Cookbook 161: Jacob Food

I backed Jacob Food: An Entertainer’s Guide to Food You’ll Actually Make by Jacob Leung on a crowdfunding platform because a) cookbook, and b) cookbook. It was a while ago now, but thanks to lockdown and needing something to look forward to, I finally reached cooking from this cookbook, and I wasn’t disappointed. Jacob has certainly thought about what people like to eat, what flavours go together, and how to provide that information to people in an easy to understand way.

I made three dishes from this cookbook and I’d make them all again. The only one I’d change slightly, if I made it again, would be the gnocchi – and that’s only to suit Nigel’s taste because he wanted more garlic – something he claims you can’t have to much of, and I tend to agree with him. Overall I give this book 4 out of 5 stars.

Cheesy Peasy Fritters (serves 4)

Ingredients

  • 300g zucchini, coarsely grated
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 200g haloumi, coarsely grated
  • 3/4 cup peas, cooked and crushed
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan
  • 1/2 cup plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch dried chilli flakes
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup vegetable oil (ish)
  • 4 radishes, thinly sliced (optional)
  • 4 baby cucumbers, thinly sliced (optional)
  • micro herbs, to serve (optional)

Dill tzatziki

  • 3/4 cup Greek yoghurt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp dill, finely chopped

Method:

  1. Mix the zucchini and salt and place into a sieve or colander set over a large bowl (make sure the bottom of the sieve is well clear of the base of the bowl). Stand for 15 minutes, then press down to remove excess moisture.
  2. Meanwhile, place the haloumi, peas, parmesan, flour, baking powder, chilli flakes and eggs into a mixing bowl and mix until well combined. Add the zucchini, discarding liquid.
  3. Heat some of the oil (enough to cover the base by 2.5mm) in a large heavy-based frying pan over a medium heat. Place 1/2 cups of the mixture into the pan and cook for about 3 minutes on each side or until golden and cooked through. Drain on paper towel and repeat with the remaining mixture, adding and heating new oil between each batch.
  4. For the dill tzatziki, combine the yoghurt, cumin and dill in a small bowl.
  5. Serve the fritters with a dollop of the dill tzatziki, and the baby cumber, radish and micro herbs if using

Notes on this recipe:

  • These were amazing. I don’t like peas and you could not taste the peas and they made the fritters colourful
  • The dill tzatziki was amazing and I would totally make that again
  • Everyone loved these and we have plans for making them on the BBQ when we next have one

Chorizo Orecchiette (serves 6)

Ingredients:

  • 500g chorizo
  • 2 red onions, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • Pinch dried chilli flakes
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 800g tin diced tomatoes
  • 500g orecchiette pasta
  • 1/2 cup parsley (or not)
  • grated parmesan cheese, to serve

Method:

  1. Place the chorizo into a large, deep frypan over a medium heat. Saute for 5 minutes. Add the onion, garlic, paprika and chilli flakes. Saute for 4 minutes or until the onion softens.
  2. Mix in the tomato paste, red wine, honey and tomatoes. Simmer gently, uncovered, for 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes
  3. Cook the orecchiette in a large pot of boiling, salted water according to packet instructions. Drain, then toss with the tomato and chorizo sauce. Stir in the chopped parsley (if using) and serve immediately with a generous sprinkling of parmesan cheese.

Notes on this recipe:

  • He wasn’t kidding that this fed 6 people. Three of us ate some of it for dinner and then the three of us finished it off for lunch a couple of days later.
  • 500g is a surprising amount of chorizo
  • It’s really tasty and I would cook it again (though I’d probably halve it)

Oh-My-Gnocchi! (serves 4)

Ingredients:

  • 80g butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 300g mixed mushrooms, cleaned (he recommends swiss brown, button, oyster and shiitake – I used king, oyster and another one), halved if large
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 8 sage leaves, sliced
  • 500g fresh gnocchi
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

Method:

  1. Heat the butter and olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the mushrooms, garlic and sage. Saute until the butter starts to brown and the mushrooms soften.
  2. Cook the gnocchi in a large pot of salted, boiling water as per the packed instructions. Drain the gnocchi and add to the frying pan, tossing it through the mushrooms and butter. Continue to cook until the gnocchi is lightly golden.
  3. Serve immediately, sprinkled with chopped walnuts.

Notes on this recipe:

  • The combination of mushrooms that I chose were very mushroomy, so beyond the mouthful I had, I didn’t really have any of this dish.
  • Whatever the packet instructions say for the gnocchi cook it for the minimum amount of time so it can pan fry nicely.
  • Nigel wanted more garlic and more cheese, so when he reheated this for lunch a couple of days later, he smothered it in more garlic and cheese and said it was even better than when he first had it – something to keep in mind if you like mushrooms, garlic and cheese together.

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