Stuffed Cabbage Leaves (page 38)
I regularly make Polish meat and rice stuffed cabbage rolls but I've failed in my attempts to develop a vegetarian version - the filling is often bland, too dry, over or undercooked...the list of problems goes on. I hoped this recipe would be the solution.
Stuffed with crunchy walnuts and chewy farro and barley (I omitted the fruit), and topped with a chunky tomato sauce, the flavour of these was really very good, and even better the next day. But I had issues with the cabbage. I used green cabbage since it looked far better than the savoy the day I went shopping, and more than just blanched the leaves before filling, cooking them until they were pliable. They didn't cook any further during baking. In my opinion, there's a time and place for crunchy cabbage, in a cabbage roll is not one of them. Perhaps the savoy cabbage called for in the recipe would have been better.
Couscous (Freekeh & Brown Calrose Rice) Salad with Herbs and Walnuts (page 89)
This hearty salad that I made with a mixture of freekeh and brown rice had wonderful texture: the grains were chewy, the walnuts crunchy and the vegetables still had a little bite to them after sautéing. My initial reaction to the flavour was very positive; I loved all the anise notes from the celery, fennel and fennel seed in the dish but after a few bites it didn't seem quite as exciting. I thought it was okay but not something I'd make again. Surprisingly, it was a hit with the carnivores (I've given up trying to predict what they'll like) who enjoyed it as a side to their grilled Italian sausages!
Patatas Bravas (page 322)
Roasted Parsnip "Chips" (page 357)
As with some of the other roasted vegetable recipes in this book, this one was more a technique than an actual recipe, and it was a technique that worked. The parsnip spears did resemble "chips", crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, and roasting brought out their sweet, earthy flavour. It was a great way to serve this vegetable that's often overlooked in my kitchen. Definitely something to make again.
I don't own another cookbook that I've wanted to cook from as much as this one or one with the same success rate: I've made over half the recipes chosen so far and enjoyed most of them (there are only a few I wouldn't repeat). So even in a month that wasn't quite as successful as some of the others, I still enjoyed cooking from the book and am looking forward to December's selections.
Visit the Cottage Cooking Club to see what everyone else made.