Tuesday, January 20, 2009

In the Mood for Jo

Gordon Ramsay feels that "Jo's food is vibrant and fun" and who am I to argue with greatness?

This is one of the prettiest covers in my collection. My photography does not do it justice but it is very pink, very girlie, and has a flower centerpiece. Even the font is rather come-hither. However, it is a very good book, with solid recipes. The sections are a continuation of the title: In the Mood for Being Healthy, In the Mood for Something Naughty but Nice, etc., with sub-sections that are a bit cheesy but fall in line with the general spirit of the book (Does My Bum Look Big in This?, Overworked and Underfed, Hangover Hell). As you can probably tell from the word bum, this is yet another title in my ever-expanding British cook collection, so a good kitchen scale is a necessity. I got it from an Amazon marketplace seller so didn't have to go to the UK site this time.

Thus far, I've made only the brownies on p. 65. Granted, they may not seem like the best place to start, but I wanted brownies last night, I wanted a new recipe, and I must say these are pretty damn good. Unfortunately, they are not the exact recipe as it's called "Chocolate, Cherry and Walnut Brownies" and I had neither cherries nor walnuts in the house, but the important part--the actual brownie base itself--is divine. I substituted a mass quantity of freshly chopped white chocolate and can't complain at all.

The other recipe that caught my eye yesterday was one for soup, on p. 112, Cauliflower Cheese Soup. I decided to take the original and run with it, and I'm pleased to say that I've cleared this week's challenge of a new vegetarian recipe, one that I think Bridget would really enjoy. The original calls for a baking potato, peeled and chopped. In my fridge I had eight cooled, already baked potatoes, waiting to be gutted so I could freeze the skins for later use. This is what led me to spinning her recipe into something else. As below:

Jo Pratt-inspired Baked Potato Cauliflower Soup

2 tbsp butter
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 head cauliflower, chopped
Centers from eight small/medium baked potatoes*
Salt, pepper
Water (1-2 cups)
Milk (1-2 cups)
4oz really good sharp cheddar, grated or thinly sliced (I really, really like Tillamook)

Melt butter in large soup pot. Add onions and garlic, season with a good pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper, and cook gently until onions are soft but not at all brown. Add the cauliflower and potatoes. Add water halfway up the ingredients; add milk until just covering the cauliflower and potatoes. Bring to a simmer and cook at a bare bubble until everything is soft and the potatoes are nicely crumbled. If it seems dry, top up with a little milk. Start pureeing using a stick blender, adding the cheese as you go (it will melt in the hot soup, and the blender helps to amalgamate it). Once there are no lumps you're done.

*I often bake a dozen potatoes, halve them, scoop them out, and freeze the skins so I can make potato skins at a moment's notice. However, it makes for a lot of potato guts so this is a good way to use up quite a bit of them. The rest are nice fried for breakfast or a snack.

An update on last week, I made the Goan Shrimp Curry with Eggplant from Ruta's book and yeah, you really need to run out and get this book. I can't stress enough how much love I have for these recipes and reading it is a real treat.


Bridget said...

Potatoes + cauliflower = what's not to love???

Lisa said...

Add the cheese and it's a vegan delight. ;)

Jenn said...

Brownies and girly book covers I can get behind. But cauliflower soup? Not so much.

Kee Kee said...

The soup sounds yummy!!!!!!!!