Pros: Lots of recipes, 1000, to keep your menus fresh. Recipes are categorized by seasons.
Cons: The only thing I wish they had was a gluten free section. That is just a wish. This book has plenty of recipes without gluten in them.
DK seems to have done it again. They have produced a truly wonderful cookbook. Cooking Season by Season, 1000 recipes to cook through the year by DK has become my current favorite go-to cookbook. It is a wonderful hard back cookbook brimming with colorful photographs of truly tempting dishes. True to DK fashion the pages are nice and durable. This cookbook is categorized by seasons, complete with color coded pages, making it easy to locate the season you want. The categories are: spring, early summer, high summer, fall, early winter, and late winter. Inside each of these chapters you will also find the recipes broken down in a more traditional format beginning with starters and ending with desserts. The part I found most useful was the recipe planner at the beginning of each section. First is a list of what is “at their best,” from vegetables, fruits, seafood, meat, poultry, and game. Then you have a whole menu section where the recipes are broken out by ingredient. For instance, in the spring you may have a bunch of fresh spinach. Simply look up spinach in the index or go to spring and you will see spinach listed and below it all the recipes that correlate to it. Having this section available makes seasonal menu planning a breeze.
In the four weeks I have had Cooking Season by Season I have already tried a recipes. Every single recipe came out perfect. I am definitely not an expert when it comes to knowing what is seasonal. I find it hard to know what is seasonal because almost everything is available in our grocery stores year round. With the knowledge I have from this book I am able to shop more confidently and prepare meals that really showcase the best of the season. This enables me to go into the grocery store and choose the truly seasonal items at their best. The step by step detailed instructions make this book ideal for any home cook. I highly recommend it.
As I mentioned earlier I have tried many of the recipes in this cookbook. It is hard to choose just one to share. The one I chose, “beef and ale cobbler,” was enjoyed by everyone in my family. I hope you enjoy it too.
Beef and ale cobbler
Making use of a host of winter vegetables, this hearty cobbler is great for feeding a crowd. The filling can be prepared days ahead and the whole dish needs no additional attention once it has gone into the oven.
Prep: 40 mins
Cook: 2 hrs 30 mins – 3 hrs 15 mins
Special Equipment: 2in (5cm) pastry cutter
¼ cup olive oil
2 onions, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely diced
1 leek, finely sliced
5 ½ oz (150g) button mushrooms, wiped, halved or quartered, if needed
1lb 5oz (600g) beef stew meat, such as chuck, cut into 1 ¼ in (3cm) chunks
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups dark ale, such as stout or porter
1 ¼ cups beef stock
1 bouquet garni
1 tbsp sugar
2 large carrots cut into ¾ in (2cm) chunks
For the cobbler
1 ¾ cups self-rising flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
8 tbsp unsalted butter, chilled and diced
1 tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
3 tbsp horseradish sauce or horseradish cream
2-4 tbsp milk
1 large egg, beaten, for glazing
1. In a large flameproof casserole, heat 2 tbsp of the oil and cook the onion, celery, and leek for about 5 minutes until soft and translucent. Add the mushrooms and cook for 3-4 minutes until they begin to color in places. Remove the vegetables with a slotted spoon and set aside.
2. Toss the steak in 2 tbsp seasoned flour. Heat the remaining oil in the casserole and cook the meat, a few pieces at a time, until browned on all sides. Remove the meat as it cooks and add it to the vegetables. Return the meat to the casserole with the vegetables, cover with the ale, stock, the bouquet garni, sugar, and carrots, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to its lowest setting, cover, and cook for 2-2 ½ hours, until the meat is tender. Check it from time to time and add a little water if it is drying out.
3. Preheat the oven to 400° (200°C). Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Using your fingertips, rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Add the parsley. Whisk the horseradish sauce and mil, and use it to bind the dry ingredients to form a soft dough.
4. Roll out the dough on a floured work surface to about ¾ inch (2cm) thick. Using a pastry cutter, cut out circles. Re-roll the off cuts and re-cut until the dough is used up. When the stew is cooked, remove the bouquet garni and top the stew with the disk of cobbler dough. Overlap them slightly so that there are very few gaps where the filling can be seen.
5. Brush the cobbler tops with beaten egg and bake in the middle of the oven for 30-40 minutes until the pastry is puffed up and golden brown. Remove the casserole dish from the oven and let the stew rest for 5 minutes before serving.