I have to admit I am something of a cook book snob. I can never bring myself to buy a cookbook with a picture of the cook/chef on the cover. To me it screams; buy me because I’m written by X, rather than buy me because I contain great food. This aversion to the smiling faces of celebrity chefs does prove problematic at times as there are some really good cook books with people on their covers. Anjum Anand’s I Love Curry comes to mind. That book combines an appalling cover photo of the chef (why the very dark lipliner?), and an appalling title (the love is denoted by a heart), so I have never been able to bring myself to buy it but I do borrow it from the local library quite frequently…. With all this in mind I was very happy to receive the River Cottage Veg Everyday cookbook as a belated Christmas present. I couldn’t bring myself to buy it – Hugh’s smiling face on the cover would have proved too much, but I’m really pleased I own it (saves having it on permanent loan from the library….).
Given the current excess of zucchini coming out of the garden;
I scanned the Index for zucchini recipes and failed to find any. Thinking that can’t be right I suddenly remembered this was the English edition. I tried again under courgette and found heaps. Amongst them was a really interesting recipe that I tried this week -Courgette and Rice Pie. I’m not going to give the recipe here as I’ve only made it once and I made it fair faithfully to his recipe. I will describe it though.
It is a zucchini and rice pie in filo. Essentially you put a mixture of rice, herbs (dill and parsley), onion, egg, a little parmesan and grated zucchini into a filo shell and bake in the oven. The rice gets cooked by the water released by the zucchini. I hadn’t tried this technique before and was really impressed with the results. One thing I would say about the River Cottage recipe is that my pie took significantly longer (double the time) to cook than the time given in the book. It did turn out well in the end though:
Naturally the rest of the family were unimpressed and demanded baked beans. Secretly I was pleased by this as it has meant I have had a weeks worth of lunches sorted out with minimum effort, plus some to feed mum & dad today. As they are normal people (as opposed to zucchini haters) they enjoyed it.
I will definitely make it again (perhaps with the little feta through it for extra flavour). I will also try the rice method with other high water content veg as I really liked the technique. So if you have the book (and it does have some other decent looking recipes in it) its definitely worth a go.
Veggiegobbler hosts Thursday Garden Gobbles and this post is my contribution to it.
Sounds interesting but we’ll have to wait for courgettes/zucchini.
Funny how some English speaking countries have adopted the Italian word and others the French one. Maybe we should have our own word e.g. zuchette or courgini
What an interesting idea. I wouldn’t have thought about rice cooked in this way. Maybe you should get a dehydrator zucchini chips would surely be a hit with your zucchini haters…my fussiest youngest loved them.
I’ve been keeping an eye out at Aldi but so far no dehydrators….Perhaps I’ll just have to fork out for a Fowlers one.
Damn, just returned that one to the library. I’ll have to borrow it again (I too have that one on semi permanent load). I’d love to buy it, but I’ve had to put myself on a cookbook diet until I have more room to store them (now there’s the real reason we’re moving!). Looks gorgeous and I love the idea of the rice cooking in the liquid from the zucchini.
It is definitely worth trying – I used a fair bit of dill in mine and really enjoyed the dilly flavour. You do need to cook for about double the time he lists and I reapplied the top layer of filo as a result.
Baked Beans in zucchini sauce? It must exist… I share your views on “celebrity” cookbooks. They are mostly about self-aggrandisement. That is one of the reasons why I like Yotam Ottolenghi’s books. Neutral covers, and only one small photo of the author. The emphasis is (as it really should be) on the food, not the chef.
It looks delicious.
I have the RC Veg book, but didn’t bother looking at the courgette recipes because I also live in a family of strange folk who won’t give this vegetable a fair chance… maybe I could make it in a single person sized portion, it looks delicious in your photos
If you like dill then all the better. Perhaps you could pretend it was something else….hmmm specks of parsley?
How long did you bake it? The rice was raw and it really got cooked inside? Amazing! I thought you were using cooked rice. Looks very yummy.
I ended up baking it for about 1.5 hrs, I had to put a new sheet of filo on the top as the original one started to look a little singed.
I can’t imagine my garden without Zucchini, its my most prolific veggie and I’m happy to eat it every day. I think my other half would like this as it is disguised with pastry :). If you added Feta it would be a bit like a Zucchini Spanakopita – Yum!
Yeah I would be – I love spanakopita so the idea is very appealling.
Love looking at what cook books are on friends shelves…………….I’m not into celeb cook books but do love Maggie Beer’s recipes and using her tomato sauce recipe today.
Uncooked rice in a pie…………who would of thought it would cook ! Happy to hear you get to enjoy some of your meals with normal people…..
Normal people on the odd occasion – although I could have done with them tonight – I got a “yuk, I’m going to play on the ‘puter” and a “mummy I don’t really like this”, lucky I liked it and ate theirs.
I’m thinking I am not picky enough about cookbook covers, which is why I have so many of them. I have one on my floor by me now, and guess what – the chef’s smiling face is on the cover!
Zucchini and rice pie sounds interesting. There’s nothing in there not to like. And summer is the perfect time for squash recipes, at least for me.
Unfortunately chef’s faces are the only covers I discriminate against and there are an awful lot of cookbooks that don’t feature them…..
Oh my word. I love river cottage and have looked at this book once but sounds like it is a winning book. I have never really given great thought to the chef book covers… There are a lot and I see your point.
I am impressed with cooking rice in a pie and I guess it saves draining the excess liquid off.
I reckon its definitely worth a browse, there are quite a few things I’m looking forward to making.