Thursday, 15 January 2015

Cooking the Books

I have a huge amount of cookery books that sit on the shelves year after year.  This year I have set myself the challenge of using them more, otherwise there really is no point in having them take up shelf space.  If they are to survive the big de-clutter (yes yet another challenge I have set myself) then they have to show that they are worth keeping and will be used.  I have started with HFW Veg book which is sort of cheating as it is one of my favourites and wouldn't be sacrificed to the clutter cull anyway.  Next week I will try harder and choose one that hasn't been used for years.  Do you have cookery books that haven't been opened for ages? I know some other bloggers have set themselves this challenge.  How are you getting on?

The recipe I chose was a curried bubble and squeak which sounded perfect for an after work simple warming supper.  I prepared the veg before I went to work so when I got home all I had to do was stick them in a frying pan.  It was delicious and reminded me a bit of sag aloo, it was also a good way to use up the spring greens I had in the veg box.  So here is the recipe:


2 - 4 tablespoons rapeseed or sunflower oil
1 onion chopped
1 garlic clove
1 heaped tsp curry powder or paste
About 400g cold, cooked potatoes in rough chunks
About 200g of cold, cooked cabbage, greens, kale or brussels sprouts shredded or chopped ( I used more than this to use it all up)
Salt and pepper

Heat 2 tbls oil in a large, non stick frying pan over a medium heat.  Add the onion and fry for 6 - 7 mins, until soft and just starting to colour.  Add the garlic and curry powder or paste and cook for another 2 minutes.

Add the potato chunks and cook for a few minutes, stirring often, until they start to colour.  You may want to ad a little more oil at this stage and you'll probably need to use the edge of a spatula to scrape up some of the lovely crusty bits from the bottom of the pan.  Add the greens and cook, stirring for a further 2 - 3 mins.

Season with salt and pepper and serve straight away, topping each portion with a poached egg if you like.

I hope you are all surviving the storms, we haven't had any snow here but its been blowing a hooley.  I am feeling better but don't have much energy and the bearded one has come down with it now.  I'll leave you with a little sign of spring which I spotted in the garden, it really cheered me up knowing that spring is on it's way.

Stay warm and safe,

Chickpea xx


  1. I was looking at my books earlier and thinking the same, I don't own any of Hugh's books, but would love to, just have to wait to find some in the charity shop or carboot.

  2. Looks delicious! We use that book a lot and have had some delicious meals from it. I got Anna Jones cookery book for my birthday and its another great veggie cookbook.

  3. I really like that book too, the curried bubble and squeak is very popular here.

  4. That looks delicious, I had a culling of cokery books when I moved, some i keep because they have special memories, I find it very difficult parting with any books.
    I would be interested to know what you get in your veg box each week, could you mention it on your blog :-)

  5. I didn't know about the challenge, but funnily enough I gave RSon a whole pile of recipe books I haven't used in yonks.

    He also loves cooking so hopefully they'll give him inspiration.

    I still have my favourite trusted ones to dive into when needed :)

  6. I love this book but haven't tried that recipe. Will now though! Xxx

  7. Have you seen Julie's blog - Home Jules? You might like it - it's craft, food and country walks - she set herself a cookery book challenge last year to make use of her large collection of cookery books, perhaps this could be an idea for you?!

  8. I'll check out the Anna Jones cookery book Jayne, I've not heard of her

    Will do Dawn

    Will check that out Louise

  9. Your cooking makes me hungry! It looks so delicious I feel like getting in the kitchen. I am not very creative with vegetarian cooking, I live in a house full of dedicated carnivores. I spotted a snow drop today, which cheered me up tremendously. x

  10. mmm that looks delicious, I mostly just make the spouffle recipe from that book!

  11. I culled my books recently and got rid of quite a few cookery ones. About 10 years ago I gave all my cookery books to the chazza shops but I have accumulated more again. And I've just ordered another one. No hope for me.


  12. Oh WOW,that looks reeeeely yummy,I must do it.Love Hugh Fearnly whats it he is gorgeous and a VERY good cook,I do have his book take 3 things or something like that anyway.Quite fancy the book you have it looks interesting.Glad you are surviving where you live,same here no damage just lots of noise,got caught on the walk this morning in a hail shower really stings the face.Thanks for your lovely comments by the way.xx

  13. That looks really delicious. I just bought a bag of "rainbow chard" (greens) today for a recipe I want to try. It called for collard greens but they didn't have any so chard it will be. I'm looking forward to trying it. I like kale a lot and I think chard will be similar.

  14. I've not made the spouffle yet driftwood, will have to give it a go

    I love rainbow chard Jennifer, I grew it in the veg patch last year and theres still a few stalks left. I will be growing it again this year.

  15. This looks so good.
    I love the name Bubble and squeak.

    cheers, parsnip

  16. I started doing that, I wanted to go through my books and cook a weeks meals from each. Ha. I fell at the first post, when the cold hit I reached for the soup pan. I also need to work my way through the food that I have in stock so my book trial is on the back burner.

  17. Bubble and squeak is a great name Parsnip, and has always been a firm favourite in our house.

    I'm not going to be so ambitious I will try to do it once a week Pam, well thats the plan :)

  18. Sorry if some people have been having trouble replying, I have changed some settings so hopefully it will work.

  19. I am definitely making this dish next week. I have tons of cookery books, and most of them aren't used much, if at all. I probably should overhaul them too.
    Leanne xx

  20. Woohoo I managed to fix it without asking my sons for help. I'm not so old and decrepit after all :) Thanks for commenting Leanne xx

  21. Forgot to say,I too have loads of cookery books,I have always been a Delia Smith fan and use her bible all the time.x

  22. I love bubble and squeak and think that it is a great idea to actually cook your books! I have to admit that I tend to read mine more than cook from them. Hope you enjoy your challenge! xx

  23. I actually have that cookbook! You have inspired me to get it off the shelf and try a few things. The bubble and squeak looks like a good place to start. Are those snowdrops or crocus popping up in your garden? That is the same plant I have coming up in mine, and as this is the first year I've had them I wasn't sure which thing it is.

    1. Um I think it's a crocus, I can't remember what I planted now :)

  24. That looks lovely, I have got the book, but I'm afraid to say although I read through it I have never even made one thing from it, I will have to rectify that.

    I set myself the challenge of cooking my way through my books with a view to clearing some of them off the shelves (and blogged about it here ) but I didn't get very far, maybe I should resurrect that Blog and have another go, but I find it so hard to get rid of ANY books.

    I have a lot more since the pictures taken on that Blog too!!

    I'll be following your progress to see if you can manage it :-)

  25. We have loads of unused cookbooks, mostly of the aspirational kind bought by husband in his gourmet cooking phase with pricey ingredients and hours of preparation. I use three cookbooks only: a Nigel Slater book; a simple Usborne step by step first cookbook which has simple recipes for everyday things and a battered, food smeared collection produced by the Mother's Union at Woods Parish church in Northern Ireland which has great traybake recipes etc. from people who I know or am vaguely related to. Would love to chick other books out, but husband is a hoarder so no chance. Perhaps he wouldn't notice....


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