Saturday, April 01, 2017

Cookery Calendar Challenge: March

This month I cooked two recipes from James Martin's Masterclass, which is one of the many books I have on, ahem, extended loan from my mum! First up was polenta with wild mushrooms and parmesan. I chose this as I have been keen to try polenta, and also wanting to try and incorporate a few more meat-free dishes into our diet. Unfortunately, I overlooked the fact that I'm not a great fan of mushrooms, and so perhaps this wasn't a wise choice!

I also didn't realise that the cooling time required for the polenta was a lot longer than the cooking time for the mushrooms, as the recipe wasn't clear on how long to cool it for. Having already ended up making it on a night when I just wanted a quick dinner, because the mushrooms needed using, I'm afraid impatience got the better of me and I forged ahead with the frying of the polenta "squares" despite the fact that they were clearly collapsing as I tried to cut them. So, it was not a successful dish but more down to user error than anything wrong with the recipe! The Husband raved about it, and I must admit whilst texturally dubious, the polenta tasted delicious, although I think anything with that much butter and cheese in it would! I want to try and use the polenta again, with proper cooling time, and as there is plenty left in the bag, I may well do!

Next up was tandoori cod steaks. The fillets I got weren't as thick cut as I'd expected, I think cod loin would have been better, but this was a brilliant dish. The spice mixture was easy to make, and I had all of the various ingredients in the cupboard from previous curry recipes. After marinating the fish for a few hours, it cooked under the grill in ten minutes, and was full of flavour. I always enjoy curried fish when I choose it from a menu, and it was great to be able to recreate that style of dish at home. A great way to incorporate more fish into our diets, and a recipe I'll definitely be returning to again.

In a bid to use up some of the polenta, I tried to make these sweet potato fries from the BBC Good Food website this week. Alas, mine turned out dusty, rather than crunchy, so I continue on the hunt for a way to make my home-cooked sweet potato fries taste like the crispy coated ones I have eaten elsewhere! Any suggestions welcome!

The Cookery Calendar Challenge is the wonderful creation of Penny at The Homemade Heart, do use the button below to check out the other posts and see what recipe books people have been dusting off this month.


  1. Mmm, polenta! I recently saw a recipe for something with polenta and rosemary chips and I wanted to make it straight away, but I'm nervous about cooking it. But like you say, with butter and cheese...yum. I'll avoid sweet potato fries though. ;-) The fish dish looks really good though. x

  2. Polenta is the only thing my dad ever cooked. It would take at least an hour of stirring, until it didn't stick on the sides of the pan. He used a wooden porridge spurtle like tool to stir it. . Which reminds me that I broke ours when I used it to plant bulbs... Polenta is typically Northern Italian, a region my dad came from. I'd make it the day before and not using the fine polenta you can buy in the supermarket but something a little more coarse. Love mushrooms, particularly with polenta! Your curried fish looks really delicious. I make something similar and we all like it. My daughter tried making sweet potato chips, they were not crispy either, it must be a tricky root to work with. Have a lovely week. x

  3. They sound like good experiments to try! Hope the polenta is easier next time.

  4. 'Texturally dubious' What a great phrase! Thank you so much for joining me again this month Katie. I really like mushrooms, but I cook them for ages in a tiny bit of butter, stirring all the time, let them release all their moisture and continue to cook until the pan is starting to look quite dry, and the mushrooms are developing the beginnings of brown marks along the edges. That way they are very savoury and not atall slithery (which can make me feel a bit queasy). I think i have only cooked polenta once, many years ago, and I don't rememmber loving it. I was interested to read Christina's comment about her dad's method of cooking it. The curried fish looks absolutely delicious, I eat fish occasionally (under very strictly curated circumstances; no bones, no eyes, no skin, no fishy aftertaste). It is so quick to cook too, and I imagine grilling it would hive a delicious texture, yum. Look forward to your cookimg adventures in April x