My husband loves books (and I love them too), so whenever he feels like gifting me something, it is generally in the form of a couple of books. I am not complaining. At all. For Christmas, he got me a couple of cooking books from 2 of my favourite English chefs: The River Cottage Cookbook by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Far Eastern Odissey by Rick Stein.
I didn’t have the time to use them until recently. But in the last couple of weeks, I have found myself uninspired when I tried to come up with ideas for dinners. So, I opened the books and started to look for yummy ideas.
Oddly enough, I didn’t find anything remotely cook-able in Hugh F-W’s book. There aren’t that many recipes, for a start. It is more about growing your own food and taking care of your animals. Living in a shoebox sized flat, those are 2 things completely undo-able for us. And as much as I’d love being able to grow my own veg, I definitely don’t want to have a herd of cows, sheep or chickens running around, even if I had the space. I wouldn’t be able to send them to slaughter. I admire farmers for that! And I also like Hugh’s attitude when it comes to meat: if you’re going to kill an animal to feed yourself, you HAVE to eat as much as possible of it and not discard 50% of it. But still, nothing I fancied cooking just now in his book.
So I turned to Rick Stein’s book. Rick Stein IS my favourite English chef. I’d spend plenty of monies to be able to go to his restaurant in Cornwall. I LOVE fish in all its forms, so someone as passionate as he is about fish makes me happy! I loved the Far Eastern Odyssey TV program and I was delighted when I got the book! There are plenty of yummy dishes in there and the photography makes me drool.
So last week, I cooked a beef kofta curry. It is a recipe from Bangladesh. As with all curries, it requires plenty of spices and herbs, so it is quite an investment to start with. But if you plan on making plenty of them, it turns out quite cheap in the end. I couldn’t find curry leaves, so I replaced them with bay leaves, but it’s not quite the same. The recipe was very easy to follow and the result was yummy. It got my husband’s approval and I will definitely cook it again. I don’t have a mortar and pestle or a spices grinder and I didn’t feel like getting the food processor out to grind the spices (it’s super noisy when the baby is sleeping!), so I tried to grind the spices in a bowl with the back of a tablespoon. It was far from being finely ground. It was ok, but it would have been better with finely ground spices. I might get a little spices grinder if I’m going to cook more Indian-ish curries.
Next week, I am cooking prawns with crispy garlic and chillies (that’s a Thai recipe). I’m already salivating at the thought of it. And I will try to have a go at the pad thai noodles soon. I can see myself trying lots of recipes from this book. Money well spent from the Boy!