Saturday, 12 March 2011

Surprising resolve

I'm not much of a new year person and don't really go in for resolutions, but this year I decided to set myself a task that seemed manageable, and it started at the turn of the year, so I can count myself amongst the lucky smug few who have reached mid-March with tested but hearty resolve. Actually, I set myself two resolutions, but the decision to dance at least a little bit every day doesn't have so much relevance to a cookery blog. What's up for a mention here is the idea to try a new recipe every week. It's not ground-breaking, but it's one way to get me working my way further through my cookbook/bookmarked recipe collection. I'm including new variations on old recipes - if it helps me experiment with my cooking then it can't be a bad thing.

It began well with a French treat (and a treat for a couple of French friends) of a galette des rois for Epiphany - though it turns out that Clotilde Dusoulier's addition of orange flower water was a (pleasant) surprise. (If you haven't visited Chocolate and Zucchini before, I would heartily recommend it.) January also meant Seville oranges; these were worked into this yoghurt cake recipe to give a St Clement's Cake of sorts (orange zest and a little juice in the batter, lemon curd mixed with orange juice used to fill the split cake). Lovely pink rhubarb and a recollection of a rhubarb and cornmeal cake in a Nigella book led to some delicious rhubarb cornmeal muffins - a tweaking of a couple of Susan Reimer recipes (cornbread and peach/rhubarb) to appetising effect. I can also recommend Dan Lepard's malt whisky ginger cake - though I'd be careful of inviting people round whilst it's cooking as it has quite an alcoholic whiff to it. Most of the new things I've made have been savoury, quite a lot of it simple new ways with vegetables - Jane Grigson's Vegetable book and Nigel Slater's Tender: volume I are great sources of inspiration. Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's Turkish bulgur and red lentil soup was very tasty - a bit of nostalgia for childhood moussaka that I think was evoked by the dried mint in melted butter.

So, the recipe-a-week plan is working. Now to sort out my photography...