COOKING THE BOOKS
I've continued to make better use of my ever-increasing cookbook collection, with the idea being to select a couple each month and attempt a few new recipes from each. First up was a more recent acquisition, Smashing Plates by Maria Elia. A modern take on Greek cuisine, I really enjoyed the carrot keftedes, found the sea bream with beetroot couscous to be a delicious way of tackling an overabundance of beets, and couldn't go past the tangy and lush cinnamon walnut ice cream as a great way to round out any meal.
Roasted carrot keftedes with pomegranate skordalia
Pan-fried sea bream with beetroot couscous and spiced seeds
Cinnamon walnut ice cream
For the second, I decided to spend time with an old favourite in Kitchen Diaries by the ever-dependable Nigel Slater. There was lamb with thyme and feta for a quick mid-week meal, a refreshing chicken salad with watercress, orange and almonds to enjoy on a hot summer's eve, and a delicious plum crisp that brought with it the revelation of using breadcrumbs as a substitute topping for crumble (genius!).
Grilled lamb with thyme and feta
Chicken salad with watercress, almonds and orange
A couple of challenges up for grabs this month, as I attempted both the durum bread with whole-grain soaker and miche pointe-à-callière. Having adapted the first to use a sourdough levain I was much happier with the flavour, and there were some rather tense (albeit hilarious) moments as the 1.8 kg miche was precariously transferred from bench to domestic oven.
Durum sourdough with whole-grain soaker
And with the summer vegetables starting to fade there were a few busy days in the kitchen as I sought to preserve what I could. The last of the tomatoes were turned into pickle, jam, and stew, while fruit picked with friends from their most magnificent (and highly prolific) fig tree resulted in a classic fig jam plus a few bottles of preserved figs in brandy. Should be wonderful in a month or two...
Fig preserve, preserved figs in brandy