Welcome to this week’s Cook with Jamie post for my online Cook Along Book Club. I’m telling you – I have spent so much time going over the recipes in this book I’m starting to know them by heart. I even lugged it with me to the cottage this weekend where I made an anniversary dinner for hubby and myself from it!

 So getting started with this week’s recipes! First up was a simple crunchy side salad from page 27 with Sicilian dressing page 24. This was alright… nothing special really. I liked the addition of the green beans, but probably would have liked them better if I hadn’t over cooked them. Kind of defeats the purpose of a crunchy salad to have soft beans. The dressing was another oregano, lemon and olive oil concoction – he really likes this flavour combo.

Next up is the Pan Roasted Salmon (page 212). It was different. I found it hard to grind up the seasonings and the anchovies – it never really turned into a paste for me. More of a play dough of fish and rosemary. The flavours were still good – but I found the salmon itself to be really basic (just pan fried) then there was too much lemon in the veg. Good for the first couple bites and too much after that.

Then I made Onion Gratin from page 333. Holy crap. I hate onions but this was amazing. Just amazing. I used smoked provolone because it was on sale vs. buying Gruyère… but I don’t see how this dish could have been improved. So much flavour – so awesome. I even forgot to add the wine and I still loved it. It should be noted that this dish probably has more calories and fat in it than your entire meal should. But every once in a while I can see myself making this again… drool…

I enlisted Hubby’s help for the Ravioli of Pecorino, Potato and Mint on page 102. Rolling out the dough for the fresh pasta is easier said than done when you don’t have a pasta roller. And don’t tell me about the Italian Grandmas who can do it… they must have killer biceps. I was wary of this flavour combo – potatoes and mint? But you know what… it works! I tried it with the butter sauce and a pesto sauce. You really do need the lightness of the butter to taste the flavour in the ravioli… or in my case pasta cushions because Ravioli’s are harder to make.  It was my first time… give me a break. It was also very time consuming but I’m guessing the more practice you have the faster you’ll get.

I made the Rib Roast of Beef with Beetroot and Horseradish (page 154) and Rosemary Straw Potatoes (page 306) for my inlaws when they came over for dinner. And as I write this review I’m starting to think I forgot to add the horse radish to the dish. Hmmm…. I wonder….

The roast still turned out great. I actually had two – one grass fed and one Angus beef I got from Loblaws. Oh man the Loblaws beef was chewy and not nearly as flavourful as the grass fed. Not to mention expensive. I suppose if you were just trying it on its own you wouldn’t see much of a problem, but when you compared the two you could tell there really wasn’t much of a comparison to make.

The potatoes were great! It was my first time trying and it turned out well. The match sticks were cut nice and fine (thanks to our last book Complete Techniques with Jacques Pepin!)  so they cooked quickly and the rosemary gave the dish a light feeling even though it was deep fried.

Next up Roasted Cauliflower with Cumin, Coriander and Almonds (page 342).  Now this was a tasty dish! So much flavour and so much better for you than just dumping cheese sauce on the veg. It might be a little too spicy for young ones, but I liked it and Hubby did too. It’s also the one dish I’ve made that actually kind of looks the way his does!

The Mushroom Risotto from page 131 is a different story… I didn’t have white wine so I used red. While still ending up with a really great end product, it looked NOTHING like the book. As to be expected. The other thing I need to keep in mind is to look at serving size – this was for 8 people. A little too much for the two of us. We ate it for days. Luckily it was good reheated. I also need to remember that my handfuls are much smaller than Jamie’s, so when he says 4 handfuls of mushrooms – its best to add 5 or 6 if you want a real mushroom dish!

Finally, Chocolate Brownies (page 384). These were rich, decadent and amazing. I loved them with the orange flavoured creme fresh and it reminded me of the chocolate dessert I had while visiting Fifteen (Jamie’s restaurant and foundation) in London last fall. The best part of them is that instead of just tasting sugar, like you do with packaged brownies, you can really taste chocolate. And although they are high in fat (come on they have to be with that much chocolate and butter!) you are satisfied after a small piece because they are so rich. Unlike those low fat brownie mixes where I swear I could eat the whole pan in one sitting. I’ll be making these again… but maybe only on occasions where I can share them.

Next week let’s tackle:

– Root Vegetable Salad, page 43
– Old School Pork Shops, page 179
– Saturday Afternoon Pasta, page 64
– Pot Roasted Poussin, page 189
– Buttered Peas with Crunchy Bacon, page 320
– Cheesy Peas (since you’re already buying peas!), page 324
– Carrot Cake, page 387

Until next time!