Friday, 2 June 2017

The Cookery Calendar Challenge


My chosen book for May was Falling Cloudberries, a book I've had for about ten or fifteen years and love to flick through, but rarely seem to cook from. It is such a delightful book; evocative, dreamy, full of memories of cooking and travel, and some gorgeous sun-drenched photography. Tessa's mother is Finnish and her father Greek Cypriot, and her childhood was spent in the UK and South Africa, before she married an Italian and moved to Italy. This rich heritage makes for wonderful reading, with recipes handed down from different generations in different countries, and each chapter devoted to a different place. It's the loveliest book to read in bed at night, but I do wonder if it's slightly dated. A lot of the meals - desserts included - are pretty labour intensive, and I would have liked to seen more vegetarian options. Or perhaps I've just become one of those consumers with an incredibly short attention span and when I see a recipe and method that runs to two pages, I flick past, no matter how delicious it might look. What can I say, with a job and two young children I am a busy person.

May was a busy month and I spent too much time reading this book in bed and sticking post-it notes against recipes, and not enough time writing shopping lists and buying ingredients, so totally forgot to cook anything from it. And then we were away, so yesterday, on June 1st, one of the warmest days of the year, when everyone else was at the beach or barbecuing, I made a moussaka. 


I like moussaka and but dimly remembered making it about ten years ago and it being an all-day affair, which is probably why I haven't made it since. But when I read through the recipe it didn't seem that much more effort than making a lasagne. You cook the mince (beef and pork in this recipe) with onions and tomatoes and leave it to simmer. You fry the aubergine in batches. 



You slice and cook the potatoes (she said fry but I par-boiled them) and then you make a bechamel sauce. It took about an hour to get those things done - it was a triumph in multitasking, let me tell you - and put the assembled dish in the oven. 



After cooking for an hour, I covered it in foil and left it to rest until we were ready to eat. I cheated slightly and my second dish was a Greek Cypriot salad, from the same chapter in the book. It seemed like the perfect accompaniment. 


It was John's birthday yesterday and so we decided to eat when the children were in bed, in the garden with a bottle of wine. It's not often it's warm enough for that.



The moussaka was amazing with the creamy aubergines and the potatoes still with a little firmnesss to them, and everything covered in the mixture of meat and bechamel sauce. There are four portions tucked away in the freezer now, ready to be re-heated during the week. I am definitely making this one again. 



I am joining in again with Penny's Cookery Calendar Challenge as I dust off some of my less used cookery books and cook from them again. June's book will be Kitchenella by Rose Prince.

I hope you're all enjoying half term. We've been so busy, travelling and visiting family and friends, and after two days at home are off again this afternoon for the weekend. Bella and Angus are going to my parents while John and I go to London. I'll have so much to share with you! 


15 comments:

Mac n' Janet said...

They both look delicious, I love Moussaka, but I've never made it. Maybe in 6 months when it cools down here again.

VeggieMummy said...

You made me laugh about cooking moussaka on a hot day - we had stew, which I had a sudden craving for! Have a wonderful time in London. xx

Jennifer Hays said...

I've never had moussaka. I've always thought it seemed very heavy with all the meat in it, so I've shied away. Yours looks very nice, though, so maybe I should try it. I'm impressed with how well your slice held together, actually. That's amazing. Nothing I've ever made looks that pretty. :) Happy birthday to John, and have a great time in London!

niki murray said...

Looks delicious and I love that book xx

Susan Smith said...

A belated birthday wish to J. & the meal you cooked looks delicious. Yes, raising children & working full time means you are always on the lookout for uncomplicated meals. I used a slow cooker a lot & still do though there are only the two of us now, but the freezer always has plenty of leftovers for quick meals after a day out. Enjoy your free time in London & take care.

Gracie Saylor said...

Yum! John's birthday celebration sounded lovely. 🎵Happy Birthday,🎵 John. Some of us are headed camping on the other side of Mt. Hood leaving tomorrow and staying for a week. Yay! Hope you have a grand time in London! 🤗

Christina said...

Happy Birthday to John! Your dinner looks fantastic, I might even try (I don't like aubergine). I have a Tessa Kiros book that I am planning to use this month. It is pretty and there are a lot of photos that are not cooking related but just beautiful. It is on traditional Italian cooking. Enjoy your weekend away. xx

Julie said...

Both of those look delicious and a perfect birthday meal. Hope you both had a lovely weekend in London. x

laura hellomistermagpie said...

Your moussaka looks so yummy! I love this book too, and have also cooked very few recipes from it - you've inspired me to try one! :-)

Louise said...

Your photographs are great - everything looks so good! Hope John had a good birthday :)

Pom Pom said...

Well, I must find that cookbook! Your moussaka looks wonderful. What a nice meal you and your hubby had!

Crafty Kestrel said...

Yum, your pictures are so clear they are making me hungry. It looks like you had a good time.

Penny said...

Thank you so mich for joining me again this month Gillian. Belated birthday wishes to John, what a lovely birthday meal you made for him. I am so interested to read about your experiences with Tessa Kiros recipes; I have circled round her books for years, loving the look and the idea of them, but being really turned off by her style of prose. I have even bought 'Apples for Jam' twice (once in the charity shop, and once from Amazon Marketplace) but have just struggled too much with her style, and didn't think the recipes were very good, and re-donated the books. Having said all that, this moussaka and salad both look absolutely delicious! I rarely cook with aubergines because I find they soak up so much oil, so like you I would have chosen to par boil the potatoes rather than have two fried elements. It's always so handy to end up with freezable left-overs too. I wonder if I should try her books just one more time......?! X

Jo said...

Your moussaka looks like cookery book styling. If I cut a portion of anything it always looks like a trifle! Jo x

usama said...

nice