Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Belleau Kitchen Random Recipe Challenge 3 - My First Ever Cookbook.

This month Dom asked us to cook a random recipe from our first ever cookbook.

I was tempted to go to my parent's house and choose a book I would have cooked form in childhood.  The most appropriate one would have been my Mum's old domestic science jotter as that is definitely the one I used when I first ever started baking.  My favourite is the rum truffles and they are the first thing I ever remember baking.  I still love them.

Steve felt that the first book he bought himself was Leith's Cookery Bible but when we went to get it from the shelf, it seems it was a victim of our clearing out for selling the house.

So we looked on the shelves and chose the books we felt were the earliest books we had really cooked from that we still owned.

Steve chose Fish by Sophie Grigson.  He has a signed copy.  We went to see her demonstrating her kedgeree recipe from this book in Glasgow when we were students and certainly he made recipes from it for me when we were dating all those years ago.

His random recipe was Roast Cod With A Lemon, Garlic And Parsley Crust.  I did the shopping so I bought haddock loin instead of the cod because it's local and I prefer it.

It was a delicious and kid-friendly tea.  We loved the tang of the garlicky and lemony crust.
Here's the recipe -

Recipe - 
Serves 4.

Ingredients - 
700g skinned, thick cod fillet (or haddock, coley, pollack, hake, bass, toothfish, red mullet - this is one of the great features of this cookbook - she gives you alternative options for EVERY recipe)
85g white breadcrumbs
3 generous tbsps finely chopped fresh parsley
2 garlic cloves, crushed
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
60g butter, melted
lemon juice
salt and pepper
lemon wedges, to serve

Method - 
1. Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/GM 7 .
2. Season the cod with salt and pepper.
3. Mix the breadcrumbs with the parsley, garlic, lemon zest, salt and pepper then add the butter and a squeeze of lemon juice.  Mix thoroughly with your fingers.
4. Place the cod in a greased, shallow ovenproof dish and press the buttered crumbs firmly onto the upper side to form an even crust.  
5. Bake for 20 mins, until the crust is browned and the fish just cooked through.  If the crust is still pale, pop under a hot grill to finish browning.
6. Serve immediately, with lemon wedges.

So, onto my random recipe challenge.  From the shelves I chose Grub On A Grant by Cas Clarke.  This book doesn't even belong to me but was lent to me by a friend who had finished university by the time I started in 1996.  There are some quite weird studenty dishes in this book so I was a bit apprehensive about what I might end up having to make.  Luckily it was Tarragon Chicken which is a really simple dish to serve with pasta.  And uses chicken thighs so hopefully Dom will give me extra brownie points!

I served the chicken pieces on the tagliatelle and the following day I stripped the remaining chicken and stirred it through the pasta like a sauce.  Both versions were yummy.  I love the flavour of tarragon and just don't use it enough.  Although I do make a creamy tarragon chicken hot sandwich from Nigel Slater's Fast Food which is a real treat.  Anyway, this was a nice easy supper and certainly a great dish for students.

Recipe - 
Serves 8.

Ingredients -
2 large onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
75g butter
8 chicken pieces
1/2 bottle dry white wine
salt and pepper
2 tbsp tarragon
250g sour cream
1 tbsp paprika  (Ooops - have just realised I completely forgot to sprinkle on my paprika)

Method - 
1. Fry the onion and garlic in 50g butter until soft.  Place in a large casserole dish.
2. Fry the chicken in the same pan in 25g butter.  Fry until golden.
3. Pour half the wine over the cooked onion.  Season with salt and pepper and lay the chicken pieces on top. Sprinkle with tarragon and pour over the rest of the wine.
4. Cook at 170C/325F/GM 3 for 2.5 hours.
5. Add the sour cream just before serving. Serve the dish dusted with paprika.


  1. Oh my god I love the stories!... and yes, bonus points for Chicken Thighs!!!... I love Sophie Grigson and have that book too, so I know how lovely it is... lucky Steve to have picked that one!... I love the fact that you guys do this together every month and really appreciate that you take part... let's hope I can continue the challenge every month to meet with your expectations.... lovely x

  2. Yes Dom - thanks to you, Steve gets involved with me on this one. Usually he is just rolling his eyes at whatever mad challenge I tell him I'm doing. :-)

  3. Ha ha, I was thinking of going to my Mother's to get my 1st cookbook which is something along the lines of cooking for 5 yr olds. Don't know if I will have enough time though. Looks like you came up with two good recipes.

  4. Both dishes look very good. I love the picture of the chicken swimming in the sauce. Very tempting.

  5. Hi Lou and Steve. I found your blog through Dom's at belleau kitchen. Both dishes look delicious. I'd be happy to have both at the same time :) hehe. Chicken thighs are my favourite too.
    Have a nice day. Michael