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cookbook club

#figbarcookbookclub : Let's Eat!

#figbarcookbookclub : Let's Eat!

Apologies for missing June's cookbook club post!!! Rest assured, that means TWO recommendations are coming for this fabulous month of July... First up for this month's Figbar cookbook club selection (straight off of our home shelves!) is Elly Pear's Let's Eat!. What can I say about this lovely cookbook except, it's fab! A lot of cookbooks claim to be approachable and fun, but this one actually is. I love the layout of chapters which includes "Freeze for Ease", "Building Blocks", "Menus".  I love the creative and intuitive movement of the dishes; for example, the "Freeze for Ease" section gives a base dish and then multiple recipes which use it to create interesting and varied meals. I love the fun and realism (Menus include "dinner for four when you want to show off a bit but not stress" which has recipes for seared scallops, smoked haddock tart, Stephen Fry cabbage, cocktails, and spiced plum dessert!). It's just a great all-rounder of a book with some delicious recipes. Can't go wrong.

What really sold this book to me was a full page dedicated to this: "I have a hashtag on Instagram solely for ideas to use up that bag of kale in the fridge, so there's no excuse to waste any! #100wayswithkale" YES, ELLY! 

To highlight this cookbook's brilliance, and why we have it in our home kitchen, we've made the Lentil, Tomato, and Coconut Dhal. It's included in the following recipes: "as a soup", "with a 6-minute egg", "with wilted greens", and "with seared tofu, avocado, pickles and seeds". We made it with the seared tofu here, but have the rest of the dhal neatly stacked in our freezer for more when we need a quick and healthy dinner.

Lentil, Tomato, and Coconut Dhal

Ingredients:

4 Tbsp oil 

2 medium onions, peeled and finely diced

5cm piece of ginger, peeled and grated or finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, peeled and grated or finely chopped

3 tsp vegetable bouillon powder

2 tbsp garam masala (nb: Elly includes a recipe to make your own if you want!)

1-2 tsp chilli flakes, to taste

2 tsp black mustard seeds

500g red lentils, rinsed

2 x 400g tins plum tomatoes

1 x 400g tin coconut milk

flaked sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

Method:

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium-low heat, add the onion, ginger, garlic and a big pinch of flaked sea salt and cook for 10 minutes until softened but not coloured, stirring occasionally.

Dissolve the bouillon powder in 1 litre of boiling water for the stock. Add the garam masala, chilli flakes and mustard seeds to the onion mixture in the saucepan, stir thoroughly, then add the lentils. Give everything a good mix. Add the tomatoes and the stock and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down tot low and cook for 20-25 minutes until the lentils are tender and retain no bite, stirring frequently and deeply so the lentils don't stick and crushing the tomatoes a bit as you go. Add the coconut milk, remove from the heat and season to taste with flaked sea salt and pepper.

 

(nb: Elly also gives instructions here on how to freeze this dish, how to chill it, and exactly what to do. Worth having this book on your shelves to help with meal prep!)

NB: (from Steph)- pictured here is our go-to 1x1 flatbread (again! Three times we have featured variations of this!). This time it's 1-to-1 plain yogurt to plain flour with 2 gloves grated raw garlic and 1 tsp black sesame seeds and a strong pinch of Maldon sea salt, rolled and pan-fried in a little olive oil for a quick and easy naan-type flat bread. 

#figbarcookbookclub : #RECIPESHORTS

#figbarcookbookclub : #RECIPESHORTS

I cannot help but love a good gimmick, and so this book jumped straight off the shelves and into my arms. I am so so glad that it did. Hot pink spine, bright orange cover, and every recipe guaranteed to fit into a 140 character tweet. I was sold. #RECIPESHORTS by Andrea Stewart is a go to favourite from our bookshelf because of the sheer joy of reading a recipe that concise. Though seemingly simple, I will warn you that this book isn't for those new to the kitchen (as you'll see in the recipe we've made below) because certain instructions just won't fit into the 140 character limit (for example, how high of heat or what to 'whiz' with, or even how to serve). There are a few cheats on the pages (as seen below "garnish with fresh lime"), little boxes that add a bit of extra info to the tweetable recipe, but I just consider it a reply from another user and call it a day :-)

You'll find breakfast, lunch, dinner, desserts, snacks, and sides. All relatively simple (only so many ingredients fit in 140 characters). There are beautiful pictures, strong typeface, and all around social media happiness. A great range of recipes that simply work. You'll also find a glossary for the inevitable abbreviations (I'm getting too old for text speak tbh <--- see what I did there? ;-)), so it's also a cool way to cook and keep up with the kids these days (without aging myself too much, but srsly, the new grammar and text is cray). 

As an aside, part of what I adore about this book is how it highlights the movement of the English language so beautifully. It's absolutely fascinating that we are able to watch the morphing and changing of our language in real time through social media. It's even more interesting that we are able to see the progression of emotion into print. For example, using a full-stop to answer a text question shows a bit of agitation and and indication that the conversation is over: "yes.".  Meanwhile answering the text "yes" without punctuation is a simple answer. There now are new uses for the ellipsis to encourage completion of thought: a reply like "OK..." instead of "OK".

I LOVE THIS STUFF SO MUCH! I could go on and on, but instead, the recipe from the talented Andrea Stewart.

 

SW.POT PNUT SOUP

Sweat 1 chop'd onion,1Tgrlic w/2t garam masala, +600g sw.pot&300g carrots &1.2L chix stock. Whiz w/60g pnut butt. S&P

(text box: garnish with fresh lime. Serves 4-6.)

 

THAT'S IT! Genius. (also... so.deliciously.good!) #dinnersorted

(n.b from Chef Jaime: Pictured here is our home go-to super simple easy flatbread recipe mentioned in the Hugh post with a variation from flatbread to crouton. 1 to 1 self-rising spelt flour to greek yogurt. Spoon drop balls of batter about 1 tsp in size into hot veg oil to fry till crispy. Scatter on top of the soup. Note reply from Steph- how did Andrea Stewart do it!? We couldn't even make a recipe with 2 ingredients that we've written here before fit in 140 characters! Go buy this book.).