more of them inevitably come my way.

                                                                                                                                                2. Black pasta with squid (shrimp), chile and garlic (pure simple p. 87)

                                                                                                                                                  I love pastas and risottos flavored with squid ink so this one immediately jumped out at me. I found some squid ink pasta and double the recipe. I also used shrimp instead of squid (she recommends this substitution in the head note). Because I used shrimp I added the garlic and chiles to hot olive oil before the shrimp (with the squid it would go in first) so that the shrimp wouldn't over cook. Then I put in the shrimp just before the pasta was ready. Drain the pasta, add some lemon juice and chopped parsley and more olive oil and bobs your uncle. Easy and so incredibly flavorful. Lulu and I were totally in love with it (she was a little iffy when she first saw it - "Why is it black??" but one taste put that out of her mind).

                                                                                                                                                  1. Well, I've had Roast Figs, Sugar Snow for almost three weeks now and it didn't warm my soul.... Looked at it many times and nothings grabs me hard enough to take the book along to the kitchen. Looks like Diana Henry's cooking style is not to my taste. This got me thinking about other British cookbook authors and the only one that I find inspiring is Jamie Oliver.... oh, well....

                                                                                                                                                    9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                      Have you looked at any of her other books? I took both Plenty and Pure Simple Cooking from the library, and ended up returning Plenty without having made anything but renewing Pure, Simple. Doesn't mean you'll necessarily have a different opinion of the book you have, but it is worth checking the library just in case. And before you write off British cookbook authors, have you tried Simon Hopkinson? We did his Roast Chicken book a few years ago and I loved it; I especially love his writing style - sort of the way we often feel about Nigella, very chatty and friendly.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                        Good suggestion, LLM! I am not writing British authors off :) But isn't it interesting that I do not care for Slater, Nigella, Ramsey and now Henry? I do not know what it is about their recipes that does not appeal. On the other hand, I tried a few of Donna Hay recipes and they are immediately appealing and even familiar in a weird way because this is the way I cook when I just cook and not follow a recipe.

                                                                                                                                                        Anyway, I will give Diana Henry another try later in May. I have not hear of Simon Hopkinson - will investigate.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                          It may be that you just don't like British authors. They do tend to have a certain style to them, although for me, when I look at recipes, there are some I love and some that just don't appeal.

                                                                                                                                                          Anyway I just wanted to say that of Henry's books, the one you checked out is the one that I have found least appealing. You might try the Crazy Water, Pickled Lemon one, as it is very different. Or Cook Simple or Plenty.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                                                            You are probably right, MeIMM, that the style doesn't appeal to me. However, I am willing to try more and will do so later in May when I am back at home and cooking. Will make a note of Diane Henry's books that you are recommending and also will check out Simon Hopkinson that LLM mentioned. Since I am not likely to participate in COTM in May, maybe I could get some British cooking going :) Just put a sticky in my agenda to look these books up in the library when I am back.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                              I went on the library site and there is only one Diana Henry's book - Roast Figs - now we know why I've chosen it :) There four books by Simon Hopkinson - Herbs, two Roast Chicken (the original and Second helping) and The Vegetarian Option. The last one is at my branch and I'll pick it up tomorrow just to look through.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                                Of the Hopkinson books, I would recommend the first Roast Chicken book. Not that there is anything wrong with the others. He is an amusing writer. All of his books are worth reading, whether you cook anything or not.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                                  I agree with MelMM - the first Roast Chicken book is the best for cooking. But they're all nice, chatty reads.

                                                                                                                                                            2. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                              From her web site: "Donna Hay is Australia’s leading food editor and best-selling cookbook author. Her food, recipes and styling focuses on basic ingredients, simply prepared and beautifully photographed – hallmarks of her work which have set the benchmark for food publishing worldwide and inspired a whole new generation of cooks."

                                                                                                                                                              So you see Herby, Hay is Australian not British. Perhaps you relate to that sensibility... I've been having great fun and getting terrific results with her Off the Shelf book.

                                                                                                                                                              I have all three Hopkinson books but have only cooked from the first Roast Chicken book. The other two just don't seem to interest me for some reason.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                I do not think it is the country of origin but rather the way of cooking what appeals to me. And I only brought Donna Hay into the conversation because I tried two new to me authors - Donna Hay and Diana Henry - and one was a hit but another a complete miss. So I started thinking about other British authors and found that I reacted similarly to them with a few exceptions. I know that Donna Hay is Australian and used to get her newsletter but have not cooked until now :)

                                                                                                                                                        2. Turkish Chicken with Oranges and Warm Spices - Pure Simple Cooking, p. 16

                                                                                                                                                          This calls for thin-skinned oranges, which are meant to be cooked and eaten skin and all. I had some little tangerines with very, very thin skins so I thought I'd try a half recipe. This is another one calling for thighs, but it's a stovetop braise so I used boneless, skinless thighs and reduced the cooking time. The chicken is browned and removed, then the orange (tangerine) wedges and red onion are sauteed for a few minutes, followed by the addition of garlic, fresh red chile, ground coriander, and a cinnamon stick. Orange juice and chicken stock are added and simmered 10 minutes, then the chicken is returned and cooked at low heat. Honey's also called for, but I ended up skipping it, figuring it might be too much sweet along with the oranges, onions, and OJ.

                                                                                                                                                          The tangerine skins were perfectly edible, to my taste; a little bitter, but not overwhelmingly so, and in fact, the bitterness was a good contrast to the sweet onions and orange flesh. I liked this quite a bit, and it's relatively quick with boneless thighs. I did use more chile than called for, yet it didn't register. I think I'd prefer to add a healthy dose of pepper flakes for a real hot-sweet dish, and I would use honey if doing it that way, but maybe less than called for. This definitely wants something to soak up the fragrant sauce, and I served it over bulgur with roasted asparagus rounding out the plate. Leftovers were very good cold for lunch, too.

                                                                                                                                                          1. Rose-Drenched Yogurt Cake with Summer Berries - Pure Simple Cooking, p. 177

                                                                                                                                                            This recipe caught my eye when I first flipped through the book. It's a cake made with some ground almonds and Greek yogurt, flavored with lime zest, that while still warm is pierced all over with a skewer, then soaked with a syrup of sugar, water, lime juice, and rose water. I made this the evening before I planned to cut into it, because I've learned that these syrup-doused cakes are always better after a day, when the syrup has had a chance to fully penetrate.

                                                                                                                                                            This cake is just scrumptious. A real hit. It's very tender and, unsurprisingly given the syrup, extremely moist - it'd easily keep a week on the counter under a cake dome or upturned bowl, if you could make it last that long. The almond, lime, and rose flavors are all slightly subtle but completely harmonious, working really well together. Too much rosewater can be overwhelming (and make things taste like bath soap), but trust DH and use the full tablespoon; it's just right. Obviously, there are no summer berries as I write this, but I served some early farmers' market strawberries macerated in a big splash of creme de cassis and a tiny splash of rosewater alongside to good effect.

                                                                                                                                                            Here is the recipe, in the UK measurements:

                                                                                                                                                            http://www.eattherightstuff.com/blog/...

                                                                                                                                                            I tweaked a few proportions just a bit. In the interest of saving a few calories, I upped the yogurt a tad and reduced the oil by a commensurate amount (still using half a cup, which seemed plenty). Because I would be squeezing two limes for the syrup, I went ahead and added the zest of both to the cake, instead of the one DH calls for. The recipe calls for self-rising flour + 1 tsp. baking powder; I used all-purpose + 1 T. baking powder + 1/2 tsp. salt. As for the syrup, I reduced the water by 1/4 cup and the sugar by 2 T., but used the full amounts of lime juice and rose water and yet only used three-fourths of it - the cake just couldn't take any more. (In fact, I left it sitting in a puddle of syrup on the plate, which it did take up overnight.) But the leftover syrup is quite nice in a glass of sparkling water.

                                                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                                            1. Dama Bianca, Pg. 98, Pure Simple Cooking

                                                                                                                                                              To get the translation over with the title of this recipe means Lady in White. In Italian it's Mangiare in Bianco. It really means a dish, or several dishes to make a meal, is all white. And so this salad is. The white of fennel, the white of celery, and the white of fresh bufalo mozzarella. I halved the recipe and used mozzarella ovolino, which refers to the size and shape of the cheese, more like an egg rather than a ball.

                                                                                                                                                              A fennel bulb is sliced thinly lengthwise, a couple of inner stalks of celery are jullienned, the mozzarella is cut into ovals. Each is laid in an alternating pattern on a white platter. (My contribution to the white theme) A few shredded celery leaves are strewn over top. Season each section as they're placed on the platter using S & P, lemon juice, and EVOO. When the salad is finished strew some fennel fronds over all.

                                                                                                                                                              This is a pleasant salad to see and where several different serving bowls or platters are on the table would make a very pretty presentation. What did it taste like you ask? Well, the fennel was not as pungently anise flavored as some I've had, the celery was rather mild too, and the mozzarella, which is by nature quite mild, was creamy. The dressing made the salad. If I make it again I will dress the salad in a bowl then arrange the components on the platter. A "clean-out-the-fridge spicy puff pastry pizza was served with the salad so in this case the Dama Bianca had a lovely cooling effect.

                                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                I made this salad in an Italian cooking class once. It's one of those typically Italian dishes where the quality of the ingredients is absolutely key.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                  Quite true, GG. It's worth a remake with vegetables from the farm. The ovolino came from our local Italian deli, homemade so to speak, and one of the several mozzarellas they sell. This one the cheese monger particularly likes because it is so mild. But, I think we would have preferred a more pronounced flavor. It was delicious though and there's some left over that I'll use tonight. We'll have to try their other mozzarellas now...

                                                                                                                                                              2. Hot and Sweet Roasted Mediterranean Vegetables with Tahini Dressing - Pure Simple Cooking, p. 118

                                                                                                                                                                Another roasted vegetable combo, another big winner. This is a delicious dish that I couldn't stop eating. Lovely marriage of the slightly sweet, harissa-spiked vegetables and nutty/tangy dressing. Equally nice hot and at room temperature.

                                                                                                                                                                I didn't use quite the same vegetables as listed, but no matter: it's all about the wonderful seasoning. Cut up vegetables (she calls for eggplant, zucchini, red and yellow peppers, tomatoes, and red onion; I had zucchini, green peppers, carrots, cherry tomatoes, red onion) and toss in a roasting pan with a mixture of olive oil (of which I used half what she calls for), balsamic vinegar, lots of ground cumin, some cinnamon, brown sugar, and harissa. Roast at 375F for 25 minutes, then add plumped (golden) raisins and roast 15 minutes more, or until tender and stir in toasted pine nuts. To serve spread the vegetables on a platter (I used a wide, shallow bowl) and drizzle with a dressing of yogurt, tahini, lemon juice, water, olive oil, and garlic, then sprinkle with cilantro.

                                                                                                                                                                I will note that after I looked at the proportions of the dressing ingredients, I cut it all by half. This still made a full cup of the dressing, which was just the right amount for a
                                                                                                                                                                very generous drizzle over the whole dish. I can't imagine using twice that.

                                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                  Hot and Sweet Roasted Mediterranean Vegetables with Tahini Dressing

                                                                                                                                                                  We had this for dinner last night. It's really really good. I think the roasting time is slightly too long for my oven. I have to take it out about 5-10min after adding the sultanas. Otherwise I cooked the entire dish as directed by Henry, including the copious amount of dressing.

                                                                                                                                                                  I served this with couscous with preserved lemons, feta and parsley. I made half the recipe as there is only two of us eating. Maybe it's because of the addition of feta, I have enough left over to take for lunch today.

                                                                                                                                                                2. Italian Sausages with Purple Sprouting Broccoli, Chilli and Penne, Cook Simple, p41

                                                                                                                                                                  I'm trying to clear out the fridge before we go on holiday on Thursday, and I had some nice purple sprouting broccoli (PSB) and some Italian sausages in the freezer.

                                                                                                                                                                  This was a hearty, one dish after-work supper which really hit the spot on a cool Spring evening. To make, cut your sausages into chunks and brown in some EVOO. Remove, then brown an onion, cut into half inch crescents. When golden, add your PSB, sliced garlic, the reserved sausage and chilli flakes. Pour in a cup of vermouth or white wine (I used vermouth), bring to the boil then lower the heat and cover. Simmer for around 8 minutes while you cook your penne. When cooked, add the pasta to the pan and mix. Serve with a drizzle of EVOO and grated Parmesan.

                                                                                                                                                                  I love pasta with greens and this was no exception. I particularly liked that there was a relatively small portion of pasta, 50g pp, versus more than 100g of PSB. Will definitely make again.

                                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                    I'm amused because tomorrow night's dinner chez Lulu is rigatoni with broccolini and turkey sausage (from one of the Melissa Clark books). Great minds think alike. This has become a family favorite. Another really tasty recipe that doesn't require any extras.

                                                                                                                                                                  2. Ginger, Lime, and Lemon Grass Syrup - Pure Simple Cooking, p. 187

                                                                                                                                                                    This is on a page title "What to do with a tub of ice cream" and is one of a bunch of single paragraph recipes for toppings. But I spied it and decided to make it to use in drinks instead.

                                                                                                                                                                    It's simply sugar, water, the juice of two limes, and a couple stalks of lemon grass and a chunk of fresh ginger that are chopped up, all simmered together then allowed to steep as the mixture cools. Strain and add the limes' zest.

                                                                                                                                                                    It's a fairly thin syrup, with a balanced flavor: the ginger and lemon grass play background to the lime (I admit I used at least twice the "sugar-cube-sized" chunk of ginger she calls for and could easily use more, but I'm a ginger fiend). It's very good in a glass of sparkling water, and even better in a glass of gin and sparkling water. I think it would make more sense to put the zest in with the rest and strain, though, as it just falls to the bottom of the bottle (or the glass).

                                                                                                                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                      Oh man, that drink with the gin sounds so refreshing; perfect for the back porch weather we're hoping will come soon.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                        Yes, it's a perfect summer drink! You can keep the syrup in the fridge for a good while, too. It also reminded me about something I made from 660 Curries when it was COTM, a limeade with coarse salt and black pepper. It was so refreshing, and great with gin (a suggestion from the book) - another one perfect for summer sipping.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                          I'm happy to say that I got the book today as a gift (along with a Donna Hay book and an ice cream book I've been wanting). I waved it at the family and said "we've eaten well from this before, and now we can do it all the time." Looks like at least 2/3 of us will be drinking well from it too.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                            All three of you can drink well, LLM! Lulu can join you on the back porch with a virgin version. It really makes a nice soda, too, for those not up to gin (whether in years or proclivity).

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                              Good point Caitlin. And I do think Lulu would enjoy having a special adult seeming drink. She normally just opts for water, but then wants a sip of wine.

                                                                                                                                                                    2. Fish Baked with Fennel, Potatoes, and Vine Tomatoes, Pg. 65, Pure Simple Cooking

                                                                                                                                                                      This is a recipe that could use a bit of a re-think. If I had bothered to do some simple math I would have known that potatoes and fennel would not cook in a total of 35 minutes at 350F, at least not in my oven. It's not unlike many Mediterranean recipes that call for the same ingredients but usually also onions, capers, and olives.

                                                                                                                                                                      Whole sea bass or porgy is the fish of choice but I had several luscious, thick pollock fillets so used these, as I have done w great success in the past. And true to form, the fillets were perfectly cooked at the end, although less aggressively seasoned as I would have liked, but that's due to cook's error.

                                                                                                                                                                      Potatoes and fennel are thinly sliced, seasoned w S & P, then placed in a baking dish, drizzled w a bit of EVOO and the tomatoes, still on the vine, are placed on top of that. Into the pre-heated oven goes the baking dish to cook for 20 minutes. In the meantime season the fish w S & P and some chopped parsley, at the 20 minute mark push the tomatoes aside, place the fish on top of the vegetables, drizzle w a bit more olive oil and bake a further 15 minutes. Sprinkle lemon juice over all plus more chopped parsley and serve.

                                                                                                                                                                      As I said, the fish was perfect. Beautifully opaque, juicy and delicious. The vegetables, on the other hand were not. Many of the potato slices were undercooked, as were the fennel and tomatoes. Good thing we had steamed asparagus as a side dish. I do have plans for those vegetables though and we'll see them fried w bacon fat plus onions and garlic, and perhaps Aleppo pepper...Tuesday, I think.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. Salsiccia Agrodolce, Pg. 44, Pure Simple Cooking

                                                                                                                                                                        The title of this recipe translates to Sweet and Sour Sausages and it was excellent in that the finished dish satisfied all the expected flavors of agro e dolce. The sweet of currants and a tiny bit of sugar, the sour of red wine vinegar and capers. Those ingredients combined with the sausages, chopped onion, red pepper flakes, bay leaf, thyme and stock, chopped parsley created a plate of mouth-watering deliciousness. In other words we liked everything about it.

                                                                                                                                                                        I halved the recipe, used spicy Italian sausages made in-house at the local salumeria, and omitted the pine nuts called for. I didn't miss them. The sausages are first seared on stove top in a Dutch oven, the other ingredients added in turn, cooked to soften, then put into a 350F oven uncovered to roast for about 30 minutes. Really easy.

                                                                                                                                                                        G had his portion with rice, I served mine on a pita and used a knife and fork because of all the luscious juice. . I thought it was quite filling and only ate one half but the sausages were large and enormously tasty. A plate of sliced hot house tomatoes simply dressed with Maldon salt, freshly ground Tellicherry pepper, and extra virgin olive oil was a side dish.

                                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                          I made this tonight. Soooooo good. Really easy. And ridiculously yummy. You know when you cook something and you say "THAT was the best thing I"ve ever made".? Well, this was one of those things. Diana's note in the recipe says serve it with something bitter, she suggests grilled radicchio. I did sauteed broccoli rabe, which I figured would be nice and bitter. So I pretty much served myself 2 sausages on a bed of broccoli rabe, with a couple ladelfuls of the yummy juice/sauce. I included the pine nuts, but I bet you could do without them just fine. I cooked the full recipe. Well, technically I didn't, because I used 7 sausages, and the recipe called for 8. Cuz I only had 7 in my freezer. Regardless, 8 wouldn't have fit in the bottom of my pot to brown anyway, so that worked out.

                                                                                                                                                                          I loved it. Strong flavors. But nicely balanced sweet/sour/salty, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                          I wanted some bread, to sop up the juices. So next time I'll add bread. And I wanna try it with radicchio like Diana suggests.

                                                                                                                                                                          Highly recommended. :)

                                                                                                                                                                        2. Hello Diana Henry fans. I haven't been following this thread as I don't have any DH books (go figure!!). That said, I happened upon it today and I'm impressed with the positive experiences you've all been enjoying.

                                                                                                                                                                          It seems that most of the reviews here are from Cook/Pure Simple. If you were recommending one DH book, would that be it? The Gastropub book sounds interesting to me but I don't see any reviews here.

                                                                                                                                                                          7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                            Breadcrumbs, I can only recommend Pure Simple Cooking, because that's what I cooked out of in April. Didn't try Plenty.

                                                                                                                                                                            I liked the recipes that I was able to try a lot. Fresh, interesting, and flavorful, and not overly-complicated are the phrases I would use for the book's offerings. I also loved the way the book is laid out with her notes and suggestions, and the food photos were so enticing. I wish I'd had more time to make more than a few recipes, but I bookmarked many and I'm glad you asked this question because I'm going to go back to the book and try more dishes.

                                                                                                                                                                            I also purchased Crazy Water Pickled Lemons because of the Middle Eastern theme, thinking I'd cook from it. But I ended up reaching for Ottolenghi's Jerusalem whenever the mood struck. I really love that book's treatment of Middle Eastern food(s).

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Goblin

                                                                                                                                                                              Thanks so much Goblin and my apologies for such a delay in responding. Somehow I missed these replies to my post.

                                                                                                                                                                              I really appreciate your insights.

                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                              Have you seen the price of the Gastropub book? LOL Used is more expensive than New! She has a sequel too, I think. Gastropub Second Helping (or something like that).

                                                                                                                                                                              "Plenty", UK ed., was the first D. Henry book I bought a few years ago and cook sporadically from it. Last month I bought Pure Simple Cooking (Simple Cooking in the UK) and love cooking from it. The recipes are not overly-complicated as Goblin states, and the finished dishes have been lovely. Recently I bought Crazy Water Pickled Lemons and to tell the truth, I need more time to assess the recipes but at first glance they seem more complicated, and include many more ingredients than her other recipes.

                                                                                                                                                                              If I had to rank between Diana Henry and Donna Hay I'd put Hay first and Henry second.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                Hi Gio, so sorry to have missed your reply. It was very helpful to me indeed, especially the context you provided with the Hay comparison.

                                                                                                                                                                                As it turns out, I ordered Gastropub as I found a copy on Abe's for $1.03 + $5.31 shipping from the UK to Cda. (I ordered this prior to my decision to whittle down my cookbook collection btw!). It arrived yesterday and I've just started flipping through it over breakfast but it looks pretty good. There are definitely some recipes in there I'll try. Interestingly it's the desserts that have held the most appeal thus far. Some of the savoury recipes seem pretty basic. That said, it certainly doesn't mean they won't be good so I'll be trying some nonetheless and I'll definitely report on them here when I do.

                                                                                                                                                                                For any Diana Henry fans that might be considering this book, I thought it would be worth noting that the book was recently indexed in EYB so you can peruse the recipe list here:

                                                                                                                                                                                http://www.eatyourbooks.com/library/6...

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                                  Thanks so much for that. Looks pretty meaty, but I have to say, the recipes that aren't meaty look incredibly appealing to me. Kind of puts me on a fence. I'm assuming my library won't have this, but I will look. That will give me more of an idea.

                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                                Cook/Pure Simple is certainly the crowd pleaser around here. I have it from the library at the moment but have only cooked one thing from it (have a few more bookmarked). I also own Plenty and have made a few things (reviews upthread) and am planning more. Of the two books, Plenty is more appealing to me, but I think that's just because it better suits my style of cooking in that it is a bit more seasonal in its approach. Most of the recipes in Cook/Pure Simple are "any time of year" recipes (with the exception of vegetable chapters divided into summer and winter veg) which is a great convenience to the cook but not as compelling to me personally. There are more "spring" recipes in Plenty so that one has been calling out to me more.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Westminstress

                                                                                                                                                                                  Thanks very much for your thoughtful response Westminstress and I do apologize for missing all these replies to my post.

                                                                                                                                                                              3. North African spiced poussins (boneless, skinless chicken thighs) p. 20 US ed.

                                                                                                                                                                                These were a big hit here. Another winner and another fairly easy dinner. Toast (dry fry) coriander and cumin seeds, then grind in your M&P. Add to harissa, olive oil, S&P. I rubbed the chicken thighs with this and let them sit for about an hour or two (she doesn't call for any sitting). Roasted for about 35 minutes, then served covered with chopped cilantro and mint and drizzled with lemon juice. Served with couscous with currants; and roasted butternut squash with coriander. Everyone requested that this go into rotation.

                                                                                                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                  Great idea to do this with chicken thighs. Somehow when I read the recipe I thought it didn't sound like much, flavorwise, but I don't know why. It doesn't have many ingredients, but they're all things that pack a punch.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                                    huge punch to the ingredients, and a really tasty meal. I had skipped over them the first time too and then thought "hey, I love these flavors, why not just do thighs." It worked perfectly. I think you'll like them.

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                    North African Spiced Poussins (boneless, skinless chicken thighs) - Pure Simple Cooking, p. 20

                                                                                                                                                                                    I have to thank LulusMom for making me take a second look at this recipe, and for the idea of using boneless, skinless thighs. I made about half the spice paste (didn't actually measure the harissa, just eyeballed, or the olive oi, which I just added until the texture seemed fine), and that amount was just right for my six thighs, weighing about 1.5 lbs. I couldn't quite leave well enough alone, and added a few minced garlic cloves to the spice paste, because why not?

                                                                                                                                                                                    Simple to make and delicious. I didn't have mint and my cilantro was overtired, so I used thinly sliced scallions and lemon juice at the end. Served with the drunken potatoes (which I'll report on below) and a fennel and arugula salad with red onion, goat cheese, and nuts. My dining companion was a happy companion, and so was I!

                                                                                                                                                                                  3. Radish, Olive, Anchovy and Parsley Salad, Plenty, p. 70

                                                                                                                                                                                    Wow, we loved this! Thinly sliced radishes and some of their greens are tossed with chopped black olives (I used Moroccan oil cured), parsley, a healthy dose of finely chopped anchovies, a mashed garlic clove, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. (you can add optional red chile, but I left it out, and I forgot the freshly ground black pepper). Perhaps not for the faint of heart, but what a flavor explosion! It turns out that all these punchy ingredients counterbalance and mellow each other perfectly. This is my new favorite thing to do with radishes and the tastiest little salad I've made in a while. Highly recommended for anchovy-olive-garlic lovers!

                                                                                                                                                                                    9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Westminstress

                                                                                                                                                                                      I have two bunches of French breakfast radishes in the fridge. Am so going to make this! Thanks for the heads up.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Westminstress

                                                                                                                                                                                        Count me in - this sounds incredible. Thanks for the heads up.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Westminstress

                                                                                                                                                                                          This does sound delicious... I'm in three!

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Westminstress

                                                                                                                                                                                            Radish, Olive, Anchovy and Parsley Salad

                                                                                                                                                                                            I scored my first bunch of farmer's market radishes last weekend, and of course I rushed to make this stupendous salad. This is my favorite thing to do with radishes! Seriously, folks, if you like olives and anchovies and you haven't tried this salad, you are missing out. The recipe is on DH's website here: http://dianahenry.co.uk/recipes/radis...

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Westminstress

                                                                                                                                                                                              Well, I love olives and anchovies, so I guess I better try this one.

                                                                                                                                                                                              In anticipation of her newest book (due to arrive shortly - so excited) I made previous favorite last night - the North African spiced poussins (I used chicken thighs again). As wonderful as the first time.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Westminstress

                                                                                                                                                                                                Thanks for the reminder. It's radish season at the moment. I made the radish and broad bean salad from Ottolenghi last week and it's delicious. I'll need to work this one onto my meal plan for next week.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Westminstress

                                                                                                                                                                                                  It is a lot of anchovies - did you go for the whole amount?

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Oh yes. But I just noticed there is an error at the link -- the anchovies are listed twice by mistake. Just use 10 per 14 oz of radishes. (I used five for a half recipe, which is good for myself and my husband with no leftovers.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Westminstress

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Thanks goodness I asked! Thanks for the info.

                                                                                                                                                                                              2. OK, somewhere in one of these threads in the past couple of days, someone posted that she's decided she prefers Donna Hay over DIana Henry. I had wanted to post a reply asking why, but I got interrupted and now I can't find the post. Does anyone else remember seeing that post?

                                                                                                                                                                                                ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                                                                12 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I believe it was Gio; not sure it was on this thread but I do remember seeing it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I haven't cooked enough savory from Donna Hay to really give an honest reply to which I prefer, but I can tell you that I'm solidly sold on Diana Henry.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                                                    <"If I had to rank between Diana Henry and Donna Hay I'd put Hay first and Henry second."> My 24 May post upthread.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    OK... I confess. That be me. While I like recipes from both authors I think Donna Hay, especially her quick-in-a-hurry recipes in Off the Shelf, have more flavor, use more interesting ingredients, and produce finished dishes which satisfy completely. The plus is that the recipes are easily tweaked to one's preferences. We found that to be true for us, anyway. Everyone will not agree with that but you know, "De gustibus non est disputandum" and all of that...

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                      That's so funny ... despite all the accolades on this board I just can't bring myself to try a donna hay recipe. I had a roommate once who had only one cookbook, and it was off the shelf. I must have flipped through that book a million times but never cooked anything out of it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I keep meaning to get over it and just try some of her recipes already, but there always seems to be something else I'm more interested in trying.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Westminstress

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I have had her book, "Flavors" for ages and have yet to cook anything from it. OTOH, Off the Shelf has given us some very tasty meals. Sometimes I cook the recipe exactly as written, and sometimes I've divided the vegetables or noodles from the protein and cooked one but not the other. Like Slater's Real Fast Food this is one book I can pull off the shelf and find something I want to cook w very little fuss.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I'm really quite remiss for not adding reviews to EYB. Must get that remedied.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I can see a used copy of Off the Shelf for £5.50 including shipping. I'm really tempted given that I love Slater's Real Fast Food too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          PS. Damaged done. I've just ordered it. It's my 7th cookbook this year ....

                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                        AHA! Thank you, Gio. I do happen to own one Donna Hay book, so maybe I should get cracking on that! (So many recipes, so little time!)

                                                                                                                                                                                                        ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I've been meaning to add Donna Hay to my shelves, but I find her a very hard author to get into. She has so many books and that makes difficult to decide where to start. I have been following the cook along thread, but it's mostly cakes. I don't need more baking books.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I hear a lot about this 'off the shelf'. But looking on amazon, it seems to be a fairly old book from 2001, isn't it? I am worried it's a bit like Nigella's How to Eat. Dated, and not how we want to cook nowadays.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I see that she has a few recent books on simple, fast kind of dinners. However I don't think I've seen any reviews of them on the Donna Hay thread. The books I'm refering to are
                                                                                                                                                                                                        No time to cook http://www.amazon.co.uk/time-cook-Fre...
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Fast, Fresh, Simple www.amazon.co.uk/Fast-Fresh-Simple-Do...
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Donna Hay Simple Dinners http://www.amazon.co.uk/Donna-Hay-Sim...

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: lilham

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I know what you mean that she seems to have a lot of books. I'm not sure what's considered her most impressive book.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I do have her "New Food Fast" but only one recipe from it has been reported on in the Donna Hay thread so far (by Lulusmom) and it wasn't a huge hit: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8957... I haven't really wanted to rush out and cook from it for that reason. But when I flip through the book, the recipes all seem pretty interesting, though sometimes perhaps not "hearty" enough for my family. It's an older book.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: lilham

                                                                                                                                                                                                            To me the recipes in OTS don't seem dated at all. In fact some remind me of Dunlop's and Young's recipes. As far as I'm concerned there's not a recipe in the world that one can't bend a little to conform to one's personal situation: likes/dislikes/medical/dietary all the while staying true to the spirit and integrity of the original recipe.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            However, I would never change the main ingredients and call it The Original., for example. For that reason I won't report on the Village Boys Chicken from Burma because although I used mostly all the same ingredients I changed the method considerably... the finished dish was wonderful but it wasn't The Original.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                              See my post above http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8959...

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I simply cannot resist the book with your glowing review. I guess that's why I'm on this forum :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I second Gio's review. I cooked a few recipes from Off the Shelf (the only Donna Hay's book that I own and have cooked from) and all were pleasing to me. I think the main attraction is that I cook the same way and once I come across a book that is in tune with my cooking style, I find many recipes that appeal. I am taking it along to "a week at the cottage on the lake" which will be a good test :) Breadcrumbs recommended Best Summer Weekends by Jane Rodmell last summer and it was a great book for cottage cooking. I continue to make a few things from it (i.e. grilled tofu) and will take it along this year too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Yep, I'm another who caved and asked for Off the Shelf as a gift because of Gio's glowing reviews, despite not being totally in love with the dish I cooked from New Food Fast. I do love the desserts book.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. Spaghetti with Parsley, Red Pepper, and Garlic, Pg. 83; Anchovy, Vermouth Variation

                                                                                                                                                                                                              There's nothing new about this recipe except the confoundedly different amounts of some of the ingredients. We make a similar pasta/garlic/olive oil dish when neither of us are particularly hungry but want something comforting and tasty.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              A half pound of spaghetti is called for but DH wants TWO cans of anchovies! Generally I use one can for one pound, so after discussion with my sous chef we decided to only use one can. Another thing is we reduced 1 teaspoon of dried red pepper flakes to only 1/2 t. I did increase the garlic though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              One thing we liked about the dish was the inclusion of lemon juice, and a little vermouth. These additions seemed to boost all the other flavors, even the finely chopped parsley tasted more herbal than usual. I'd make this again under the same circumstances using our own proportions... A large grating of black pepper adds immense flavor as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Which book is that from, Gio?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Oh gosh Caitlin, I did it again. It's from Pure Simple Cooking. Sorry!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I can easily imagine that the wine and lemon would be lovely and sort of calm the anchovy. But still ... 2 cans? Did you feel like it was maybe just a bit too much? I say this as a total anchovy lover.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Edit: Ah, I read too quickly - I see you only went with one.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I know... 2 cans of anchovies for 1/2 pound of pasta is way too much and like you, we love anchovies. Also, 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes would have blown our heads off since our RPF are Very Hot.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Yes, I believe RPF stands for something like really pretty ... hot. Is that correct? I mean, I seriously love hot stuff and anchovies ,but that recipe might be pushing it!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        RPF= Red Pepper Flakes. AKA peperoncino. Yes... Hot!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Gio, it says a 100g can of anchovies in my UK edition. It would also be the ones in oil as it says drained. (I assume oil ones are heavier). How large are cans of anchovies in the US? It might be a translation error?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: lilham

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Three months later and Now I see your question, Lilham...Sorry. 7/8 cup = 100 grams. That A Lot of anchovies for 1/2 pound, for us anyway and I love anchovies.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  3. Baked Sausages with Leeks, Apples, and Cider - Pure Simple Cooking, p. 48

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    When I first flipped through the book, I thought this looked appealing, but more autumnal due to the apples and cider. However, I had the remains of a bottle of a really nice hard cider that's made from Sonoma County Gravenstein apples, so I decided to go ahead and make it now. Leeks cut in one-inch lengths (I also halved them lengthwise) and wedges of apple (I used Granny Smith) go in a baking dish, and sausages are arranged on top (rather than pork sausages, I used a few fresh chicken apple sausages from the butcher counter). All this is tossed with olive oil and S&P, then butter is dotted on top and the cider is poured over before it goes in the oven. Ten minutes or so before the end of cooking, coarse-grained mustard (I used spicy Dijon) is spread over the sausage. Since these aren't browned before cooking, I flipped them before adding the mustard so both sides could get some exposure. I found that there was still lots of liquid when cooking was done, so I drained it into a small saucepan and reduced it a bit before spooning it over the rest.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    This was a really nice dish. Not full of strong, punchy flavors like some of her recipes, but a delicious mix of sweet and plenty of savory, thanks to the combo of leeks and apples with mustard. The flavor of the cider comes through in the apples and leeks that have cooked in it. Recommended, if you can lay your hands on a nice, dry cider (unfortunately, most of the mass market ones in the US are quite sweet).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I served these with a reprise of the wonderful Roasted Potatoes and Tomatoes with Spices, with a couple of additions, which I've noted in a reply to my original report in this thread.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    18 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Once again a big thanks to Caitlin for pointing out this recipe (the Baked Sausages with Leeks, Apples and Cider). I never in a million years would have looked at it twice without your report. Miles away from things I normally make, but somehow you made it sound interesting, and it is always a good idea to at least try something different once in a while. I also went with chicken/apple sausages from WFs and used Granny Smith apples. I couldn't believe how good this smelled as it was baking. This isn't a knock'em over type of dish, but it was very much enjoyed by everyone in the family. Lulu especially liked the cooked apples and leeks. Served it over grits (they soak up sauce nicely). It was roll over in your sleep easy, and tasty too. I'd make it again, definitely.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I'm glad you enjoyed it, LLM. It's definitely a more subtly flavored dish, but quite nice. I'd really like to try the Vine-Growers' Sausages recipe, if I can get my hands on some saba without emptying my wallet.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I remember making a very similar dish (to the vine-growers' sausages) about 10 years ago and not being all that impressed. And yet ... I have a feeling the DH version will be worth trying.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Baked Sausages with Leeks, Apples, and Cider - Cook Simple

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Thanks Caitlin for pointing this one out too. I made it last night and it's indeed very very simple. It does take 50min in the oven, but prep time is at most 5min. I used whole grained mustard and Gala (red) apples. Ms Henry suggested serving this with mashed potatoes. But since I'm already using the oven for 50min, I made some simple roast new potatoes instead. Because I like vegetables, I also served it with a simple stir fry spring green with a mirin, soy and rice vinegar sauce. Very nice dinner.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: lilham

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I hope TDQ is paying attention. Pure Simple Cooking has really turned out to be a total boon for me on busy nights (and also non-busy nights). Some of the recipes take so little time to put together and are also delicious. If you don't have it already, this is one that is actually worth the space on the bookshelf.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Totally agree, and as I discovered on holiday, it's only 99p on Kindle. Perfect if you're cooking in a rented cottage/apartment.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Baked Sausages with Leeks, Apples, and Cider, Pg. 48, Pure Simple Cooking

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          We made this last night and found it to be a hearty, pleasant dish with deep flavors from the apples, hot 'n spicy sausages, and leeks. Lots of slices of fat leeks. The apples I had were one tart/sweet firm - a Gala I think - and a Pink Lady . Unfortunately had no cider so used grappa. One is not like the other but grappa worked quite well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I also threw in 5 very tiny potatoes I wanted to use up. And now that I think about it, I believe G forgot to add the mustard near the end. But the finished dish was delicious regardless. There was just enough sauce to require a little piece of crusty bread.. I served the Salade Gavrosharde on page 99 as a secondary dish, a very tasty addition.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I have leeks and apples in the fridge and was looking at EYB to come up with an idea that is not soup but nothing interesting popped up. Now this sounds very appealing but would it go with a lamb sausage since this is the only one I have? No cider either but I could juice an apple or use liquor.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Herby this recipe has room for all kinds of variations. I love lamb so I'd use that myself. I'd even go so far as using pears, and another kind of wine. Even just a strong robust broth.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Thank you, Gio! I am thinking to make it with lamb koftas that should come out of the freezer before sausage does (and there is only one sausage!), apples, leeks and maybe a bit of gin. Might add a potato or two instead of making mash.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Not sure about lamb and apples myself. But happy to be proved wrong!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  That's my concern too....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The merguez with roasted peppers and tzatziki recipe in the same book is lovely - maybe try that instead?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Thank you for suggestion, GG! I do not have the book and can't find merguez recipe on line - only Nigella's. But does it use leeks? I took koftas out of the fridge this morning and will try them with leeks and apples. Will report later.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        No leeks I'm afraid. I think I review the recipe upthread somewhere. It's a winner in our house for sure.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Just popping in to say that baked sausages (lamb koftas in my case) turned out awful; so awful that all but koftas went into garbage :( I made delicious dhal and that was my lunch instead. Oh, well, I was warned!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Herby, what could have gone wrong here? Usually Koftas contain ground lamb, cumin, coriander, garlic, mint. Apples go very well with those ingredients. If you used gin that shouldn't have had such a negative impact, although perhaps wine would have been better. It's really a shame that the leeks and apples had to be tossed. But from what I can gather the Koftas were fine. ??

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The Koftas were OK but the rest just didn't taste good enough to eat :) I think my apples were on the old side, not rotten and looked OK but kind of mealy. I used very nice Umeshu (plum liqueur) that tastes and smells delicious but maybe wrong flavour that spoiled the dish?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Koftas are homemade and are as you describe. I usually just pan fry them and they are very nice with tzatsiki

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Drunken Potatoes - Pure Simple Cooking, p. 129

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            A simple variation on roasted potatoes, and a good dish when you're looking for a plainer foil for a highly spiced or more complex main dish. Small waxy potatoes (this time I had a combo of red, white, and purple) are halved and put in a roasting pan. White wine, chicken stock, and butter are brought to a boil, and this mixture is poured over the potatoes, which are also seasoned with pepper before the pan goes in the oven. Halfway through, flip potatoes. By the time they're cooked, the liquid is about absorbed. In the head note, she suggests a variation using olive oil, red wine, crushed coriander seed, and a bay leaf, which sounds interesting (and presumably nets you pink potatoes!).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. SALMON CEVICHE WITH AVOCADO AND MANGO - Cook Simple

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Summer has finally arrived in Britain. I'm finally cooking and eating all the summer recipes I've marked in my cookbooks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I found this one online and I think it looks the same as the one in the book

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              http://uktv.co.uk/food/recipe/aid/591238

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I've never cooked ceviche before. I don't even remember if I've ever had it. Both DH and I were blown away by this. I think it's very easy to put together too, but DH complained there is a lot of prep. (He did the cutting. I think he's mainly complaining about cutting the mango, as I can't see there's much to cut)!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I served this with the warm potatoes and beans with avocado from the same book, and a class of white wine. We had it outdoors on our deck. Perfect.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. A couple of potato salads. I had both as part of a summer dinner. But I can see them as part of a bbq too. They are both great and easy, and so much better than the mayo based potato salads. (I don't like mayo based potato salads so I'm biased here).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                POTATOES WITH OLIVES AND LEMON - Cook Simple

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Boil the new potatoes, drain and then crush slightly with a potato masher. (You don't want potato mash here, but just slightly broken up boiled potatoes). Toss with olives (I used kalamata, destoned), olive oil, juice and zest of lemon, flat leaf parsley, salt and pepper.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I've never serve new potatoes slightly crushed. But what a difference does it make! Mr lilham is not a fan of potatoes normally. But even he declared them to be delicious. I think the crushing increases the surface area that can soak up the dressing. And the potatoes taste less stodgy and more flavourful as a result.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                WARM POTATOES AND BEANS WITH AVOCADO - COOK SIMPLE

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Slightly more complicated than the one above. But I decided on this one to serve with the Salmon Ceviche with Avocado and Mango http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8959...
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Well because the avocadoes come in pairs in our online supermarket. (That's the only problem I have with online grocery. Everything is in packs so I always end up with more than I want of somethings).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Make a dressing with white wine vinegar (I used cider vinegar), dijon mustard, caster sugar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss into boiled new potatoes, green beans and avocado. Henry didn't say to crush the new potatoes, but I did it anyway because I like it that way.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. Roast Catalan Chicken - p 9, Pure Simple Cooking

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  This is listed as a variation on the Pacific Lime Chicken recipe. Alas, the only lime in my house today was a sad, dessicated husk, but I had a lemon and some chicken thighs I wanted to use up and this looked like the ideal way to cook them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The marinade consists of 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/2 cup honey, juice of 1 lemon, 1 tbsp ground cumin, 6 cloves crushed garlic, salt and pepper. I left this to sit in the fridge for an hour or so before cooking. The recipe instructs you to prepare the chicken in the same way as the Pacific Lime Chicken (see greedygirl's summary, above) but it's just too hot to turn the oven on here right now, so I wrapped everything up tightly in two layers of heavy-duty foil and stuck it on the barbecue at about 350F for half an hour or so.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  This turns out to be a winning way to cook chicken on the grill! You do need to be very careful as you wrap it up, if my experience is anything to go by, because the marinade will bubble up as it cooks and want to distribute itself all over the place. This was a great simple recipe and so delicious. There turned out to be plenty of sauce left in the foil after cooking, and we poured that over some new potatoes I had also cooked on the grill. My 12 year old said "This chicken is SO GOOD" three or four times as we ate. I will definitely make this one again!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  14 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: geekmom

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I'm glad to see your positive report, GM, because I thought this was another of her simple variations that sounded promising. I did have concerns that the volume of honey would make for an awfully sweet dish, though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Yes, it was definitely sweet but not cloyingly so. It helps that there's such a strong cumin element to the sauce, which helps to balance it out somewhat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: geekmom

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Good to know!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Caitlin (and geekmom) here is a recipe I used to make fairly often (subbing chicken thighs) that is somewhat similar. I liked it a lot, and I'm not usually a fan of sweetness in my savory.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          That sounds really good, love the idea of the sherry vinegar in there.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Yes, that vinegar gives it that lift of acidity that evens it all out.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. re: geekmom

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        +1 on being happy to see your positive report. This is on my "must try" list.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: geekmom

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I've made the Pacific Lime Chicken a couple of times so decided to try this variation on my thighs for dinner last night. Another winner! I made it in the oven as written (but a half recipe) and we loved it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Starting to tap my foot in annoyance at not having an oven. Seriously. There are so many good, easy chicken recipes in this book, and I want to try this one. Grrrr.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Any idea when it will be repaired? I'd be going mental without an oven it has to be said!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I've kept my cool pretty well, but at this point I'm starting to crack. They say that the part will be in this week. Then it is a matter of finding someone to come out and fix it. So ... could be Thursday .... could be 2 weeks from now. Last time it was only the oven, and that was bad but this is much worse. No oven, no stove. And while the induction burner has been wonderfully helpful, I'm stiil not really familiar enough with how it works to have things turn out perfectly.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I can't believe you are STILL waiting to have your range repaired. That sounds like the worst kind of torture for an avid home cook. :-(

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: geekmom

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I've been so wrapped up in having Lulu around 24/7, and her dad out of town that I haven't had that much time to get bitter about it. But ... it is starting to sink in.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Just so this is all over the internets: do not buy a Viking.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: geekmom

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Roast Catalan Chicken - Pure Simple Cooking, p. 9

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I made a half recipe, using boneless, skinless thighs. I let them marinate for an hour or so in a Pyrex baking dish and then, rather than lift them out of the marinade, I just popped the pan in the oven and let them bake, flipping them over halfway through, since I didn't need to worry about skin crisping. Delicious results. As geekmom says, there's sweetness from the honey, but it's nicely balanced by the lemon, garlic, and cumin. I served the chicken on a bed of raw baby spinach and arugula leaves, spooning some of the marinade/sauce over to dress the greens.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          3. Swedish baked beets with onions, sour cream, and dill - p 126 Pure Simple Cooking

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            This is a nice, straightforward dish: scrub some young beets, then wrap in foil, drizzle with a few tablespoons of olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and roast at 350F for as long as they need depending on the size of the beets. Cut up two red onions into wedges and drizzle them with olive oil, then cook in a roasting pan for the last 20 min or so that your beets are in the oven. Season the beets (I didn't need to do this, they were so flavourful already!) and serve alongside your roast onions, topped with sour cream and a tablespoon or so of chopped fresh dill. Voila!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Today was a hot day and I was not turning the oven on, so the beets (and, later, a foil packet of red onions) went onto the barbecue alongside my Catalan-style chicken (p 9 of the same book) and some potatoes. We skipped the dill (and half of us hate sour cream so skipped that, too) and we were all delighted at the lovely sweet flavours in the beets and onions here. Simple yet truly delicious.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            It's not the most environmentally friendly cooking method, but I just love to do the "foil packet on the barbecue" thing in summer when the last thing you want to do is stand over a hot stove, and then stand over a hot sink full of water scrubbing your pots and pans. It's nice to discover that the recipes in this book are so adaptable for the grill. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Rhubarb Cake - Pure Simple Cooking, p 183

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              JUST LOOK at this photo! Is that cake not a thing of glorious beauty? :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I have a foodie friend staying with me who is also a cookbook fanatic (seriously - her collection makes mine look like a little handful) and she sat down with my library copy of Pure Simple Cooking the first night she was here. She said it was one of the few cookbooks that she has ever looked through and wanted to cook absolutely every recipe. Since she brought some rhubarb that apparently grows unattended in an empty lot near her house (?!!) we decided to start here.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              This is a pretty simple basic cake recipe - you mix up a batter of butter, self-raising flour, eggs, sugar, vanilla and a tiny bit of milk and put it in a greased 8" springform pan. Next you take 1.5 lbs of trimmed rhubarb, cut it into 1" pieces and toss those with 5 tbsp of sugar. Spread this on top of the batter and bake at 375F for about 40 min.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              My cake took longer than 40 min to bake, because the rhubarb released so much liquid - I think it was closer to 50 or 55 min. It was well worth the wait! The batter rises up to incorporate the rhubarb on top, which resulted in a cake with lovely mouthfuls of rhubarb evenly spread all the way through. This was a real win with the rhubarb-loving adults in the house -- we felt like we could eat an entire cake -- but the children offered mixed reviews. My 12 yr old described it as "painfully tart"; my friend's 12 yr old said some parts were too tart while others were nice and sweet. We wondered whether a little more sugar mixed in with the rhubarb would have helped.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              DH suggests in the preamble to this recipe that you can use this as a blueprint for any number of fruit-topped cakes, and I can definitely see the possibilities here... my CSA box will have some apricots in it this week, so I know what I'll be doing with those. Yum!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              13 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: geekmom

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                That looks really beautiful. And an apricot version sounds great. I have a couple of fruit cake/cobbler recipes that work with pretty much any fruit and find it useful to have them in my repertoire. I wish rhubarb was still in season here.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Thanks, LulusMom! Rhubarb is long since gone here, too. I was lucky that my friend lives in an area with a very short growing season so rhubarb is still going strong there & she was happy to bring some along. I have now made this cake 3 times, and the apricot version worked out nicely. Tonight we tried it with very ripe white peaches and it was the best yet, though probably the cake didn't need the 5 tbsp of sugar added to the fruit because it was so sweet to begin with. You're supposed to dust the cake with icing sugar before serving but somehow ours never gets that treatment before it gets wolfed down. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: geekmom

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I made this last night after finding rhubarb at the farmer's market last weekend. Absolutely scrumptious. Love the touch of vanilla in the sponge, and the sharpness of the rhubarb with the sweetness of the cake. Enjoyed slightly warm by me and Mr GG as dessert last night, and by my co-workers for elevenses this morning. Yum!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    That's awesome -- I'm so glad that it worked well for you, gg. I will be in the UK next week & hoping to find some rhurbarb so I can make it with rhubarb again. I'm a little obsessed with this cake -- I have so much fruit coming into my house thanks to our CSA farm and this is just the perfect way to use a bunch of it up. I made the cake for the fifth time yesterday with some Italian prune plums and served with homemade chocolate ice cream. So far my family is divided as to whether it works best with apples or white peaches...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: geekmom

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Hope you enjoy your trip, geekmom. It's a long way to come for you, right? You should find rhubarb no problem as it's available all summer long, generally.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Do you use exactly the same method with all fruit - ie toss in sugar before piling on top of the cake mixture?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Thanks! We're looking forward to the trip & to eating rhubarb in great quantities :-D It's a 9 1/2 hr direct flight from here so it could be a lot worse.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Yes I have done the tossing with sugar thing with all the fruit, although it definitely wasn't needed for the apples so I would skip the sugar if I used apples again.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: geekmom

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Hi Geekmom, I'm interested in making this cake with apples, and not being much of a baker, I have a million questions. I am wondering: how many apples should i use? do i need to peel them? what size pieces are best? and how much sugar? i usually prefer something on the less sweet side, to let the flavor of the fruit shine. thanks!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Last question -- this looks like the same recipe, but the British version -- can you confirm? I have the American edition of the book, but I like baking with weights. http://www.oundlefoodfestival.co.uk/i...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Westminstress

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Westminstress, I just double-checked your link, and the quantities are exactly the same as the British version of the cookbook which I have here. (For anyone who doesn't have a copy of the book in front of them -- the website has a somewhat abbreviated version of the instructions; the part they left out is how you would know whether adding milk to the batter is necessary; DH suggests that the batter should have a "reluctant dropping consistency".)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            My entire family has a sweet tooth but we all agreed that the cake was far too sweet when I made it with apples tossed with 5 tbsp of sugar. I think I would only use the extra sugar if using a very tart apple in the future. So if you're using a less sweet apple maybe try it with 2.5tbsp of sugar the first time just to see how it turns out. I haven't had a chance to try it with apples not tossed with sugar yet but I will soon as apple season is in full swing and I tend to be overloaded with fruit thanks to my house being the dropoff point for a CSA.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I have a bag of large-ish gala apples here, so I weighed them and it looks like I would only need 4.5 apples to get the required 1 lb 9 oz (700 g) of fruit called for in the recipe.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            As for the peeling and chopping, hmm, I would say that is a personal preference thing - do you like to have big slices of fruit and sections of cake without fruit? or do you think you'd prefer to have a more even distribution of smaller pieces? When I make this cake I'm usually in a hurry cooking dinner so I opt to cut the fruit into chunks rather than dicing into smaller pieces. And for apples I would definitely peel because the peels tend not to soften during baking and I don't like the texture of chewy apple peel in my cake.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Let us know how your cake turns out :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: geekmom

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Thanks GM, this is super helpful! I will report back :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: geekmom

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I made this again today using very ripe pears from my garden and a scattering of blueberries. Delicious.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: geekmom

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      (Apple) Cake -- Pure Simple Cooking, p. 183

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Thanks to Geekmom's suggestions and encouragement, I finally got around to making this cake. I used 700 g of peeled, diced apples instead of rhubarb. I also had to make my own self-rising flour (followed recipe on King Arthur website), and I added a tiny bit of baking soda as well because my baking powder didn't seem too vigorous.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      We loved this cake. I did not add any extra sugar to the apples, and we thought the cake had the perfect amount of sweetness. I was reminded yet again how delicious the simple combination of butter, sugar, flour and eggs can be. And, yes, that is white flour and white sugar, but they aren't boring at all!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      My cake took almost an hour to cook in my slow oven. I agree that the basic recipe lends itself to all kinds of variations, and though I loved the cake with apples, I think a pear cake would be particularly wonderful at this time of year.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      A link to the recipe is here: http://www.oundlefoodfestival.co.uk/i...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Westminstress

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Yay! I'm so glad you liked this cake. I think apple is one of my favourite fruits in it so far. I've been wanting to make a version with poached quinces but the poached quince isn't something that lasts very long in my house.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: geekmom

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Rhubarb Cake - Pure Simple Cooking, p 183

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I saw rhubarb at the farmers' market, and remembering the posts about this recipe, decided to buy some, as I had guests to cook for this weekend. I combined it with a container of raspberries because I only had a pound of rhubarb, and also the rhubarb was green (tastes the same as red, but I thought it might look odd on its own!). After I'd completely covered the not-so-thick layer of batter in the pan with a pile of fruit and was still looking at 1/4-1/3 of the rhubarb in the bowl, I was afraid there might be too much for the cake if I used it all, so I didn't. I shouldn't have worried, as the batter rose up and pretty much subsumed the fruit so there wasn't much of any showing on top. Now I know. The cake is very nice, moist and vanilla'd with sweet-tart fruit throughout. I lowered the oven temp to 350F on account of my fast convection oven, and it was done in just shy of 40 minutes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        As for the remaining rhubarb, I threw it in a pan with some past-their-prime strawberries and a bit of sugar and water, and now have a nice compote in my fridge.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Dinner itself was comprised of two repeats from PSC - baked cod with a zesty crust, and roasted potatoes and tomatoes with spices - along with steamed asparagus, followed by tea and cake, and went over well all around.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. Lamb chops with pea and mint puree / ligurian broad (fava) bean puree
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        -- Pure Simple Cooking p 25

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I've tried both variations of this recipe over the past couple of weeks. It's a great summer recipe because there is very little actual cooking time and the meat is cooked on the barbecue, so the kitchen doesn't get heated up too much. In both cases, you grill some lamb cutlets (we used bone-in chops), brushed with olive oil and seasoned with a little salt and pepper - very simple. You serve the lamb chops with a puree of either peas, butter, a bit of cream and lemon juice, and some mint leaves, OR a puree of broad beans, garlic, mint leaves, anchovies, olive oil, lemon juice and pecorino. The results are quite different - the mint puree is light and refreshing, while the fava bean puree is rich and decadent; we couldn't eat all of it! Either way, this is a winning combination -- simple grilled meat with a delicious vegetable puree that you can dab on every bite.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Swedish Baked Peaches and Raspberries with Almonds - Pure Simple Cooking, p. 144

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I love almond sweets and anything marzipan any old time, but almonds and stone fruits are especially lovely together. This recipe would work as well with nectarines or apricots, and with blackberries or cherries instead of the raspberries (she also suggests blueberries).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I used a slightly lesser quantity of fruit than called for, and adjusted the other stuff proportionally. Wedges of peach and raspberries go in a baking dish and are doused with booze (seriously, "booze" is what it says in the book; she suggests amaretto, Marsala, peach schnapps, or Cointreau, and I used equal parts creme de peche liqueur and Grand Marnier) and OJ, then topped with crumbled marzipan (I used almond paste), sliced almonds, and a bit of sugar, and baked. This was super: every bit the sum of its parts plus some. I would skip the sugar next time, as there's already plenty of sweet. She suggests serving with creme fraiche or Greek yogurt, but I served it warm with vanilla frozen yogurt, and had the leftovers cold for breakfast with Greek yogurt. (Fruit + yogurt + nuts is a power breakfast, right?)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. My last cookbook acquisition was Crazy Water, Pickled Lemons, which is a slim paperback like Pure Simple Cooking. This one has a bit more romance, in that it is divided not by courses, but by ingredients (different spices, herbs, fruits, dairy, etc.), and there's a few pages of introduction to each chapter in which she discusses the ingredients, their use in the region, and her own experiences (I admit I've barely scanned these as yet). This set-up makes it little more difficult to quickly flip through looking for recipes because savory and sweet are mixed in each chapter. It really feels, based on my experience cooking from Pure Simple Cooking and from what I see here, that the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern recipes are Henry's strength. There are a lot of really appealing recipes here, and though they're not all as streamlined as those in Pure Simple Cooking, there are plenty that are relatively straightforward.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Spiced Chicken on Melting Onions with Preserved Lemons - Crazy Water, Pickled Lemons, p. 167 (US)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              This is her twist on a Moroccan tagine with preserved lemon and olives. I noted that it uses the same sort of marinade made from preserved lemon flesh and juice, garlic, and spices that proved so terrific in the Pure Simple Cooking recipe with sweet potatoes and onions. In this case, the spices are ground ginger, cumin, paprika, and cayenne. The recipe calls for bone-in breasts, but I used thighs. After marinating (mine went overnight), the chicken is browned and set aside, and sliced onions are cooked till translucent with some turmeric. Some saffron (I used a healthy pinch but less than the 1/2 tsp she calls for) is dissolved in water or stock, which goes in the pan; the chicken goes on top and the whole bakes. I scraped the solids of the marinade off before browning the chicken, but added them back to the onions, not wanting to give up the flavor (or all the garlic bits). A bit before it's done, green olives and the chopped rind of the preserved lemon are added.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I enjoyed this a lot, though if I make it again, I'll make a couple of minor tweaks. The marinade/spice combo make this very flavorful, the onions are delicious, and because the chicken sits on top, the skin browns rather than turning flabby. I might halve, or just skip, the turmeric because it was a bit too prominent. Henry calls for 1 cup of liquid, which I
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              reduced to 3/4 cup, and when the dish was done, the onions were just swimming, so I would use only 1/2 cup.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. Sour Cherry, Walnut, and Dill Yogurt Mezze - Crazy Water, Pickled Lemons, p. 134 (US)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                This page has three yogurt mezze, all of which start with mixing garlic, salt, and pepper into Greek yogurt. To this, you add the other ingredients, in this case chopped cucumber, chopped toasted walnuts, dried sour cherries rehydrated in boiling water, and chopped dill. This made a very chunky dish, more a forkable accompaniment than dip or spread, and it's an interesting and really good combo of flavors and textures. She suggests finishing with a sprinkle of sumac, which would be swell, I just forgot it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I look forward to trying the other two yogurt mezze, Raisin, Almond, and Cucumber (also has cilantro and harissa), and Pomegranate, Walnut, Mint, and Rose.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Raisin, Almond, and Cucumber Yogurt Mezze Crazy Water, Pickled Lemons, p. 134 (US)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Another great combination of ingredients that makes a creamy, cooling side that was a delicious complement to Middle Eastern-ish chicken and grain dishes. Like the other yogurt mezze on the same page, this starts with a base of Greek yogurt with garlic and salt. The other ingredients are chopped cucumber, raisins (I used golden), toasted and chopped almonds, olive oil, harissa, and cilantro (I had none, so skipped it). This has a little bit of heat from the harissa, though it's not really spicy, and it works well against the sweetness of the raisins.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. Lavender, Orange, and Almond Cake - Crazy Water, Pickled Lemons, p. 35 (US)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  This is actually the first thing I made from this book, just hadn't got around to reporting yet. I've found myself taken with a number of the sweets recipes as I've paged through, as she's got some wonderful-sounding flavor combinations. Incidentally, the baking recipes all specify ingredients in weights (standard, not metric) rather than volume, which I appreciate.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  This cake was just wonderful, with lots of orange flavor and the lavender in the background, and a wonderfully moist crumb. Dried lavender is ground with sugar (which I reduced by an ounce) in a spice grinder, and that's creamed with butter in the usual way. Eggs, orange juice and zest, self-rising flour, ground almonds make up the rest. She calls for the juice and zest of two oranges, and it would be much better to specify a volume of OJ, given size and juiciness differences; I went with 1/2 cup, based on similar cakes I've made. There's a topping of ricotta or cream cheese (I used ricotta), orange zest, and powdered sugar (I used half the amount of sugar).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  So, a funny thing happened as I was mixing up the cake. After the eggs went in, the OJ just didn't want to all incorporate and I thought things were wonky, but I decided to move on to folding in the dry ingredients and see how the batter seemed. Well, it all came together fine, with a good consistency, and baked up great. Only later did I realize that I had used 9 *tablespoons* of butter (4.5 oz) rather than the called-for 9 *ounces*. But the result had such great flavor and texture that I can't see doing it any other way in the future!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  You can see a couple of photos of the cake here: http://www.chow.com/photos/964638

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Wow, Caitlin, that looks delectable and sounds tasty too. You are making me want to grab a copy of Crazy Water, Pickled Lemons with all of your enthusiastic reviews. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I made this lavender, orange, and almond cake again, keeping the measurements I'd used the first time - 8 oz sugar instead of 9, 1/2 cup orange juice, 4.5 oz butter instead of 9 (still produces terrific texture/flavor). This time I folded half the dry ingredients in before adding the juice and it all came together easily. The one thing I did different was to use cream cheese (Neufchatel actually) for the topping, still with half the powdered sugar she calls for (perfect sweetness!) and I preferred it with cream cheese to ricotta.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Warm Chicken, Roast Pepper, Chickpea and Preserved Lemon Salad - Cook Simple

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Another winner from Ms Henry. A very simple one dish meal with very little actual cooking.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Cut red peppers into half and put on roasting tray. Drizzle with oil, s&p, then bake in oven for about 35min. I doubled the amount of red pepppers, because, we just love red peppers!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Henry asked for chicken breast, cooked on a griddle pan. I used chicken thighs. And being lazy, I put my boneless thighs into another roasting pan, drizzle with oil, salt and pepper, and put into the oven as well. (We are already using the oven, so why not)!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Make a dressing with garlic, pinenuts and olive oil in a food processor. Add lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. (I really love this dressing. It's like non-sweet peanut butter, or tahini).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      In a salad bowl, combine a can of drained chickpeas, the roast peppers, preserved lemons, coriander/parsley, roast chicken and dressing. I doubled the amount of chickpeas asked for in the recipe because I wasn't serving this with anything else. And I felt more chickpeas will make this more substantial. I also do about 1.5 times the dressing to compensate for the increase amount of chickpeas.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      We all really really love this. Even my 2yo. She only ate the chickpeas, but she's always only eat the carbs. This can be made even quicker (without the oven time) by using left over roast chicken or rotisserie chicken, and jarred roast pepper.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I'll definitely repeat this again.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: lilham

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I had totally overlooked this one. Sounds easy and tasty. Thanks lilham.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: lilham

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Warm Chicken, Roast Pepper, Chickpea and Preserved Lemon Salad, Pure Simple Cooking

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Thanks Lilham for pointing this one out. I had a hunch based on the ingredients list that we would like it, and indeed we did! I made it with leftover rotisserie chicken, and I also subbed pistachios for pinenuts since that is what I had on hand. Everybody in the family enjoyed this salad! We served it with bread and cheese to round out the meal.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. I have several of her books. All are well written and inspirational.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. Middle Eastern Lentils and Peppers - Cook Simple

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            This is supposedly adapted from a recipe in Claudia Roden's A Book of Middle Eastern Food. I served it as suggested with courscous and a yoghurt (mixed with tahini) sauce.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Simply saute leeks and red pepper in a saucepan until soft. Stir in ground cumin and ground coriander for 2min. (The recipe asked for a red chilli too, but I didn't use any). Add lentils, stock, a can of tomatoes, sugar and tomato puree. Simmer for about 20min until the lentils are cooked. Season with salt, pepper and fresh coriander.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            My 2yo normally doesn't eat couscous. But she loved the lentils so much she actually didn't mind the couscous. (I mixed the two thoroughly for her serving). Another simple and tasty dinner from Ms Henry.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: lilham

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Middle Eastern Lentils and Peppers

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I made this last night based on Lilham's review. Thanks for the great tip, Lilham! This was a good dish for us. In the notes, DH says she usually makes this as a quick midweek dinner, and I have to say it really serves the purpose. I got home from work late yesterday but it didn't take long to chop the leek and slice the pepper and get them started, while they were cooking I got the rest of the ingredients together, dumped them in the pan, started the rice when the lentils went in, and twenty minutes later we were sitting down to a nice, healthy and yummy dinner (I nuked some corn on the cob for a quick side). Due to a shopping oversight, I didn't have cilantro or yogurt to garnish the dish, or stock to cook the lentils, and I was short on tomato paste, but these lentils were still very good, warming and flavorful but not at all spicy. Both of my children enjoyed the dish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. for some reason missed this discussion

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. Salade Gavrosharde, Pg. 99, Pure Simple Cooking

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                In the short header notes to this recipe Ms Henry tells us that this salad is one of her favorites. It's on the menu at "a raffish Pariesan bostro, Le Petit Gavroche." According to a recent TripAdvisor UK review it's a must go to "wonderful wee bar and restaurant" at 19, rue Saint Marc, Paris, France (Opéra).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The simple salad consists of either frisee or baby spinach, tomato quarters, roasted walnuts and Roquefort. I used baby spinach, reduced the enormous amount of tomatoes (12) to 3 large ones, and omitted the walnuts. The equally simple vinaigrette combines a bit of white wine vinegar, a smigeon of Dijon mustard, pinches of S & P, and EVOO.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Doesn't that sound rather Bistro-ish? It really was quite tasty and I'll have to make it again using frisée, a salad green I love.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. Trofie (mezze penne) with bacon, peas, ricotta and mint (Pure, Simple, p. 88)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Not bad, not bad at all. But also not mindbogglingly great. We enjoyed this, although Lulu wanted to know why "the feta isn't salty". I took some liberties with how I put this together (basically saved myself from washing a few extra pots) but I don't think it changed the outcome. It is possible that using turkey bacon instead of regular did.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  So, she has you cooking the pasta and while it is cooking frying the bacon in olive oil in another pan, then adding frozen peas to the bacon along with some water and cooking that down with some salt and pepper. Instead i used the microwave for the bacon and threw the peas in with the pasta a few minutes before the pasta was ready. Drained that, crumbled the bacon over the pasta/pea combination, added the broken up ricotta salata and chopped mint leaves and lots of olive oil (we added more evoo at the table, and it did make it better, so in that way maybe cooking the bacon in the oil might have given it a bit more oomph). Mixed this all together and serve with grated parmesan. Another *very* easy meal. I think you could easily substitute feta (Lulu would have preferred it that way) and you could use basil instead of mint; maybe even dill?

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Do you think it'll work better with anchovies instead of bacon. I'm not a fan of turkey bacon. Also wouldn't the bacon not go crisp cooking in the microwave?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Edit: Just looked at the recipe, it calls for bacon lardons. No then anchovies wouldn't work.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: lilham

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Funny, in the US edition it calls for bacon. Bacon (the US kind at least) gets very crispy in the microwave. I was worried about it getting all soggy when I put the peas and water in with it. I think you could make a *very* tasty pasta using anchovies instead. You'd miss that slight crunch that the bacon gives it, but then you've got the peas for that nice little pop. I'd give it a try myself.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        You don't really get that very thin, US-style bacon here that goes very crispy when you cook it. I've made similar dishes to this before - bacon, peas and ricotta are always a winner in my book.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Very strange isn't it the UK edition calls for bacon lardons. I wonder why the translated that way?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: lilham

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Probably because lardons, while available here, are not as easy to get by just walking into your local grocer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I do like the anchovy idea; also like the feta sub. Or a chalky goat cheese.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Diana's got a new book coming out next March, which looks interesting.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      http://www.amazon.co.uk/Change-Appeti...

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I was just looking at it on amazon after following a tweet. It looks wonderful. I still have Nigel Slater's Eat in my shopping cart. I might hold out and get A Change of Appetite instead. The description of it sounds like the way I'm eating more.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: lilham

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Eat is fab though. Get both!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Can't believe we have to wait until June for this. Harrumph.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            To all Diana Henry's fan. Amazon UK now has 'look inside' for A Change of Appetite. The book is split into seasons, and three recipes are available. Spring is Beetroot and Poppy Seed loaf cake, Summer is Shake Currants with Yoghurt and Rye Crumbs, Autumn is Soy Mushrooms with Egg Ribbons and Black Sesame. Index is available too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Reading the introduction, I really really want the book now! I know I love food from the Middle East, Japan, Vietnam and Thailand. That's where most of the inspiration of the recipes are from.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Is anyone familiar with her Salt, Sugar, Smoke book? I have a hold on it at the library since January and still waiting.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              In the same vein as herby's question, if anyone knows her Gastropub cooking book well, I'd like to know just how meaty it is. My guess is fairly, but I'd love to find out otherwise.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I have nearly finished making her creme de mur recipe from Salt, Sugar Smoke - added the sugar today after steeping the blackberries in gin for quite a bit longer than the two months specified (due to endless prevarication!). It needs to be bottled, and then mature for a few months, but tastes amazing already. There are loads of great recipes I want to try. I did make smoked sausages as per her instructions, and they worked well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I reviewed a couple of recipes from that book upthread...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: geekmom

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Thank you GG and GM! I am looking more for savoury or boozy things than sweet as in jams/preserves.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    That crème de mur sounds amazing - I didn't know you could make something with gin that is not G&T :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      This book has plenty to appeal in the savoury department - chutneys, pickles, foods packed in oil, mustards, pastes, sauces... a whole chapter on how to do your own smoking.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: geekmom

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        That's exciting :) I would love to do my own smoking; a stove-top smoker has been sitting in my Amazon basket ever since SMT recommended it but I am too chicken to actually get it and start smoking... I think it will smoke up the whole building... and people will be mad, and my apartment will smell of smoke for ever... I know it is not true and maybe a book full of great recipes will get me off the fence and into smoking :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The book is finally in! Picked it up at the library last night and had a look through. Many recipes are appealing and I will continue reading and hopefully mark a few to try.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  3. Maple and Mustard Glazed Sausages, Pure Simple Cooking

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    This is barely a recipe. You mix maple syrup and coarse mustard together, toss it with pork sausages, and put it all in the oven to roast for 25 minutes. You are supposed to turn the sausages but I didn't. I was hoping that the simple ingredients would rise to be more than the sum of their parts, but it was pretty much sausage with a maple syrup and mustard flavor. My family liked it better than I did. I served the sausages with cheesy millet and simply-cooked broccoli. I think I might have liked them better in a sausage bun, if I knew where to buy good ones. This wasn't a bad recipe, just not very exciting. It was, however, exceedingly easy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Salad of Middle Eastern Grilled Chicken with Bulgur and Pomegranates - Crazy Water, Pickled Lemons, p. 115 (US)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      This is a really terrific main-dish salad, and I didn't even have the pomegranate seeds of the title (I did sub dried cranberries, for a similar sweet-tart effect). It would be a great picnic or potluck choice, or for make-ahead lunches, because it was good both warm and room temp. I have a feeling several of you would also enjoy this, so I'd be happy to paraphrase for those without this book. And FYI, "grilled" here is in the British sense, i.e., broiled (though I baked/roasted).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The first step is marinating chicken (she calls for boneless, skinless breasts; I used b/s thighs) in a mixture of olive oil, pomegranate molasses, honey, cumin, and garlic. Mine went overnight. These are then broiled, basting with some marinade, but I baked them, and sliced up. At the same time, the bulgur is prepared pilaf-style, with sauteed onion and garlic and stock. The cooked bulgur is combined with the chicken, toasted and chopped walnuts, lots of chopped parsley and cilantro, watercress (I used baby arugula), and the pom seeds (dried cranberries; dried tart cherries would also work well). The whole thing is dressed with a mix of olive oil, lime juice, harissa, and a bit more honey.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      There is so much going on here, with the sweet-sour-earthy marinade, sweet-tart hit of the (cranberries), crunch of nuts, fresh herbs, and spicy-tangy dressing. Just delicious. Also just enough green that I could justify to myself having it as a one-dish meal...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Greek Red Mullet with Oranges and Olives, Pure Simple Cooking

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        This was a very simple, very nice fish dish. She says to use whole red mullet but gives directions for fillets in the headnotes; I used ocean perch fillets. Into a baking dish go thinly sliced oranges, orange and lemon juice, fresh thyme sprigs (marjoram for me) and olive oil. This heats in the oven for 10 minutes, then you add your seasoned fish fillets and chopped black olives and cook until the fish is done. This was nice and easy, and the orange flavor does not overwhelm. I would do it again.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. For those of you on Twitter, Diana Henry is on there too. I have started following her and she's a hoot. There is food stuff but also some really funny stuff. DianaHenryFood if you're interested.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I just followed her and she sent me a private message!! Ahhhhhhh what a great start to my weekend. Thanks for the heads-up, LLM.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: geekmom

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              She's fantastic (but I'm a little disappointed I never got a private message!). Her tweets and retweets are often very funny. Glad I was able to make your weekend fun!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Vietnamese [Turkey] with Nuoc Cham, Plenty, p. 23

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Faced with a tremendous quantity of leftover turkey, I turned to Diana Henry. She has so many great ideas for using leftover chicken, and I thought at least some of them might work well for turkey.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            This is an ideal post-Thanksgiving dish because it uses nearly three cups of shredded turkey, three cups of turkey stock, and the flavors are so fresh and exciting! It's a nice change of pace from the typical holiday fare.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Long grain rice (I used Thai Jasmine) is cooked in chicken (or turkey) stock which has been seasoned with salt, pepper, and fresh ginger. Meanwhile you make an amazing tart, sweet and spicy sauce with garlic, chilies, lime juice, fish sauce and sugar. When the rice is done, you quickly saute sliced shallots, and when they are cooked, add shredded chicken (or turkey) to warm through. Fork this through the rice along with chopped scallions and mint (I subbed cilantro). Serve with sauce liberally spooned over (I served it in a separate bowl for each diner to add to taste).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            So, my comments. The rice was cooked perfectly. The flavor, the texture, everything absolutely gentle, warming and lovely. The sauce is fantastic. However, next time I will double the quantity and reduce the sugar a bit. We used all the sauce on half the rice. Also, as DH notes, the sauce is diluted by the gently flavored rice, so don't be afraid to make it very bold and spicy.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Westminstress

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I think I really need to get Plenty at this point. This sounds like the perfect thing to make with a rotisserie chicken from the store on a busy night.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. Canadians - just a heads up that Roast Figs, Sugar Snow is on sale today only for $5 ($4.75 if you are a plum rewards member) on chapters.ca. I was happy to add it to my cart as I did some holiday shopping this afternoon. :-)

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: geekmom

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Just checked and it is out of stock :( I really like her Salt Sugar Smoke which I have out of the library. Thinking that I need my own copy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I'm a bit surprised you're unhappy RFSS is out of stock (even cheaply), herby, given that you posted months ago about getting it from the library and finding it uninspiring. FWIW, I looked at it at my library when I first checked out Pure Simple Cooking, and put it back on the shelf. I'm glad you've reconsidered her based on another book, as I've had mostly very good experiences with her recipes. It really seems to me that her Mediterranean-leaning recipes are a strong suit. If you have an opportunity to look through Crazy Water, Pickled Lemons or Pure Simple Cooking, do, and see what you think.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Caitlin, I very much agree about her mediterranean recipes being especially good. Given that, if I already have Pure, Simple Cooking, what would you suggest as a second book?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I'm so sorry, LLM, I missed this post back when. I'm not sure I'm an apt person to offer a comparison, in that the only book of hers other than PSC I've used is Crazy Water, Pickled Lemons. (I got Plenty from the library right after first checking out PSC but my eyes stayed on the latter, and Plenty ended up being returned unused.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      CWPL is all about Mediterranean/Middle Eastern of course. I wasn't able to get it from the library (even through interlibrary loan) but reading about it and looking at the EYB index led me to buy it anyway, knowing it was another slim paperback. Its structure isn't quite as user-friendly as PSC's (see my description here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8959...), and it definitely has a few standard/traditional Med/ME recipes covered in other books I have (e.g., Roden). I've only made a few things from it (all posted about above), but they've been pretty great - especially the chicken/bulgur salad, yogurt mezze, and cake - and there are a quite a few others I'd like to try, including everything helen_m recommended (see: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8959...).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Maybe take a spin through the EYB index and if it appeals, see if your library has it?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      http://www.eatyourbooks.com/library/1...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I have to say that, though it sounds wider ranging than just Mediterranean influences, from the description of its emphasis, her book coming out this year sounds like it could be great for me (and you).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Thanks so much Caitlin. I'm in for the new book, definitely. My library doesn't have CWPL, but you're right - I should check out the index for it on EYB. I really need to remember that resource.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      You have an amazing memory, Caitlin :) I thought that at $5 it will make a nice gift for someone who does not have many cookbooks and is interested in Mediterranean cooking. For myself, I am liking SSS very much and possibly have too many (if there is such a thing!) good books on cooking in Mediterranean region to fully appreciate DH efforts. I need to cook more from those books instead of looking for new ones !:)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Thank you for the suggestion! I noticed a lot of love here for Pure Simple and she refers to CWPL in SSS to the point that it is picking my interest. Unfortunately neither of these books is available through my library.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        herby, my experience suggests that it's worthwhile sending in a quick request to the librarians to purchase something you wish they had (particularly if they already have other books by this author, which you can point out to help bolster your argument). They almost always do!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: geekmom

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I've also had good luck making interlibrary loan requests.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Westminstress

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Do you need to know which library has the book you are requesting or would your library check around?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              No, you just fill out the ILL request form and give it to the librarian and the library notifies you when the book comes in. The downside is you don't get to keep the book very long and usually can't renew it. But at least you can get a good look at the book that way.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Westminstress

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                You are in the US, right? I think we have different rules in Canada but I'll definitely check all options this week, might even go tonight as there are a couple of books waiting for me at the branch.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Westminstress

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I'm able to this on-line. Plus I get to choose the library in the closest town I want. Each library has a courier who drops the book at my library then I'm notified on-line when it arrives and is ready to pick up.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            3. re: geekmom

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Thank you for this suggestion, GM! I never done this in Canada and do not know if branches buy individually or centrally. But I am going to ask this week when I'll be at my branch. I'll ask for Pure Simple Cooking as it seems to be everyone's favourite.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                It varies but I think even the larger library systems with lots of branches will just forward your suggestions on to whmoever does the purchasing. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    3. Roasted Squash with Garlic and Thyme, Pure Simple Cooking

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Winter squash (I used buttercup, which is similar to kabocha) is cut into thin wedges. Meanwhile, melt butter and warm olive olive oil in the bottom of a roasting pan. Add the squash wedges to the roasting pan, toss in the hot fat, and season liberally with s&p and lots of fresh thyme. Roast until soft, basting along the way (I didn't really baste, as my thirsty squash seemed to have absorbed all the butter). 15 minutes before the end of the cooking time, add a healthy dose of sliced garlic to the roasting pan.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      This prep was more fiddly than my usual method of slicing the squash and roasting with nothing more than salt, pepper and liberal amounts of olive oil. I'm not sure if the thyme, garlic and butter added so much more to the basic version that I would bother to take these extra steps very often. I did, though, like the savory flavor that the melted butter added to the squash and I really found myself enjoying the leftovers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. I have a rather simple question - please bear with me. I see many of Ms. Henry's recipes call for "red chile" but have yet to find a definition. Seems I've come to right place to ask this since many of you refer to this… Thanks in advance!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: kkonsterlie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I have a hard time finding red chiles fresh here so I just go for something like a serrano. I realize this doesn't really answer your question, but I hope it helps in terms of substitutions.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: kkonsterlie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            In the UK you can buy 'red chillies' like
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            http://www.ocado.com/webshop/product/...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The blurb says 'In general the chillies in these packs are Fresno or Seranade varieties, which have a rating of 2,500 to 8,000 on the Scoville Heat Scale for Chilli Peppers, to put this into context the hottest chilli is at 15,000,000 and a Jalapeño would be 2,500'.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            HTH

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: lilham

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Ah, very helpful HTH! Thanks very much. I tried substituting one jalepeno for the 2 red chilies but didn't get near enough heat. The backstory on the SHS for peppers is super helpful and explains that, as well as giving me a pepper name to search for way out here in Portland, OR. Thanks again!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: kkonsterlie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Here's a useful link for Cooks Thesaurus that gives chili substitutions, and other ingredients...
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              http://www.foodsubs.com/Chilefre.html

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Thanks for this, Gio. A very helpful source.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            3. Nasi Goreng, Food from Plenty, p47

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              DH says this is a great way of using leftover pork, and as I had two packages of slow roasted pork shoulder in the freezer left over from Xmas, I thought I'd give it a whirl.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              It's pretty easy. Stir fry crescents of onion until tender, then add the cooked pork, sliced garlic and fresh red chilli. Cook briefly until the pork has some colour, then add cooked rice and sliced spring onions and toss together briefly to heat through. Meanwhile, make a thin omelette with three beaten eggs. When cooked, slice and add to the rice mixture with some soy sauce and cooked prawns (I didn't have any and she says you can leave them out). Season and serve.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              We totally loved this. Really tasty, quick and easy. Can't wait for the leftovers. I was going to make the pork and apple pie on the next page with the other package of pork but....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                There's a Great nasi goreng recipe in Mighty Spice, but it's meatless.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Love that nasi goreng from MS.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Calling all Diana Henry fans - she has a new website: http://dianahenry.co.uk/ Lots of recipes, etc. on there. Looks like lots of fun.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Thanks LLM. This is wonderful, and what's more wonderful is that I was able to add the site to my "Feedly" news feed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ohhh - do tell! What is this Feedly news feed thing??

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Feedly is a news and blog gatherer of sites you want to see frequently but don't want to bookmark..

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/feedl...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I read far too many blogs and online newspapers. This puts them all in one place where you can review them each day and choose the articles you are interested in. Google used have this feature but closed it mid-July and recommended Feedly. It takes some getting used to in the beginning, but if I could then anyone can. I have a PC and browse w Mozilla Firefox but there's lots of compatibility.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I really miss Google reader! I now use NewsBlur for the same thing. It's fine, but I really liked having it on Google.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I miss the Google reader too Mel.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          This is fantastic - thank you so much Gio.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Thanks. Added to my feedly too :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    3. Clothilde's Beef with Wine, Bay and Thyme, Plenty

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      This is just an excellent version of a classic French pot roast. I used a grass-fed, bone-in chuck roast which was a bit over three pounds. The meat was browned well and transferred to a dutch oven. Onions are sauteed in the leftover fat, then garlic is added, the pan is deglazed with wine (I used vermouth), and the contents added to the dutch oven along with tomatoes, stock, thyme, bay and carrots halved lengthwise. All goes into a 275 oven to cook tightly covered for about 3 hours. I cooked this Sunday evening, then last night I skimmed the fat and reheated it in a 300 oven for about 40 minutes. I served it with polenta and sauteed spinach. (the supper spinach from Vegetable Literacy which I have been making almost weekly for the last two months).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Well, this dish was absolutely wonderful. The meat was so tender, falling apart into delicious, luxurious shreds. The sauce had such such a rich flavor from the aromatics, tomatoes and meat juices. The carrots were absolutely perfect in terms of texture, not soft or mushy despite long cooking, and had absorbed a lot of the braising liquid for a really intense flavor. My husband said they were the best carrots I've ever cooked.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I can't wait for the leftovers. DH says to dice the veg, shred the meat, mix with braising liquid and use as a meaty pasta sauce. Now that is going to be good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Johanna's Swedish Apple Pie - p 159, Cook Simple (aka Pure Simple Cooking)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I spent most of last year's tree fruit season being somewhat obsessed with the rhubarb cake from this book (which, it turns out, can be made with just about any fruit) and didn't think to look at any of the other desserts, but last weekend this Swedish apple pie recipe caught my eye. I had a pastry failure, and with a dinner guest on the way I needed something quick to throw together. This fits the bill, especially if you have one of those gadgets that peels, cores and slices apples. Simply butter a pie plate, toss in your sliced apples, mix the topping ingredients together & press over top, then bake for half an hour.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        This is a really wonderful dessert that is more than the sum of its parts. The apples are a soft bed for the surprisingly crunchy topping which has a hint of almond. Lemon zest is the brilliant addition, here - it works so well to pull everything together. I think I'll be making this one again this weekend.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Adaptation on a blog here: http://fancifulfig.blogspot.ca/2011/1... (I can't speak to whether the quantities are faithful to the original recipe as my book is the UK edition with weight-based measurements, but in the book there is no blend of white & whole wheat flour - just plain or all-purpose flour is called for.)