I have not done well with the Cookbook Challenge this month. However, this monumental fail is not my fault. I have several excuses:
2) Chinese Elvis gave me nightmares and I woke up too tired to cook
3) I spent so much at Dinner, I couldn't afford ingredients
So I can't really be blamed for failing so miserably, not with all that going on.
Even with all those things to distract me, I did manage to follow two recipes. I made Iraqi sea bass with pomegranate molasses right at the start of February from The Iraqi Cookbook by Lamees Ibrahim. A beautiful book filled with interesting recipes, including pickles which sound fantastic and are the reason I bought the book. This being the fail month, I didn't manage pickles but only managed some baked fish. The sweet, astringent molasses worked well with the sea bass, although I might scale back the quantity if I made this again just to avoid overwhelming the fish.
My only other success, I am slightly embarrassed to admit, was making three different sambals from The Culture and Cuisine of the Cape Malays by Cass Abrahams. An interesting book filled with insights into the community's culture and the role of food in their celebrations, I really should have chosen a slightly more elaborate dish to test it out. However, I wanted bobotie and, whilst the book contains what is probably a perfectly good recipe for this dish, I have my own recipe adapted from the way my grandmother made it. It would be unthinkable to make it any other way. Likewise, after the meat and sambals, we had milk tart, that most traditional South African dessert only vaguely related to custard tart, made according to my aunt's time-honoured recipe. The sambals were great though: particularly an unusual mix of quince, lemon and green chilli whose sharpness worked beautifully with the fatty and fruity sweetness of the meat.
If I am going to catch up, I will need to follow thirteen recipes in March. I am away for the first week of the month though so the chances of achieving this look pretty slim. Better get cooking now...