Sunday, April 30, 2017

Cookery Calendar Challenge: April

I gave The Husband the choice for this month's book, and he went for the other James Martin book I have "borrowed" from my mum, My Kitchen. Although I was a little reluctant at first, having used a James Martin book for the challenge last month too, I remembered cooking some recipes from this book when I took part last year, and finding lots in there that appealed, so I let the choice stand! I like that this book is arranged seasonally, so I went with summer recipes again, and having realised, thanks to Christina, that it was perfectly acceptable to cook more than two recipes (it would never have occurred to me otherwise, being such a stickler for following rules resolutely!), I actually made three this month, as so many were tempting.

The first dish is the one I cooked most recently, and although I did make it, and did take pictures, I have alas not found a way to make koftas look in anyway photogenic or appetising on the plate, so I thought I would give you a glimpse of the book, and the much more successful photography within. These were simple to make, and were a nice alternative use for mince, that I would definitely try again. I did find this recipe a bit bland, but that may be because I used chopped fresh fennel rather than ground fennel, and some subsequent internet searching suggests that this may have resulted in a much milder flavour. I found they took a lot longer to cook through than the recipe suggested, though perhaps I made them thicker as I didn't mould them around skewers, just into small sausage shapes. I served them with pitta, homemade tzatziki, and the corn. I think the recipe is quite small in terms of portion sizes, it definitely needed the additional accompaniments to make a meal, but as one dish for a barbecue, which I guess was the intention, it would be a definite success.

The next dish was lemon and rosemary lamb with tahini aubergines, Again, I think it was designed as a barbeque dish, and so I added some garlic crushed potatoes to make it into a full meal. We don't usually eat lamb, I find it quite a fatty meat, and it can be expensive for small cuts, but I do enjoy the flavour and will often order it when eating out. The flavour of the lamb was beautiful, though again, it required longer cooking times than the book suggested, but this was likely due to our cutlets being quite thickly cut, as I bought a rack of lamb and carved them from that. The aubergines were a little overpowered by the lemon I thought, and the specially bought tahini paste got a little lost (any tahini suggestions welcome!). I will forever love this dish though, as it was the first time The Husband had tried aubergine, one of my favourite vegetables, that he has resisted up until now. T also tucked into a piece with gusto! Alas, I wouldn't say it was aubergine at its best, but I have bought another one, in the hope that an aubergine parmigiana might be an acceptable offering!

The first dish I made from the book was by far the most successful, despite inauspicious beginnings. Having bought all of the ingredients, the night when I had planned to make the tomato, basil and mozzarella pizza came round, and I was absolutely not feeling in the mood for making dough. I persisted though, and am so glad I did, it was declared an outright success by my pizza fiend of a husband, and I know for a fact we will be making this regularly. We eat pizza pretty often, it is such a quick meal, and with salad and sweet potato wedges it is a staple of our weekly meal plans, but I know shop bought pizza is not the healthiest option usually. This was so much better, and tasted so much more flavoursome, that I shall be rustling them up again very soon.

Next month, I will be using Rick Stein's Long Weekend, which I took out from the library on Friday as it sounded particularly apt as I browsed the shelves with T. I expect this might be another month where I make more than two recipes as just a quick flick through has revealed loads I want to try! I have made a few dishes from the internet this month too, and a particular success was the cauliflower pizzaiola, which used up a few ingredients that were languishing in the fridge, and provided a hearty meat free meal too.

The Cookery Calendar Challenge is the wonderful creation of Penny at The Homemade Heart, do use the button below to check out the other bloggers taking part and see what recipe books people have been dusting off this month.


  1. Your recipes look lovely and sounds very tasty. You've reminded me about pizza, I need to start making pizzas properly again. We used to make a dough mix in the bread maker but we're without one now. I can put a mix together in the Kenwood mixer which takes minutes. Cathy x

    1. We still have a bread maker, I will have a look into a pizza dough mix! xx

  2. Katie, I must apologise for not commenting on this fab post before now, I realised this evening when composing my post for June's challenge that I failed to visit those kind souls who made the effort to join me last month so please allow me to apologise. Sounds like you had a really successful month in the kitchen. I think James Martin is a great cook, though I don't actually own any of his books for some reason. I often find my oven takes longer than recipe books suggest, I think their ovens must be of the super-duper variety, whereas mine is not, and hence a bit slower.Well done for convincing your husband to eat and enjoy aubergine! Your pizza looks absolutely delicious, the base is so thin and it looks very wholesome. I would love to be able to make pizzas, but the couple of times I have tried, my dough has not been a big success; clearly you have the knack! Thank you again, and I look forward to seeing your creations this month! x