The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook

I am not doing too well in my efforts to get rid of some cookbooks, I’ve only got rid of one so far and now I’ve gone and bought another cookbook, so sum change = 0. In my defence the kids owed me some Waterstones vouchers, so pah, what was I gonna do? Anyway, The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook attracted me because I’d read in reviews how small Deb Perelman’s kitchen was and I thought “I’ve got a small kitchen to, this might just be the book for me!”, so I bought it. I don’t follow the Smitten Kitchen blog, although I feel I perhaps ought to now because I really liked the book.

This is what I made

Ratatouille sub

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This was a semi regular attempt of ‘I’m going to get vegetables into my family even if it kills me’, the result? Boy Lacer devoured all of it (good boy), Girl Lacer picked out the bits she didn’t like (about half of it) and Mr. Lacer ate his to. Me? I really liked it but even though the ratatouille method was meant to be easier (and more small kitchen appropriate), I found it a bit of a faff and will be resorting to my normal ratatouille method next time. As for a ‘next time’, I’m not sure I would go and make ratatouille specifically for a sandwich again but it’d be a great way of using up left overs.

Toastie with emmental and red onions with green slaw

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Pretty much the only thing that wasn’t burnt about the toastie was the emmental. I thought the red onions cooked in brown sugar and balsamic vinegar was a really nice idea but I felt that the cooking time was too long and I should have trusted my instinct more than the book. The burnt bread, entirely my fault. Still, it was nice and it’s tempting to do again because who doesn’t love a cheese toastie? And I love anything to do with red onions.

The green slaw was ok to but despite the claims in the book I thought it didn’t keep very well and I ended up throwing out the left overs the next day.

Apricot breakfast crumble

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This was delicious, not sure it was particularly breakfasty mind you. It took a while to make as well, which resulted in Boy Lacer throwing a hissy fit, me having to make him a normal breakfast and then him having a second breakfast when this came out of the oven.

Butternut squash and caramelised onion galette

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Making this felt like a Great British Bake Off moment, one where the contestant is about to go home, as the butter from the made from scratch pastry completely leaked out all over the oven. I think that the instructions to make the pastry were a bit iffy but I went along with it because I haven’t made that much pastry before, so I’m no expert, hmm should have trusted instinct again, as I later went and consulted how to make pastry in Paul Hollywood’s book and the method was pretty different. However thankfully, even with the butter all leaking out, the result was still absolutely delicious. I had been kicking myself whilst it was still in the oven, that I didn’t cheat like I normally did and bought ready made, however even with the butter leaking out, the pastry was still gorgeous and as nice as ready made pastry is, (badly made) homemade is nicer. The filling was gorgeous to (basically just cheese, butternut squash and onion) and would make a great topping to the Nigel Slater inspired tarts I usually make (with ready bought pastry). And the left overs were great cold to.

You can find a similar recipe here, interestingly the pastry recipe is different and is more how I’d expect to make pastry.

Leek fritters

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(Made with a mix of the remains of my allotment leeks and shop bought ones). These were nice, particularly the creamy lemon dressing. They also freeze and defrost well.

Margherita pizza

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OMG best homemade pizza ever, so simple and quick (relatively) to. I used the Rushed pizza dough method, which involves adding more yeast and letting your dough sit in a previously warmed for 5 minutes oven, I’ll admit I’m not sure the dough even raised (I think it was meant to) but still the resulting dough made the thinnest most authentic you’re ever going to get out of my kitchen, pizza base. The toppings were really simple to, which is what it should be.

The pizza above was for the kids’ tea, I just had to make it again a few days later for me and Mr. Lacer, I wasn’t convinced the pizza size above would be enough so I doubled the recipe. I consequently (for some reason) couldn’t roll the dough out as thin as before, although it was still pretty thin and doubling it for two adult was probably a bit too much. Will try it at 1 1/2 x the amount next time and there will be a next time.

Butter popcorn cookies

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Oh just typing those words made me drool, these were, although a bit odd, absolutely gorgeous, they just had that perfect combination of textures, the crunch of the popcorn and the cookie itself, oh the cookie, the cookie itself was the closest I’ve ever seen to the sort of soft and chewy cookies you get at Millie’s, I will definitely be experimenting with that dough to see what other cookies I can make.

The kids, when they came home from school and I announced I’d been making popcorn cookies were all a little sceptical “Did you get that from a book mummy? Or did you just decide to put popcorn in?”, I think they were more siding on the mummy’s gone loco viewpoint. But even they liked the cookies once they tried them (sort of reluctantly).

So, in summary I wouldn’t get rid of this book anyway, I’ve only just bought it but I wouldn’t anyway, admittedly there are a few recipes in here I’d do a little different if/when I make them again but the book is fantastic inspiration and to be honest worth the price alone for that pizza and the popcorn cookies recipe. There is still quite a lot I’d still like to make from the book, the baking sections in particular I feel I’ve only just touched the surface of. So I’d recommend this book.

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