Saturday, 9 September 2017

Cookery Calendar Challenge - August

It was all a bit last minute, as in the last couple  of days of the month, but I joined in with Penny's Cookery Calendar Challange for August. There is a bit of a story to my copy of "Simply Nigella". A friend from my branch of the Embroiderers' Guild, Annie, brought along some chocolate at the beginning of the year as she could no longer eat it due to health issues and we just got chatting about chocolate cakes, in particular a chocolate and liquorice cake I'd seen Nigella baking on television. She said she had made it tand it was indeed good. Then next time I saw her she not only loaned me her copy of the book with the recipe but also gave me some liquorice powder and a jar of rather good blackcurrant jam with which to sandwich the cake together.

It did indeed make an excellent cake and it was the cake I opted to make for my Noel Fielding cake a couple of weeks ago, but I digress. Because then Annie said I could keep her copy of the book as she didn't really use it, which was really kind of her. I have a few Nigella Lawson cookbooks and really like her approach to cooking (even if she herself can be a bit too finger licking sickly on TV at times) and several of her recipes are family favourites. But this particular book has sat on the shelf all year and I've not used it once except for the liquorice cake... so I thought it was about time!

The first meal I opted for was a macaroni cheese which Nigella claims is the best ever. Now this was going to be a tall order as I already love Jamie Oliver's tomato macaroni cheese, but it really was excellent and something I will definitely make again.

The secret ingredient is mashed sweet potato, which makes it creamy and smooth and it also has crumbled feta cheese, giving it a lovely salty bite. As you can see I opted to make one large dish rather than individual portions which worked just fine. It made a delicious and satisfying supper along with some green beans which we are having with everything at the moment. It is quite possible that eight plants were too many!

The second recipe I chose from the book was an Indian inspired cod fillet which was incredibly easy and very tasty. The fish was coated in a spicy yoghurt mixture which took less than five minutes to put together and it was then baked in the oven.

I served it with a simple coconut dhal, the recipe for which is also in the book... and of course the ubiquitous green beans, because it did all look a rather uninspiring beige! This is another meal I would happily make again if only because it was so quick and simple.

I also made some rather delicious sticky, spicy aubergine to go with it too because I have also grown aubergines this year and had a couple lurking in the fridge that need using up. The recipe was from Sabrina Ghayour's new book but I found it in the Sunday Times magazine... it was also delicious!

I hope to join in the Cookery Calendar Challenge again this month and this time will be cooking from Nadiya Hussain's new book, British Food Adventure, which seemed to drop into my trolley when I was in Sainsbury's. There are some really tasty sounding meals that I want to try... not to mention a cake or two!!


  1. I love Nigella's love for food. The mac and cheese is really I good, I loved it. The rest of the family not so much. This cookery book has lots or recipes we all love so a winner in our house. I do quite fancy Nadiyas cookery book, it is on my Amazon wishlist so there is hope. x

  2. I love to try at least two new recipes a month but tend to always go for cakes. I might try this challenge even if it is a bit late in the year.

  3. That macaroni cheese looks delicious.....Nigella is my favourite TV cook, I love her programmes!

  4. I love Nadiya - she seems so natural and relaxed. Those dishes all sound delicious and I am determined to stop being lazy and to create so interesting meals for myself. I love green beans but they can be a bit plentiful some years!

  5. I remember watching that liquorice cake. I'm a bit of a liquorice fiend as I find it soothing for my tum. Best place I buy the Belgian coins is actually the stand at craft shows! He's top of my list for Ally Pally.

  6. I am so hapoy that you have joined me this month Gina. I have a love/hate relationship with Nigella's books, and it is really positive to hear that you have had such a succesful month using her recipes. I absolutely love mac and cheese in any format ( though trying not to overload on the carbs and dairy at the moment, in a post menopausal drive to lose weight!), and also enjoy the flavour and texture of sweet potato. Feta is just totally delicious too, so i can see how this particular dish would have gone down very well. Your cod dish looks delicious too. Nadyia's book also leapt in to my house unbidden, via an Amazon delivery man(!) but i have yet to cook from it, so i will be very interested to hear how you get on this month X

  7. Your dishes look really tasty. I have one Nigella Lawson book, Express. I enjoy her writing style and cookery programs, she loves cooking and it shows. I must dust it off and cook some more of her recipes. Cx

    1. I'm a great fan of her recipes. She clearly loves food and it shows

  8. You're so funny -- I laughed at your "finger licking sickly" description of Nigella! I don't know Nadiya, although she looks familiar -- is she from the GBBO???

  9. You've almost tempted me to get Nigella's book (and it will be my first) as the Macoroni and the fish recipes sound just my thing.


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