A couple of firsts for the librarycook. Firstly, though she’d never claim to be the most organised, punctual woman in the world, she’s usually managed to submit the monthly librarycook post in the actual month it belongs to. And secondly, never before has she written about a recipe that’s still in progress.
So, with those confessions off her chest, what was the April issue of Delicious like? Unusually, for an Easter issue, there were relatively few chocolate indulgences. Although the librarycook is firmly of the view that a little bit of chocolate makes everything a little bit better, and that a whole lot of chocolate is probably the answer to all the world’s woes, she’s never understood the need for chocolate recipes in what is already the most chocolatey month of the year*.
The first recipe up for review was about as far from chocolate as it’s possible to get – Steamed Mussels, Cherry Tomatoes and Garlic Stew, served with a baguette. Almost the perfect, warming comfort food, and quick to boot. 8/10 – only the absence of any significant reading time prevented this recipe from receiving a perfect score.
Next up was another recipe sadly lacking in time for literary pursuits, Spice Chicken Meatballs in Hot & Sour Broth, but what it lacked in reading time was (almost) offset by the fairly therapeutic hands-on task of making the meatballs. The soup itself was all that its title promised – hot, sour and really delicious.
And in what seems to be this month’s continuing theme, yet another recipe with an inadequate C:R (Cooking:Reading time ratio**). A variant on the tried and true aglio ed olio pasta recipe, this one added mushroom and cauliflower to what must be the world’s fastest pasta sauce, resulting in a final product that’s definitely worthwhile every now and then, as a change.
*Fear not. The librarycook couldn’t resist the lure of the cocoa bean entirely. Even as she writes, a batch of Almond, Cherry & Chocolate Spiced Florentines are awaiting their chocolatey destiny, for this is the recipe still in progress. If the aromas rising from the baking tray are anything to go by, they’ll be worth the wait.
**And just what were the books the librarycook was cruelly deprived of as she cooked? So many. A bumper crop of excellence – Freya North’s Little Wing, Rachel Joyce’s The Music Shop, Richard Osman’s enormously enjoyable The Man Who Died Twice, and, appropriately, Annabel Abbs’ The Language of Food, a fictionalised account of the life and times of Eliza Acton, the first English cook to publish a recipe book we’d recognise today – with a separate list of ingredients, and the techniques properly explained. Very, very highly recommended for anyone who enjoys both literary and culinary pursuits.