BBC Week

After the dazzling success of Burns Night last week, I thought I'd keep that British momentum going and explore my three BBC personality-driven cookbooks. Cookbook #12: The Naked Chef Takes Off (Jamie Oliver, 2000). Provenance: wedding gift. Previous recipes on this blog: Seared Scallops and Crispy Prosciutto with Roasted Tomatoes and Smashed White Beans (recipe here). Recipe: uh...the scallops thing again.

I never said this project was intended to remove me from my comfort zone. It is just a reason to indulge in my favorite activity, which is making lists.
There were some important changes since last time, though. Look who sucked it up and bought real anchovies!

Why was I ever afraid of these beauties?
I would say that compared to the anchovy paste, the real deal gave a significantly more fishy cast to the white beans. And also the smell of my house. And also my dreams that night. Still a very tasty dish though. Another change since my last experience with this recipe: instead of finding Oliver's insistence on measuring things in "glugs" and "wineglass-fulls" delightful, I kept thinking WHY ARE YOU BEING SO TWEE JAMIE OLIVER. So I guess the bloom's off that rose.

Verdict: The fact that I left this thing open on the picture of Roasted Sweet Garlic and Thyme Risotto with Toasted Almonds and Breadcrumbs for about two years just for decorative purposes makes me feel like it has already earned its keep. Maybe next time I'll even try cooking a non-anchovy recipe!

Cookbook #13: Foolproof Indian Cooking (Madhur Jaffrey, 2002). Provenance: Mom. Previous recipes on this blog: Hard Boiled Eggs in a Moghlai Sauce, flaky flatbreads with cumin seeds. Recipe: OKAY I MADE EGGS AND FLATBREADS AGAIN I'M SORRY. The eggs were scrambled this time? Anyway, the problem with including the word "foolproof" in your title is that I will take it as a personal challenge and fool something right up. In this case, just as it was two years ago, it was the leaden, Smoke-Monster-engendering flatbreads.

First, cooking them in coconut oil make the entire house smell like the charred remains of a concession stand explosion. Second, their unappealing physical presence on the plate caused the following series of increasingly menacing photos, culminating in one in which I swear it has morphed into an alien and is giving me the finger.

Like a pissed off ET.

Anna was appropriately cautious.

Verdict: I have very poor ventilation in my kitchen. But the non-bread portion of dinner was good. I like Indian food. Keeper.

Cookbook #14: Two Fat Ladies Full Throttle (Jennifer Paterson and Clarissa Dickson Wright, 1998.) Provenance: Mom. Previous recipes on this blog: none. Ah, the Two Fat Ladies! I remember watching them on PBS when I was younger and being consistently amused, if rather infrequently...enhungered. So I have to admit that I approached this one with some skepticism. And I wasn't entirely off the mark, as some recipes look like this:

...or read like this:

"Not for the squeamish."
So you can't blame me too much for going a bit cowardly and choosing Chicken with Red Pepper Sauce and Cauliflower with Almond Sauce. And I will never apologize for my decision, as it was a fine plate of food.

Also, fun fact, the only book that didn't cause my home to reek.

Verdict: I was pleasantly surprised by this one. And for once I'm going to say that the dearth of color pictures probably works in its favor. Recommended for: fans of bawdy humor, people with mid-90s PBS nostalgia, people with access to grouse and/or pheasant.