Wednesday, 25 November 2015

The Pioneer Woman Cooks A Year of Holidays

I’m a huge Ree Drummond fan, I just love her! All her cookbooks are good, and although I’m planning to post about Dinnertime, her newest (fabulous) cookbook soon, the one I’m posting about today is her one from a couple of years ago.
The Pioneer Woman Cooks A Year of Holidays by Ree Drummond, William Morrow 2013. Ree says there is nothing more delicious than a holiday. It’s true too! This could be down to many factors, taking time to plan and anticipate special meals, having a little more time to prep and cook, perhaps spreading the workload of the cooking amongst family and friends attending a holiday gathering.  I know when I recall holidays past it family and food that I remember most! I hope that isn’t just me!
Ree covers 12 holiday occasions from New Years Day to New Years Eve. Some are ones I am very familiar with like Mothers’ Day, Easter and Christmas. Others are new to me like The Big Game and Cinco de Mayo. Although the book is set out in chapters for each holiday, at the back there is a list of dishes by type, so it is easy to pick out a main course or dessert if it isn’t a holiday time.
I’ve cooked quite a number of dishes from this book. And although I have some pictures of sweet things, I have also cooked many dishes that I don’t have pictures of.  The four that are standouts and I make again and again are Turkey tetrazzini (unbelievably delicious, great with chicken too), potato skins, scalloped potatoes with ham (mmmm) and  Mummy dogs. Though I must mention cranberry sauce, orange smoothies, BBQ cocktail wieners, yoghurt-brown sugar and berry parfaits, broccoli-cheese soup, devilled eggs, perfect egg salad, straight up pico de gallo, perfect potato salad (though I keep my potatoes in chunks), cheddar chive biscuits, Chocolate mint shooters, lemon crème pie shooters and peach cobbler. Whew! And I’ve still got lots I’d like to try! It’s a great book.
Of the three sweet things that I do have pictures of, the cake is particularly swoon worthy.
Chocolate Strawberry Cake
When I make this one I halve the recipe, the whole thing would be great for a big party, but I have a small family and tend to therefore have smaller gatherings,  a one tier cake is still a thing of great beauty.  A brownie like fudgy base spread with chocolate hazelnut spread which is topped with sweet vanilla cream then topped with strawberries. Oh my! Amazing. Recipelink here.
Super easy to make, my daughter loves these. Recipe link here.
Chocolate Candy Cane Cookies
A Chocolatey cookie, dipped in white chocolate and sprinkled with crushed peppermint candy canes. Sweet!  The only change I would make to this recipe is to fully coat the tops of the biscuits in chocolate and candy cane sprinkles as I like to have both in each bite.  Recipe link here.
 Just one more of that cake, in cake you needed a closer look!

Monday, 23 November 2015

Ina Garten's Wild Mushroom Risotto

I don’t know if it’s the time of year – Autumn just tipping into Winter – but I have been really craving mushrooms for a couple of weeks now. If we are out for dinner then that might be crispy battered mushrooms with garlic mayo.  At home though, it is more likely to be mushroom soup, mushroom stroganoff or mushroom risotto. 
I’ve made a lot of different mushroom risottos from a lot of different books, and my two favourites are one by Giada De Laurentiis and this one from Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics by Ina Garten, Clarkson Potter 2008.  I quite often like Madeira or Marsala as the boozy part because the flavour goes so well with the mushrooms, but the white wine here is milder. Use what you like or have to hand.
We like our risotto a little soupy, not too much mind! For my tastes a dry risotto is a chance of a great supper wasted. It all depends what you like best though, there is no right or wrong in my book, just different tastes.   
This one must have been on on of Ina’s T.V. shows, as I found the recipe for Ina's Wild Mushroom RIsotto online here at the Foodnetwork to share.

Friday, 20 November 2015

Rachel Allen’s Double Chocolate Cookies

I had Rachel’s Everyday Kitchen: Simple, delicious family food by Rachel Allen , published by Harper Collins 2013 for a good while.  I’d made and enjoyed a number of recipes, when my friend Kathryn said had I tried these cookies?
I went and had a look at the book, and they read as ordinary cookies… but once you make them they are really fabulous (just as Kathryn said they were). Not long out of the oven they are crunchy, chewy and gooey. Next day they are good too, which I haven’t always found to be the case with cookies!  I usually halve the recipe for 10 generous cookies. Give them a whirl!  
As I make the recipe exactly as it is, with no changes from me, I’m not keen to publish it, as it’s not even an adaptation of Rachel’s recipe, but luckily I’ve found the recipe online, so even if you don’t have the book you can still give them a go.  It’s on RTE LifeStyle, just follow the part for the cookies only in the recipe here.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Raffaello Macarons

I have a soft spot for many kinds of cookbook. Which I don’t expect is news, ha ha! One of my little soft spots though is Irish books.  The book here is a sweet baking book, Like Mam Used to Bake by Rosanne Hewitt-Cromwell, published by Mercier Press 2013.  

It has the feel of an homely  passed down kind of kitchen notebook, but there are also some more modern recipes as well as classics. There are some mint chocolate (sandwich) cookies that I must make soon.

These little beauties come from this book, Raffaello Macarons. Rosanne took her inspiration from the famous sweets of the same name, and the work incredibly well.