The Philadelphia Cookbook by Philadelphia UK

I was searching through our bookshelves while writing the bookcase tour post and I stumbled across this Philedelphia book which I realised I haven’t yet reviewed. I love cooking and having my own kitchen has made that so much easier. I’ve made a dozen of the recipes from this book many times, especially when I’ve had to make dinner for lots of people on a tight budget, so I thought I would share my favourites with you.

Everyone adores cool, creamy Philadelphia, and it’s not just for spreading in a bagel – it’s an incredibly versatile cooking ingredient. Here for the first time are 110 fabulous recipes from the Philly team, from Party bites, Breads and bagels, Soups and light lunches, to Salads, Pasta, Fish and seafood dishes, Chicken, Rice and Risotto, and of course lots of Sweet treats and Divine cheesecakes.

fullsizerender-39Every single recipe has a handy Top Tip, and there are easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions for Philly novices and cooking experts alike. Packed with beautiful colour photography throughout, The Philadelphia Cookbook makes an invaluable addition to any kitchen.

I guess the main thing I’ve got to get across, probably like in every cookery book review is that this shouldn’t be another cookery book that just sits on your shelf. Since I got my tiny mitts on this book every time I’m lacking some inspiration it’s one of the first ones that I pick up. The book is split up into lots of sections including, soups, light lunches, breads & bagels, dinners, (including pasta, fish, rice, chicken and vegetables,) sweet treats and a separate section for cheesecakes if you’re into that thing.

So, how is it to use? The book is really easy to use and there are never too many ingredients. I always find that some cookery books have incredible looking dishes but they just have too many things going on. The most ingredient heavy recipe is the butternut, cauliflower and chickpea curry (which is delicious) and even that once you’ve bought the vegetables has mainly things you’ll find in your cupboard (such as chopped tomatoes, stock, olive oil etc.) The top tips are actually really good – some are a little obvious but it does explain some cooking styles (like sweating) or how to change up the dish for different tastes and the photographs are brilliant.

I think the book is really versatile – when I bought this I was a little suspicious about the bagels breads and the cheesecakes, there are the usual suspects (the classic smoked salmon bagel,) but other interesting combinations like roast vegetable and roast pumpkin bruschettas and also some fruit bagels (which don’t taste as odd as they sound,) are also included.

My favourites from the book include the thai green curry which has only a handful of ingredients fullsizerender-41and can be whipped up in only 15 minutes. The creamy mushroom risotto is also a goodun and although takes a bit of cooking tastes incredible and the baked sweet potatoes which are super healthy and also delicious. All have only a few number of ingredients and taste like they’re kinda difficult (but they’re super easy.) The desserts are also extensive and go beyond the sterotypical vanilla cheesecake including summer berry charlotte, a carrot cake and even a tiramisu.

I have to make a quick aside and mention that each of the recipes has a calorie and macro count. I realise for a lot of people that this probably isn’t important but, for me, and for anyone that is trying to keep an eye on their weight it is SUPER HELPFUL. Additionally, cream cheese tends to be pretty bad for you, but I find that a lot of the recipes, especially the soups are really reasonable.

So would I recommend this? Hella yes I would – although I guess if you don’t really like cream cheese it might not be for you? But if it is, then definitely invest in this book. I’m off to make a massive batch of creamy bean soup, I don’t know about you but that sounds amazing.

Linnnnnks

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101 things in 1001 days: Host a dinner party and make it beautiful

      101 things in 1001 days

So, I’ve been meaning to do this for a while and with many of my 101 things being to improve my ability to cook this one seemed like a good one to test out my newly improved skills at the stove. It’s not that I’m bad at it, I just never make the time and when I do it’s something easy or quick. Although it often tastes rather wonderful it’s never exactly a culinary masterpiece. Now, as you all know I recently moved into a new house and despite telling myself I would have a housewarming it’s been a couple of weeks since I moved in. Perfect excuse for a get together and to invite a couple of wonderful friends round; on the menu, dips and chips to start, vegetarian chilli for main and chocolate fudge brownie dessert for dinner. Pretty simple but pretty tasty.

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I started by buying a number of little tea light candles and crimson napkins. The house is so beautiful and the colours are so warm that once I had set the table with the round smooth chocolate coloured plates and had put out the jewel coloured coasters; a criss-cross design of ruby, emerald and sapphire squares it all looked a little wonderful. I then set about on the chilli. I started by cutting up two onions into little squares and two peppers; one red and one green. These were gently softened in the pan with some oil which took a little longer than thought but all in good time; let em get all soft and yummy. I then added the Quorn and browned that off which is a little difficult to do when it starts and ends the same colour but I cooked it off a little. Then I made up 400ml of vegetable stock. It did say 200 and a glass of red wine but I had none in so I just popped in a little more stock. After adding this to the pan with a tsp of chilli powder, ground coriander and cinnamon I pushed up the heat and let it bubble away. I then added two tins of chopped tomato and a tin of kidney beans and turned down the heat. I then let it cook for a little longer and then added a few more shakes of chilli powder.

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When my guests arrived I stuck the rice on and popped a stick of garlic bread in the oven and turned the chilli onto a low heat to warm up. I served the food with guacamole, sour cream and a bowl of chopped up chilli just in case it wasn’t hot enough. Chilli probably wasn’t the best choice because I had no idea for the life of me how hot people like their chilli. If it’s my mother cooking it you better be ready for some serious heat but I just wanted a kick at the end and then everyone could add heat accordingly. I must admit I think it tasted pretty good and was just the right amount. The only small error is I didn’t quite cook enough rice which is a little silly because when it’s me I always end up with a huge amount left over but for five I wasn’t sure how to judge it. Saying that people did have seconds and there was a little left over for dinner the next night. I then served the pudding with passion fruit frozen yoghurt which I think went down a treat.

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Overall I think it was a roaring success but then it is me. I’ve always marvelled at my mother’s ability to organise a three course meal and even with almost everything ready I was a little stressed and flustered despite being overly prepared. (Printing out four different chilli recipes and having dinner cooked an hour in advance, I was looking pretty good.) I’m really intrigued to do this again and serve something a little more complex. I make a mean Thai green curry and think that would go down a treat. It was the perfect way to celebrate my new house and the move, and something I will definitely be doing again.

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