Cottage Cooking Club – March 2015

Stir fry

We’ve reached the halfway point of the Cottage Cooking Club’s exploration of River Cottage Veg and the group is taking this month to catch up on recipes they may have missed in previous months. As for me, I’m just glad my new copy of the book has arrived. Inexplicably, my first copy of the book disappeared during the great re-piping project in January and no amount of looking has turned it up. I suspect that I will find it, now that I’ve got another copy. At least I hope so, because I have a lot of notes in the margins of the original.

As a result, I missed last month and this month I’ve only got one recipe on deck – Winter Stir-fry with Chinese Five-spice. This is the sort of recipe I’d like to say that I make regularly, but really need a reminder to undertake. I used to make stir-fries all the time in my youth. Now I spend so much time exploring new recipes, that I forget about the kitchen skills I’ve carried for years. To be fair, in those days I also spent a lot of time on political marches, taking university courses, and dancing in clubs.

Things change, though perhaps we shouldn’t leave so much behind. There are political matters that are just as urgent today, life-long learners get more satisfaction from their lives, and those who dance into their twilight years seem happier than the rest of us. Stir-fries, too, shouldn’t become just the stuff of dinners out – they are the epitome of the healthy, well-seasoned home cooking that’s being encouraged by food advocates everywhere.

Seasoning is the key, along with paying attention to how much cooking each vegetable requires. Some of my youthful attempts at stir-fry were a little ham-fisted and needed a little more care than the lashings of soy sauce and lemon they suffered. It took time and practice to get the hang of it and I think that helped me to become a better cook overall.

This stir-fry is simple, relying on five-spice powder, soy sauce, and rice wine for flavour, with a finish of fresh lime juice. It’s also a good choice for that in-between season when spring gardens are only just being planted. Carrot, parsnip, and mushroom give substance to the dish, while shredded Brussels sprouts are nice alternative to the usual wilted greens.


I’d also like to say thank you to Andrea, our fearless and talented leader, who blogs at The Kitchen Lioness. She was kind enough to send participants an Easter gift and you can see some of the lovely ornaments she included, above. This group has been a wonderful way to connect with more talented and interesting bloggers. It’s also been a great way to explore my partner’s newly-vegan diet with him. We choose from each month’s offerings together and the group’s recipes have become staples in our everyday eating.

I’m looking forward to cooking through the rest of the book, barring any more disappearing cookbooks.

Here are the links to the rest of the group’s posts for this month. I encourage you to check them out – you’ll meet some wonderful bloggers and get some great inspiration for vegetarian eating.


7 thoughts on “Cottage Cooking Club – March 2015

  1. How frustrating that you lost your book! I’m sure you’ll find it now that you’ve replaced it. I’m with you on stir fries. Every time I make one I wonder why I don’t make them more often. I do think learning how to make them is a great way to improve cooking skills, and this was a delicious one. I’m so glad we get to cook through this book together for another 10 months!

  2. I love a good stir-fry and this one was pretty special with its winter vegetables and five spice seasoning. I’m looking forward to another 10 months of cooking through this book – glad to have you back for it.

  3. Thank you for making and posting about the Winter Stir-fry with Chinese Five-spice. Unlike you, I never got into stir-fries (my bad) and think they would be great for solo cooking. So much easier to work with portions when doing a stir fry. I obviously didn’t even look at this recipe because I think I would have tried it. So many good recipes to try. Not enough time. Yours looks pretty tasty and I know I’ll be making it soon. Nice job. Glad you’re back with us. I can always send you a recipe or two if you misplace your book, Teresa.

  4. I really enjoyed the stir-fry as well. I’m in another cooking group, called Wok Wednesdays, where we are cooking through Stir-Frying to the Sky’s Edge, by Grace Young. If you want to get back into stir-frying, it is a fabulous book! I hope you find your original book!!

  5. I really want to make this stir fry. Since we can’t even plant our spring garden yet, I will try to work it into the menu before the winter vegetables are all gone. Looks delicious!

  6. Dear Teresa, sorry I am so very late with Cottage Cooking Club comments but it has been such a busy time lately – be that as it may, I loved that stir-fry recipe so much, I made it twice in one week and all of a sudden there were no more Brussels sprouts to be found at the stores and I had not taken pictures before – so I did not get to include my review in my post but we loved this dish and I will make sure to remember it when Brussels sprouts are in season again – your presentation looks fabulous and so delicious!
    What a shame that you could not find your copy of the book and how very nice that you went through the trouble of getting another one! I certainly appreciate your enthusiasm, thank you for being part of this wonderful group and thank you for posting the picture of the little Eatser surprise – i am just glad that it arrived in time!
    Liebe Grüsee,

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