The month of June marks the fifth month of our second project for our international online cooking group, The Cottage Cooking Club. Presently we are cooking our way through a wonderful, family-friendly cookbook written by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, entitled „River Cottage Every Day". And the optional „Love your Leftovers“ by the same author.
This month I prepared five recipes from River Cottage Every Day. I will write about each dish in the order in which I prepared them.
The first recipe for my June post is the Leftover Pork with Fennel and new Potatoes (page 212) from the chapter Thrifty Meat. I believe this is a recipe that a few of the CCC members have already prepared and enjoyed very much.
Fennel ranks as one of my very favorite vegetables of all times. I love the taste of caramelized fennel, its anisseed flavor particularly complements pork, fish or chicken so well. My love of fennel started with an Ottolenghi recipe that I first made ages ago and that made me a fennel lover at once – since then I have cooked fennel more times that I care to count. I love it best when thinly sliced, crisp, cold and raw or caramelized, soft and with a distinctive sweetness.
Add some fried new potatoes to leftover pork and sautéed fennel and you will have a new family favorite – if your family is like mine and enjoys the taste of fennel, that is.
This recipe has a very familiar flavor combination. Pork, fennel and potatoes. I used thinly sliced pork tenderloins here and I like to add slices of pan-seared lemon wedges, fennel fronds or chopped fresh dill for added flavor (and for looks, of course). I also love to serve green olives and chuncks of feta or goat cheese alongside. It is also a nice idea to serve a nice loaf of Ciabatta or baguette with this dish, to mop up all the lovely and very tasty pan sauce/cooking juices.
Recipe two is the Corn Bread (page 76) from the chapter Daily Bread. Corn Bread is a type of bread made from cornmeal flour. Corn is a major crop in the US and the southern states in particular use cornmeal to make a wide variety of dishes, including corn bread. Corn bread can include various add-ins such as cheese, spring onions or bacon and is usually baked in a rectangular pan and cooked either thin and crisp or thick, light and airy. It is served with all kinds of dishes, such as deep-fried chicken or bowls of chili, and can be used as the basis of stuffing for turkey.
I usually make the plain version but you can vary the recipe by adding other ingredients, just let your imagination and your left-overs be your guide. This is certainly a a simple, quick, yeast-free bread that can be put together in no time.
Recipes three, four and five for the month of June are the Digestive Biscuits aka Cookies (page 88) from the chapter Daily Bread, the Fridge Jam (page 50) from the chapter Making Breakfast and Macerated Fruits (page 336) from the chapter The Whole Fruit.
In general, digestive biscuits are hard, semi-sweet biscuits sometimes known as sweetmeal biscuits. While Hugh´s recipe calls for baking podwer, other recipes call for baking soda, believed to have a positive effect on digestion, hence the name. Digestives are light-brown in color and the ingredients include whole-wheat flour (I used part whole-wheat, part spelt flour), quick oats, brown sugar (the quantity will depend on whether you prefer them less or more sweet, sea salt, baking powder, and a bit of milk. You should always store the baked Digestives in an airtight container because any moisture will make the biscuits soggy. Uncooked biscuit dough can be frozen for up to two months, I tried it, it works like a charm.
You can either roll the biscuit dough into a log and chill in the fridge, then slice into rounds or roll out the dough on your work surface and use a biscuit cutter or a glass to cut out rounds. For chocolate digestives, place baked and cooled digestives onto a wire rack and pour over melted chocolate, then allow the chocolate to cool and harden before eating. I dipped half of the batch in dark chocolate – I always thought and still think that Digestives are wonderful with a number of add-tos, such as dark chocolate, jams and fruits or berries. It is fun to get a bit creative here.
Hence, I chose to serve the cooled Digestives with Macerated Fruits. Next time you have more apricots, peaches, strawberries, blackberries or raspberries than you know what to do with, just macerate them. This will amplify the flavor of fruits and berries. The process of adding sugar and a splash of balsamic vinegar or lemon juice (which is what I used) will give additional flavor to fruit and letting it steep over time is known as maceration. The fruit will soften as it macerates, and generate a thin syrup that is saturated with flavor. Because sugar is a natural preservative, macerating is a great method for extending the life of fruits that are less than perfect in appearance or just past their prime.
Fruit prepared this way can last for up to three or four days covered in the fridge. Apricots and sweet cherries is what I had on hand and the Macerted Fruits were indeed wonderful alongside the Digestive Biscuits.
And then there was Hugh´s Fridge Jam. Easy to make and also adaptable to the season. And just perfect with all sorts of biscuits, especially Digestives. Still loving those recipes from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.
Please note, that for copyright reasons, we do NOT publish the recipes. If you enjoy the recipes in our series, hopefully, the very talented and enthusiastic members of #The Cottage Cooking Club and their wonderful posts can convince you to get a copy of this lovely book or both books.
To see how wonderful all the dishes from my fellow Cottage Cooking Club members turned out this month, please make sure to take a look at their personal links and to do so, just visit here.