In June, I decided to extend my cookery book collection, by opportunistically raiding my mum's selection while they were piled up during some kitchen renovations. I had flicked through a few of mine without much inspiration, many of the remaining ones seeming to be full of recipes with excessive lists of ingredients, and I think the hope of warmer weather also making me feel less inclined to spend an age on hearty recipes.
So it was that I gathered together a small pile of tempting looking books, and for this month I went with My Kitchen by James Martin. There were lots of appealing recipes, and I liked that the book was arranged seasonally, allowing me to pick from the spring and summer sections in an unfortunately unsuccessful bid to lure the warmer weather.
The first recipe was pan-fried pork fillet with smoky tomato sauce. I halved the ingredients down to just serve the two of us, and added some rice too. The tomatoes were scorched before roasting, and a lack of gas meant that I still didn't get to break open the mini blow-torch which has been in the cupboard for years. However, the grill did just as well, and you may have seen my picture recently of the result.
There was a lot of sauce, and the flavour was lovely. I did find that there was quite a lot of meat in the recipe, you can't quite tell in the picture as most of it is covered with sauce, but the recipe called for half a pound for each person, which seemed quite a hefty portion, though The Husband was more than happy with that! I did think another portion of vegetables would have made it a little more balanced, although I'm not sure I would have had the appetite for them.
The next dish was wok-fried chicken with ginger, chilli and wild garlic. Unfortunately I couldn't find wild garlic when I did the shopping, but the recipe did suggest spinach as a substitution. This was a really quick dish, even with a step of "velveting" chicken which was a new one on me. It involved coating the chicken pieces in cornflour and blanching before transferring it to the wok. The flavours were really strong for such a quick dish, and we really enjoyed it. Again, it felt like a lot of meat, and that the dish could have taken some more vegetables, but I already have plans to make it again this week, so I will be sure to add some then!
I was very pleased with my borrowed book, and think I might keep it on an extended loan (hi Mum!). I'd definitely be tempted to try more recipes and spotted quite a few that appealed as a I flicked through it. I haven't picked July's book yet but I'm looking forward to browsing through some more of my newly acquired options. The very first book I used for this challenge was Mary Berry's Complete Cookbook and I have to mention that in the last week I have rustled up three quick bakes from it, all with great success. I adapted the victoria sponge to a lime version, made the vanilla muffins, and today whipped up a batch of chocolate cupcakes in double quick time. I do love the reliability of the baking recipes, and it is definitely becoming my default choice when I want some speedy inspiration. Hope you are enjoying the challenge if you are joining in, do visit Penny's page to find out more.