Friday, 3 June 2016

Cookery Calendar Challenge: May

I'm joining with Penny at The Homemade Heart who invites fellow bloggers to choose one cookery book each month, select and cook two dishes from it and post their thoughts at the beginning of the following month.

Simon Hopkinson's The Good Cook

This month I chose Simon Hopkinson's The Good Cook, a present from my daughter who knows my love of cookbooks.  We'd watched his television series together and warmed to his gentle presentation and simple yet elegant dishes.  It's an unusual book in that it's arranged by ingredients rather than courses: anchovy and aubergine, nice rice, and ham, bacon & a little pig.  He's a believer in good ingredients, not necessarily expensive, treated well.  Despite having had his book on my shelf for several years I'd only ever baked his rich and creamy rice pudding and looked forward to trying out more of his recipes.

Smoked Haddock Pilaf with Ginger & Parsley

The first I attempted was Smoked Haddock Pilaf with Ginger & Coriander.  My first set back came when my fishmonger didn't have enough smoked haddock in his fridge and I had to resort to a luminous yellow overpackaged fillet from Aldi.  The second was when I discovered I didn't have a suitably sized oven proof lidded pan and had to settle for a larger one which didn't allow sufficient depth.  Lastly I forgot to buy any coriander.  The parsley I'd picked up for Sunday's dinner was acceptable, although not quite as appropriate.

However I didn't let any of these contretemps deter me from recreating Simon Hopkinson's delightfully simple yet deliciously light supper dish.  A few minutes' attention on the stove top and 20 minutes in the oven and it was ready to eat.  Simon declares a pilaf to be possibly his favourite way to eat rice in any form (marginally better than a risotto) and I'm inclined to agree.

Lamb's Liver with Sweet & Sour Onions

The very next day we ate his Calf's Liver with Sweet & Sour Onions.  Offal is not to everyone's taste, but I love it in all its manifestations.  Our butcher didn't have any calf's liver, so I had to make do with lamb's, but that was the only substitution.  There was just enough creme de cassis in the bottle to fill the required tablespoon.

This was another simple dish.  I fried the liver for longer than Simon suggested and was afraid I might have overcooked it, but I must have judged it accurately as it remained soft and tender.  The red wine vinegar and the creme de cassis lifted the sauce.  I would have enjoyed it with the recommended soft and buttery polenta but we had potatoes and swede to use up which worked just as well.

Later in the week my partner prepared the Aubergine Parmigiana, which was gorgeous.

I've a feeling that The Good Cook will not be languishing on my bookshelf any longer.

My book for June is Persiana by Sabrina Ghayour.