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My offering for this weekend is a review of two cookbooks that have been in print for quite some time but I finally got around to buying now. They are Delia’s Winter Collection and Delia’s Summer Collection both by Delia Smith. I first discovered these cookbooks through my college boyfriend whose mother loved them (and I adored her).
This book has a lot of comfort food in it. In my experience British food tends to run towards the comforting meat and two veg variety and this cookbook is no exception. And it makes no apology for it. The book is divided into 13 chapters that cover everything you need for lunch and dinner, from starters to desserts to sides. All of the dishes look absolutely yummy (and way to heavy for summer, but more on that later).
It also includes a handy table with times for when to start cooking the different dishes in order to have them ready for the One O’clock Sunday Lunch. I like this because I am rubbish at knowing when to start things to have them ready in time for dinner, and although my family never eat one o’clock lunch it is handy because this way I can use her times and just adjust.
Now the recipes in this cookbook are, as previously stated all of the hearty variety, and we are currently in the middle of a heat wave so they aren’t actually appropriate to make right now, but I have made one recipe before and eaten another so I thought I would comment on those two (both recipes are available on Delia Smiths website so I have just linked to them rather than write up the recipes here, just click on the recipe title). First up the one I have made myself:
This recipe gives yummy creamy risotto without having to stand around and stir the risotto. It is however quite fiddily as it includes dried porcini mushrooms that need to be soaked and then chopped. It has been a while since I made this but I do remember it being a bit time consuming and that it created quite a few dishes. THAT said, it tastes absolutely divine so it is well worth making.
This one I haven’t made myself but the aforementioned mother of boyfriend made it for us once and I absolutely loved it. She was a bit sceptical because in Britain Chilli is made with minced beef but this recipe calls for braising steak chopped finally (again with the fiddily) but it really works! We all loved this recipe and all went back for seconds :D
This book contains recipes that are far more suitable to summer. Still very British but less on the heavy cream. There are several fish recipes that I am dying to try but my little brother is home for the summer and does not eat fish so I will try those once he goes back to college in a few weeks. This cookbook is responsible for me finally getting around to making elderflower cordial (more on that next week) as several of the recipes call for elderflower cordial and I have a large elderflower tree out back. I will definitley be trying the English Gooseberry Cobbler when our gooseberries are done in a few weeks.
This book contains 12 chapters again covering starters to desserts. It also includes a couple of recipes for preserving and chutney making. It also includes a short chapter on baking breads that fit with summer.
This week I tried Chicken with Sherry Vinegar and Tarragon Sauce.
It was yummy, but there are definitely some changes I would make to the recipe. First off I should admit that I couldn’t find any Sherry vinegar in the store (and I went to the biggest supermarket around) so I will have to do some sleuthing and find it somewhere else. Now to the changes I would make no matter what: 1) I would start making it much earlier, you are supposed to reduce the liquid and I just didn’t have time to let it reduce more, it meant that the sauce was a bit boozy still. 2) I would use more than 2 tablespoons of fresh tarragon leaves to enhance the flavour. I would probably double it. Other than that, this recipe was awesome. The chicken was super tender and falling off the bones
Although many of the recipes from these books are available on Delia Smiths website I recommend buying the books. Somehow there is nothing like looking at recipes in a cookbook.