Saturday 16 July 2011

Random Recipes#6 - my favourite cook book...

After my last catastrophic attempt at Dom’s challenge, I was really pleased to see that this month’s ‘Random Recipe Challenge’ is from "your favourite cook book".

Which cookery book would I choose as my favourite? A no-brainer? Actually it’s harder than you might think.

If you’re like me, that is. That’s because I have groups of favourite cookery books. For example, the ones with hand-written inherited recipes collected over time. Ones that you’ve had to coax out of friends or relatives. Secret family recipes that they may not really want to share until their deathbed, and even then, you may not have been the first choice for the legacy...

Then there are my favourite informative ones, those that have the 'how-to' recipes, the diagrams, conversion charts and tables; the well used reference books that you can’t do without.

Finally, my most-read books, the beautiful ones, or those written by my favourite cookery writers. Interestingly, non by chefs (unless you count Jamie.) Books like ‘Falling Cloudberries,’ or ‘Apples for Jam’ with the cute little pair of red shoes on the dust jacket, both written by Tessa Kiros, that I coveted for ages until I had my own copies. Then poured over the pages a hundred times reading the text and the recipes, admiring the colour images and cute illustrations; but for some reason have only ever tried making one…!

My much loved, and well-used copy of Nigel Slater’s ‘Real Food’ that I know would randomly open at the page for Green Chicken Curry. I love that book and use it all the time. I think I love him too. Watching him with people on TV he just seems like such a nice guy, someone that you would want to have as a friend…you just know that he’d be a really good one.

I can’t miss out the kitsch nostalgia of Nigella’s 50’s and 60’s inspired, retro family recipes, which I can find in any one of her books that inhabit my shelves. I’m always making her Keralan inspired spicy breakfast omelette and watching re-runs of ‘Nigella Bites’ or ‘Forever Summer’ (I prefer those earlier TV shows) they have brightened up many a rainy day, encouraging me to get out the baking bowl!

But at the moment (and I know that may sound fickle) my favourite cookery book is 
‘Miss Dahl’s Voluptuous Delights.’ I love reading SD’s story, I love the images, I love the food and her style of cooking…and I love her’s just perfect for me…

And the random recipe is…da…da…:-

You can find the recipe on page 40. It’s in the ‘autumn lunch’ section. I have to say that on randomly opening the page I was a little disappointed. This didn’t sound the most exciting or attractive dish to make for the challenge.

But not-one to give up easily I persevered and I’m so glad that it took me to this page. It's really worth making. If you don't have copy you can link to it here.

Basically you:

  • Caramelise red onions in olive oil. Then place them in an oven proof dish along with chopped chard.
  • Crack in eggs. Season and then bake in a medium oven until the eggs are cooked.
  • Remove from the oven and sprinkle with goats cheese and grill until it's melted.
I used lovely Persian ewe's milk cheese, just because we've had some relatives over that brought us some, and it's delicious. The finished result didn't look very much and the cheese was a bit pongy when I took the dish out from the oven...but it tastes amazing, especially with a good dash of Tabasco sauce.

This is the 17th recipe from Miss Dahl’s Voluptuous Delights’  that I've tried and tested to date. I will make this often.  Another resounding thumbs up...10/10 from me.

I think that although in the autumn lunch section, this is a great vegetarian alternative to an English cooked breakfast. It has as much flavour and is just as substantial. In fact it's Saturday morning and pouring with rain...

so I think I'll go and cook some up now...mmm....can't wait


  1. I love all those cookery books you mentioned and also own most of them to! I enjoyed watching Sophie Dahl's programme and I really want a copy of her book to, those eggs look rather good!

  2. I've made that recipe too! A neighbour gave me some beautiful rainbow chard not long after I bought the book so I was very excited to try it out - simple but delicious.

    Like you I have lots of cookbooks I love as books but rarely cook from. I'm a big fan of Apples For Jam too as you know and I have actually cooked quite a lot of things out of it from the very simple soups at the beginning to the chicken escalopes with parsley and capers, baked ham and cheese bread pudding to the tiny cakes with pink icing, vanilla cake and honey cake. All recommended!

    This year has been all about Jamie. I just love his new book '30 Minute Meals'. It really has revolutionised the way I cook - I would never have believed that you could produce multiple course in just 30 mins but you really can (well maybe 40 mins!). I've cooked 15 recipes so far and our favourites include Chicken Skewers with Amazing Satay Sauce, Fiery Noodle Salad and Fruit and Mint Sugar & Roast Beef, Little Carrots, Crunchy Potatoes and Super-Quick Gravy. The Portuguese Tarts are fabulous too!

  3. Hi've obviously got good taste in cookery books...I would really recommend getting the Sophie Dahl one...nice pictures, interesting insight into her childhood and family life, and best of all, really workable recipes.

    I thinks she's working on something new now...some kind of version of Mrs Beetons...sounds interesting...

  4. I keep making it now Caz...I totally agree..

    ..I'm not quite sure why I never use any of Tessa Kiros recpes, the vanilla and honey cakes both sound lovely, I must remember to try them...

    I don't have Jamies latest book but did manage to catch a couple of the programs in the tv series. The concept is really kind of cooking...I absolutely love portugese tarts...we have a little Portugese cafe bar close by that has amazing ones...this really makes me want to get his book...but also scares me a bit...I'm sure I'd end up making them every day...and consequently eating them every day too...!

  5. The Portuguese Tarts are ridiculously easy to make and I did make quite a few batches in a short span of time but eventually my wandering eye led me onto something else!

  6. OMG I love that book!... even though many didn't I actually love the simplistic styling and cute photo's... I also love baked eggs so this is a double notch for me... nice work and thanks so much for taking part again x

  7. I think I'd love this book. SD seemed to get a lot of criticism for her cookery show that was on about a year ago but I loved it. I also love baked eggs and eggs with vegetables for breakfast. At the moment I'm going through a Mexican phase and making lots of huevos rancheros but I'm definitely going to try this recipe for a change.

  8. You are welcome's one of those very easy but doubley tasty dishes.

    Hello sfs. I'm not sure why she was criticised so much by the food writers. Maybe because they were comparing her with serious cookery programs and books. I think it appealed to a lot of young women who loved the show and food that was about taste, but also with a little concern for their diet...i think the target audience was probably quite young and the crtics mostly men past middle-age! ( hope I'm not being politically incorrect in saying so!)