Last week a friend said to me "I love your blog but I will never be able to cook like you. Dinner at your house must be like going out for dinner every night" I was touched, but I also sat back and reflected on my recipes. I didn't want a blog that was full of food no one would cook, I want it to be recipes that my family love and that I hope other people will too. It isn't all fancy food, it isn't all unusual recipes, it isn't all healthy food and it isn't all complex techniques. It is home cooking, it is what we eat. I assured my friend that eating in my house wasn't always like eating out and that I knew she could cook everything on my site, and in fact I know she has tried the Lamb Dopiaza and the Roast Belly Pork. One day I will get her to part with her Grandmother's recipe for apple and caramel cookies as they are out of this world delicious.
I am not a trained chef, I don't presume to always cook restaurant quality foods. I love food, and sitting down to a meal that tastes great is important to me. I like to make an effort, I like it when people enjoy my food, I am my own worst critic, I also love eating a meal and thinking "wow, I'd pay for this, I'm pretty awesome" 😉 but I am a home cook who shops in a supermarket and has to stick to a budget. Some days I will serve the boys egg and chips for dinner and some nights they'll get home-made pasta, it is just the way it goes. Last night Stew and I ended up with cheese and crackers for dinner (more on that later!)
I always had cook books and magazines by my bed, I fear it will be some years before I rebuild my recipe book collection 🙁 but whilst I do there is still Pinterest (thank goodness they are all digital and the fire couldn't destroy my virtual pinboards!) I love on the spot cooking, making it up as I go, adding a bit of this and a bit of that but I also love recipes. I create my own recipes, I follow other peoples recipe, I tweek recipes and I pull ideas from several recipes to come up with something I enjoy. I have had some amazing triumphs in the kitchen, there are recipes that I make so regularly as I know they will always be demolished and met with enthusiasm. But I admit some days I just get it wrong. Thursday night I made a basil, spinach and lemon stuffed pasta dish, I misjudged the basil and it slightly overpowered the dish. It was still tasty but it wasn't perfect, it can't have been that bad as we both went back for seconds! But it wasn't blog worthy. Then there are times when I try a new recipe and it just isn't what I was hoping for, which is what happened last night!
I am not going to share the recipe or the site I got it from as I don't think that is fair, but I will tell you that it was a slow cooked beef stroganoff. Until now I have made my beef stroganoff with strip of rump steak, flash fried and then served with a sauce made with brandy, beef stock, onions, garlic, smoked paprika and sour cream. It is a tweeked recipe based on one I saw James Martin make. It serves me well, we always enjoy it but when I saw this new recipe I was intrigued. I liked the idea of slow cooking a cheaper cut, so I gave it a go. It was a disaster. It smelt like cat/dog food and tasted similar. I couldn't eat it. Even Stew who will eat most things, screwed his face up. So the whole thing went in the bin, something I hate doing, and we ended up with cheese and crackers. Which as you will probably guess wasn't a great sacrifice, I firmly believe that cheese and crackers is the best of all suppers!
I guess what I am saying is 1) don't serve a meal that smells like cat food, no one will eat it 😉 and 2) have a go, not every meal has to be worthy of 3 chefs hat.
Once I am back up and running with my camera I'll cook up my stroganoff recipe for you, but for now I am still sharing the remaining Rickety Cottage cooked recipes. Today it is this delicious Mushroom Bruschetta recipe.
- 8 slices ciabatta
- 3 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 garlic clove
- 600 g mushrooms
- 5 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ teaspoon chilli flakes
- 2 tablespoon white wine or lemon juice
- 2 tablespoon water
- 2 tablespoon coarsely chopped flat leaf parsley
- Cracked black pepper
- 1 ball of mozzarella
- Pre-heat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan forced/Gas mark 6.
- Lay the bread out on a lined baking sheet. Brush with extra virgin olive oil and bake for 10 minutes until crisp and lightly golden.
- Peel and finely chop the garlic, then roughly chop the mushrooms.
- Heat the oil in a frying pan, add the mushrooms and fry for 3-4 minutes.
- Add the garlic, chilli flakes and the chopped parsley.
- Splash in the white wine and water then cook gently until it has evaporated.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the parsley. Season generously with salt and black pepper.
- Roughly chop the mozzarella and mix with the mushrooms.
- Spoon the mushroom mixture over the breads and serve.
Jo Alabaster says
My husband and I are often disappointed when we eat out as we eat so well at home. It is never restaurant quality to look at on the plate but man does it taste good. Do you cook then photograph your own meals for this site or are these 'someone else's' mushroom bruscetta? They look great. I have many cook books I don't want or need. I will try to get them to you via friend.
Claire McEwen says
I agree Jo, if it tastes good then that is what matter when cooking at home 🙂
I cook everything on the site myself and then photograph it. My eldest often asks "Are you going to blog this Mummy?" Because he knows if I am he will have to wait a little longer for his dinner 😉
Thank you x