Tuesday, 19 October 2010

How to Eat In Cookbook Review

This week I have been trying out Adam Byatt's How to Eat In. I'd seen a sample recipe in Stylist magazine and thought it looked lovely so borrowed it from the library - always good to try before you buy!The point of the book is being able to make tasty food at home, rather important these days when maybe people can't afford to go to restaurants as often as they'd like.

I liked the look of the book, the design reminded me of James Martin's My Kitchen cookbook, I'm actually surprised that they are made by different publishing houses. There are photos for most of the recipes, I can deal with that but what I do find annoying is that recipes span over 2 pages and you have to turn over to complete the dish. Just a small thing but I do find it quite frustrating!

The range of recipes is quite nice. The bread section is small but good. I will have to try foolproof white bread to see if it really is foolproof enough for this bread fool! Mine is usually undercooked in the middle. The starters chapter is probably my favourite and this is where I chose my first dish - the smoked haddock and sweetcorn chowder.

I'd had this chowder with clams in New York and loved it. I was supposed to put clams in this soup but I thought the haddock was enough. I also only had the dyed varity of haddock but again I don't think it mattered too much, it didn't affect the colour of the soup as I had feared it might. The soup was completely delicious and a great success. The only annoying thing was that a skin formed on the top quickly if it was stirred regularly or eaten fast - the eating fast wasn't too much of a problem! You wouldn't want to eat too much as it could get quite sickly with all the milk and cream but it made a great lunch dish. Brilliant.

Some of the dishes do seem quite expensive, such as putting fresh morels in a quiche, and some are slightly out of reach such as roasting teal - not sure where I'd find it, but mostly the recipes look feasable and tasty.

I copped out a little when it came to my seconds dish, I was in fact going to make the morels, broad bean and goat's cheese quiche as we have dried morels from France but I couldn't whip up the enthusiasm to make pastry - plus I was missing the fat to make the dough so it was a non-starter! So instead I chose a nice and easy dish from the outdoor eating chapter - mushroom and goat's cheese burgers.

Being very cold I didn't cook this on a barbeque but it was fine in a pan, portobello mushrooms as a bap and goat's cheese as the burger. Simple yet effective! Ok, it didn't test my cooking skills but it tasted lovely and I'd happily eat it again.

Desserts look good, the dougnuts and the 10 minute banana and maple ice cream look particularly nice. I like that there are a range of recipes, some more geared towards family meals and others are more show-offy and take more time and skill to prepare.

Not sure it's one I would rush out to buy but actually I liked the book more each time I looked at it. I'd say borrow it from the library if you can.

Also this week I finally had a go at making some cornbread. I found a recipe leaflet in Tesco for some chedder cornbread muffins and I had all the ingredients so decided to give it a go, halving the quantities as I wouldn't know what to do with 12 of the muffins!

Oh dear, how disappointing. The recipe stated I could use fine polenta or fine cornmeal so I used polenta as that's all I had in. They were much too tasteless and nothing like cornbread I've had in America. Such a shame, they were very light and the right colour but the polenta made for a grainy texture which I didn't like. The bits with cheddar tasted nice but that's because it actually added some flavour! Oh well, better luck next time. I've probably put you off now but if you want to try the recipe you can find it here: http://www.tescorealfood.com/Recipes/Cornbread-Cheese-Muffins-with-Salad.html

I see that they've removed the polenta option and now I know why! I'm going to buy some fine cornmeal and have another go as I know how delicious cornbread can be.


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