what to cook, what to cook?

I have all these cookbooks:

And yet hardly use any of them…with the exception of Nigella’s How to Be a Domestic Goddess, of course! (and Stephanie Alexander’s The Cook’s Companion -what an essential for every kitchen!). And I got two more lovely ones for Christmas (thanks Bells and DrK!).

It was really the addition of the new books which made me decide I really must expand my evening meal repertoire – by using my books! So I plan on making a new dish (or side dish at least) every week, at least until May…who knows what will happen after that!

This of course requires some pre-planning for the grocery shopping, but that’s hardly a bad thing, if it means less wastage in the end (which I’m hoping will be the case).
So this week I made something relatively easy, and quite good – husby is always happy to have a vegetarian meal from time to time: spinach and feta pies, from one of my new books – Donna Hay’s Seasons. This is a lavishly styled book, with recipes organised by each of the four seasons, which is quite handy, I must say!
The recipe is quite straightforward, but I didn’t really enjoy working with the filo pastry – it was my first time – and I found it a bit of a pain. I wouldn’t be putting these on my weekly cooking roster, but I will make them again I think. Very nice with a bit of my mum’s tomato relish on top and for husby’s lunchbox the next day!
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20 Comments

Filed under Rose Red: Domestic Goddess

20 responses to “what to cook, what to cook?

  1. i find filo hard too. I've done it, and will do it again because i like the results, but keeping it from drying out is tricky!

  2. You know about the wet towel trick, I assume? I found it helped a lot. Still, you do always feel like you have to hurry, which gets stressful… Those look very yummy, though!

  3. I do the wet tea towel trick too, and I also try to buy the pastry from the deli fridge and not the freezer and I thaw it really slowly and thoroughly, and I like using it a lot. It takes a while to get used to I think as it is so paper thin. Love your excellent cook book idea, I must look out the Seasons book. The little pies look delicious!!

  4. I love this idea! And you get to have fun while exploring all your books too. That recipe looks pretty yum too. I'm not growing spinach this year, but might have to get some at the markets tomorrow and make my usual pie.I get the fridge (not frozen) filo and keep it damp using the barely-damp tea towel and it seems to work. And I only ever 'butter' every second sheet, not for low-fat reasons, but because I really couldn't be fagged spreading that much butter around.

  5. A new dish a week is so much more manageable than cooking your way through Julia Child – though she does deserve to be included in your choices from time to time. I hope you blog the outcomes.

  6. ooh! that is spooky!I've been thinking about posting it all week, but it has just been to hot to go near the laptop!Can't wait to see what you cook – these look delish!I love filo pastry with spinach – it is one of my very favourite things (I have spinach and feta triangle on the menu for tomorrow)!Like the others said, I usually use a damp tea-towel, also I have found you have to be really patient and make sure it is defrosted before you peel the sheets apart. Also, you can use a cooking/olive oil spray in place of butter which makes it quicker

  7. I have a shelf full of cookbooks, too and I find I only go to them for a few recipes. Otherwise, I just make things up in the kitchen. Somedays I just don't have the energy or imagination after work. I should go through the cookbooks and see what's in there. Might give me some new ideas.

  8. amy

    I occasionally try the same thing but it's very, very hard to find something new that fits the current food limitations (not too much dairy or cheese, because of Thing One; no eggs, because of the girl; and then there's Thing Two, who has issues chewing & swallowing certain items–sigh). Then there's just the preferences–I would happily eat lentil soup, but the boys? No way. And since I refuse to cook multiple meals on one night, it's got to be something that more or less works for all of us. I really hate cooking lately!!(PS: You will probably see advice to cook some meals to freeze ahead for when the baby comes. Good advice, but may I add: check both your families for food allergies!! Before Thing One I made and froze a couple of big spinach lasagnas–I was a vegetarian–and then ended up with a kid who had dairy-induced colic, and I couldn't eat dairy for a year. So much for planning ahead!!)

  9. I second your views about filo – for me it is just a pain in the neck (but then, I was told by my paternal grandmother that I had "hands that are too warm for pastry")

  10. I love spinach and feta filos, Have never made them myself as I am too lazy, so well done!

  11. Em

    Those filo pockets look tasty! And way better than my lunch, to boot. Now I'm jealous. I'm trying to branch out, too. Thankfully, I got Alton Brown's most recent book for Christmas, so I'm having fun trying new things. The Chicken and 40 Cloves recipe is definitely going into the rotation.

  12. Oh I never know why it's so hard to be more adventurous with our meals – we eat the same meals so often but I'm proud as I've managed to add one new dish so far this year – we made dinner from the Ottolenghi book (which had sat unused for far too long) on New Year's Eve and have worked that one in to the repertoire – maybe I'll go with one new dish a month – fits with my slowly slowly pace!

  13. del

    I'm always up for trying new things. I think it looks delish — I love vegetarian meals. Good for you!

  14. Apparently, on average, we make 3 recipes from a cookbook.some of mine are falling apart because I use them so much But I have some new ones and my mission is ot pick 4 recipes a week out of one book – cook them and decide whether I would do them again – then pick 4 out of another book (or mag) for the next weekCare to join me?

  15. Good on you, adventurous woman! I thought cookbooks were just for inspiration, so when you get to the point of "What do I do with all this fresh spinach?" You already have a picture of spinach and feta in filo dough in the back of your head. It looks delish, by the way!Looking forward to results!

  16. DrK

    i keep forgetting i have books too and fall back on the same things all the time. these look scrummy, ms hay can be a bit intimidating with the styling sometimes but the flavours are always great!

  17. A long time ago, when I was living with my now Husband and my little sister we had a challenge that we had to cook only from cookbooks for a month. We only had to cook twice a week each but for a whole month we had to try new stuff….it worked brilliantly we added a whole new set of recipes to our arsenal and a new interest in looking through our recipe books. Good luck with your efforts, it will be lots of fun!!

  18. Looks fabulous! Filo, spinach and feta … I don't think you can go wrong!!

  19. My Christmas present from my husband was "The Vicars' Wife's Cook Book" By Elisa Beynon, because I'd borrowed it from the local library and whined for a fortnight about how badly I needed my own copy. I'd recommend it over any other cookbook at the moment, I really would.That said, Donna Hay recipes always work out perfectly, as is evidenced by your cooking!

  20. Ann

    Love your idea as I have the same problem. I was thinking of cleaning up my cook books cupboard & organising them – now you have inspired me!

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