Its December 28th, the number date that marks the monthly coming together of the members in the Cottage Cooking Club. Our international online group monthly prepares recipes from the cookbook, River Cottage veg everyday! Written by British cookbook author and television celebrity, Hugh Fearnley- Whittingstall, the main theme tied to the group provides encouragement toward eating vegetables daily, incorporating them into meals, and experimenting with a variety of choices making these diverse foods more interesting and flavorful.
At the beginning of each month seasonal choices are selected for preparation over the next four weeks by our fearless leader, Andrea, of The Kitchen Lioness, notes from a very small German kitchen. Now, between you and I, I’m beginning to wonder just how small that kitchen of Andrea’s really is, given her nothing less than amazing, sensational, creations continually produced in this space. And then there is her photography, again beyond amazing. And then there are all of these intriguing props set alongside her dishes, now where, I ask you, would one put all these things in a small German Kitchen? So I ponder, does our fearless leader secretly live in a castle? Hmm. Well, besides her enticing dishes and magnificent photography, The Kitchen Lioness is a wonderful blog to visit too for many great recipes, travels through Germany, and, not the least, an interesting history surrounding many of her preparations.
Speaking of preparations, we had a lovely selection to choose from as this month of December 2014 comes to a close. Though the holiday season did not enable the time to prepare all of the selections desired, a couple of the dishes I prepared more than once, including the shaved Brussels sprouts, apple and cheddar salad with this dish serving as the first course of our Christmas dinner feast. I couldn’t help but think of our Kitchen Lioness upon preparing this salad on its first try for a friend, when it was also photographed for today’s Post. The back of the featured china plate possesses a small seal in between the initials P.T. and beneath on two lines, Bavaria, Tirschenreuth.
Also exceptional, among the months elections included the Curried sweet potato soup, which in fact, was yam soup in my locale, providing the lovely golden orange color. Again, I prepared this soup twice sharing among friends with a little extra to one of my longtime friends the next street up busy in the preparation of moving from her home of twenty-three years just before Christmas. Working so hard and very busy in the coordination of sizing down her collected items in a large household all by herself, with her husband having passed away some years back now, I was simply worried about her remembering to eat, or even having the energy to prepare anything if she did, so she was a big focus in my food preparation over the month. There was the depth of flavor to this soup that I felt offered a base for diverse uses in its combined Indian style spices and the use of coconut milk, hence, so I again prepared this soup using butternut squash, served as the second course of our Christmas holiday feast. Between the salad and soup, the Cottage Cooking Club was indeed to close to my heart throughout the season.
The Bruschetta with the sauteed kale and Parmesan provided a quick and easy appetizer to a lighter freshly prepared chicken and vegetable soup. The flavor was good and tied well with the crispy outer shell of the baguette. I’ve prepared something similar in the past, still, the choice offered a good reminder in using vegetables even as quick and easy snacks or beginning courses to meals.
During the cooler months I often roast root vegetables so the Roasted roots with apples and rosemary was an easy choice among the months selections. Using the sliced apples in combination with the roasted roots was a creative twist, along with fresh rosemary which is among my most favorite herbs. Upon serving the composed tray however, I felt like one of those Italian grandmothers insisting upon those gathered at the table to ‘mangia’ eat. Everyone ate their vegetables to be sure, but I really had to push the roasted apples, ‘try them, eat them, roasted apples, you love cooked apples’ I implored. Apparently, the taste for cooked apples remains in a slow cooker with pork roasts, baked whole, enhanced with those sweeter spices, for any sweet dumplings or pies, and of course, a new River Cottage veg favorite, the Brussels sprouts, apple and cheddar salad.
Wishing a Happy New Year to my new friends at the Cottage Cooking Club, may much happiness always be at your shared table. Cheers to Happy 2015! Hugs and Love, Peggy
As the postings come in today you can see what other members have cooked up this month right here.