How to cook toasted cheese and chilli relish sandwich

toasted-cheese

Ok, here’s another easy one I just wanted to knock off my list of recipes for Learning how to cook with Delia Smith challenge. It’s a toasted cheese and chilli relish sandwich, instead of the chilli relish I used a tomato chutney and boy is it a great combination. I’m glad I tried it, even if it was one of the simplest recipes in the book. Delia calls it “a vegetarian version of Croque Monsieur”.

Delia’s Complete How to Cook – Fishpond.com.au (Australia)
Delia’s Complete How to Cook – Book Depository (UK)

Written for the Learning how to cook with Delia Smith challenge

How to cook pork sausages braised in cider

pork-sausages-braised-cider

Yesterday I cooked two recipes for dinner for my Learning how to cook with Delia Smith challenge – Pork sausages braised in cider with apple and juniper, and Perfect mashed potato.

Basically you brown the sausages and onions and apples separately , then you combine them together and stew them in a casserole dish on top of the stove. It took about half an hour prep time, and then an additional one hour stewing, so this isn’t a quick after work dish.

Matt adjusted the pan as it wasn’t sitting on the hob properly in the center. I had to take the lid off to boil some of the liquid off and thicken up the cider sauce.

I boiled two potatoes to have as a side and mash them with a cool device which looks like a spiral on the end of a masher. (I don’t know what it’s called but it works a treat.) I added cream instead of crème fraîche because I couldn’t find any in either Coles or Woolies.

The highlight of the dish was the lovely apple and cider gravy. It was nice but I wouldn’t cook it again. The mash was delicious based on cream, but again a bit of treat since rice milk works just as well without the guilt.

Delia’s Complete How to Cook – Fishpond.com.au (Australia)
Delia’s Complete How to Cook – Book Depository (UK)

Written for the Learning how to cook with Delia Smith challenge

How to cook chocolate and almond crunchies

chocolate-almond-crunchies

The next recipe for my Learning how to cook with Delia Smith challenge was Chocolate and Almond Crunchies. I was a little disappointed in how these turned out.

The uncooked biscuit mixture was yummy to taste so I had high hopes.

When I lifted the first batch out of the oven and off the baking tray, half of them crumbled and fell apart. So to remedy the second batch I decided to add some water to the remaining mixture. This was a big mistake because when they came out of the oven they had melded and ran into each other resulting in one big biscuit instead of nine!

The key I think is in the instructions which tell you to let them cool for ten minutes on the baking sheet. This is when they harden up. Oh I forgot, I also put in double the amount of chocolate to make them extra rich and just to use it up. Perhaps that was also a mistake.

Overall a nice biscuit but the instructions need to be followed to the T. There are two variations in the book, so I may give them another go.

Delia’s Complete How to Cook – Fishpond.com.au (Australia)
Delia’s Complete How to Cook – Book Depository (UK)

Written for the Learning how to cook with Delia Smith challenge

How to cook Canadian buttermilk pancakes with maple syrup

buttermilk-pancakes

I’m up to my third recipe for the Learning how to cook with Delia Smith challenge and this time I’m cooking Canadian buttermilk pancakes with maple syrup.

For some background research I found a couple of videos on youtube of making pancakes. The most humorous one is probably How to make British Pancakes (slightly different recipe) by danisnotonfire. I’m not sure Delia would approve!

There is an original video of retro style Pancake Batter from Delia Smith’s Cookery Course,  BBC. Delia uses electric beaters.

I decided not to use lard, so instead I used butter and I regretted that decision, because I burnt it badly. So then I switched to olive oil and that worked just fine. I mixed together in a large bowl plain flour, baking powder, buttermilk, cold water and three eggs.

I wasn’t game enough to toss my pancakes, as previously mentioned I’ve recently cleaned the kitchen top to bottom. And cleaning pancakes off the floor isn’t my idea of fun. It pays to do the washing up before you start cooking because both the flip and tablespoon were dirty. How annoying.

Instead of tablespoons of mixture I used 2 dessertspoons, so I ended up with about 12 pancakes. Actually they were more the size of pikelets – never mind it didn’t matter. The middle batch turned out the best – with nice round edges and good colour.

The pancakes were yummy with real Maple syrup, but not so filling. I was hungry a couple of hours later.

Delia’s Complete How to Cook – Fishpond.com.au (Australia)
Delia’s Complete How to Cook – Book Depository (UK)

Written for the Learning how to cook with Delia Smith challenge

How to cook spaghetti with olive oil, garlic and chilli

delia-spaghetti-olive-oil

The second recipe I cooked for my Learning how to cook with Delia Smith challenge was Spaghetti with olive oil, garlic and chilli. Now if you look closely at the photo you may think that’s a lot of chilli, but actually since I’m allergic (well, intolerant) to chilli I used capsicum instead.

I’ve cooked pasta plenty of times before but I read Delia’s instructions and followed them as closely as I could. One thing I have stopped doing is salting the water, as we doesn’t like much salt in our diet. But in this instance I did and didn’t really notice any difference. I made enough pasta for one for lunch today. I got garlic all over my fingers, but I don’t mind the smell.

I was tempted to test the pasta by seeing if it would stick to the wall when it was al dente, but I’ve recently cleaned the tiles above the stove top so I gave it a miss. I don’t want to clean them again so soon! Anyhow, Delia says the “only real way to tell is to taste it.”

So that I only had one pan to clean up I slightly deviated from Delia’s instructions. I cooked the pasta first and then made the sauce in the same saucepan, while the pasta drained in the sink.

I love Delia’s instructions on how to eat spaghetti and other long pasta. I pretty much do what she suggests, but the olive oil dripped down my chin! Sometimes I like to use a fork to twirl the pasta around on the bottom of a spoon. I think it’s authentic, but perhaps that’s a myth.

Delia’s Complete How to Cook – Fishpond.com.au (Australia)
Delia’s Complete How to Cook – Book Depository (UK)

Written for the Learning how to cook with Delia Smith challenge

How to cook goats’ cheese, onion and potato bread

goat-cheese-bread

So the first recipe I cooked for my Learning how to cook with Delia Smith challenge was goats’ cheese, onion and potato bread with thyme.

I had to preheat my oven to 20 degrees higher than the recipe, because our oven always lets us down and needs adjusting. The red potato I choose was a little too large for the recipe at 250g, so I didn’t use all of it. We had no thyme so I used oregano instead.

I had a heap of trouble with our scales. They only work when you take the battery out of them and then that seems to kick start it, otherwise you can press the on button repeatedly and nothing happens. I had to test my maths skills when I weighted the flour in a bowl.

We didn’t have any self-raising flour, so I added 2 teaspoons of baking powder to add a raising agent to plain flour. I don’t think my grater is very sharp, as the potato kept getting stuck half way when I was grating it. I mixed together the ingredients as per the instructions and the flour stuck to the potato. I wish I had cut the cheese into smaller chunks. I also left out the mustard because we didn’t have any.

My palette knife is over 30 centremetres long, so I stirred the mixture with a teaspoon. I used it for measuring something and was trying to save on washing up! Why I tasted the batter I’m not sure, but it was quite salty. I don’t know whether Matt will like it, because he doesn’t add salt to his food. I used a paella dish for cooking the bread with some baking paper, but I forgot to grease it. I’m usually not very good at following instructions in recipes – I like to get creative and make changes.

Fifty minutes later I had a small loaf which didn’t rise much. The potato bread was yummy with a good crust, although I think I’d prefer the red onion version over spring onion. Matt said “you wouldn’t know there was potato in it” and it “was very nice, a bit like damper.”

Delia’s Complete How to Cook – Fishpond.com.au (Australia)
Delia’s Complete How to Cook – Book Depository (UK)

Written for the Learning how to cook with Delia Smith challenge

Learning how to cook with Delia Smith

delia-smith-retro

I’ve always wanted to be a good cook so I’ve decided I am going to work my way through Delia Smith’s Complete How to Cook. The book was originally published as three separate volumes with an accompanying TV series. It was released as one complete book in 2009 to celebrate 40 years of writing recipes.

Delia has sold an impressive 21 million cookbooks worldwide, producing more than 20 recipe collections and spent over 30 years on our screens. Delia has a way of explaining complex instructions that make you understand what she means, which is perfect for beginner cooks like myself.

delia-smith-now-then

Photo: BBC

“Delia’s genius is to understand what Middle England wants to eat at any given time, and then nudge it just very slightly forward in a way that seems fresh and exciting rather than strange and intimidating” says Clarissa Dickson Wright in “A History of English Food”.

She continues “Delia’s other great skill is in being straightforward and comforting….. What’s more her recipes work – hence the 1980s joke along the lines of “I danced with a man who danced with a girl who had failed with a Delia Smith recipe”.”

Mary Berry says Delia’s “recipes were inspirational, effective and always worked.”

Delia’s Complete How to Cook was voted as the best recipe book ever published (The Daily Telegraph/www.OnePoll.com). The book has over 700 pages, 350 recipes and step-by-step photography. There are 25 less recipes than in the originals (Delia’s How to Cook One – 137 recipes; Delia’s How to Cook Two – 120 recipes and Delia’s How to Cook Three – 118 recipes). 

I’m going to pace myself and try to complete a couple of recipes each week, so it will probably take me a few years to complete! I’m looking forward to trying lots of new recipes and new techniques with the ultimate aim of finally learning how to cook.

Delia's Complete How to Cook: Both a Guide for Beginners and a Tried and Tested Recipe Collection for Life

Delia’s Complete How to Cook – Fishpond.com.au (Australia)
Delia’s Complete How to Cook – Book Depository (UK)