Swallowed a fly.

There was an old lady who swallowed a fly. I don't know why she swallowed that fly, perhaps she'll die.

At last count I owned 123 cookbooks and there are some I have never even used. Have set the challenge of cooking at least 5 recipes from each book and am using this blog to track my progress.

Permalink I have finally finished my self imposed challenge to cook five recipes from every cookbook I own. 

Surprise, surprise. It actually turned out to be a lot harder than I expected…largely because I guess life continued to happen. In the past two and a half years, I started a new job (twice), travelled to eight countries, had a baby, embarked on a health and fitness journey and yes, continued to buy lots of cookbooks. These experiences added to the total of recipes that I needed to make (620 by the end) and at times slowed me down, but also gave me inspiration to try new cuisines that I would have previously avoided.
The above picture shows some of my favourite recipes:
#1 Fish tacos - Notes from My Kitchen Table by Gwyneth Paltrow
#557 Passionfruit souffle - Decadence by Philip Johnson
#77 Har Kau - The Complete Asian Cookbook by Charmaine Soloman
#234 Vanilla slice - The Australian Women’s Weekly Cookbook
#60 Salmon with charmoula - North African Cooking by Tess Mallos 
#324 Chocolate eclairs - Australia’s Sweet Baking Favourites by Nestle.
#537 French onion soup - I Know How to Cook by Ginette Mathiot
#352 Quince tart - The Cook’s Companion by Stephanie Alexander
The sources of these recipes reflect that fact that I find inspiration from a variety of sources -  celebrity chefs, free cookbooks from the supermarket, Women’s Weekly publications, international cookbooks as well as more traditional tomes.  More recently I also look to the internet for inspiration and find myself spending way too much time on Pinterest pinning recipes! 
While making the 620 recipes I realised just how much I love cooking. I am by no means a great cook -  one look at my knife skills or attempts at macarons will tell you that, but I do find it fun and a creative outlet. There is nothing I love more than having a group of family or friends over for a meal, not because of the meal itself but because of the conversations and good times that go with it. 
This blog has made me realise that I am also quite an impatient cook. Some people like to test and retest recipes to get them perfect, but I am quite happy to just take the plunge and try a recipe for the first time even when I have twelve people over for lunch. Although some may scoff at books like 15 Minute Meals and Women’s Weekly publications, I love them as they encourage me to still keep cooking new things on weeknights.
So where to from here? I love travel and cooking foods from different cultures excites me so I hope to continue to do that. I have recently bought a Thermomix and can’t wait to get a little more adventurous with my thermie, but please rescue me if you think I am too deeply involved in The Cult that is Thermomix! Over the past couple of years I have changed the way that I cook and think about food to live a more healthy lifestyle - so cooking healthy meals is high up on the agenda.  Am also looking forward to inventing some new recipes rather than just relying on cookbooks for my inspiration. 
As I sign off from this fun adventure, a few thank yous are in order. Firstly, to my patient, loving husband who has been encouraging the whole way through this crazy challenge and has cheerfully eaten his way through the new recipes even when he probably felt like old staples. Thank you also to the friends, family and colleagues that have been my culinary guinea pigs and to you random peeps on the interwebs for following the adventure.  
You can stick a fork in me, I’m done.
Permalink Recipe 616/620.
My husband is doing Dry July to raise money for charity so I took full advantage of this and made him the minty ginger granny smith juice from Elsa Peterson-Schepelern’s book Juices and Tonics this evening. 
He drank it all, but think he is looking forward to two days time when he can have a beer instead!
Permalink Recipes 617 and 618/620.
I feel kinda guilty about these ‘recipes’ as they are so easy. But you know what? They come from cookbooks and I have decided that I want to finish this blog challenge tonight!
The hot lemon tea with honey came from Juices and Tonics and I served it with chocolate almonds from Mrs Beeton’s Every Day Cookery and Housekeeping Book. Apparently the tea is an antibacterial and decongestant agent and will help with joint pain - I don’t have a cold or joint pain, but maybe it can be preventative?
I’ll be the first to admit that the chocolate almonds look like kangaroo poo (will ask Ricky Muir for a second opinion), but they tasted delicious. 
Permalink Recipe 619/620.
Am loving The Edible Atlas by Mina Holland. It has a great section on different spice blends from across the globe. I made za’atar from The Levant and Israel which combined sumac, sesame seeds, thyme, salt, cumin, oregano and marjoram and I can’t wait to have it on some fresh sourdough. 
I served it in a mortar and pestle as I think it looks nicer in that, although technically this blend is not one that should be ground. 
Permalink Recipe 620/620. 
Mrs Beeton’s Every Day Cookery and Housekeeping Book delivered me the final recipe for this blog - apple snow. I had never heard of this recipe before, but my mum said that it is quite old fashioned and they used to serve it to her at boarding school. 
It was really simple to make - you stew up some apples with some lemon peel to taste and then beat egg whites together. Then mix the apples and egg whites together before adding some castor sugar. 
According to Mrs Beeton, this dish is seasonable from August to March. Given she was English, I take it to mean it is perfectly fine for Australia in July. Back in 1893 when the book was first published, the average cost for the dish was 1 shilling. 
Permalink Recipe 615/620. 
This recipe for pasta and chickpea soup comes from The Edible Atlas. I used risoni as the pasta and I love how this recipe is described in the book as “the Steve Buscemi of soups…a bit of a legend, oh so low key if you take him for granted, but love him so much more than all the fancy pants hogging the limelight”. Perfect comfort food. 
It also begs the question though, who is the Quinten Tarentino of soups?
Permalink Recipe 614/620. 
Dessert tonight was passionfruit ice cream and sesame wafer sandwich. Luckily it was really quick to make as I had leftover homemade passionfruit ice cream from recipe 558. The sesame wafers combined sesame seeds, orange juice, glace ginger, sugar, orange zest and butter and were really crunchy and tasty. 
Need to improve on the presentation a little but was pleased with the overall result.  The recipe came from Philip Johnson’s Decadence.
Permalink Recipe 613/620.
I have been wanting to make these toffee tumbles since I got The Women’s Weekly Cupcakes book. My version doesn’t look quite as good as the nice symmetrical ones in the book but it was still fun to make.
The base is an almond meal cupcake which is filled and topped with custard. Then I made a choux pastry and despite my poor piping skills, attempted to pipe them into little balls. Then I drizzled them with toffee.                                  
Permalink Recipe 611/620. 
I bought a stack of tomatoes at our green grocer the other day, thinking that there must be a tomato based recipe in The Preserving Book. I found a recipe for tomato ketchup and cooked it up in the thermomix. 
I personally found this recipe a little too acidic,  would use less red wine vinegar next time.
Permalink Recipe 612/620. 
I have always thought that ‘proper cooks’ made jam and marmalade. These are two things that I have avoided making over the years as getting the temperature correct seemed all a bit too hard. 
It’s so much easier to do now that I have my thermomix. I used the marmalade recipe from The Preserving Book but instead of using a pot over the stove I utilised my thermie so that I could be more certain of getting the setting temperature correct. This recipe instructs you to cut the peel according to your preferred thickness. While thicker strands look better in the jar, I hate having thick strands on my toast so I opted to zest it instead. 
Much to my surprise, the recipe actually worked! Am on my way to becoming a ‘proper cook’. Just need to get me some knife skills!
Permalink Recipe 607/620. 
I love pineapples. So when I saw this recipe for pineapple crush I had to give it a go. It was from Juices and Tonics by Elsa Petersen-Schepelern and only took a minute to make in my thermomix. It was just ice, pineapple and lemon juice mixed together with passionfruit sprinkled on the top. It tasted very refreshing and was sweet enough for my liking, I didn’t bother to add the suggested honey or sugar.
Permalink Recipe 608/620. 
I love The Preserving Book as it has so many basic recipes and preserving techniques all in the one spot. It is written in such a way that I would feel confident swapping around ingredients in the future to suit my own taste. I made the pear chutney according to the recipe - pears, onions, tomatoes, raisins, pepper, sugar, ginger, salt and cider vinegar and cooked it up in the thermomix. 
This is definitely a more savoury chutney and will go really well with a crumbly cheddar and some sliced ham. 
Permalink Recipe 610/620. 
Remember in recipe 609 how I said that you can react to the same event quite differently? Well, would you believe it that the same thing did happen? Later in the day my husband dropped the beetroot dip, in much the same way that I did with the salsa. 
This resulted in our kitchen looking like a crime scene with the beetroot dip all over him, the floors and the walls. Was quite surprised at how far it managed to travel! 
I found this very funny - the complete opposite to my reaction earlier in the day to the salsa. I don’t think it was just because he did it either, although it is sometimes nice to know that other people in the household have their unco moments too. 
The recipe came from The Women’s Weekly book Party Food. 
Permalink Recipe 606/620. 
I can’t help it. The title of this recipe ‘Cock-a-leekie’ from Mrs Beeton’s Every Day Cookery and Housekeeping Book makes me giggle. It was another very simple recipe and I used my slow cooker for it. 
I added 3L of chicken stock, three leeks and whole chicken into the slow cooker and let it cook for 6 hours on high. When I was ready to serve it, I tore up some of the chicken. The result was a super easy meal that was really tasty. It would be perfect if you were unwell and wanted something quick and wholesome for dinner. 
Permalink Recipe 609/620. 
It’s funny how the same event can happen and how you react completely depends on your mood. I definitely woke up on the wrong side of the bed today and when I went to eat this two teacher’s salsa for lunch and dropped the container I almost let it ruin my whole day! Ridiculous I know. At the time, the salsa mess all over the floor, benches and into the cutlery drawer was a complete disaster. 
Being quite unco, this sort of thing happens to me a bit and other times I find it quite funny. Even now in hindsight, I find it funny. At the time however, well that was a different matter. 
I begrudgingly cleaned it all up. I then went for a walk and by the time I got back I could see how ridiculous I was being for not only dropping it, but also my reaction. 
At least there was some left over to actually eat and it was really delicious! The recipe came from The Best Recipes from America’s Food Festivals and was an entry in the International Chili Society World Championship Chili Cook Offs which is held in a different location every year.