52 Cookbooks: 52 new recipes in 2014

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.

A few of the cookbooks that didn't feature in #52Cookbooks

A few of the cookbooks that didn't feature in #52Cookbooks

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:

1.  Sweet & sour duck 

2.  Lamb Dopiaza 

3.  Cauliflower & broccoli cheese 

4.  Pheasant, bacon & prunes 

5.  Panini Lunghi al Pepe Nero

6.  Cheese & sun-dried tomato scones 

7.  Fish & artichoke pilaf

8.  Gingerbread  

9.  Chilli con sausage  

10. Choc chip cookies 

11. Veal & mushroom pie

12. Chocolate & cranberry brownies  

13. Lemon surprise pudding 

14. Thai fish curry with mango 

15. Hot cross buns

16. Slow-cooked shoulder of lamb

17. Coffee & walnut layer cake 

18. Ho Fan beef noodles 

19. Yogurt-marinated chicken & spiced green lentils 

20. Cod Saltimbocca 

21. Paella de esparragos y queso manchego 

22. Yogurt & blueberry ice cream

23. White bean & artichoke salad 

24. Leon Moroccan meatballs 

25. Frosted marmalade cake

26. French onion tart

27. Pasta with chicken, sage and onion butter 

28. Salted chocolate lime mousse

29. Botham burgers

30. Pineapple chicken skewers

31. Summer chickpea salad 

32. Grilled mushroom risotto  

33. Coq au Riesling

34. Polenta pizza fail! 

35. Carrot cake

36. Beef in easy tomato sauce 

37. Apple & Walnut crumble

38. Spiced Blackberry jam

39. Chard gratin

40. Sardine 'rillettes' with parsley & lemon

41. Sopa de Castañas 

42. Chicken liver pâté 

43. A simple stew of onions, beef & beer

44. Cod in red wine sauce 

45. Quince & ginger chutney

46 & 47.  Roast pork belly with broccoli, red onions & capers

48. Celeriac & bacon soup

49. Beef stock 

50: Venison pie

51.  Almond Kringle wreath

52: Onion & olive bread