Bought at: The combined Sydney book launch of ‘A Basket by the Door’ by Sophie Hansen, ‘Tortellini at Midnight’ by Emiko Davies & ‘A Tree in the House’ by Annabelle Hickson - March 2019. This event took place a couple of weeks before ‘A Basket by the Door’ was officially released, and I was so happy to be able to buy a copy a little early! It was also wonderful to have the book signed by Sophie. I then spent the remainder of the afternoon after the book launch, looking through the book and never wanting it to end.
Recipes Made: Pistachio, Cardamon & Rose Balls p.17, Sweet Verjus-Pickled Strawberries with Vanilla and Pink Peppercorns p.66, Orange and Quinoa Biscuits p.66, Apple, Fennel & Pork Sausage Rolls p.142, Quick Tomato Chutney p.142, Quince Chutney p.145, Pasta Salad with Olive and Walnut Pesto p.159, Piedmontese Capsicums p.183, Quince Butter p.199, Anna’s Minestrone p.215 and Baked Apple Porridge p.216.
The Pistachio Cardamom and Rose Balls are the first ‘bliss ball’ type of thing I have ever made or eaten. I am not one for ‘healthy’ fad foods just for the sake of it, I am after flavour and lots of it. I also find that many bliss balls use some kind of chocolate or cacao and cashews, all of which I cannot eat. These on the other hand, are not like regular bliss balls. The fact that this recipe was the first I made from the book is testament to that. The combination of dates, honey, cardamom and rose makes these balls moorish and actually worth making. I am finding they are a great snack for work days.
I first tried Sophie’s Sweet Verjus-Pickled Strawberries with Vanilla and Pink Peppercorns and the Orange and Quinoa Biscuits at the first Local is Lovely Workshop back in 2014. As we all madly took photos, Sophie demonstrated how to make them and we got to sample some. After that I have recreated it home many time, served with a nice goats cheese or curd and fresh honeycomb.
Ok, the Apple Fennel and Pork Sausage Rolls are the absolute bomb. I am not a big meat eater, but I do love pork, and these sausage rolls are the best I have ever had. They first appeared in column Sophie wrote for the Domain Magazine last year, and I saved the recipe and have made them numerous times ever since. Once I realised how utterly amazing they were, I started making double and freezing them rolled into logs ready to cook. I have made a couple of batches of the Quick Tomato Chutney, which is great with the sausage rolls. I also love serving it with frittatas as well.
The Quince Chutney on the other hand, is the best accompaniment to these sausage rolls. This recipe also appeared in the Domain mag last year, so I made one batch of it. I was so disappointed when it was all gone, that this year I am determined to make at least two batches. If I can really recommend anything to make from this book, top of my list would be these sausage rolls with the quince chutney.
I made the Pasta Salad with Olive and Walnut Pesto so I had something nice to take to work for lunch, inspired by this chapter in the book about making time for lunch during work. I made the pesto with almonds as I didn’t have any walnuts and I loved it. And I definitely didn’t have any “sad desk lunch[es]” that week!
The Piedmontese Capsicums are probably my favourite way to eat capsicums. Again I first tried this dish at the first Local is Lovely Workshop, and have made it again and again ever since. The leftovers are really great added to the topping of a pizza, and as I am such a caper and anchovy fiend I add more than the recipe actually stipulates!
While I have poached quince many times now, I have only recently made them into Quince Butter. Using Sophie’s recipe for poaching, the quinces turned a very deep burgundy red which was most satisfying. I have seen the recipe for quince butter before, and I have to say the lack of water in the recipe always confused me. I did everything as the recipe said until I lost my nerve once the quince were in the oven and added about 1/2 cup water - the mixture was so syrupy almost toffee like I just couldn’t hang around for three hours while it was all in the oven and wonder if it would work! It did in the end and tastes amazing.
I absolutely love the Minestrone Soup recipe in ‘A Basket by the Door’. The same recipe can be found on Sophie’s blog, and I have been making it for the last couple of Winters now. It is super tasty and comforting on a chilly Winter’s evening, and the left overs are great for work lunches or frozen for another time. I always end up using a white wine in the soup rather than red, and there is always a bottle of white wine for cooking open in our fridge. Sometimes I also leave out the pasta and just have the barley and cannellini beans. Mostly because the starch of the pasta thickens the soup up a lot (which is quite noticeable if you are planning on having leftovers), and the soup is so tasty without it I don’t ever miss it.
I made the Baked Apple Porridge last weekend, as an alternative to making my usual Muesli Breakfast Crumble. It smelt so delicious when it was baking, that even though I made it in the afternoon ready for pre-work breakfasts during the week, I just had to taste a little when it was ready! I added some poached quince to mine as well as the apples, and it was delicious. Definitely the perfect warming breakfast for a chilly morning. I served mine with yoghurt and honey as Sophie suggests, though I think some of the quince butter could be lovely with it too!
Favourite Things About the Book: The recipes and the photos! I love the variety of recipes in this book, and that so many of my favourites from Sophie’s blog are included too. Sophie’s food is exactly the kind of food I like to make and eat, simple, seasonal and super tasty. I knew when I heard this book was in the works it would be good, and it certainly hasn’t disappointed. I also love the photography in the book, and the fact that there are so many photos. The pages with the collages of photos are great, and really bright and inviting. The combination of fantastic recipes and photos makes this book so inviting and warm, and one I will be cooking from forever.
Bookmarked Recipes (to make later!): Beetroot, Walnut and Pomegranate Dip p.22, Fennel and Sausage Ragu p.35, The Chicken Pie pp.39-41, Hot-Smoked Salmon and Zucchini Tart p.46, Baked Ricotta with Spring Greens p.69, Vanilla, Peach and Mint Iced Tea p.105, Brunekager p.107, Tomato, Capsicum and Pearl Couscous Salad p.160, Triple Ginger Loaf p.164, Braised Fennel and Tomato p.219, to name a few!