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!