A Mag a Month: Olive magazine, May 2012

What is it they say about the best laid plans? Well exactly, for whatever reason the Good Food magazine from April 2006 which I'd planned to cook from wasn't working for me, I'm not sure why as I'd tagged quite a few recipes I wanted to cook. Perhaps it was because I wanted to cook a fancy cake and was drawn to this magazine instead. So I gave in, cooked the cake and then proceeded to cook a few other recipes too so I've adopted it as this month's magazine.

And as it was a fancy looking cake I got out my cake stand too. It's a lemon victoria sponge and very easy, sadly Olive don't seem to have many of their recipes available online and I can't find this one to post a link. The whole issue was a bit on the patriotic side as it was available in the run up to the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, which if you'll remember wasn't quite the sunny occasion it might have been and was a rather grey and wet, but still patriotic day.

Back to the cake, the recipe says to add strawberry jam in the middle but I used my spiced blackberry jam made from our Norfolk blackberry picking trip last September instead. It was the first time I'd opened a jar of that and I was right not to worry about it setting. As it was pretty well set I warmed it up in the microwave to help spread it over the cake more easily. As you can see it's oozing down the sides, that's sort of by design and sort of because I probably didn't need so much jam... but it was softened, so I decided to use it anyway.

It looked and tasted great, and was definitely a cake to eat with a fork!  And sorry, no there's none left..

At a loss for what to cook one night I stumbled across the Chicken Katsu curry recipe and it looked easy enough - although I wasn't so keen on egging, flouring and breadcrumbing the chicken, but decided to rope in MOH to help with that. I had most of the ingredients listed, and was just short of some natural dried breadcrumbs. I didn't have much joy sourcing them locally so sent MOH on a mission to Waitrose in Canary Wharf to pick some up, he tried but didn't quite manage it and ended up with the un-dried sort of breadcrumbs. So as that part of the recipe was the bit I wasn't looking forward to, and I didn't fancy drying the breadcrumbs I did have I skipped that bit. I think that means I can't call this recipe a Katsu curry so I'm referring to it as my Katsu-ish curry.  The best bit about this dish though was the curry sauce - and that was fab!  

I'm just a little bit too pleased that I've made a curry sauce. And one that tasted like a curry sauce too, you know the sort that you get from the Chinese takeaway. I've a feeling I'll be making this again to go alongside some chow mien and Singapore noodles. I may never need the takeaway again (clearly I will as I'll still have those days where only a takeaway will do!) I didn't realise it would be so easy, but now I know it's onions and spices, let down with chicken stock simmered and then blended it makes sense.

CHICKEN KATSU-ISH CURRY

CHICKEN KATSU-ISH CURRY

CURRY SAUCE

CURRY SAUCE

So having got my cake baking on earlier in the month and with MOH repeatedly asking "what's for pudding?" I decided to make some Cherry Bakewell muffins.  And it was another opportunity to substitute my spiced blackberry jam for the cherry jam the recipe suggested.  There's ground almonds in the muffin mix and the plan was to add icing, some flaked almonds and a glacé cherry on top.  As I said that was the plan anyway...

It started relatively well, and I liked the idea of jam stuffed into the middle of a muffin but in reality it didn't quite work out that way. While they were cooking the jam did its best to escape the muffins, with mixed success - while all seemed to still have jam inside, some also had it around the edges and most had a cratered top, into which no doubt lashings of icing could be hidden!  We tried one - for tasting purposes, you understand - and while it tasted perfectly ok it was pretty messy to eat.  So I didn't bother with the icing and have since renamed them Naked Cherry Bakewell muffins.  

I plan to try these again to see if I have better luck, with perhaps less than the teaspoon of jam in each one that the recipe says and maybe I'll get as far as adding icing too. Wish me luck.

BEFORE

BEFORE

AFTER

AFTER

So looking back at the contents of the magazine, what else was going on?

Well May 2012 wasn't that long ago and I've already mentioned the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, it seems that Meat Liquor - the trendy burger joint was opening its second branch in Covent Garden, this is somewhere MOH wanted to go to then, and still does. And we still haven't made it there yet, oops! It's probably not so hot and trendy now. 

Gin was published on Olive's 2012 Cool List - but let's be honest, we already knew about the gin didn't we.  There's a whole list of gin establishments with some cracking names, the best of which has to be The Ginstitute museum.

This magazine is one I'd cooked quite a bit from before, including John Torode's Japanese salmon, miso and asparagus and his Pizza bianco with artichoke hearts - both of which I should bear in mind for the next few weeks as they'd be good to eat again. There's also a recipe for beetroot-cured mackerel and to be honest it's not a good look - I'll probably give this recipe a miss because if John Torode and the food stylists can make it look as if something's died close by then I don't stand a chance of making it look any better!

Flicking through this magazine I found the recipe - for a Maple pecan twist - that I'd spent ages looking for (and failing) last December, so ended up cooking this almond kringle wreath instead. The reason I couldn't find this recipe was all too clear, I'd been looking through my Good Food magazines, not Olives. Explains everything really doesn't it?

The recipe I've used most from this magazine though is one for Cheddar and paprika gougeres which are light, airy cheese puffs and great with drinks before dinner.  The intro to the recipe says they'll impress your guests, and so far they have. I can't find this recipe either. It's quite similar and I use half the amounts this says, and don't include marmite although I'm tempted to try that next time.  You could also add herbs, or mustard powder instead of the paprika and substitute the cheddar for blue cheese - I tried this but found the cheddar worked better.  Definitely give gougeres a go, they're quite more-ish and not as hard as you think!

So this month in the kitchen I've had mixed results, thankfully it was all edible but some of it wasn't as pretty as I'd hoped, but well you've got to smile haven't you? 

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A Mag A Month: Good Food magazine, March 2005

This month my mag of choice has been Good Food from March 2005, which has a young Jamie Oliver and a young Gordon Ramsey on the cover - and despite being March the main feature is "Winter Warmers - what you want to eat right now." There's also AWT for those who remember him, or Antony Worral-Thompson for those that don't who used to present Saturday Kitchen between 2003 and 2005 when James Martin took over. I hadn't realised James Martin had done it for so long, although it's rare I get to watch it these days.

This looks a well thumbed magazine although I don't seem to have actually cooked many of the recipes - I guess I was happy just flicking through looking at them. There's an interesting article on "Essential spice" which has many recipes I'd still like to cook including Four-spice lamb curry (the spices are chilli, ginger, coriander & cumin), Cardamom rice brûlées, Crumbly cinnamon & chocolate squares as well as cinnamon-spiced hot chocolate. Sadly none of these recipes are available on the BBC Good Food website so I can't share them here.  Equally as sad was that as I was eating healthily this month I swerved those sweet recipes and having only recently cooked a lamb curry I gave that one a miss too.

One of the recipes that I had cooked before was the Lamb, black pudding & mustard hotpot and strangely I'd bought some lamb in the butchers before Easter along with some black pudding with this recipe in mind - it must have been in my subconscious somewhere as it was only last night that I realised it was in this magazine...

I did get to cook this Speedy Fish supper though, and it was very tasty.  I couldn't help but add some mediterranean style vegetables too and that worked well.  I did smile though as back in 2005 it seems that chorizo was a relatively new ingredient as there's a "Good Food Know-How" box explaining it's a paprika flavoured pork sausage from Spain. I suspect ten years on and most people know that, but it goes to show how food tastes change and really what a small world we now live in.

SPEEDY FISH SUPPER

SPEEDY FISH SUPPER

Also in this magazine:

  • Gizzi Erskine was working at Good Food following her graduation from Leiths, her recipes were due to be featured on the magazine cover the following month (and I've probably got that one too) - but didn't she do well?
  • I was tempted by the Spiced bulghar, chickpea and squash salad which looked both tasty and relatively healthy, but MOH scrunched his nose up at this and reminded me that after a (much) earlier attempt at bulghar wheat we'd renamed it vulgar wheat. I'm sure it's not as bad as we first thought as I think our tastes have changed and I'm sure if I'd put it in front of him it would have disappeared. I'd like to think I'm a better cook now too...
  • Jamie's bread recipes tempted me too - the potato & rosemary bread and the tomato bread were both screaming eat me - and sadly I think I would have done just that had I cooked them. And blown the healthy eating again.  Hmm, these are going on my To Cook list (I don't have one, but I think these should be on it)
  • 2005 was also the year that Masterchef went large with John Torode and Gregg Wallace taking over as presenters, and I think we know how successful that's been. Ten years on and they're still there, the format changes a bit each year and there's now a professional and a celebrity version too, so I'd say it's a major success.

So very little cooking from me this month, I'm hoping that'll change next month when I'll be jumping forward and using the Good Food Magazine from April 2006.

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A Mag A Month: Good Food magazine, February 2004

This month I've been using the Good Food magazine from February 2004, as well as more recent magazines for our meal inspiration.  It started promisingly with a pie on the front cover - who doesn't love pie? And although the pie looked good, it's a deep-filled beef, mushroom and bacon pie I didn't end up making it.  It was part of an article titled "One Recipe, 3 Midweek Meals."  The concept is a good one where you start off by making a steak with stout and onion stew and then use the base recipe for the pie and for a cheat's stroganoff with parsley noodles.  Maybe another time.

This month I'd ear-marked about five or six recipes, but only cooked two... Well, my excuse is February's a short month.

The first recipe I followed was this Broccoli Pesto Pasta.  It's a good everyday dish and particularly useful if you need to hide vegetables as the broccoli is mashed once it's cooked, hence the pesto label.  It had the usual pesto ingredients too - parmesan and pine nuts, with the addition of some chilli flakes but substitutes the basil for broccoli.  The mashed broccoli confused MOH as he asked where it was...

Broccoli pesto pasta

Broccoli pesto pasta

The other recipe I made was one I was keen to try - Baked Chicory with Chicken in a Sage and Mustard Sauce - mainly because I think chicory is a much underused vegetable, definitely in my house, possibly throughout the UK.

Two chicory heads were ample for this one pot dish; they're quartered and added to a dish with some olive oil and baked covered with foil for ten minutes so they soften.  In a frying pan I added sliced chicken breast and browned that, then added chopped shallots and garlic.  That was scattered over the chicory and then I made a mustard-flavoured white sauce with some added creme fraiche and poured that into the dish.  As everything tastes better with cheese, some grated cheddar cheese went on top of that and then it went into the oven for about thirty minutes until it was browned and bubbling.  This made a good Sunday night supper and would be great with some crusty bread to mop up the juices - there's a high chance I'll be making this again at some point.  And the chicory wasn't bitter, and it was nice to have a different vegetable for a change - I think that's a February thing too!

All in all I thought there were probably less recipes in this edition that I'd cook than normal, and I found the magazine pretty uninspiring - I'm not sure if I felt that back in 2004 though. However the two I did cook I'd cook again so it was a worthwhile exercise.  Next month I'm going to be using the Good Food Magazine from March 2005, so hopefully there'll be plenty in that one to tempt my taste buds!