Stew! Genevieve Taylor

Lately I’ve been thinking about the number of cook books I have, or rather the number that I have but don’t use. It’s not that I don’t ever cook, it’s just that I tend to get an idea in my head and use Google to turn that idea into a meal, or, more often than not, I stick to easy, well rehearsed meals (think meat/fish chargrilled/baked served with a cous cous salad). And although this works for me and I still manage to eat well, I do think that it’s a real shame not use the books I have.

So, last week I decided that I would cook from just one book, and the book of choice was Stew! by Genevieve Taylor. I’ve actually blogged a recipe from this book before but I had forgotten how much I liked Genevieve’s recipes.

Last week I was busy on the Tuesday, Thursday and Friday nights (and of course Gav had a couple of night/late shifts to work around), so I needed easy batch meals that could be heated up as and when required. So Stew! really was the perfect option for me this week.

I cooked the Butternut squash & red lentils and the Cavolo nero & cannellini bean stews.

Butternut squash stew was a little fiddly as it involved toasting and grinding spices as well as making an onion, garlic and ginger puree in the food processor. Given the size of my kitchen you can’t blame me for dreading the moment I have to get any bulky gadgets out! Having said all this, the actual cooking process was easy as the stew sat on the stove quite happily for an hour or so. It was tasty too, really warming thanks to the use of cumin, chillies and coriander seeds. However, the recipe serves the stew with a raita which I had skipped (it involves grating cucumber and leaving it to drip dry for an hour – never gonna happen mid week) and it did suffer for this omission. It just needed a little creaminess and, as I had made two meals worth, I served it with some plain yoghurt the next day. It was certainly an improvement but I might try it with some coconut milk next time (although that would significantly increase on the 371 calories in the yoghurt free dish!).

I couldn’t find any cavolo nero in the market and as there was plenty of British kale available, I thought that would make a good substitute (it did). The recipe also calls for dried cannellini beans, but as I needed to keep this simple I just used tinned which cut out both the soaking time and some of the cooking time which was good for me.¬†Genevieve serves this with Gorgonzola toasts, but again, I wanted to keep this super fuss free so I skipped them and I don’t think the dish suffered. It was gorgeous! The beans meant that there was a nice amount of healthy carb, the kale looked and tasted healthy and the inclusion of some smoked bacon and garlic meant that the dish was packed full of flavour.

So my first of rediscovering my cook books went well… next week I’ll be cooking solely from a book Gav and I bought over ten years ago; Ainsley Harriott’s Meals in Minutes!!

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It seems that it isn’t just me who’s been missing her cook books as fellow food lover Steph Walker had the exact same idea as I did, pretty much at the same time (she may have got in first actually!). Check out her blog to see what she’s been up to!

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