Sunday, July 31, 2011

16/1038 - Fudgy chocolate mousse

But wait, there was also dessert!

This is fudgy chocolate mousse - my youngest insisted that his be topped with cream and peppermint crisp. Turns out the munchkin was right - it was much better with the topping.

Big yum.

13,14&15/1038 - Lasagne (with home-made pasta & bolognese sauce)

It was my youngest's choice for dinner tonight and as expected he requested lasagne, his all-time favourite food.

I added some pan fried grated carrot, seasoned with nutmeg to the b├ęchamel sauce layer (with his approval of course!) The home-made pasta was spot on tonight (hooray) and the beautiful Parmesan that we picked up recently topped the dish off nicely.

Everybody came back for seconds.

12/1038 - Potato cakes from grated raw potato

Hash browns for breakfast - or as Stephanie calls them, "potato cakes from grated raw potato". I think some of her recipe titles may need a bit of zhoozhing!

They tasted fantastic and I was surprised to find that there was no egg in the recipe - just potato and butter. Stephanie suggested that the oven be used to keep each batch of potato cakes warm as they are cooked. This was definitely not required in my house as they were snapped up and eaten straight from the pan as fast as I could cook them.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

11/1038 - Curried vegetables

It was curried vegetables with home-made curry paste tonight.

My eldest was less than thrilled with the eggplant but other than that, this dish was another winner.

*Update from the future - goodness, my posts were SHORT when I first started this challenge! I promise they get better.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

10/1038 - French-style roast duck

I am so proud of my first roast duck I think it deserves two pictures. 

Things got a bit hairy as I attempted to cut off the neck as I had no idea how low down I was supposed to cut. After googling some roast duck pictures I was confident I had done a good job.

My husband was mortified when I suggested that I might not make the sauce and I am so glad I did. It was to die for, possibly helped along by the extra duck fat I poured back into it. The meal was lauded as the best mid-week dinner he has ever had and my eldest told me he loved the duck and then proceeded to advise me that my dinners were, well, kind of boring before I started this challenge.

I am sure it was meant as a compliment.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

9/1038 - Lemon ice-cream

I have been trawling through Stephanie's dessert recipes and decided to tackle the lemon ice-cream. Ice-cream is something of a dessert staple in our house and it is always lovely to deviate from the standard vanilla flavour.

The lemon provided a lovely tangy hit and was oh so yummy topped with mint and lemon zest.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

7&8/1038 - Sabrina's breadsticks & Chicken noodle soup (as it should be!)

Tonight's dinner was Stephanie's Chicken noodle soup and Sabrina's breadsticks. Possibly the crustiest bread I have ever tasted!

I must confess I cheated slightly and used the breadmaker to make the dough so I may have lost my domestic goddess status on this one.

Monday, July 25, 2011

5&6/1038 - Middle Eastern meatballs with coriander leaves & Muff's soup

So with hundreds of recipes to go, tonight was Middle Eastern meatballs with coriander and also Muff's cauliflower soup with loads of parsley and parmesan cheese.


The secret ingredient in the cauliflower soup is vegemite!

Friday, July 22, 2011

4/1038 - Simplest beef stew (with rice balls)

Tonight's dinner was an attempt to appease my husband who has been hankering for some red meat.

This is such a simple recipe and can also be done in a slow cooker (or crock pot as we still call them in my house!). It's so nice to arrive home at the end of the day to a pre-cooked meal and a house that smells fabulous! I had so much left over risotto I decided to make some rice balls to go with the stew as per Stephanie's suggestion on p.631* and it was the first time my other half has actually enjoyed left over risotto.

Sorry chooks, no left overs for you tonight.

*p631 of the first edition! No doubt the page number is different in the later versions. 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

3/1038 - Lemon risotto

Outside of this challenge I am not sure I would have attempted this recipe as I was not convinced that lemon would work in a risotto.

I am always happy to be proven wrong, especially when being wrong tastes this good.

Risotto is one of those recipes that needlessly frightens uncertain cooks. The trick is to stir, stir, stir as the stock is slowly added (the slower the better) and to check that the flavour and consistency of the rice are correct once the prescribed amount of stock has been absorbed. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

2/1038 - Saffron rice pilaf

It was Stephanie's saffron rice pilaf for dinner tonight. The cardamom flavour was lovely and the meal was a big hit with the family. I think they are enjoying the cookbook challenge as much as I am!

The recipe is on p.630 for those who have the first edition of the book. 

Stay tuned for more posts and much improved content as I find my feet with this blogging caper.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

1/1038 - Spinach roulade

I must confess I am always nervous when a recipe requires me to roll something up, as it is not an easy thing to cover up if it all goes horribly wrong.

I was feeling some extra pressure on this day as we had people coming to lunch an hour after the roulade was due to be constructed. Even with an injury to my right hand, I was pleased to find that the rolling of the roulade was very easy with the use of a clean tea towel as Stephanie suggests.

As you can see I heaped on the parsley and the recipe was a roaring success with the guests (and my kids too which was a lovely surprise!)

1 down, 654* to go.

*Before the upgrade to the second and then third editions of the book which took the challenge total to 1038.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

The challenge is set!

So after watching the movie Julie and Julia, in which a home cook cooked her way through Julia Child's cookbook, "Mastering The Art Of French Cooking", I was inspired to take up a similar challenge. At first I was doing this for my own enjoyment, but at the suggestion of some friends (thanks Dave and Julian!) I have decided to turn this challenge into a blog, Julie and Julia style!

I have so many cookbooks (I would be embarrassed to share the exact number here) that at first I was struggling to decide which of them to use. When Stephanie Alexander's "The Cook's Companion" came to mind, it seemed to me the perfect choice. The recipes are broad enough to cover most occasions and there were enough of them (655* by my count) to make the challenge worthwhile.

In case you are wondering, yes I did count the recipes one by one, and yes there is a rather complicated spreadsheet that has been created in order to track my progress. For those who know me well this will not come as a surprise. I have something of an illness when it comes to spreadsheets (they make life so neat and ordered!)

I was going to allow myself the luxury of not having to repeat recipes I had already cooked, however I have had a change of heart and have decided to go the whole hog and attempt to cook, capture and enjoy all 655* recipes. Wish me luck!

*Updated to 1038 once the third edition had been purchased