Saturday, August 29, 2015

The Cottage Cooking Club | August Recipes

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

My choices for August were:

Tomatoes with Thai Dressing
Chickpea, Chard, and Porcini Soup
Leek and Cheese Toasties
Fava Beans with Herbed Goat Cheese
Cheat's Cauliflower Cheese 

To see the complete list of recipes offered for August - click here.

I was only able to complete three of the five recipes I chose this month. It was just too hot for the soup - I hope to make it once the weather cools. As for the leek and cheese toasties, I just did not get around to it, though I will eventually! They sound and look delish.

Andrea, our fearless leader has been assigning themes to each month. And I have to say, I have not been on board with that aspect, and thought I better get on it this month.

This month's theme: To incorporate our favorite herb or spice into the recipes - couldn't be easier!

One of my favorite herbs is thyme. As you can see, I happened to use it in all three recipes! It was just too easy to walk out back and cut a few sprigs. I do have basil and rosemary as well, but it was the thyme I grabbed each time as I was prepping each recipe.

Cheat's Cauliflower Cheese

This is a lighter version of your typical gratin recipe - here Hugh omits the cream sauce, and tosses the cauliflower with some butter and an optional tablespoon of cream.

If you like the idea of a lighter gratin recipe, which I do, I think this would benefit from some added sautéed shallots and lots of your favorite herb(s), and you will want to use a strong cheese here. I used a white cheddar, but I think a pecorino romano would have been better.

I have to say, the best part of this dish was the topping made of breadcrumbs & cheese, and the addition of my favorite herb, thyme. If I try this again, I'll double the topping.

Tomatoes with Thai Dressing 

I was excited to have homegrown tomatoes to use for this easy recipe.

The tomatoes are sliced and plated, sprinkled with some salt and pepper, and drizzled with the dressing, which consists of a fresh red chile, garlic, salt, balsamic vinegar, rice vinegar, sesame oil, and honey. Hugh suggest sprinkling with some shredded mint leaves, which I subbed out for, you guessed it, thyme.

There is something about tomatoes, they are always so photogenic; they make any dish look delicious. 

We served this tomato dish alongside some grilled chicken and artichokes. 

Sorry to say, I was not a fan of this recipe, though my other half liked the dressing. I thought the dressing, mainly the sesame oil, was too overpowering for the tomatoes.

I think it would have been fine for the tasteless store-bought tomatoes, but it was just too strong for my homegrown tomatoes to shine through. I'll stick with a lighter dressing when I use tomatoes from the garden.

Fava Beans with Herbed Goat Cheese

It just so happened I received fava beans in my farm box this month; the timing was perfect.

I almost took the lazy route, and purchased herbed goat cheese, but that would so not have been fair. I thought about using both thyme and rosemary, but ended up using only the thyme - with the addition of some chopped garlic, salt and pepper, this made for a tasty spread. This would be good even if you did not have the beans.

Adding the beans gives the spread a healthy twist, makes you feel a little less guilty eating it.

Hugh recommends serving this with hunks of bread or oily toast. I went with the oily toast - drizzled some olive oil on some winter wheat bread, and popped it in the toaster. Made for an easy and quick solo dinner.

To see what recipes the other members chose for this month, head over to the the CCC website and look for the August LYL post, for a list of their links - or click here to be directed automatically.

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. The recipes do look good this month - and I can understand avoiding hot soup! Interesting that you found the dressing overwhelming on the tomatoes. I think if I had homegrown tomatoes, I would just eat them plain. As the song goes, "There's nothin' in the world like homegrown tomatoes."

  2. My, your dishes look fantastic! I am with you - I LOVE being able to step outside and grab some herbs for whatever I'm making. And they make everything better! I really am looking forward to making that cauliflower - it looks delicious.

    I only made the tomatoes this month. I thought that the dressing needed to be changed a bit - a little too much sesame, but it was a hit with the other dishes I made for my luncheon - so it worked out. Agreed though - I only grow cherry tomatoes here in AZ, so I pretty much just eat them out of hand!

    Hope your weekend is wonderful!!

  3. I am going to give the cheat's cauliflower a go soon. And I envy your bountiful supply of thyme, my thyme keeps dying on me.. most success I have is with basil! Lovely pictures of the other two dishes!

  4. Cathleen, I totally agree about tomatoes being so photogenic and also about it being too hot for soup! Sometimes I think about the ancient person/people who first tried plants to see if they were edible. So, with tomatoes, I totally understand it. But, who decided to try artichokes? I mean, how hungry were they? Anyway, back to my normal comment. For the theme thing, I keep forgetting that there is one until after I've published my post! Whoops! :) All of your dishes here look beautiful and tasty! The tomatoes were fine for me, but I would drink toasted sesame oil, frankly, so I think that's why I the dish worked for me. Also, I didn't use balsamic vinegar, which inclusion in the recipe struck me as odd, because I'd run out. Glad the fava bean dish worked well for you! Enjoy these last weeks of summer produce!

  5. Hi Cathleen, this is so funny (to my mind). Yours is the last Post I got to for commenting. In each post I have been saying how photogenic tomatoes are. How,you can't go wrong with throwing a picture of tomatoes into your post. Then I get to your post and you've already said that! Great minds? I had hoped to make the Cheat Cauliflower dish but didn't get to it. I love cauliflower and will get to it and the Leek Toasties this coming week. Summer is busy. I am just happy to be a part of CCC and do my best each month to make some of Hugh's unique recipes.

  6. Your dishes look gorgeous as always Cathleen. I didn't care much for the "Thai" dressing either but loved the cauliflower. Adding shallots and herbs to the vegetable is a great idea since, as you mentioned, the topping had most of the flavour. I didn't make the fava and goat cheese dish and looking at your photo and hearing how good it was, I don't remember now why I didn't. I'll have to fix that. I'm looking forward to next month's recipes (and cooler weather!)

  7. I know what you mean about it being too hot to cook. We had a heat wave for most of the summer here and it sapped my desire to be in the kitchen almost completely. Your dishes look wonderful!


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