A change from the normal routine

Last week I had more time to cook than normal, and so rather than trying one new recipe, I tried four.  (I may have overreached myself.)

First up was Danish Style Cod, a recipe from the rather fantastic Dairy Book of Home Coooking: New Edition for the 90s.  Understandably, this is rather hard to find now, but if you see a copy it’s well worth a look.   One of its interesting features is that almost every recipe has instructions for how to make it in a microwave, but its real strength is that it covers the basics very well (and despite the name isn’t limited to food involving dairy products).  Plus, it has not one but two of those handy ribbons for marking pages, in different colours.  Anyway, I’ve long been a fan of reading cookbooks, even if I make insufficient use of them, and this recipe has always sounded good; it’s a mixture of bacon, peas and mushrooms, with a fillet of cod baked in the oven.

And it was good.  Moreover, it was incredibly easy.  Chop up some bacon, slice a few mushrooms, throw in some peas, top with a fillet of white fish and bake in the oven.  (I used frozen haddock, so I suppose really I made Danish Style Haddock.  I also have doubts about how authentically Danish it is too, but then what would I call it?)

Danish Style Haddock

A poorly lit photo of my dinner. Still, it gives the general idea. Note how the mushrooms and bacon could have been cooked a little longer. The fish, not so much.

Next was a recipe for Chicken and Bacon Cacciatore, from the March 2011 Good Food magazine.  I bought chicken thigh fillets instead of using a jointed chicken, and so missed out on the benefits of having the skin and bones included, but as I wanted to freeze the leftovers I was happier about the lack of bones for when it comes to reheating.  I’ve tried other recipes for Chicken Cacciatore (Nigella’s Pollo alla Cacciatora, from Nigella Express is also good), and the addition of white wine vinegar (which was new to me) was a good touch.  I didn’t have any rosemary so missed it out, but if making this again I’d be sure to add it.

Third up was something easy: Super-quick Indian rice (again from Good Food magazine, though I’m not sure which one).  It’s really a side dish but I made it one evening when I wanted a light supper, as it’s simply rice, peas and almonds with some spice.  It was my first time toasting nuts (in this case flaked almonds), which was a revelatory addition and encourages me to tinker with the recipe in the future.

Note that up to this point there had been no baking.  To remedy this state of affairs I made carrot cake muffins, based on a low fat recipe.  This was an error, as the end result was a bit tasteless and rather heavy.  Also, I didn’t make the icing.  I love a good carrot cake and this was my first attempt at making it myself.  I should have remembered that I have a bad track record with muffins: I always always over-mix, and this undoubtedly accounts for the heaviness.  And while these are quite edible, next time I’ll try a recipe with more fat and more sugar… Any recommendations?

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