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January Cottage Cooking Club, Swede (rutabaga) with onion and sage

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Welcome to the January 2016 gathering of the Cottage Cooking Club, our 21st month cooking through the cookbook, “River Cottage veg everyday!” by British cookbook author and television personality, Hugh Fearnley- Whittingstall.

The significance of this month as we make our way to completion in April, makes me recall the overwhelming popularity at the onset of the book, followed by the movie, “Julie and Julia.” I thought to myself something like- what an interesting idea, followed by thinking to myself, ugh, cooking through a whole cookbook would be so boring to me. I think I might clang myself over the head with a fry pan even contemplating making it through even one whole chapter of one cookbook. Yes. And here I am in the twenty-first month cooking through the same one cookbook, “River Cottage veg everyday!”

 

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What can I say? Indeed we do have a fabulous, talented, and fearless leader, Andrea, of The Kitchen Lioness, Notes from a Very Small German Kitchen, and, a lovely, diverse, group of members in our online international community with something uniquely special about each. And then, there have been the recipes, a monthly list of choices with beautifully photographed pages inspiring us to incorporate more vegetables into our everyday cooking in more creative ways, especially utilizing lots of fresh and locally grown produce wherever possible.

My favorite fresh selection pick among these vegetables in the month of January was the Swede with onion and sage, that is, the Rutabaga. Buttery, delicious, and pretty with its lovely orange golden color as shown above, the combination, worked remarkably well with the bold herb, sage, giving thought to the idea that sage offers more flavor uses than just it’s more obvious suspects as with poultry dishes, varied stuffings, or fried as garnish. 

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Having already purchased the fresh mushrooms for preparing last month’s Cottage Cooking Club list selection of Mushroom stoup, I needed to use them up, and so I cooked up this dish shortly after our December posting. Making Mushroom stoup also in some way coincided with simmering a beef broth from the cookbook, Brodo, as my Blogging for Books post selection, so you’ll  likely gather how these two transitioned together. The word stoup, is a bit of a take on a soup being nearly as thick as a stew, hence the made up word, aptly named, I think, along with being quite excellent blended with homemade beef ‘brodo’ provided an even denser, more richly flavored dish, especially combined with the dumplings. The stoup was well received by its taste testers, including my grandson, the J-Dude whose least preference among his sophisticated for a kid palate is mushrooms.

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Next up we have the Squash and walnut toastie. This sort of reminds me of the pamphlet currently sitting on top of my desk table labeled, “Scarborough.” “You can make a difference in television.” Yes, I suppose on account of agreeing to a phone interview on my radio preferences last week somehow then threw me into the bucket of more public research receiving in the mail this 8 day diary where I write down every show I watch along with its associated channel during said time. In order to be honest, I’ve had to admit that I daily watch the children’s PBS program Wild Kratt’s with the Dude before school. Hey, it’s part of our morning conversation, discussing facts on the animal of the day. I’ve also had to fill out this survey about myself where among the questions I gave myself a “Mostly Agree” high score on ‘liking to try new things,’ I’m not sure this coincides exactly accurately when it comes to television, where thus far, I seem to have rather limited and narrow viewing preferences among a few genres. Same with the Squash and walnut toastie, I liked it, but not so much as I like other more common bruschetta types. On the other hand, I did love Hugh’s Leek and cheese toastie and Celery and blue cheese, so I’m now talking myself into citing these other more open minded flavors as some justification that unlike television viewing, I still do possess lots of open minded views on tasting and determining new flavor experiences. 

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Moving along, we have the Winter kale and potato curry. I prepare a spinach version of this Indian inspired dish at home and I very much enjoyed switching it out with the kale.

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Sticking with the curry theme, we have the Curried red lentil soup, which while reminding me of a thinner version of a lentil dish one of my Indian friends prepares, I thought quite delicious. As with many recipes in River Cottage veg, especially those with Indian inspired influence I right from the start increase the indicated spice amounts for bolder flavors, it does provide for a tastier outcome, in particular, if you are accustomed to these spice flavors.

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Last but not least, I fried up some Flat onion bhajis, a sort of curried onion pancake which was delicious served right alongside the Curried red lentil soup, quite a good dinner match I’d say. 

Wrapping up month twenty-one then and countless recipes prepared from one cookbook. One single cookbook. I’ve still not clanged my head against a fry pan. Yet. Just in time, Andrea has this week announced that beginning in May we shall move to not one, but two new cookbooks; “River Cottage Every Day, and, “Love Your Leftovers” both of these also by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. Hey, I never said I didn’t like keeping with the same friends, I just said I liked variety. Besides, moving along with these two new books through the Cottage Cooking Club enables me to fulfill another item on my television viewing survey checklist box where I also gave myself a ‘Mostly Agree’ high score on “I like the challenge of doing something I have never done before.” 

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

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16 Comments

  1. Posted January 28, 2016 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

    Everything this month looks fabulous. Peggy. What’s the difference between a rutabaga and a turnip? What was your favorite recipe to date?
    Kelly recently posted…Finding the Frog in Salamanca, SpainMy Profile

    • Posted January 29, 2016 at 8:28 am | Permalink

      Hi Kelly, thanks so much. Turnips are generally smaller than the rutabaga, pale white outer skin with a slight pink tinge particularly at either end, it is white when chopped and,after cooking. The rutabaga has a golden brown, thick, waxy outer core, it is golden orange, and after it cooking. As far as taste differentiation, both of these, depending on their preparation can evolve to delicate sweet flavors such as this months rutabaga whose cubes were cooked in a mere couple tablespoons of butter until tender and caramelized along with thinly sliced onion and chopped sage, the combination was really superb. I like using both vegetables in stews, and also prepare Aunt Betty’s mashed carrots and turnips, also delicious. The rutabaga may have a milder flavor. My favorite recipes? Goodness, there have been so many, the macaroni peas, the cheesy peasy puff turnover, honey roasted cherry tomatoes, Caponata, vegetable biryani (though I add extra spice and vegetables,) warm salad of mushrooms and roasted squash, curried bubble and squeak, and some of the bruschettas and summer frittatas- see what I mean? Too many good ones to choose only one.

  2. TheKitchenLioness
    Posted January 29, 2016 at 2:11 am | Permalink

    Dear Peggy, what a post – it is leaving me a tad breathless – your Swede with onion and sage looks absolutely lovely. What a nice way to serve this somewhat neglected veg. The Mushroom stoup is still on my to do list (I even considered buying Brodo, the book, after having read your raving review) – now, I am totally convinced that I will make it asap. The Squash and walnut toastie, another wonderfully presented dish that we also adored. The Winter kale and potato curry is the one that I did not make it but yours looks very tasty and elegant. The Curried red lentil soup has indeed a great deepth of flavors and the Flat onion bhajis – are leaving me a bit confused, I did not even consider turning them into a pancake of sorts, I crunched up bundles of onion and took it from there – your version has me very intrigued.
    Thank you for your wonderful and delightful comments, masterfully written post and your ever present support of the CCC! I appreciate it!
    As far as the two books are concerned, one will be our “guideline”, the “leftover” one will be entirely optional, the “tag along if your like part” of our continued cooking adventure!
    Andrea

    • Posted January 29, 2016 at 8:39 am | Permalink

      Dear Andrea, thanks so very much, and for all of the inspiration and leadership you have consistently provided to our CCC group. Awesome. I loved the Swede which is as tasty as it is pretty in its presentation. I did enjoy all of the dishes this month as well as the flat onion bhajis, which I probably made into pancakes without even thinking about it, I was probably subconsciously preparing something as one of my Indian friends might prepare. It has been a wonderful time in our group and such a pleasure getting to know, even remotely, our members. It is hard to believe we are nearly at the two year point! Thanks again for everything, including the introduction of many wonderful vegetable combinations through River Cottage veg everyday! Sending Big Hugs Your Way!

  3. Posted January 29, 2016 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    Peggy, as always the photos are so gorgeous–how can anyone not want to make the dishes? Thanks for the heads up re the Indian-spiced dishes in the book and to up those amounts. Since I’m a more recent addition to the group, I’ve barely made an acquaintance with any of them so I’ll keep that note in my back pocket. Finally, I love how Andrea has set up the group and think it makes cooking through the book not at all onerous because we technically aren’t making every recipe unless we want to. Back to your photos, I can’t get over how gorgeous they are and how appetizing it all looks!

    • Posted January 29, 2016 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

      H Katie, nice to see you and thanks so much. Had I read your post before my publishing I would also have included your notation on the use of the name swede vs. rutabaga. Yes, nice to have the spice adjustment idea in your back pocket for purposes of a bit more fuller flavor. Andrea is indeed amazing, and has done an incredible job in coordinating the group, which I am sure is not an easy one- with many details unseen to be taken care of along the way. I’m so happy you’ve joined the group and really enjoy reading your stories along with seeing the dishes you prepare! See you soon.

  4. Posted January 29, 2016 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    Hi peggy, once again you have outdone yourself. Love your presentation of the swede and onion sage, looks fabulous. Also, not sure why I did not prepare the onion bhajis as I love those flavors. Had to laugh out loud after reading about your Julia, Julie comment and hitting yourself over the head with a skillet you are always such a great writter and always get your point across. Take care!

    • Posted January 29, 2016 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

      Hi Cheri, so good to see you. Thanks so much and I did love the ‘swede’ with onion and sage- so much so- that I will likely add it as part of my repertoire in the ongoing everyday sort of meal, those cooked little cubes might even be lovely on a salad. Oh yes, on Julie and Julia, but still in CCC we’ve plenty of flexibility on our monthly choices. I’m looking forward to our next part of the journey. See you soon.

  5. Posted January 29, 2016 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    Hi Peggy,
    That is quite a lineup…I have never tastd rutubagas or turnips..the flat bhajis ade interesting!
    pragati recently posted…Introducing Rice Bowl – Cookbook of Rice RecipesMy Profile

    • Posted January 30, 2016 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

      Hi Pragati, thanks so much. Oh you must try turnips and rutabagas if you have the opportunity, both of these vegetables also suit well in a root vegetable stew seasoned with a wide range of Indian inspired spices! I do however, use these vegetables in other more simpler ways and love Hugh’s version. Thanks on the flat bhajis, they sort of reminded me of something an Indian friend prepares, they turned out quite tasty and complementary with the red lentil soup.

  6. Posted January 29, 2016 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    Your photos are beautiful Peggy. I loved the rutabaga as well and have it on the menu again for this weekend. Your curried dishes look delicious and I may just try them based on your comments that they’re underspiced; I’m the only fan of curry in my family but a milder dish may appeal to the others.

    • Posted January 30, 2016 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

      Hi Zosia, Thanks so much. Yes the rutabaga is delicious prepared in Hugh’s recipe style. The curried dishes are quite nice and you have a terrific idea preparing these in the precise measurements as provided in River Cottage veg as they may indeed be a good way to introduce curry flavors to your family, that they may well enjoy. It is mainly because I have had so many international friends over the years, besides my daughters being Korean, that I and my family have become so acclimated to bolder spice flavors, and, those also ‘hot’ in their spicy range levels, that anything served without such components would be considered as bland. I’ll be interested to hear your outcome and thoughts! Good Luck.

  7. Mary Hirsch
    Posted January 30, 2016 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    What a wonderful post, just excellent, well-done, good work, hmmmmm, what more can I say. You make me want to go back and try every one of these unique and healthy recipes. I didn’t get to the Flat onion bhajis which was a definite “DO” for January. To be honest, I’d like to have a January re-DO because it’s been a rocky month as I will explain in next week’s post. My kitchen in my Cambria rental was not cooking-worthy. I can usually make do with anything but this was not a possibility. Just lucky I got anything up but what a month! I will be happy to meet February. My mom cooked with rutabagas but I had never hear them called Swedes until Andrea put the January link up. Nice photos and glad your grandson’s palate approves of his Grandmother’s cooking. I see all your recipes on Facebook and know your are an imaginative and creative cook. Lovely post.

    • Posted January 30, 2016 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

      Hi Mary, thanks so much and I hope you do have the opportunity to go back and try some of the dishes which are quite good. I absolutely loved your Post this month and the National Geographic quality photographs documenting the beauty in nature. Yikes on the kitchen situation in Cambria, which makes me impressed you were able to put out even one dish among this months selection. I look forward to seeing your story in next week’s post which besides interesting are always inspirational and entertaining! See you soon!

  8. Posted January 31, 2016 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

    You always dazzle with what comes out of your kitchen, Peggy. I wasn’t a fan of the rutabaga, but you make it sound better than mine. And I’m glad you finally tried the stoup. That’s one of my favorites so far. All your others look great too. You’re the first one to tempt me to try the onion bhajis. Pairing it with the soup sounds perfect. I’ll have to add that to the list for lunch in February. “See” you again soon!

    • Posted February 1, 2016 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

      Hi Betsy, thanks so much. The stoup was really is delicious and I’m happy I persevered in preparing it though after December’s posting. The soup and bhajis do work nicely together and I hope you enjoy these at some February juncture. Looking forward to seeing what you are up to in February!

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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.