Hello! Thank you for popping in, I hope all is well. We are very soggy here following some spectacular storms last week and a deluge of rain, my pelargoniums are really unhappy about it and indicating their displeasure but, unlike them, we are keeping our chins firmly up, despite having to sweep water out of the kitchen and being unable to open the front door because the wood has swollen.
In January a number of bloggers raved about a recipe book called The Roasting Tin by Rukmini Iyer and as it was on offer at £4 in The Works online store at the time, I bought a copy because I liked the idea of hastily chucking some food into a dish, shoving it into the oven and bringing out a delicious meal a little later on. For the same price I also bought a copy of its companion, The Green Roasting Tin, because I am gently steering us towards a more vegetarian diet and, let's face it, at £4 it might seem rude not to! Over the last six months I have made several dishes from these books and I'm planning to make more as these have all earned their places in my repertoire.
The first, from the original book, was this very simple tomato and mustard tart with tarragon which I made for my birthday celebration. Everybody had a second helping, even the confirmed carnivores and the people who say they don't like mustard! It was a surprising hit.
A couple of days later I made this storecupboard pasta bake with red peppers (chargrilled, from a jar), cannellini beans and blue cheese from the Green book. It was so easy and I find this kind of storecupboard (fridge?) recipe very useful to have up my sleeve. I'll definitely be making this again during the colder months.
Rukmini Iyer writes that this leek and puy lentil gratin with feta was a favourite among friends who helped her try out the recipes and I can see why - it was absolutely delicious and when leeks are in season again I intend to cook it regularly. The recipe feeds four people and we happily ate it on consecutive days. It reheats beautifully and it's in the Green book.
All the recipes in the Green book are savoury but the original book includes sections about fruit and cakes. I was looking for a traybake to feed ten of us and made this coconut, raspberry and white chocolate cake. Again, it was a big hit with the crowd and I shared the recipe with a friend who made it with cherries and milk chocolate and impressed her crowd, too.
This dish is so good that I've been making it once a week and other people must like it too because the recipe is in both books. Here are roasted mushrooms with artichoke hearts, onion and giant couscous, finished off after cooking with Greek yoghurt, lemon juice and basil. It takes ten minutes to prepare and twenty minutes in the oven and it's scrumdiddlyumptious. It ticks every box I can think of.
I think I've made this quiche four times now. It contains broccoli, red onion, walnuts and blue cheese along with eggs and cream and it's a luxurious treat both hot and cold. Little Cottontail wolfed it down when she tried it. I bought a sheet of puff pastry, unrolled it and carefully placed it in the tin so it's easy peasy, although there was more washing up when the Best Beloved, who is largely ignorant of the world of pastry (although adept at eating it), bought a block of pastry which I had to cut down and roll out. (If I had to make my own puff pastry, I just wouldn't.) There are four adult portions here and we usually eat it over two meals but last week, the Best Beloved thought it looked so tempting that he had half of it for dinner rather than a quarter and he didn't regret it. This recipe was also in the Green book.
These efforts are not mine but The Mathematician's as I sent her a copy of The Green Roasting Tin and this was her first dish, cauliflower steaks with harissa, goat's cheese and pine nuts. She ate it with couscous and enjoyed it very much.
There are many more recipes here I would like to try but the Best Beloved is becoming a bit fussy: he says that he doesn't like sweet potato, goat's cheese or feta which rules out about twenty recipes. He also said that he doesn't know whether or not he likes squash but he's not keen to try it so I pointed out that I used to make a vegetable goulash with butternut squash once a week for several years when our children were at home and reminded him of the lovely butternut squash and lentil stew I used to make sometimes. He looked suitably chastened.
I have no regrets at all about buying these books but I certainly wouldn't have bought both at full price. If I had to choose between them it looks as if I have found the Green book more useful than the original but if I only had that one I wouldn't have the tomato and mustard tart, and I wouldn't want to be without that tart now. I mean, just look at it, even a homely cook like me can make it look beautiful!
See you soon.
Love, Mrs Tiggywinkle x