I have quite a few cookbooks in my collection actually. I've never actually counted them all . . . but there were (at last count) probably close to 1000. (Don't judge me.) I've been collecting cookbooks since I was about 16 and as I am now 59 (how did that happen???), that's a pretty long time. I do have my favourites and I wanted to show you one of those today . . . it also happens to be one of my oldest ones. In fact . . . this cookery book was published before I was even born.
This was a cookbook that my mother purchased in a library of housekeeping books back in the early 1950's. I remember devouring this book often when I was growing up (along with her high school Home Economics Text Book) and I have to say that it is pretty much the book which taught me a lot of my basic cooking skills. The Money Saving Cookbook, by Ida Bailey Allen
I love this foreword by Ida Bailey Allen. Who doesn't want to get their money's worth out of their grocery budget??? I know I've always tried to get as much bang for my money spent as possible.
Alot of people would take one look at this book and cast it aside. Admittedly it's not much to look at . . . and really some of the instructions are a bit outdated . . . I would never, for instance, cook broccoli for 15 to 20 minutes! But with a bit of common sense and a touch of experience and skill, this cookbook is a real gem.
Whilst some of the cooking times are a bit outdated, it is filled with a wealth of information about other things, such as how to bone or skin a fish . . . or how to roast a turkey perfectly, and a whole lot of other delicious and handy information.
There are fabulously tasty and economical recipes in this book, like this tasty Vegetable Stew with Cheese Puff Dumplings that I made for our supper today.
With just a few vegetables . . . carrots, celery, cabbage, onion, tinned tomatoes and surprisingly a chopped apple . . . I ended up with a delicious fabulously thick stew . . . I did add some balsamic vinegar, a quite modern ingredient . . . but I thought where it called for caramlizing a bit of sugar at the beginning a bit of vinegar would go down well . . .
I was not wrong. This was delicious . . . and what made it even tastier and more rib sticking . . .
was that tasty topping of Cheese Puffed Dumplings . . . say that slowly . . . Cheese . . . Puffed . . . Dumplings. Doesn't that sound utterly scrummy???
They absolutely were. I hope you'll try this recipe out and I think that when you do you will agree with me wholeheartedly . . . it may be an almost 60 year old recipe, but it's a winner winner/chicken dinner!
*Vegetable Stew with Cheese Puff Dumplings*
Comforting and quite tasty.
1 1/2 tsp sugar
4 TBS butter
2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
1 medium onion, peeled, cut in half and thinly sliced
2 cups shredded white cabbage (1/3 of a small head)
2 stalks of celery, diced
1/2 of a small swede, peeled and chopped
1 medium eating apple, peeled and diced, core discarded
400g tin of chopped plum tomatoes, undrained (2 1/2 cups)
2 1/2 tins of water
1 vegetable stock pot
fine sea salt and black pepper to taste
splash of balsamic vinegar
few grains of cayenne pepper
For the dumplings:
200g of plain flour (2 cups)
4 tsp baking powder
1 TBS white vegetable fat
2 ounces grated strong cheddar cheese (1/2 cup)
180ml of milk (3/4 cup, you may not need it all, or you may need more)
Measure the sugar into a large saucepan. Heat over medium heat until it begins to caramelize and turn dark brown. Add the butter all at once and stir to melt. Add all of the vegetables, stirring, and cook until they are lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Add the apple, tomatoes, water, stock pot, vinegar and seasonings. Cover and simmer for about 40 minutes, or until very tender.
To make the cheese dumplings, whisk together the flour, baking powder and a pinch of salt. Rub in the fat until crumbly. Stir in the cheese and then add milk to give you a thick dough which you can roll out.. Roll out to 1/2 inch thick on a lightly floured board. Cut into rounds or squares as desired using a sharp biscuit cutter. Drop on top of the bubbling stew, cover tightly and cook for a further 20 minutes. Restrain yourself from peeking. They are done when they look set and glossy on top and you can see air bubbles in them.
Ladle the stew out into heated bowls, topping each serving with a dumpling or two.
DO try this. You won't be sorry! Cheap and cheerful, filling, nutritious and economical.