December's snow and the current very cold snap we're in the midst of here, have got me cooking non-stop. There's nothing like a hot oven and a kitchen filled with good smells to take the chill out of winter. Last fall I bought a new cookbook — "Long Nights and Log Fires: Warming Comfort Food for Family and Friends." I found it at Cluck The Chicken Store, which I wrote about not too long ago.
The book is published by Ryland, Peters & Small and is not a title I've seen elsewhere, so I was happy to discover it at Cluck. The photos that accompany almost every recipe made the book an easy sell for me. A cookbook is not one of those things that I would buy online, sight unseen. I want to read the recipes and get a sense of the content before I plunk down my money.
Ever since I brought "Long Nights" home, it's been sitting by my favorite reading spot where I can dip into it when I'm wondering what to make for dinner. The soups are one of the strongest sections of the book. I've made a number of them, all delicious: "roasted tomato soup with rarebit toasts," "slow-cooked onion and cider soup, and "monkfish, fennel and saffron bourride with harissa aioli." The cider soup was interesting because it uses veggie stock instead of beef (which is how I've usually made it), plus hard sweet cider and egg yolks which gives it a lighter color and a more subtle flavor.
I've also made a hearty "smokey sausage and bean casserole" with chipotle sausages, cannellii beans, smoked paprika and maple syrup. The next recipe I want to try is an entree: "sticky pork tenderloin with a pecorino crust, mustard mash and balsamic onions." Doesn't that sound yummy? At least to those of you who eat meat.
The dishes illustrated in the photo above (clockwise from bottom left) are: "goat cheese, leek and walnut tart," "egg, bacon and spinach pie," and "real treacle tart with carmelized bananas."