Friday, September 30, 2011

The Kitchen Reader: Home Cooking

So on top of my SRC commitments that mean I'm posting at least once a month during my hectic uni times, I've also joined The Kitchen Reader, where members read one food-related book per month and blog about it. This month's book was Home Cooking: A Writer in the Kitchen by Laurie Colwin, chosen by Sarah from Simply Cooked (whose blog is also fantastic!)

I wasn't expecting much from this book, because I'd prefer to be reading recipes (or, you know, eating) than just reading about food. I was very wrong! The book is amazing, and I've already sent it down to Mum to read because I am going to get crazy evangelical about everyone in my extended family reading the book. It's so good. There are recipes interspersed into the short essays, and it wasn't pretentious at all. I don't think its possible to be pretentious when you are writing about eggplant for one. I just enjoyed everything about this book, so you should probably pick up a copy ASAP.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Secret Recipe Club: Pesto Potatoes

I know, how predictable that I chose another potato recipe :P I've been so swamped with uni and the panto rehearsals/performances that I haven't had time to cook anything of note lately. It was a welcome challenge to fit the SRC into this month! (Also, please do click the link and visit our webpage, it looks pretty rad).

The blog I was assigned was Savouring the Thyme. Jennifer's blog is great! I bookmarked so many things to make this month but it turned out that this was the only thing I could fit into my uni work haze. As soon as I hit summer holidays, the bookmarks are coming out!

These potatoes are ridiculously simple and I can't believe I never thought of combining potatoes and pesto before. If you can commit to the hour for roasting the potatoes, and I suggest you do, this is entirely worth it.


Serves 1
Total time commitment: 1 hour 20 minutes (1 hour 15 minutes cooking, 5 minutes actually working)
Recipe from Savouring the Thyme

1 potato
1 tsp pesto

1. Coat the potato with olive oil and roast for 50-60 minutes until tender. Leave to cool until you can handle them.

2. Cut off the top third of the potato and set aside (or eat - I ate and it was one of the best decisions I've made). Scoop out the innards of the potato, leaving a little wall around the skin so it doesn't collapse in on itself.

3. Mash the potato insides and pesto together and scoop back into the potato.

4. Bake for another 15 minutes.

Click here to look at all of the other members' recipes!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Friend Zone Food: Cheeseburgers

I'm so sorry about the lack of posting! I've been absolutely swamped with uni work and panto and work, and to be completely honest I've been living on things like baked beans, jacket potatoes, and microwaveable Indian meals. Its the same story as last month though, I've been eating a lot of meals at the "Friend Zone", the nickname we've given the house that Levi and Chris and Briony moved into down the road, so I thought I should add another category for meals I have at their place that someone else has cooked with me (or cooked entirely :P).

Chris and I made these burgers last night when Levi and Briony were still away on a uni trip. If Levi is away it seems remiss to not take advantage of the opportunity to cook something that isn't vegetarian! And when I say Chris and I made them, I mean Chris made them and I picked up hamburger buns on my way there from work. The burgers are from the cookbook What to Cook and How to Cook It by Jane Hornby, which I would absolutely recommend. There are step-by-step photos, and all of the ingredients are set out in a delightfully organised photo at the beginning of each recipe. This is the third or fourth dish we've eaten from that cookbook and everything has been simple to make and really delicious.

These burgers were SO GOOD. I'm going to make them again soon, because they were really great. Before we started I was lamenting that we didn't have any chips with them (because I obviously have attachment issues with not having potato in my meals) but it was so filling that I wouldn't have been able to fit them in anyway!

Also happy birthday shout outs to Tara, who turned 22 on Wednesday, and my cousin Clare whose birthday is today :D

Serves 2
Total time commitment: 30 minutes
Recipe adapted from What to Cook and How to Cook It

1/2 onion
3 small gherkins
250g minced beef
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 egg
Salt and pepper, to season
2 large burger buns
4 slices cheese, to cover patties
Lettuce and tomato, to serve

1. Preheat the grill to high. While its preheating, finely chop the onion and gherkins and place in a large mixing bowl. Add the egg, mustard, mince and salt and pepper, and mix together.

2. Roughly divide the meat in half and shape into two burgers, about 2cm thick. Our burgers were HUGE but delicious, and they looked silly in the tiny buns, so I would recommend this for the comedic value.

3. Place the burgers onto the grill and cook for ten minutes, flipping halfway through. If they need a little longer, then do that. Whatever floats your burger-loving boat!

4. While the burgers are cooking, slice the tomato and wash the lettuce so you can go for your life when the burgers are ready. Halve the buns as well.

6. Burgers are looking good? Excellent. Put some cheese on top of them, and place the halved buns face up (the face being the cut side) on the grill. Whack everything back in there for another minute or so, just to melt the cheese and brown the buns.

7. Assemble the buns and serve.