A year ago I read of a challenge to cook a new recipe from a different cookbook each week throughout the year. Having one or two cookbooks hanging around that I was sure I wasn't making the most of, it seemed a good challenge for me. I didn't know how many cookbooks I had, but it turns out that I have more than fifty two as at the end of the year and the challenge I still have quite a few that I haven't used yet.
Over the year I've cooked curries and cakes, bread and biscuits, vegetarian dishes, fish dishes and meat dishes. And in all of the dishes there was only one that failed - some of you may remember the polenta pizza (#34), it was truly awful but bless MOH was soldiering on, saying it wasn't too bad. But it was and it went straight into the green waste bin. But I guess one failure out of fifty two wasn't so bad.
Actually I only used fifty one cookbooks as I missed a week in September while we were in Cornwall. But I cooked two new recipes from the same book a week or so later and decided that as both recipes were new and paired together in the book it was fine, as by this time the challenge had become my own so I felt able to bend the rules just a bit.
Other highlights from the year were when Gok Wan retweeted my attempt at his Easy beef in tomato sauce (#36) and the views of that post and my Twitter feed went a bit barmy for a while; and there's been some lovely and encouraging tweets from Nigel Slater too. I fell out with Rick Stein too when I cooked his Cod in red wine sauce (#44) not that he ever knew, and I decided next time I eat that recipe he can cook it, as he owes me!
I was surprised by how easy cookies are to make (although I haven't made them since - I really should) and at how much nicer than shop bought ones they were. They were incredibly more-ish too, which is a definite downside. I was also surprised looking back at how few bread recipes I chose - I love to make (and eat) bread and like the cookies it has a habit of disappearing...
So overall it's been a great experience and it's taught me that those cookbooks I have are really worth looking at - they've got some great recipes in them! I know that's a shocking revelation, hey?! And as for those books I haven't used yet, well I'll carry on cooking from them, but the #52 cookbooks challenge is over. I've got a new challenge in mind though, one that makes use of my stash of cookery magazines which date back to November 2002. I plan to use an old magazine a month and revisit its recipes, whether they're ones I've cooked before or not. I plan to start with January 2003's Good Food magazine, and will share a post later in the month to let you know how I got on.
Finally, this wouldn't be much of a review post without links to the 52 recipes, so here they are:
2. Lamb Dopiaza
15. Hot cross buns
20. Cod Saltimbocca
29. Botham burgers
33. Coq au Riesling
35. Carrot cake
39. Chard gratin
41. Sopa de Castañas
49. Beef stock
50: Venison pie