For this month's Cookery Calendar Challenge I browsed the library for a recipe book, and the prospect of the Bank Holiday Weekend ahead drew my eye to Rick Stein's Long Weekends. It wasn't until I saw it while out shopping this week that I realised it was a new release, and though I don't own any Rick Stein books, I absolutely loved this book, both in terms of style and content. I found so many delicious recipes that I extended the loan just so that I could get chance to try a few more, and I loved the fact that it was almost part travel journal, based, as it is, around different trips to Europe. There is even a section at the back recommending places to visit in different cities, and the photography is beautiful.
There were lots of pasta dishes that I wanted to try, and there were two that I still have bookmarked. I opted for Farfalle with Peas and Pancetta, as farfalle is The Husband's favourite type of pasta, and though I loved getting out the pasta machine and was reminded how simple homemade pasta is to make, I soon regretted not opting for dish with a simpler pasta shape! The bows were very fiddly to make, and I was close to giving up and just doing a few for show. Instead, The Husband made the sauce, while I carried on shaping, and T sat in his highchair watching with what I can only assume was bemusement. The final result was lovely, and I was glad to have had a go, in future though I think my home-made pasta will likely be tagliatelle!
If arancini is ever on the menu, The Husband will order it, so I had to make Arancini Salsiccia when I saw it in the book. I found myself making saffron risotto at half eight in the morning while T had his breakfast, and then the rest came together in various stages over the day. I served them with some garlic greens, and they were absolutely delicious. The sausagemeat with fennel was a beautiful flavour, and they made a brilliant, filling meal. They initially seemed quite labour intensive from reading the recipe, but each component was relatively simple and they were well worth the effort.
I also made a Kima Bougasta, described as a Crisp Pork and Beef Pie with Onions, Red Peppers and Oregano. It was pretty much that simple, and I must admit when I saw the minimal ingredients I thought it might possibly be a little bland but it was a rich, flavoursome, filo-topped pie. All of the ingredients were ones I usually have in, so this is definitely one I will be trying again. Not the most picturesque dish, admittedly, but it didn't last very long!
I branched out into a dessert this month, too, and made Filo Pastries with Vanilla Cream, almost like a baklava with a creme patissiere filling. Making the filo triangles was another labour intensive process, and although the flavours were great, I wouldn't be tempted to make these again any time soon as they took a long time. It was good to work with filo, and to see how the triangles puffed up in the oven and then expanded as they were piped with the filling, and they were a lot more successful than I expected. They also got rave reviews from my parents who received some to serve when they had friends round for dinner, so it felt like the effort was well appreciated!
I'm sure I've used some online recipes at some point this month, but I can't remember any at all after running through all of those! I was really impressed with this book, a great mixture of simple and more complex dishes, from a range of countries, and every single one of them a complete success. I have just purchased the Hairy Bikers' latest book, which is a vegetarian one, so I may well use that for next month, unless another library book catches my eye. To see what other people have been making, visit Penny's blog using the button below, where she hosts the monthly link up.