Saturday, March 28, 2015

The Cottage Cooking Club | March Recipes

The CCC cooking through River Cottage Veg
by Hugh Fearnley-Whittinstall

February marked the tenth month of cooking along with this group, where we have made it half way through the book, and cooked over one-hundred recipes (as a group, not individually - well, except Jora maybe. :)) Boy, time sure does fly.

Andrea, our leader, has declared March our make-up month. This gives us a chance to make any recipes we hoped to have made, but did not get to.  I chose five, and there are still more I would like to get to. Maybe we should have a make-up month every quarter.. ;)

My March selections are as follows:

Crudités with Tarator Sauce p.105
Beetroot Pizza with Cheddar p.180
Refried Beens Foldover p.190
Cheesy Peasy Puff Turnover p.220
Steamed Veg with a Hint of Garlic p.372

Steamed Veg with a Hint of Garlic

Easy peasy! Can't get much easier than this.

I don't know why I haven't thought to steam a medley of vegetables before now. I have steamed broccoli and carrots together, but that's about it.

Here we have broccoli, cauliflower, peas, and cabbage, steamed to perfection, tossed with some garlic butter, salt, pepper, and a dash of red chili flakes, that I added to give it a little kick.

This was enjoyable, though I would have preferred a stronger garlic essence; even though I used three garlic cloves to Hugh's one clove, it still was not very prominent. Maybe if the garlic/butter mixture had more time to meld, it would have had a stronger garlic flavor. Then again, the title does read, a hint of garlic.

I had the leftovers the following day for lunch, and it actually tasted even better. 

Crudités with Tarator Sauce

The tarator sauce consists of toasted walnuts, bread that has been soaked in water, garlic, olive oil, lemon, s&p, and dusted with paprika just before serving.

Unfortunately, I did not care for this dip at all. I found it to have a bitter taste (maybe I added too much garlic? Is that even possible?) and well, just plain nasty.

Also, the oil kept separating, no matter how many times I stirred it. Did I not squeeze the bread of all the water? (The recipe calls for you to soak the bread in water first, and to squeeze most of it out.) I'm wondering if it would be better if the bread wasn't soaked in the water, and allowed to soak up the oil instead.

Refried Beans Foldover

This is very much like a burrito. Instead of a tortilla, we have a homemade soft flatbread that is topped with a bean mixture that is made up of cannellini beans, onion, garlic, red chile, oregano, and grated tomatoes.

This is then topped with whatever your heart desires. I chose to add some cheddar cheese, red onion, avocado, and Greek yogurt. I had planned on a few slices of tomato as well, but I forgot to buy an extra tomato.

The flatbread is made from Hugh's magic bread dough, that was not so magical for me. Actually, he calls it magic, because this one dough can be transformed into just about any shape - flatbreads, pitas, breadsticks, rolls, or even a loaf of bread.

I had issues with rolling out the dough. It kept shrinking back, even after giving the dough an additional rest. I tried re-rolling a couple of times, and still it shrunk back. So I gave up, and just cooked them. They were, in my opinion, too thick, and even though cooked through, they had a very doughy texture & taste to them.

My husband loved them, he even took the remaining breads to work and devoured them; at least they did not got to waste. :) 

Beetroot Pizza with Cheddar

This recipe also calls for using the magic bread dough; after the issue I had with the previous recipe a few days ago, I just was not in the mood to tackle it again, so I went with the store-bought Boboli pizza crust.

I have had success with the dough recipe in the past, when I made the Asparagus Pizza (to die for), and the Pizza with New Potatoes and Brie, another delicious recipe - both from the River Cottage Veg cookbook.

The pizza dough, whether homemade or store-bought, is topped with tomato paste, caramelized onions, cooked beets, mozzarella and cheddar cheeses, salt, pepper, and drizzled with a bit of olive oil.

Yeah. This was good. So far, every pizza I have made from this book has been delicious; and I'm not a pizza lover. I'll order it in, only when I don't feel like cooking, or going out. 

Cheasy Peasy Puff Turnover

This recipe comes from the chapter, Pantry Suppers. To me, this means a quick and easy meal to throw together with what you have on hand - in the pantry.

Me, I never have puff pastry on hand, or frozen peas, and rarely do I have cheese - if I do, it is usually spoiled by the time I need it.

But that did not stop me from making these easy, surprisingly delicious turnovers; nor should it stop you.

These beauties are comprised of puff pastry, frozen peas, cheese (I used Gruyère), egg, salt and pepper.

The recipe instructs you to make one large turnover. I chose to make smaller individual ones; they are just more fun that way, and also, it's easier in my opinion, to transport the leftovers, if there are any.

These were a hit, to say the least. My daughter & I each had one and split another, and Andy, he had three! Yes, three, at one sitting!

The only thing I would do different next time, is add more cheese...

I served these with a beet salad, made from the leftover beets from the beetroot pizza, but I like the idea of my fellow bloggers, serving these alongside a bowl of soup.

To see what recipes the other members chose for this month, head over to the the CCC website and look for the March LYL post - or you will be taken there directly by clicking here.

We have been asked not to publish the recipes here on our blogs. We encourage you to go out and purchase the book and join us on this fun and healthy adventure!



  1. Gorgeous shots, Cathleen! After seein all the recipes this month, I have to say that my favorite is the cheese and pea turnovers, although I don't keep puff pastry in my freezer, either! I wonder how they would be with homemade pie crust?

  2. Hi Cathleen, a great line-up for the month. I got a chuckle on your cheesy peasy turnover, given my mention on it this month as being a recipe I have now prepared about a half dozen times, which I so rarely do on any recipe, but it really is fun, easy, and tasty, though I do keep all of the ingredients regularly at hand. I've made many varieties of doughs over the years, and was intrigued by your observation on the Magic Bread Dough, having the same outcome- shrinking back when rolling- but just took in the version as it was, while enjoying the doughy flat using pink beans creating a more southwestern style flair, it did cook through well using a cast iron grill pan, but I see what you mean. Funny too, because you also made me recall thinking at the back of my mind if this dough would do well running it through a pasta machine to thin it out for pizza crust, or, pita bread. Perhaps I shall give it a go. Your pizzas look sensational- I've not given any from the book yet a try, but I shall at some juncture. It seems the make-up month was a fun opportunity for all! See you soon. Happy Spring!

  3. Your pizza looks gorgeous - that's one I have yet to make but am tempted to try. Interesting about the magic pizza dough.... it worked for me as well in pizza but not so much as flatbread (mine looked nothing like the book photo). I love the idea of serving those turnovers with soup!

  4. Hi Cathleen, great selection of recipes. The cheesy peasey turnover is my favorite of all the recipes we have prepared so far. Lovely pictures and presentation. hard to believe we are halfway through. Have a great week!

  5. What a great selection Cathleen. I still want to try those turnovers. Yours look so tantalizing. And, I'll admit that I haven't tried any of the pizzas yet. I made the magic dough just once, for the refried bean foldover you made. I had a similar experience with the dough. The flatbreads came out much thicker than I expected, and maybe thicker than I'd preferred. Loved the filling though, and the concept

  6. You made a wonderful selection of recipes this month and they turned out beautifully! I've yet to try the magic dough, but it's on my to do list.

  7. Definitely more hits than misses! Now I'm hungry for pizza!

  8. I want to eat all of those things! Particularly the beetroot and cheddar pizza -- looks so pretty!

  9. Dear Cathleen, wonderful pictures to go along with a fabulous selection of dishes for the month of March - I agree with you on the tarator sauce, this is my least favorite dish of the book, the recipe did not really work...the turnovers have turned into a family favorite and the steamed veg are always a joy, so easy, so delicious - the refried beans are also one of our favorite dishes - you did an outstanding job with all of them and I love all your comments. It is always good to hear everyone´s perspective on the dishes we prepare. So interesting to see what everyone made this month.
    Thank you for being part of the group and cooking along with us with so much enthusiasm.
    P.S.: Has the package still not arrived at your house, I mailed it on March the 9th along with all the other packages...


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