For this week’s Friday Favourites I am going to share with you my favourite cookbook. It was a difficult decision but in the end I went for the one book that I use the most and that is the River Cottage Everyday by Hugh Fearnley-Wittingstall. As the title suggests this is not fancy dinner party kind of food, but food for serving to a hungry family and friends, including easy lunchbox food, breakfasts and a chapter on making bread including instructions on making, keeping and using a sourdough starter. And don’t forget the fruit, puddings and cakes.
This book is also useful if you need a basic pancake or drop scone recipe.
My favourite recipes from this book are as follows:
Honey Baked Rhubarb
I am growing it in my garden again and this is a fabulous way to cook it as baked rhubarb holds its shape and doesn’t end up in the big mush that you can often get. Add it to yogurt, granola, on top of pancakes you name it. In the book its in the breakfast section but it would be an equally nice pudding.
This is a blend of seeds, nuts and spices from Egypt which is used to dip bread in after dipping in olive oil. Delicious.
There is a variation of Pistachio Dukka on the River cottage website.
Spiced Lamb Burgers
These are delicious with the lamb flavored with north African spices combined with a minty yogurt sauce in a flatbread. These are good on the BBQ and cooked in a pan. My mouth is watering just thinking about them. You can find the recipe here.
and don’t forget the 10 minute chocolate chip cookies which I am including my variation below
I thought that cookbooks where a very location specific thing, and that my favourite cookbooks would only be available in UK, but I was wrong but all of the books I am going to talk about are available on in the US, and elsewhere.
Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies
This recipe is based on the Ten-minute chocolate chip cookies from the River Cottage Every day book, my version has a lot less sugar, because I found the ones in the book far too sweet. The original version can be found on the River Cottage website. These are best made when you have company arriving any minute now, firstly because they smell utterly yummy when cooking and secondly if you are alone you will eat them all, they are that nice. Sorry for any American readers, all measurements are in grams but I guess the US version of the book will have imperial measurements.
Ingredients for around 15 cookies
- 125g butter
- 50g caster sugar
- 25g soft brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 150g plain flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 100g dark chocolate (85% coca solids is my favourite) broken into smallish chunks if you like your chocolate spread out or bigger ones (I like big chocolate chunks as you can see from the photo).
If I am feeling very indulgent I substitute 50 g of the flour for ground almonds which is utterly yummy. There is also an oat and raisin variation in the book. Its also lovely with some chopped hazelnuts added with the chocolate.
- Heat the oven to 190C (374F) or gas mark 5
- Melt the butter, personally I use the microwave but you can use a small saucepan
- Add both the sugars and the butter together and beat well with a wooden spoon then add the egg and vanilla essence
- Sift the flour with the salt and baking powder into the mixture
- Stir in the chocolate
- At this point the mixture should be fairly loose.
- Spoon dessertspoonfuls of the mixture onto baking sheets (I use baking paper but it all depends on the state of your baking trays) leaving a good amount of spreading room (the book says 4cm between cookies)
- Place in the oven, which should have preheated
- Bake for around 7 – 10 minutes and its a good idea to keep a close eye on these and take them out when they are golden brown.
- Place on a wire rack to cool.
- Try not to eat all 15 cookies yourself in one sitting, I dare you.
Whats your favourite cookbook, I know there is a huge amount of regional variation with this one so I am especially interested with any answers you give.