Thursday, 3 March 2016

Cookery Calendar Challenge

You may remember that in an attempt to spice up my day to day cooking repertoire, I decided to join in with Penny's  Cookery Calendar Challenge. The book I chose for February was Mary Berry Cooks the Perfect which Mum bought for me last month.

Making evening meals is always a bit of a challenge as I don't eat meat, Jacob doesn't eat vegetables and since having Mum with us there are things she is not too keen on either. So as you can imagine, finding things to suit everyone or that can at least be adapted to suit everyone isn't all that easy. Often I will end up cooking a couple of different things and this is what I did for my first choice from Mary's book. I decided on a Roast Chicken with Tarragon butter for the meat eaters... which I completely forgot to photograph. But I'm sure you can imagine a roast chicken, the difference being there was a layer of tarragon flavoured butter spread between the skin and the flesh which melted into the flesh during cooking. It got the thumbs up from the family.

Then to go with this I also baked an Augergine and Goat's Cheese Crumble, which was layers of grilled aubergine and courgette with tomato sauce finished with a goat cheese and breadcrumb topping. This was delicious and made lots of lovely left overs so it will definitely be added to my repetoire.

And although I had already tried two new recipes from this book, because I did them both on the same day I decided to try a third recipe which was a Chicken Korma made from scratch. Despite a long list of ingredients, most of which were spices, it was very easy to make and again got a thumbs up. But between you and me, I think that even though Mary Berry describes it as a mild curry it might have been a tad too spicy for Mum. She thought it was much improved when reheated the following day with extra yoghurt! I'm not sure this book will ever be a favourite but I will definetly use it again as each recipe is very clearly presented and easy to follow. Good basic no frills cooking!

My choice for March is going to be Nigel Slater's Kitchen Diaries Volume II. I'm a great fan of his no nonsense style of cooking and I use lots of recipes from Volume I of The Kitchen Diaries but despite being delighted at receiving this as a present some time ago I've never actually used it. I don't even know why not, so I'm looking forward to finding plenty to choose from in here. And if it is anythng like Volume I it will be a great read too!


  1. It sounds as if it is a good thing that you enjoy cooking! I like Nigel Slater's books too and his Simple Suppers TV series. He has a no nonsense way of putting ingredients together and coming up with something delicious.

  2. Yes I like Nigel Slaters cooking too!
    Your veggie option looks lovely!
    V x

  3. Gina, I am very impressed by your ability to serve delicious meals that meet the requirements of everyone now sitting around your table.

    Every one of the recipes that you've either shown via photos or told us about seem like dishes I would want to try. I often check N Slater's recipes online and see what you mean about their being very encouraging.

    There I was thinking that MB only baked.

    I do learn a lot here, Gina. xo

  4. I'd happily come to yours for dinner, it all sounds delicious. x

  5. Nigel Slater - one of my favourites too :)

  6. These all look scrummy. I remember the days of having to please several different tastes with one (ish) meal - difficult! I love Mary Berry, but for me, Nigel is the man! I just love the way he WRITES about food, let alone cooks it! xCathy

  7. The aubergine and goats cheese crumble sounds delicious. I must look out for that recipe :-)

  8. I have always wondered about the appeal of goat's cheese. I did try to like it once recently. But to me, having had goats as a teenager, it tastes like male goats smell. (If that doesn't put everyone else off!)
    And yet everyone on telly melts it in or slathers it over everything, or even eats it raw!
    Oky, I will stick with mild cheddar thank you! Too many slightly gone off things like butter happened around our house. A sort of 'teach your kids responsibility' farm - dad's idea - with a mum who grew up in the city!
    Sandy in Bracknell

  9. I like the idea of a savoury crumble - why had I never thought of it before?!

    I am another camp follower of Nigel, he inspires me when I need to cook.

  10. I wonder if that's really Nigel's writing - it looks lovely.
    As does the aubergine and courgette crumble!

  11. I think I could have happily tucked into that chicken and tarragon Gina but like Sandy, I am no fan of goat's cheese however it does all look so delicious. I think you could make anything sound and look good.

  12. Gina thank you for once again joining me in the Cookery Calendar Challenge, I really appreciate it. I have the same Mary Berry book, but I don't think I have ever cooked from it (one to try another month). Like you, I end up making variations on a theme, or even several different meals every night, and it is a very tiring business, so I sympathise! I also have Nigel Slater's kitchen diarys, but (coughs, blushes) I have never cooked a single recipe from any of them, despite loving the way he writes about food. Goats cheese used to be a great favourite of mine, but some years ago when the boys were small, we took them to a petting farm. As we approached the goat pen, I realised with horror that goats cheese smells precisely of goats. I have never been able to eat it since! X

  13. Oh some great choices there, I love aubergine! That looks like a really good book. I don't have any of Nigel Slater's books so will be interested to see next month's recipes. Katie


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