Cooking the Books: Bill Granger’s Holiday

I’ve been struck down by man-flu this week (i.e. my pathetic-ness and whingieness about being sickness eclipses my actual illness). Instead of staying home in bed to recover, we’ve had a busy weekend of social events, so I’ve shared my pathetic self with friends (though hopefully I haven’t shared my cold!).

One of the social things this weekend was a gathering of a few of my fellow food bloggers for the third edition of “Cooking the Books”. I haven’t even blogged the second one yet, but Shellie and Kat have already blogged this weekend’s catch up. Talk about organised!

But back to the second edition. Late last year, a group of us got together for the second round of “Cooking the Books” – where fellow cookbook addicts gathered for a lunch that’s all made from the same cookbook. We used Bill Granger’s Holiday on this occasion.

(See Shellie’s post on the first Cooking the Books, and Thanh’s post on the second.)

I’ve owned Bill Granger’s Holiday for a while, but haven’t used it much. I’ve done lots of flicking through it, but nothing ever took my fancy. So it took me a while to decide on what to make, and eventually I choose lemongrass chicken burgers – the recipe is only for the chicken patties, so I cheated a bit and used a Stephanie Alexander recipe (from the Cook’s Companion) to make brioche burger buns. Since there was going to be a lot of food, and I knew we would want to try a bit of everything, I made little mini burgers rather than full size ones. Plus mini food rocks!

The main reason I’m finally getting around to blogging this catch up is so I can show off the photo of my little burgers. ;) I thought they were really good! I really liked the chicken pattie mixture and would definitely make them again. The chicken patties were juicy and flavoursome – very fragrant with the lemongrass and fish sauce. As mentioned above, I made the buns out of brioche, and on top of the patties I put a mixture of tomato sauce and homemade chili sauce – mhmm so good.

Everyone else also made delicious dishes:

April made a beef and red wine stew along with mashed potatoes.

Kat went a bit crazy and just about cooked an entire menu from the book! She made a leg of lamb with Indian flavours and an accompanying tomato chutney.

She also made turmeric-spiced potatoes to go with the lamb. We also brought along the same salad – hah – that I neglected to take a photo of. It was a simple carrot salad with olives and a honey cumin dressing.

Thanh made the soy and mirin chicken wings. He likes his chicken wings! ;)

Shellie brought along two dishes: this is the pork meatballs with curry sauce. I really enjoyed them, but apparently the meatballs she made for the first Cooking the Books were better! The first ones must’ve been mindblowing!

And she also did the pork, veal and pistachio sausage rolls.

Now somehow my photos of Celeste’s green ratatouille and pink lemonade got lost. Doh! Nevertheless, it was great to eat some vegetables with our meal and finish off with a sweet drink.

Now it’s not a food blogger gathering without dessert, and we had a couple to choose from.

Emma made a gorgeous mango and macadamia trifle. I loved this – despite the lashings of cream it seemed refreshing and light. She’s blogged the recipe at her site if you want to give it a go!

Thanh made the flourless chocolate and hazelnuts cake. This cake was SO SWEET and rich. Unfortunately it was way too sweet for my tastes and it makes my teeth hurt just remembering it!

Fortunately Thanh also brought along a pandan chiffon cake which I liked much more.

Thanks to all the attendees for a delicious lunch and for making me use this poor overlooked cookbook in my collection. It made me realise that it does have some good recipes. Am looking forward to the fourth Cooking the Books!