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December Cottage Cooking Club

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Slightly swirling, a quick jilt of the head, strongly determining to maintain control through a slight graduating blurriness, was this illusion? Edging the closest grab spot, somewhere to hold on, just in case, until this next episode subsided.

Perhaps some developing and unrelenting vertigo? Feeling like tiny pins daily jilting the temple area between the eyes, oddly so, for an individual barely suffering a headache a year. Then the pressure began, much like the air blown sounds inside an airplane as it slowly ascends, up, up, into the air.

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It turns out ones balance gets a bit off center when suffering infections in both ears, and, the sinus. Ouch. Even the camera seemed to focus a blur, that is until getting a couple of doses of antibiotics under the belt, and then preparing one of The Cottage Cooking Club dishes for December, Chachouka, a spiced North African stew nestled with eggs for cooking to its finish. Nothing can slam one right back into restored vision like the realization that perhaps this cooked dish, for photography purposes, should have been transferred to another casserole platter after its saute to avoid the red tomato-e crust formed around the sides. But I’m not yet feeling that completely restored to do it again. Besides, I have no hot water in my home at the moment. 

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Its true. These are the sorts of stories you just can’t make up. In fact, my longtime plumber, Frank, just turned off all the water while he picks up the new water heater for installation.

I slept in past 8:30 am this morning, resting peacefully with the meds kicking in, before jolting straight up from my slumber as if in a nightmare, the horror of seeming to recall that Betsy at a Plateful of Happiness had already posted this months Cottage Cooking Club last night. Was I late?  Had I missed the day? Curse these ear and sinus infections that had set me off my balance. Oh my gosh, downstairs I dashed, like one of Santa’s reindeer, straight to the garage refrigerator holding this months ingredient goodies in wait and setting them out in sections like designated areas of  gifts under the tree, preheating the oven first, of course.

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Water is helpful when cooking as we all know, and so before Frank the Plumber’s arrival, when the water was bone chilling cold, no hot water, I began cooking the cumin seeds in butter and olive oil for a couple of minutes before dropping in the sliced onion for another ten on low heat. That readied, in went the garlic with the red and yellow peppers for another 20 minutes, sprinkling in the Spanish smoked paprika which I doubled to 1 teaspoon, along with a pinch of saffron, and a whole can of tomatoes, just chopped along with the juice. The combined mixture cooked up about fifteen minutes thickening up before setting in the four eggs in and baking for 8-10 minutes. Well, all except, at exactly 8 minutes, my eggs were overcooked, so if one has a powerful oven, I’m thinking 5 minutes will do the trick.   No matter though, for Frank the Plumber loves food, and cooking, and will talk about it for hours, so I simply tossed out one of the overcooked eggs, placing a full quarter of the Chachouka mixture into a plastic container for Frank to take home, heat up, and set in his own egg at a later time.

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The second dish I prepared this morning among our December list, as monthly provided through our talented leader, Andrea, of The Kitchen Lioness, Notes from a Very Small Kitchen, was the Spicy Carrot and Chickpea Pita Pocket, photo shown at top of Post.  Just an aside though for the word, ‘Small’  in Andrea’s tag name continues to be up for debate among members of the group with many of us believing she really secretly lives in a castle. How else could she possibly produce all that she does in a month, just check out her baked goods, and her photo props, you’ll get my drift. So here we are yet another year later cooking along with the Cottage Cooking Club with our leader still not coming clean on her little secret. 

One thing for sure that is not a secret is the groups elemental part within the Cottage Cooking Club of incorporating more fresh and local vegetables into our everyday repertoire, much like the title of the cookbook we prepare from, River Cottage veg everyday! by Hugh Fearnely -Whittingstall, cookbook author and television personality in Britain.

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Anyway, back to the Spicy Carrot and Chickpea Pita Pocket, a sauteed preparation of carrots and cumin seed cooked in butter and olive oil were softened before adding in finely sliced garlic, the zest of an orange, some hot smoked paprika and warming though a tin of drained and rinsed garbanzo beans with the squeezed juice from the zested orange. Stuffed into halves of pita pockets these were as much enjoyed as the Chachouka, both dishes perfectly fitted too for a rainy, cold, winter break day recovering from ear and sinus infections, without any hot water, later remedied with now a brand new water heater, alongside sharing this months selection with the hero of the day,  Frank the Plumber. I told you he loves food. 

To see what other members of the Cottage Cooking Club have prepared this month click here.

Happy New Year 2016 All!

 

 

 

 

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15 Comments

  1. Posted December 29, 2015 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

    Hey Peggy, Hope you are feeling better by this time..sinus infections are the worst, aren’t they? Those chickpeas look good!
    I love that green plate too 😊
    pragati recently posted…#AwakenYourForce with HP Star Wars Special Edition NotebooksMy Profile

  2. Posted December 30, 2015 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    Peggy, I hope you’re feeling better! Two of the teachers I work with have been plagued by sinus infections this year. Right now, I have a raging cold, but am hoping I turn the corner before tomorrow, when everyone arrives for NYE. That stew looks delicious though, as do the chickpeas. Rest up. I hope your water is functional again. Good grief! Happy New Year!
    Kelly recently posted…Dream Big: 2016 is Yours!My Profile

    • Posted January 5, 2016 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

      Hi Kelly, well by now we’ve said Happy New Year to each other many times! Interesting about the teachers with the sinus infections. Its seems a lot of folks are getting them, including those like me- who never get sinus infections (and ear infections- and a continued clogged ear- which is supposedly not uncommon- but really getting to my patience. I hope your cold is resolved by now too and it didn’t seem to affect your lovely New Year’s weekend! Both of these dishes were delicious! Let me know if you ever have interest in any of the recipes! See you soon.

  3. Posted December 30, 2015 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    Hi Peggy, hope you are feeling better, it’s tough to be sick during the holidays, I love the egg dish that you made, perfect for any time of the day and I had my eye of the carrot and chickpea pita just ran out of time.
    cheri recently posted…Cottage Cooking Club Two Recipes, Month of DecemberMy Profile

    • Posted January 5, 2016 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

      Hi Cheri! Happy New Year! Hope you enjoyed the holiday season. I know its tough to be under the weather at the holidays- I now have a lot of empathy when this happens to someone! I really enjoyed the egg dish. One thing I did forget to mention was the possibility on the next juncture of eliminating the saffron. I love saffron and felt that it was perhaps overwhelmed by the other strong flavored ingredients so I’m not sure it is a worthwhile use of the treasured stash. Wishing you the very best in the year ahead!

  4. TheKitchenLioness
    Posted December 30, 2015 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    Dear Peggy, I most certainly hope that you are feeling better! And I cannot help but feel a tinge of guilt – did I give you nightmares about having to cook for the CCC while you were still medicated? Goodness, if you are not feeling well, by all means, do not bother posting…we will just have to have another make-up month and hope that you are all feeling well…
    Your dishes look wonderful – the kids loved the Chachouka – I think I will be making more of that some day – glad that you enjoyed it as well. Your chickpeas and carrots mixture also looks quite delicious!
    Sounds to me as if Frank is a German plumber perhaps…be that as it may, warm water and feeling all well again, I hope!!!
    And, believe it or not, my kitchen is still teeny and I do keep my props all over our house – much to the dismay of my entire family!
    Sending you get well hugs and Happy New Year´s wishes!
    Andrea – “See” you soon!

    • Posted January 5, 2016 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

      Happy New Year 2016 Andrea! Oh my goodness, I’m feeling guilty reading your comment, I definitely wanted to prepare the food and post, its just part of being on the team. I did enjoy both of the dishes, and my family enjoyed trying something a little new and different too (along with Frank.) And I think Frank may be German, by the way. Greg, our heater/air conditioning guy seems more German and even has an accent, but I saw him volunteering at the Polish Shrine Festival late summer so I’m not sure now. Of course, you keep your props all over the house, this is what one can do when they live in a castle eh? Lol. Looking forward to seeing you over the month, and am in eager await on the new cookbook possibility that you have in mind! Wishing you and your family a very happy, healthy, and abundant New Year ahead!

  5. Posted December 30, 2015 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

    I can’t believe you turned out those 2 beautiful dishes feeling as you did! That’s dedication! I do hope you’re feeling better soon.
    I wish you and your family a happy and healthy new year.
    Zosia recently posted…Cottage Cooking Club – December 2015My Profile

    • Posted January 5, 2016 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

      Hello Zosia! Happy New Year 2016, wishing you and your family the best. Looking forward to seeing you along the way, and in the Cottage Cooking Club. See you soon.

  6. Posted January 1, 2016 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

    I’m so glad your hot water heater is fixed and you’re starting to feel better. I’m very impressed that, despite all of that, you managed to make two of the recipes. I’m glad you enjoyed them. I want to try them both. Happy New Year!

    • Posted January 5, 2016 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

      Hi Jora, Happy New Year to you! I look forward to seeing you in the Cottage Cooking Club ( and perhaps in our new book possibility soon to be revealed!) over the year. As I write, I’ve more than enough hot water, in fact it is so hot with the new water heater- I could practically wash the dishes without soap, LOL! See you soon.

  7. Posted January 3, 2016 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    Peggy, hope you are now fully recovered from your ailment. That first picture shows a delicious meal!
    Wishing you and your family a very Happy New Year!
    EmilyC recently posted…Cookbook Countdown #2My Profile

  8. Posted January 7, 2016 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

    This is a terrific post, Peggy – love the humour you bring to that nastiest of all winter scourges, the sinus/ear infection. I hope you’re feeling much better now. I’ve finally posted my December contribution, after suffering through a winter cold, so I’m impressed you got yours together when you did.

    (I’ve always suspected that Andrea secretly lives in a castle, too.)
    Teresa recently posted…Cottage Cooking Club – December 2015My Profile

    • Posted January 9, 2016 at 9:11 am | Permalink

      Hi Teresa, thanks so much. Hope you are feeling better now too, I enjoyed your recent Vancouver travels and insights. Funny on Andrea’s castle! See you soon.

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  • Hi, I'm Peggy. Welcome to our Shared Table at Spiced Peach Blog!
    Subscribe here for my fresh, seasonal recipes with an international twist.