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Advent Calendar Day 9: 2014 Cookery Books

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I decided to write a little piece on some of the cookery books that have found their way into The Glen House during 2014. So if you need a present for a foodie (or you want to treat yourself) you might like one of these.

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Rachel Allen: All Things Sweet

I’m a huge Rachel fan, so I was delighted to receive this as a present. It’s full of “indulgent puddings, comforting cakes… delicate pastries, fresh fruity compotes, delectable ice creams and much more”.

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Jamie Oliver: Jamie’s Comfort Food

“This is about good mood food that will put a smile on your face”. It was Jamie’s celebration cake that inspired my Chocolate Crispie Cake. Celia from Fig jam and Lime cordial also made his amazing burger.

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James Martin: Desserts

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I love him! What can I say? He loves butter and cream and cake and this book is full of all of them! “Desserts is the ultimate book that will provide a sweet treat for every occasion”.

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Darina Allen: Forgotten Skills of Cooking

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“This timely book reveals the lost art of making creamy butter and yogurt, keeping a few hens in the garden, home-curing and smoking bacon, and even foraging for food in the wild”. It is absolutely amazing…

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Yotam Ottolenghi: Plenty More

I bought this for Dr Doolittle’s birthday and it’s fantastic! “Vegetables have moved from the side dish to the main plate, grains re-dressed with colour and flair. It’s a revolution that is bold, vibrant and ever-expanding”. Selma wrote a piece about the book the for the blogger series ‘In My Kitchen’ in October.

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My 'cook book of the year '

Sharon Hearne-Smith: No Bake Baking

This is my ‘book of the year’, it is truely brilliant. “Who says you need an oven to make delicious sweet treats?” With photography by Irish cook Donal Skehan, Sharon’s book is packed full of ideas that “turn baking on its head”; inventive tart cases, frozen bombes, cupcakes, biscuits and bars pack this beautiful book to the brim. Go buy it!

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Michael Kelly: Grow Cook Eat

This book “is a no-nonsense guide to growing and cooking your own food throughout the year”. The Grow It Yourself movement is gaining momentum and Dr Doolittle and I are huge fans. I made Clodagh McKenna’s carrot cake from this delightful book and no doubt I’ll be sharing loads more ideas during 2015.

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Izy Hossack: Top with Cinnamon

My parents bought me this and once I started reading it, I understood why. Izy is a food blogger, just like many of us and seems to have been through a similar journey. In this book “Izy shares her favourite sweet and savoury recipes, perfect for lazy weekends, speedy suppers and impromptu gatherings”. It’s wonderful!

I hope I’ve given you some ideas? Let me know what books you’ve acquired in 2014…

Melissa xx

Tasty Books #3 French Toast

It’s Sunday, I’m tired and I was hungry! I pulled out Rachel Allen’s Home Cooking book, which has a great breakfast section in.

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I stumbled her French toast recipe. The French term for this eggy bread creation is pain perdu –very fancy! This toast was perfect for using up some leftover bread that I had. Don’t get me wrong, I know how to make it without a recipe, but I love the idea of using cinnamon in the mix. Cook books are great for giving me little new ideas on what to add or change in recipes that I’ve cooked for years.

Cinnamon French Toast:

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25g butter
2 eggs
Ground cinnamon
2 tbsp milk
4 slices of bread
Maple syrup
2 bananas

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Heat up a medium frying pan, adding the butter. Meanwhile whisk the eggs, milk and cinnamon in a shallow bowl.

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Soak the bread in the egg mixture for a few seconds on each side and place in the hot pan.

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Cook for a minute or two until golden brown and place on a warm plate.

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I served mine with bananas and maple syrup!

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Melissa xx

Tasty Books #2 Roast Mackerel

Last week I wrote a post called Tasty Books, which saw me try out a new recipe from one of the many cookery books I own… And having finally admitted that I haven’t used all the books before, I decided I should continue with a series of ‘Tasty Book’ posts.

The other night I adapted Gordon Ramsey’s roasted mackerel with garlic and paprika to feed 2 people for dinner! It was taken from his Ultimate Cookery Course book which is full of REALLY EASY but tasty ideas.

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Ingredients:
1 garlic cloves, peeled
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp sea salt, (I used pink Himalayan)
Olive oil
4 mackerel fillets, skin on
300g new potatoes
2-3 spring onions, trimmed and thinly sliced

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For the vinaigrette
Pinch of saffron
1/2 tbsp white wine vinegar
1/2tsp Dijon mustard
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

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Preheat the oven to 400°F. Put the garlic and paprika into a mortar, add the salt, and pound to a smooth paste. Add a few drops of olive oil, then rub the flesh side of the mackerel fillets with the paste and set aside.

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To make the vinaigrette, put all the ingredients into a small bowl and whisk together with a fork. It will look like it has split at first, but keep whisking! Season with salt and pepper to taste.

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Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and brush lightly with olive oil. Lay the mackerel fillets skin side up on the paper and season the skin with sea salt. Roast for 8-10 minutes until the skin is crisp and the fish is cooked through. Remove from the oven and leave to rest.

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Meanwhile, boil the potatoes in a large pan of salted water for about 15 minutes until tender, then drain. Return to the pan with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Crush lightly with the back of a fork, then add the spring onions and stir to combine. Season with salt, then add a couple of tablespoons of the vinaigrette or do what I did… Chuck it all in!

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I served the crushed potatoes and mackerel with a colourful salad!

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Yummy! And Dad if you’re reading this, I’m cooking this the next time you pop over!

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Melissa xx

Tasty Books #1 Maple Black Pepper Pork Chops

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Time and time again I sit in front of the fire with a cuppa and a good (cook) book. The original shelves in The Glen House are already full, so we recently added another bookcase!

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love and cupcakes wrote a piece last month confirming exactly what I thought, I’m not alone… So many of us have dozens, if not hundreds of cookery books on all sorts of related subjects.

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Yesterday, I accidentally bought another couple to the collection. For a fiver I added these lovely books; 500 Indian and 500 curry recipes… Mmmmmm!

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Leaving the curries aside (for now), I looked to Irish author Rachel Allen for a recipe for my dinner last night: maple black pepper pork chops

Ingredients:
4-6 tbsps olive oil
4 pork chops, each about 1.5cm thick
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 red onions, peeled and finely chopped
2 tbsps chopped thyme leaves 100ml cider vinegar
150ml maple syrup

Pour four tablespoons of olive oil into a large frying pan (preferably not a non-stick pan as a non-stick pan won’t catch the browned pieces of pork, which are essential for this sauce) over a medium heat.

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Season the pork chops all over with two teaspoons of salt and, when the oil is hot, add these to the pan. Cook for three to five minutes on each side, depending on how thick the chops are; they should be nicely browned on each side and cooked all the way through. Transfer from the pan on to a warmed plate, then cover with foil and place somewhere warm. If there isn’t much oil left in the pan, add the extra tablespoons, then tip in the onions and thyme leaves. Season with more salt, then stir-fry for about three minutes, or until the onions have softened but not browned. Pour in the vinegar and, using a wooden spoon, scrape off and stir in the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Bring to a simmer and cook for a further two minutes, then stir in the maple syrup and one teaspoon of pepper. Bring to a simmer once again and cook for seven to 10 minutes, or until the sauce has reduced to a sticky glaze. Taste for seasoning, then pour the sauce over the pork chops.

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I served the chops with mashed sweet potato with some freshly grated nutmeg.

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Rachel’s Easy Meals is a great book (well used spot the pink post it notes),  and full of great recipes!

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Melissa xx