Iron Chef Shellie

Cooking the Books

The first gathering of cookbook addicts.


When you cook this at home please tag me too - I love to see when other people give my recipes a go!


Cooking the Books
October 24, 2010

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Cooking the Books

It started with a tweet.

It started with a tweet of mine: “good news – I didn’t buy a cookbook today. bad news – 1 bought 3 instead. is there a cookbooks anonymous I can join?” (Don’t worry Mum, they were all well below retail price, and my savings are going well!)

The good thing was, I wasn’t alone in my cookbook addiction. I was once addicted to buying shoes… and well I seem to have progressed onto cookbooks. At least they last forever, don’t hurt my feet (unless I’ve been on my feet in the kitchen all day cooking, and even if they do, I have something yummy to show for it), and can actually teach me something!

Kat from Urban Cooks Journal wrote back “I have same issue, need a new room to accommodate all my cookbooks. My next place will have a dedicated library for them”. Now I know I will be at that stage one day soon!

And after some twitter-banter, the cookbook club was born.

We decided to gather fellow cookbook addicts and do a pot luck lunch, where all meals would be made from the same cookbook. Our first ever meet up, and the cookbook that we chose was Jamie Oliver’s; Jamie’s America.

Despite being cookbook addicts, not everyone had this book, so Kat kindly offered to scan recipes for those who still wanted to partake. It was a hard choice choosing a recipe. There were so many recipes I wanted to make, but narrowed it down to two; Killer Mac ‘N Cheese and Mountain Meatballs. I have had a mac ‘n cheese craving as of late, despite not really eating it growing up. This recipe seemed really rich and not something I would make for the two of us at home, so it just seemed fitting to try it out with a big crowd. I of course had to make the meatballs too, as we all know of my meatball addiction. Had I had more money and time, my addiction for ribs would also have been satisfied with one of the many recipes for ribs. Perhaps I’ll save them for a summer BBQ.

Kat had organised for us to meet at The Cooking Space, a commercial kitchen space available for hire, complete with dining room. It meant we could heat up, or finish off cooking our dishes, before serving. I am in love with the commercial oven! It heated up to 220ºC in no time.

Whilst waiting for the last few people to arrive, and food being cooked, Hamsley and I set the table. Shortly after, all the savoury food was placed on the table, photos were taken, and bellies started to get very full!

The original recipe calls for alligator, or to substitute with chicken, but I’m so glad Kat went out and got crocodile as a substitute! It seemed to work very well, the texture of the meat was liken to chicken by everyone. The flavours were great and it went perfectly with the salsa.

Having never had cornbread before, I was hoping someone would bring this dish. It was lovely and warm, and I loved the corn kernels throughout. It was a lovely savory carb to accompany the many dishes. I loved the cheese on top too.

The tomatoes were a good addition to the traditional mac ‘n’ cheese. It lightened it up, and helped to cut through the cheese. I’m so glad I brought this along to a group event, there is no way I could have made it for just the two of us at home and not felt like a fatty boombah. As you can see, my pot was JUST the right size!

Yup, they were just so damn delicious, I wish I had more. With cheese stuffed in the middle, perfect seasoning and a thick, rich, and a moderately spicy sauce… I had praise from all around the table! (Thanks guys!) The sauce had coffee in it too, which everyone was surprised about. You couldn’t taste it though. I know there a few people enjoying the leftovers tonight for dinner!

The recipe said to make 8 meatballs out of 1.2kg of mince. I don’t think so! I made over 20 I reckon, perfect for sharing. Recipe for meatballs and mac ‘n’ cheese to be posted at a later date.

The book said to serve in flat bread, which Kat also supplied, but it was nice just to carve it and have it with some sweet potato. It was cooked so perfectly, and was a huge hit with everyone.

The combination of watermelon, goat’s cheese and mint was so perfect and refreshing. I wish I stole some to take home. I loved how the creaminess of the goat’s cheese on refreshing watermelon tasted together. Yum!

Then, before too long, it was time for dessert!

Despite the presence of chilli in the rocky road, we couldn’t taste it. The smooth, melty chocolate with nuts, fruits and other yummies was deeeeelicious!

April dazzled us again with her awesome cupcake skills. She has the perfect cupcake swirl down pat! The cake was gorgeous, and the creamy icing went perfectly.

The Cake Mistress won everyone over by unveiling her mouthwatering looking cheesecake. She was a bit worried about the base, but followed the recipe as Jamie wrote it. It was perfect. Even though the base was quite thick, it had a nice texture that went well with the creamy cheesecake and meringue.

After a clean up, (thank to everyone that was on dishes! If I hadn’t sliced part of my thumb off yesterday I would have been in there scrubbing!!) and divvying up the rest of the food for takeaways, we all went down to complete our American lunch with a trip to Costco.

Thanks to Emma, Thanh, April (and hubby), Hamsley and especially Kat for making it all possible. I can’t wait to see what we do with the next cookbook!

And on a side note; I am now on cookbook detox. All cookbooks I want go on the Christmas list for Santa to get me!


27 comments on “Cooking the Books
  1. penny aka jeroxie

    Awesome! Missed out this time but will try and make it for the next one! Drooling at all the food…… I should have come and grab take away!

    October 24, 2010 at 9:16 pm
    • Iron Chef Shellie

      Hope you can make the next one! Hope your prep for the other event is going well too!

      October 24, 2010 at 9:18 pm
  2. Michelle Ng

    OH YUMS!!! Everything looks so good! Thankfully I haven’t YET develop a love for cookbooks, Google is my cookbook for now.

    But I’d love to partake in the next gathering (if that’s possible) and meet all of you again! 😀

    October 24, 2010 at 9:33 pm
  3. Melbourne Mumma

    Yum!!! What a great post and I love your mac & cheese…although talk about carb overload – yummo, though. The NYC cheesecake looks to die for. What fantastic cooking results! I am very hungry now…

    October 24, 2010 at 9:37 pm
  4. Emma @CakeMistress

    Oh God, I’m still full from today and tonight’s feast on the leftovers. It was a great day out with so much amaaaazing food! Can’t wait until the next one.
    PS. Thanks for popping my Costco cherry. I think a membership is in order….

    October 24, 2010 at 9:38 pm
  5. Celeste @ Berrytravels

    I am so so so so glad that you took takeaway for me! Tho I do feel terribly guilty because I was there to contribute… but being able to roll about in food heaven (that is surprise, surprise, american food) when you are down and sick is like the best medicine ever.

    Everything was so good – I did miss the company tho! Really hoping that I won’t be missing the next one this time!

    October 24, 2010 at 9:57 pm
  6. Hannah

    I think. I just. died. of envy.

    I’m obsessed with cornbread, and cheesecake. Seriously, I’ve been craving cheesecake for weeks but keep putting it off as it always upset my lactard tummy.

    But oh! Oh! With meringue on top?! See opening line.

    October 24, 2010 at 10:26 pm
  7. Michelle

    Your mac and cheese was WOW. It looks very “eat-me”!

    October 25, 2010 at 5:29 am
  8. Sarah

    Wow, everything looks fabulous! I have Jamie’s America but haven’t really cooked anything from it yet – those meatballs and mac&cheese look mighty tempting though!

    xox Sarah

    October 25, 2010 at 5:40 am
  9. kristy @ ksayerphotography

    Your mac and cheese looks amazing! and all the desserts look so good! what an awesome way to spend the day – and what a fantastic venue!

    October 25, 2010 at 5:50 am
  10. GourmetGetaways

    What a great idea!! I would love to be able to cook with a group!! I am so jealous!!! … and in a commercial kitchen, WOW! ALl the dishes look amazing. I have looked at the Jamie Oliver cookbook, but despite my cookbook addiction I haven’t bought it yet. You are not helping my self imposed cookbook slow down, I now feel like I should have this book now!

    October 25, 2010 at 7:06 am
  11. Leah

    This looks like so much fun, fantastic idea!

    October 25, 2010 at 7:47 am
  12. Betty @ The Hungry Girl

    What an awesome idea! So much good looking food there!

    October 25, 2010 at 8:33 am
  13. Anna Johnston

    What a great idea to get together and do this. The food looks amazing Shellie. I do love Jamie’s style of cooking so great choice.

    October 25, 2010 at 9:51 am
  14. Judy @ Foodie Dreams

    All the dishes look great! I’m particularly interested in the cornbread… shall have to try making that soon. The cooking space looks really interesting too, what a great idea!

    October 25, 2010 at 10:40 am
  15. Sarah

    So jealous! All that food looks delicious – well done guys! I

    October 25, 2010 at 10:42 am
  16. April @ My Food Trail

    Lovely write up Shellie and great photos!

    It only just occurred to me that the Costco visit was linked to the whole America theme *face palm* Hehehe 🙂

    October 25, 2010 at 1:16 pm
  17. Heidi - Apples Under My Bed

    Wow! This all looks fabulous! Great cooking everyone! I really want to try that cornbread 🙂
    Heidi xo

    October 25, 2010 at 1:39 pm
  18. Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite

    I cannot wait to get this book – I will receive my copy when I hear Jamie speak in Toronto next month. All that food you chose looks amazing – how fun!

    October 25, 2010 at 8:29 pm
  19. Honey @ honeyandsoy

    What a good idea, Shellie! It’s so nice when people with the same loves and interests can collect together and not just gush, but come up with awesomeness like you all did! And I totally laughed like a crazy person when I read “fatty boombah”!!!

    October 26, 2010 at 10:01 am
  20. A Canadian Foodie

    What a great fun post and what a wonderful story. I love how your simple tweet ended in developing some real life relationships and better understanding of your own cookbook! I would be so in to going to something like that. I love the idea. I have a a bazillion cookbooks, too – but go through phases – where I buy a truckload = then there is a LONG dry period while I read them and use them… I would love to have a cooking meal with them. What fun!

    October 26, 2010 at 11:12 am
  21. Jen

    Such an awesome idea! Can’t wait to see the next cookbook addicts gathering!

    October 26, 2010 at 3:04 pm
  22. Conor @ HoldtheBeef

    I would have been very concerned if you didn’t make the meatballs 😉

    October 27, 2010 at 12:27 am
  23. Deeba @ PAB

    I love the very idea. Novel and exciting … envious too, for those who sit and read you beautiful post on the sidelines! Fabulous food, great book, and pictures that say a 1000 words. Lovely to be able to rent a commercial kitchen set! WOW!!

    October 27, 2010 at 7:22 pm
  24. Thanh

    Finally got round to reading this. Reliving all those great food memories. Can’t wait to the next meetup. Gonna be masses of fun and food again.

    November 17, 2010 at 9:21 pm
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Shellie Froidevaux

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