Back in October our London Cookbook Club met to bring recipes we’d made from Tartine, the eponymous cookbook of the famous San Francisco bakery. We thought it would be fun to try our hand at our very own mini British bake-off.
This month’s meeting was a little smaller than our other gatherings, but our members made up for it by cooking more than one tasty recipe. We sampled savory baked goods, like the zucchini and orange marmalade tea cake (page 106), a perfectly wobbly, creamy quiche filled with fresh spinach (page 40) to a intricate pissaladiere on brioche (page 189). We also had a variety of sweet baked goods; besides the colorful fruit galette, we also enjoyed a rich lemon cream tart (page 49) and a sinful chocolate souffle cake (page 93).
As I’ve mentioned before, the London Cookbook Club is a gathering I started here in London as a way to connect friends from different aspects of my life here. Over the last few months, the hubby and I have also discovered that it’s our favorite way of entertaining — a lazy weekend afternoon eating foods that are all closely related to each other. Potlucks are fun, but the end result is often a mishmash of different foods from different genres. With our London Cookbook Club, you know that all of the dishes will harmonize; it’s all from the same author!
With Tartine, our club also discovered that this isn’t really a cookbook for beginners. The recipes frequently have sub-recipes that require additional, unforeseen work (which also led us to remark how many of us have learned the value of reading and prepping for our recipes well in advance of our meeting). Tartine’s authors, Elisabeth M. Prueitt and Chad Robertson, seem to assume that most people who would buy this book already have a fundamental understanding of how to, say, work a pastry dough with a delicate touch. What does delicate mean to a beginning cook? How delicate? What’s too much manhandling when it comes to working pastry?
But oh, man, were these recipes ever delightful. Sure, our pastries might not have been a perfectly cut or our pie crusts as neatly trimmed as those in the cookbook, but the flavors were all spot on. We delighted in a silky lemon tart and marveled over the visually stunning fruit galette. The gougeres — savory cheddar puffs — were seriously addictive; warm and crunchy on the outside and light and savory on the inside.
For our next London Cookbook Club meeting, we’re reviewing Tasting Georgia: a food and wine journey in the Caucasus. Many of us, myself included, have never had Georgian food, so we thought it would be interesting to try our hand at using new ingredients and different methods that we’re not familiar with. You can follow along and cook with us! Join our Facebook group here.
Read previous installments of our Cookbook Club meetings here:
Chapter 1: The Really Quite Good British Cookbook (and how to start your own cookbook club)
Chapter 2: Persiana
Chapter 3: Ceviche