It was another enjoyable month joining in with Penny and her Cookery Calendar Challenge. For this month's recipes I used the The Abel and Cole Cookbook: Easy, Seasonal, Organic. Back when I was at University my parents would occasionally send me an Abel and Cole fruit and veg box, which was always a great treat, and was a clever way of making sure I ate reasonably healthily now and then. I think the book was a free gift with one of the boxes many years ago, but other than the carrot cake recipe it has sat mostly untouched.
We did get some fruit and veg boxes for a while when The Husband and I moved in together, but in more recent years we have got out of the habit. I do occasionally get tempted to sign up again, and notice that they are doing recipe boxes now too which are a new addition.
The first recipe was "Gazza's Goulash with Rosemary Dumplings" and I have linked to another blogger who has put the recipe up online. Apologies for the picture below, but I think it is a difficult dish to make photogenic! I was surprised how little in the way of any veg there was in this, it was a very meaty stew, and had quite a kick. It was really warming, and the sour cream helped to balance it out, but as Grandad was joining us for dinner I wished I had made something else, as it was quite hot, and I also found out he isn't a huge fan of dumplings!
This is the first time I have made dumplings, and The Husband loved them. I enjoyed the rosemary flavour, though found them quite thick and stodgy, but having never had dumplings before I don't have much by way of comparison. I note the blogger who posted the recipe above also found them quite heavy, so perhaps that is how this recipe is intended to turn out. The portion size was huge, I think because the dumplings were so filling, and it made five large servings from this recipe.
The second dish from the book was a vegetarian dish of Asparagus Risotto, and I have linked to the recipe, which is listed on the Abel and Cole website. While it isn't speedy, I do enjoy making risotto, and find the gentle, constant stirring quite a relaxing process. This was a really simple dish, with only a few ingredients, and the flavours were fabulous. It felt like a real contrast with the Jamie Oliver recipes from last month in terms of complexity and I enjoyed this kind of cooking more.
Where the book more similar to Jamie Oliver, was that it took quite a relaxed approach to weights and measures. Apart from the baking recipes, the ingredients are measured in mugs for a lot of the time. I still prefer having definitive measures, but at least I felt that the approach of using mugs meant it was quite consistent.
There was an option to add parma ham to this recipe, but we decided to keep it vegetarian, and it was a definite success. It was a lovely dish, and felt like a nice spring recipe. The book is split into seasons, I assume to encourage you to utilise ingredients that are currently in season, and so I picked these recipes from the winter and spring sections. That seemed like a simple way to structure the book, and I liked the idea of being directed towards using seasonal produce within the recipes.
I haven't selected April's book yet, and I had better hurry considering we are almost a week in already. Having perused the bookshelf, I realised that a large majority of my recipe books are focussed on baking, mainly cakes and desserts. For this challenge I wanted to stick to main meals, so I may well be forced to open up a few of the dustier, somewhat unloved. volumes in the coming months! I did, however, notice a few interesting looking books when I visited my parents' house recently, so I may alternatively borrow a few of those!