Anyone else have a massive stack of cookbooks that either once tempted you while at the shops or have been given as gifts?? Yeaaaahhhh …. you’re not the only one, haha. I’ve got a massive collection of cookbooks from over the years that I haven’t ever really had a chance to use properly. Actually the only one that I have used a lot has been the Indulgent Cakes book 😍… not surprising really considering how muuuuch I love cake!
In between getting our house set-up and organised, I’ve started the whole meal-planning and grocery shop thing, that is, you know, fundamental in the running of a house. Yay me!
Previously, cooking at home or for friends would be inspired by a good old google or pinterest search, but the time has come to finally give these cookbooks some love. And that’s how the cookbook of the month ‘challenge’ started (well, it’s not really too much of a challenge … yet … bring on ‘Modern Art Dessert’ month or … could we … ‘Gourmet Hamburger’ month??)
Essentially all it means is that I have to menu plan and cook for an entire month, primarily using one of my cookbooks. Not that hard right? And each month a new book, until I’ve gone through all my existing cookbooks 🤗. I’ve also put a little subclause in there to say I’m not allowed to buy myself any new cookbooks until I’ve finished this challenge! It’s been harder than I thought with the temptation to buy 2 cookbooks already!!! 😱 But I’ve worked out I can easily get us to December if we don’t use cookbooks that are all baking or sweets (trust me I was very tempted hehe).
But this post is to say that our first month is DONE!!! All from Donna Hay’s ‘Fast, Fresh, Simple‘. And it’s been a heap of fun!! We’ve both tried foods that are new to us (hello fennel) or even just some new combos (Thai rice noodle dish with all sorts of herbs). We’ve found some recipes that we looooove and others that were just meh… and we probs won’t make again.
I’ve decided to create a little questionnaire to complete after each cookbook to kinda rate the book. For example: how available are the ingredients? No one wants to be searching all over for that one elusive ‘key’ ingredient… ain’t no body got time for that!!!.
I am also super keen to answer any questions you might have about them as well, so comment below if there is anything else you think I should add to this little list.
- Favourite new recipe of the month: The amaze-balls Greek meatballs… although it’s not called that in the book. These were the ‘Greek-inspired lamb meatballs’ (pg 34). These meatballs have rosemary, honey, couscous and feta making them deliciously moist and so full of flavour. We actually made them twice this month 🙊 that’s how good they are!!!
- Other Stand-Out Dishes: Grilled Chicken Schnitzel with Fennel Slaw (pg 85), Moroccan Couscous with Spiced Chicken (pg 127), Chicken with Haloumi and Honey (pg 27) and moooore meatballs with the Pork and Fennel Meatballs (pg 85).
- Cooking Difficultly: Easy! The directions aren’t overly complicated and I could often just read the recipe once and get a really clear picture of what I’m needing to do.
- Cooking Times: Everything was really quick. Provided you have all your meat already defrosted 🙈 haha that’s what often took us the longest amount of time.
- Taste (the most important thing right?): Yum, yum and yum! We loved pretty much everything we tried.
- Ingredient availability: Not too bad! The only thing not easily found… aka I also didn’t bother looking hard for it (come on people!) was pomegranate molasses. I didn’t even know that was a thing 🤷🏼♀️.
- Do you need any weird or wacky pieces of cooking equipment? Nup 🤗 we managed to do everything with just our simple, decked out kitchen.
- Pictures: A picture is worth a thousand words right… I hate cookbooks that don’t have adequate pictures!!! This book is pretty good. I think all recipes had a picture somewhere in the book, although it might be one or two pages before or after the actual recipe. I guess we can live with that 🤷🏼♀️.
All in all we made 22 recipes out of the possible 160 haha. Doesn’t sound like that much but between nights out, left over nights, not cooking every dessert option in the cookbook and then Taco Tuesdays that’s pretty much most dinners 🤗. Now off to pick the cookbook for June!!!