I’m a big fan of Tessa Kiros, her books, particularly her later ones are beautiful and worth owning in their own right, not just as something to cook from. But her books can be patchy in their usefulness. Her book Venezia was stunning, but the recipes were not practical for every day life, so I did get rid of it recently, so I strongly hoped that I’d get more use out of Limoncello and Linen Water.
Spaghetti with pancetta, pecorino & rosemary crumbs
This was nice but considering I make a similar pasta from a recipe out of my head fairly frequently and my recipe is simpler, quicker and to be honest nicer, I’m not going to rush to make this again. Although the rosemary crumbs were nice, may incorporate those into my out of my head pasta dish every now and then.
Leontine’s Apple Cake
This has to be one of the most unattractive cakes I’ve ever made, to be honest despite the title it’s not really cake like, it’s like what would happen if actual apple cake and apple pie ever got together to have kids. The whole family at first glance turned their noses up at this but on convincing by me that it was actually edible, they all really liked it, however not going to rush to make this again.
Tomato and rice soup
This did not work well, just as the apple cake was not really a cake, this was in no way shape or form a soup, it was just rice in a tomato sauce and to be honest if I want rice in a tomato sauce I make a really mean tomato risotto which takes half the time and tastes far nicer, this just tasted bland. What is annoying is that I do know a really good tomato and rice soup recipe, an old Nigella recipe, that really works and is really simple, I should have stuck with that.
Pasta al forno
A bolognese style pasta bake, this was quite nice, although I would have preferred a little more sauce, as the sauce didn’t really mix with the pasta, so it was like plain pasta, the bolognese sauce, ham and mozzarella, all baked together but at the same time separate. This may have been why this dish was popular with the kids, who virtually licked their plates clean, whilst Mr. Lacer (who likes his pasta swimming in sauce) didn’t finish all his.
Whereas the apple cake wins the title of the most unattractive cake I’ve ever made, the marmalade cake wins the title of the most disgusting cake I’ve ever made, although in all fairness to Kiros this may have been due to the brand of marmalade I used, it was too bitter. I did eat some but nobody else liked it and most of the cake got thrown away (which is a cake crime).
I had planned to bake something else from the book (possibly not that wise considering the first two sweet bakes were not exactly a success) but my oven, which did not respond well to the refurbishment, has died again and is showing no signs of further resuscitation, so we need to get a new oven and we need to wait a little bit as the building work starts again temporarily next week and it’ll be difficult to get the oven in. We do have a small microwave – combi oven but I’ve never trusted it for baking cakes and biscuits in (so consequently not being able to bake makes me SO WANT TO BAKE RIGHT NOW!!!!!).
Anyway, I haven’t had the best of experiences with this book, it’s definitely not up there with Falling Cloudberries or Apples for Jam (my two favourite Tessa Kiros’), however I’m not going to get rid of this book, yet …. Like I say there’s at least one more thing I want to bake from there, the kids like the pasta bake recipe and there’s a good section on preserves and condiments which I’d like to try and at the end of the day I’m a sucker for beautiful books and this is beautiful. But it seems like out of the recipes I want to try, they’re all versions of things I make already and my versions seem to be simpler / actually work. So, my prediction, this book will stay with me until we move again and then . . . probably charity book shop time.