Hearty chicken and vegetable stew

chopped vegetables and wineGood Housekeeping: 100 best one-dish meals, 152pp.
Good Housekeeping kitchen
Hearst Books, New York, 2003
Cooking on page 32–33

One-dish meals are a great time-saver in the kitchen. So easy to chuck everything into one pot and much less cleanup afterwards.

I checked this out of the local library for some inspiration as winter approaches in Australia. This has lots of great options, including a winner on pages 32–33.

Chicken and vegetable stew

Hearty chicken and vegetable stew

2 medium leeks (about 4 ounces each)
1 fennel bulb (about 1 pound)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken-breast halves, (cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces)
8 ounces mushrooms, thickly sliced
3 medium carrots (about 8 ounces), cut into 1-inch pieces
12 ounces red potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon leaves
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 can (14 1/2 oz) chicken broth
1/4 cup water
3/4 cup half-and-half or light cream
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
3/4 teaspoon salt

fennel, carrots, leeks cream, mushrooms, chicken stockMethod
Cut the roots and trim leaf ends of leeks; cut each leek lengthwise in half and separate leaves. Since well with cold running water to remove any sand. Cut leeks crosswise into 3/4-inch pieces.

Cut root end and stalks from fennel bulb; discard. Cut the fennel bulb lengthwise into thin wedges.

In a 5-quart Dutch oven saucepot, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat until hot. Add 1 tablespoon butter; melt. Add chicken and cook until chicken is golden and just loses its pink color throughout. With slotted spoon, transfer chicken to medium bowl.

To drippings in Dutch oven, add mushrooms and cook, stirring often, until golden (do not overcook). Transfer mushrooms to bowl with chicken.

sautéing mushrooms sautéing vegetables

To Dutch oven, add remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil; heat until hot. Add remaining 1 tablespoon butter or margarine; melt. Add carrots, leeks, fennel, potatoes, bay leaf and tarragon. Cook vegetables 10 to 15 minutes, until fennel is transparent and leeks are wilted, stirring occasionally.

Add wine; cook 2 minutes, stirring. Add chicken broth and water; heat to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

In cup, mix half-and-half and flour until smooth. Stir half-and-half mixture into vegetable mixture; heat to boiling over high heat.

Reduce heat to medium; cook 1 minute to thicken slightly. Stir in chicken, mushrooms, peas and salt; heat through. Discard bay leaf. Serves 4.

How it played out
Except for the fennel, these are the kind of ingredients I have on hand almost year round, so I was ready to go as soon as I bought the fennel. It didn’t take long to chop all the vegetables and get underway with the cooking. I then followed all the cooking steps until—YES UNTIL—it came time to serve.

Good Housekeeping cookbook

I had a lovely bowl of stew all served up and was in the midst of photographing it when Poor John said, ‘Aren’t there supposed to be peas in the stew?’ Oh ugh, yet again I managed to leave out an essential ingredient.

Not to worry, the peas were thawed and ready to be added. So I dumped them in, rewarmed the stew, and started a new photography session, complete with peas.

This stew is delicious and so easy to make. It shouldn’t be too hard to modify the recipe for someone who is gluten and/or lactose intolerant. Potato starch or cornstarch (cornflour) could be substituted for flour and there are lactose-free options for the cream. I think it would also work well in a slow cooker.

P.S. The photo below is before adding the peas.

chicken stew

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Tequila and orangeHow to make over 200 cocktails, 122pp.
by Margaret Barca
Penguin Books Australia, Ringwood, Victoria, 2001
Cooking on page 32

I have no idea how I came to own this little book. Maybe it belongs to one of our daughters. Years ago, I enjoyed whiskey sours, but these days I’m not a cocktail drinker, unless the occasional margarita or negroni count.

Most pages have two to three recipes. When I got to page 32, I decided to make the second one rather than the Algonquin. The first one was named after a famous New York Hotel and is made with bourbon, vermouth and pineapple juice. Certainly not a combo I am drawn to. Besides, my friend and neighbour, Barb, gave me a partial bottle of tequila, so I figured it deserved an outing. 🙂

Ambassador drink


60 ml tequila
30 ml sugar syrup
orange juice
orange slice for garnish

Pile ice cubes into an old-fashioned glass, then add sugar syrup, tequila and orange juice. Stir gently. Decorate with an orange slice on the rim.

Cocktails cookbook

How it played out
I had sugar syrup in the fridge, so all I had to do was mix together the rest of the ingredients. I squeezed an orange for the juice and got 58 ml, so almost equal to the tequila.

This is a cocktail for sweet lovers. It’s way too sweet for me. I wouldn’t make it again for myself, but I know people who would love it.
Do you like sweet cocktails?

As an aside, this book is packed with inspiration, and the best thing is that the index is organised according to the main spirit in the drink.

Our travels have exposed us to all kinds of exotic beverages. I was especially puzzled by a morning drink in Vietnam that I thought was laced with Tia Maria. I had to laugh at the brand name of the tequila. We are currently touring some of the national parks in western USA—definitely coyote country.

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Raspberry yoghourt ice cream

honey and raspberriesCranks puddings and desserts, 80pp.
compiled by Daphne Swann
Guinness Superlatives, Middlesex, England, 1987
Cooking on page 32

The first Cranks restaurant opened in Carnaby Street, London, in 1961. At that time, there were only a few vegetarian restaurants in the United Kingdom, and wholefoods were hard to get. In fact, Cranks was so well-regarded that it was deemed to be a major factor in the spread of vegetarianism in the UK.

The early menu focused almost entirely on salads, but expanded over time as the restaurant opened new locations. Cranks was sold to Guinness in 1987 (the year this book came out). It was then bought and sold several more times, and completely rebranded in the 1990s.

Raspberry ice cream

Raspberry yoghourt ice cream

1 lb (450 g) raspberries
2 tbsp (30 ml) honey
1/4 pt (150 ml) natural yoghourt
8 fl oz (250 ml) double cream, lightly whipped

double cream and yogurt ice cream mixture

Pick over the raspberries then put them into the liquidiser or food processor and blend until smooth. Add the honey and yoghourt; blend again until combined. Fold in the lightly whipped cream. Freeze until almost frozen, then remove from freezer and beat until smooth. Freeze until firm.

Serves 4–6.

How it played out
Raspberries were on special at the markets ($1 per 125-gram punnet), so I loaded up and headed home to make this recipe. I followed everything, except that rather than whipping the double cream separately, I just added it to the food processor and gave everything another buzz. That worked fine.

It took several hours for the mixture to be almost frozen (I kept checking because I wanted to serve it to guests after dinner). Then it took another couple of hours to freeze to firm. So make it in the morning if you want to use it in the evening.

Cranks desserts

Great little recipe for making ice cream without an ice cream maker. Page 32 also has a similar recipe for peach ice cream. The ingredients and process are the same. But instead of raspberries, add 900 grams of fresh peaches to boiling water and simmer for 5 minutes. Then proceed with the rest of the recipe.

A fellow blogger mentioned Cranks cookbooks a while back. I’ve searched and searched, but can’t remember who it was. I’d be happy to send them this cookbook if I can figure out who it is. All detective help welcomed.

Poor John adores ice cream and chocolate, and he eats rather a lot of both at home and when we travel. He was thrilled to find Germany’s best ice cream and chocolate shops in Münster.

Raspberry yogurt ice cream

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Spaghetti with feta

pasta recipeThe vegetarian gourmet, 128pp.
by Roz Denny
Ultimate Editions, London, 1995
Cooking on page 32

According to the pencilled price on the inside front cover, I bought this secondhand for $4. At first I thought it was based on recipes from Gourmet magazine, but it’s completely independent. It was originally published as part of a larger compendium called The ultimate vegetarian cookbook.

Author Roz Denny has written or contributed to almost 30 cookery books, with many focusing on vegetarian dishes.

Page 32 has two recipes and I made the first (actually I made both and will post the second another time).

Spaghetti with feta

Spaghetti with feta

115 g/4 oz spaghetti
1 garlic clove
30 ml/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
8 cherry tomatoes, halved
a little fresh ground nutmeg
salt and ground black pepper
75 g/3 oz feta cheese, crumbled
15 ml/1 tbsp chopped fresh basil
a few black olives (optional), to serve

pasta fettucini spaghetti and feta

Boil the spaghetti in plenty of lightly salted water according to the instructions on the pack, then drain.

In the same pan gently heat the garlic clove in the oil for a minute or two then add the cherry tomatoes.

Increase the heat to fry the tomatoes lightly for a minute, then remove the garlic and discard.

Toss in the spaghetti, season with the nutmeg and seasoning to taste then stir in the crumbled feta and basil.

Check the seasoning, remembering that feta can be quite salty, and serve hot topped with olives if liked. Serves 2–3.

How it played out
When a recipe is so easy, I have no choice but to follow the ingredients (using linguini instead of spaghetti) and the instructions. We love olives, so I used quite a few Kalamata olives.

Vegetarian gourmet cookbook

A perfect recipe that uses ingredients we love. Super quick and easy to make, so ideal for busy weeknights. Also easy to omit or substitute ingredients that you or the people in your house might not like.

Pasta was an important ingredient during our almost year-long travels in Africa. Have a look at our massive shopping expedition in Ceuta, a Spanish autonomous city on the north coast of Africa.

Posted in Cheese, Light meal, Main dish, Pasta, Vegetable, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Salmon fillet with a horseradish crust

breadcrumbs and horseradishJust five ingredients, 192pp.
by Ainslie Harriott
BBC Books, London, 2009
Cooking on page 132

Ainslie Harriott is an English chef, television presenter and author, who is popular for creating unpretentious recipes that are quick and simple to make, and that use good ingredients.

He is best known for his BBC cooking shows Can’t Cook, Won’t Cook and Ready Steady Cook.

I first came across him about 15 years ago and already own three or four of his cookbooks. I use them often, but this is the first time I have done one of his page-32 recipes. I checked this out from the local library

Salmon with horseradish crust

Salmon fillet with a horseradish crust

1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons creamed horseradish
50g (2oz) fresh white breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
4 x 175g (6oz) salmon fillets, skinned and boned
salt and freshly ground back pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil

baked salmon

Preheat the oven 180°C/350°F/gas 4. Mix the egg yolk with the creamed horseradish in a small bowl. Place the breadcrumbs in a shallow dish with the parsley and season generously. Brush the top of the salmon fillets with the horseradish mixture, and then dip into the breadcrumb mixture to coat completely.

Heat a heavy-based frying pan until hot. Add the olive oil and then add the salmon, crust-side down, and cook for 3 minutes or until the breadcrumbs are beginning to crisp up nicely. Turn the salmon over and transfer the frying pan to the oven. Roast for 5 minutes until just cooked through and tender. Arrange on warmed plates to serve.

How it played out
We love salmon and eat it often. For this recipe, I bought five salmon fillets that weighed a total of 1 kilo (200 grams or 7 ounces each). I used the ingredients specified in the recipe. There was only just enough egg yolk/horseradish mixture and more than enough breadcrumb mixture. I used panko breadcrumbs and maybe that made the difference.

Ainslie Harriott

Followed the cooking instructions, and the timings were good. Served with green beans and wedges.

I made this for family plus a couple of exchange students. I reckon that when everyone at the table, including two teenagers, can say they love a dish, you know it’s a winner.
In fact, I’m making it again tonight. As an aside, there was enough leftover breadcrumb mixture to use for tonight’s version. 

We like to visit fish markets on our travels. A memorable one was in Nouadhibou in Mauritania.

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Turmeric hummus


Tahini, salt, paprika

The turmeric cookbook, 128pp.
recipes by Nicole Pisani, Oliver Pagani and Gosia Zielony
Aster, Octopus Publishing, London, 2017
Cooking on pages 32–33

The wonderful properties of turmeric have been touted a lot over the last few years, and I use it several times a week. Should probably use it even more.

This cookbook covers 50 recipes that use turmeric for breakfast, snacks, soups, vegetarian dishes, meat and seafood dishes, sweets, drinks and even beauty products.

I make hummus often and never thought to add turmeric. Here goes.

Turmeric hummus

Turmeric hummus

400g can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon mild chilli powder
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
2 tablespoons tahini
1 teaspoon sea salt flakes
2 tablespoons water (or more if needed)

lemon, chickpeas, turmeric flat bread and hummus

Put all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth, scraping down the sides of the processor as you go. Add more water if needed to get the right consistency.

Transfer to a bowl and add a drizzle of honey or olive oil. Garnish with a sprinkling of spiced and roasted seeds and a handful of microherbs. Serve with oatcakes, if liked.

How it played out
Give me a food processor and I can turn out a dip in next to no time. So that’s what I did with this recipe.

I added one very special ingredient. Our daughter, Libby, lived in France for several years and brought me a bag of the country’s amazing Sel de Guérande, a fantastic sea salt. I also garnished with toasted pine nuts and almond silvers, as well as thyme leaves from the garden. Took it all to a friend’s house to share before dinner.

Turmeric cookbook

A delicious version of hummus and one that I will make often. So easy and so delicious. But I’ll confess that it was even tastier the next day. Very much worth making a day ahead.

Hummus is a popular dish from the Middle East. We lived in Syria for several years in the early 1980s.

The Krak des Chevaliers was one of my favourite places to visit. We were lucky enough to revisit it in 2009. I hope it’s still mostly standing.

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Silver dollar pancakes

pancake ingredientsKitchen keepsakes and more kitchen keepsakes: two cookbooks in one, 554pp.
by Bonnie Welch and Deanna White
Cookbook Resources, Highland Village Texas, 1983
Cooking on page 32

In 1983, the two authors retired from their jobs in Colorado to stay at home and raise their families. They saw this as an opportunity to collate and publish their collection of home-cooked recipes. The first book, Kitchen keepsakes, sold 25,000 copies in less than three years.

I bought this edition (their first two cookbooks combined in one volume) at one of our Lifeline Book Fairs. I’m cooking from the second book. The recipe in the first cookbook called for 5 cans of cheddar cheese soup—an ingredient that is not available in Australia.

Silver dollar pancakes

Silver dollar pancakes

2 eggs
2 cups buttermilk
4 Tbsp. oil
2 cups flour
2 Tbsp. + 2 tsp. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. soda (baking soda/bicarbonate of soda)
1 tsp. salt

pancake batter pancakes cooking

Beat egg. Add remaining ingredients in order listed and beat until just smooth. Drop by the tablespoonful onto a hot griddle, cook, and serve with butter and warmed syrup..

Makes 10–12 4-inch pancakes.

How it played out
We had three exchange students staying with us for the weekend, so it was the perfect time to make a batch of pancakes. We made these as written, weighing out the flour at 125 grams (about 4 ounces) per cup.

They cooked up beautifully, but I got 27 pancakes, so many more than the suggested yield of 10–12.

A very nice pancake and so easy to make. Almost as good as the page-32 recipe for lemon and ricotta pancakes I posted on this blog four years ago. If I have ricotta on hand, that’s the recipe I’d make, otherwise this one will do just fine.

Kitchen keepsakes cookbook

I hope you noticed the butter dish just behind the plate of pancakes. I bought that porcelain gem, along with three spoon rests, last year when we did self-drive trips in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Finland. The dish is by Helina Tilk. I bought it, along with three spoon rests, at her shop in Old Tallinn, Estonia.

Those were the only souvenirs I bought on that trip, but I brought home loads of photos and memories, including a visit to the amazing market in Riga, Latvia.

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