Tuesday, 16 November 2010

The Good Granny Cookbook Cookbook Review

This week I have been making hearty food from Jane Fearnley-Whittingstall's The Good Granny Cookbook. It's cold outside so it's time to make casseroles and thick soups and this book certainly gives you plenty of ideas.The title of the book is an obvious give-away of the contents, though as stated in the introduction some recipes are traditional dishes tweaked to suit modern palates. It is a mostly British-based collection though there are plenty of European dishes too such as Jansson's Temptation, Salade Nicoise and Risotto; not forgetting the rest of the world with South African Bobotie and Angel Cake USA. Afterall, our grandparents may well be from different corners of the globe. I have French grandparents on one side of the family and this is definitely where my culinary influences have come from.

There are 11 chapters altogether, including Breakfast, Sunday Lunch, Monday Left-overs, Fish On Friday and Treats and Sweets. The Monday left-overs are a particularly relevant section now as well as in our Grandparent's time and make good use of remaining chicken, potatoes p>
The layout of the book is very simple with no photographs of any dishes. There are a few colour illustrations which give a homely feel - almost as if this is a book that has been passed down to you. I would normally be crying out for photos but as most of the dishes are familiar to us it doesn't seem to matter quite so much and I don't think that they would suit the style of the book as there are no glossy pages.

The dish we started with was the Mum's Fish Pie as we had quite a bit of frozen fish that needed to be used up. The recipe was very easy to follow and the white sauce was simple to make. We added French beans as we had some spare. I'm not a great fan of mash so it probably wasn't the best dish for me. It just felt a bit boring but it was certainly filling and did its job. Next time I'd probably add some garlic or a little spice to the sauce to lift it a little.

The second dish was a much better success. Braised Red Cabbage with Spicy Sausages from the Mid-week Meals chapter. I love the colour of this dish, it's so vibrant and inviting. I used some Toulouse sausages as the recipe called for a really flavourful sausage. Everything went brilliantly together, it's like eating mulled wine! It's super easy to make, the chopping of the cabbage and apple takes longer than the actual time spent frying the ingredients and bunging it into the oven! It takes a couple of hours for the cabbage to get really soft and absorb all the sweet liquid but it's well worth it. I've got quite a bit of cabbage left as I was only making this for 2 so I can see myself making this again in the next few days.

The final conclusion about this book is that it's a great one to keep handy. It might not be the most glamourous book to have on your shelf but I think you'd probably use more recipes from it day-today than from a glossy wonder. Most things look very simple to make and don't contain huge lists of ingredients. Somerset Chicken, Mustard Potatoes and Norwegian Cream all sound delicious and I'm glad to have a great sounding recipe for Rum Baba that uses yeast instead of a usual cake mixture. Perfect!


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