January 20, 2016
Country Cookbook by Belinda Jeffrey
My rating: 5 of 5 spoons
It's a cold and snowy day today. Just the kind of day to curl up with a fire in the fireplace, and soft throw and a good book. That's the beauty of this cookbook as it's not just a cookbook, but a sort of journal as well--just the thing for a day like today. The author has a way with words that draws you in and lets you "see" what she's writing about. For instance, and Feb 27th she writes, "Wonder of wonders, a dry wind, which is like a balm after the humidity of the past few months, is blowing its way up the valley, whipping up a frenzy in the treetops and causing the palms to rattle their spikes like sabres." or July 12th where she writes, "A friend has dropped in a big bunch of cavolo nero, which I love. Do you know it? The name translates from the Italian as 'black cabbage', although its leaves are more a lovely dark green with just a tinge of blue. They're narrow and crinkly, and when you wash them they almost seem to be waterproof, as the drops slip off them, leaving silvery trails. We'll have it for dinner tonight with some grilled polenta. Perfect." which is then followed by the recipe for the dish.
I love the variety of recipes in this book. From her take on classics such as Roast Chicken With Oodles of Herbs, Crunchy Rosemary Potatoes (which I LOVE), or Golden Tomato, Yellow Capsicum (Australian for Bell Pepper) and Fresh Mozzarella Salad which is a lovely variation of the classic Caprese Salad, to interesting dishes such as Middle Eastern Double Lentil Soup, Roast Sweet Potato with Smoked Parika, Parsley & Macadamia Pesto or Coiled Mushroom, Hazelnut & Dill Strudel, there is a little bit of everything is this book.
We had a laid-back day yesterday, and so I decided to make the Saffron, Basil & Ricotta Tart for lunch. It had mixed reviews, but that was purely due to individual tastes. My youngest strongly disliked it, but she has an issue with certain textures in food that this dish definitely had a texture she never enjoys. My husband wasn't a huge fan, but "frou-frou" dishes such as quiches and tarts aren't really his thing. The rest of us thoroughly enjoyed it.
Fruit prices are definitely on the high side around here lately, so I was thrilled to find some blueberries on sale. I thought of treating my family to blueberry muffins, but then I found the recipe for Blueberry Pikelets (Aussie pancakes) and decided to try them. They were a HUGE hit. The batter makes a delicious pikelet/pancake on its own, and the blueberries just make it even more special. We will be making this dish often!
This is just an all-around, delightful cookbook. I have enjoyed reading it, cooking from it and eating the results. It is a great addition to my favorite cookbooks, and one that I am very happy to highly recommend.
I received a copy of this cookbook from Penguin Lantern Press through IPG for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.