It’s done, fini, that’s all folks.  Nearly a year to the day I have made all of the recipes I selected from Valli Little’s book Slow.  I bought this for our very first Tasty Reads bookclub  meeting way back in August of 2014 and cooked the last recipe I had selected  on 1 September 2015.  

Slow - Valli Little

Recipes in book: 60

Recipes marked to cook: 34 38 39

Cooked to date 12 22 38 39

Recently Cooked

p6 Braised Beef Cheeks With Salsa Verde

Can you believe that I have lost the photos of this?  I was so proud of having cooked Beef Cheeks. However,  I deleted a whole heap of photos from both my camera and phone before we went on holidays and I think the Beef Cheeks and the Truffle Oil Mac and Cheese fell victim to some overzealousness on my part. 

I have no really ooky factor about beef cheeks although I know many people do.  My only concern with cooking mine was that everything I have read about them says you have to trim them really well.  I feel I might have been a bit too meticulous in this area as I there seemed to be an awful lot of “trimmings” and not a lot of beef cheek by the time I had finished. 

Also, In homage to one of my favourite Melbourne restaurants, MoVida, which does an amazing beef cheeks in red wine, I replaced the mashed potatoes suggested by Valli with a cauliflower puree which was delicious – mine was not as good as the one at MoVida but that one is sublime!

Anyway, I was so glad I made this, the beef was meltingly tender and mellow and the Salsa Verde was zingy and bright.  The creamy smooth cauliflower puree contrasted beautifully with both.  This was amazing. Here is Valli’s picture:

p8 Braciola

Because I am not a millionaire, I did not buy a fillet of beef for this.  However because I am obsessed with little food, I made a mini version of Valli’s Braciola and it was super!  I used thinly pounded steaks, rolled up the filling and quickly seared them.  The stuffing, which is salami, cheese and sundried tomato is to die for.  This would make a lovely canapé.

Mini Beef Braciola - Valli Little Slow

p10 Steak with Wild Mushroom Sauce

This is exactly what it says on the box.  Steak with Mushroom Sauce.  If you like Steak with Mushroom sauce, you will like this.

Steak With Mushroom Sauce - Valli Littlep22 Lamb &  Apricot Tagine

One of the dishes Dani has brought to the bookclub meetings was a Lamb and Apricot Tagine.  In my mind, it was the one from Persiana and when I made that one a while ago I was very disappointed as it was not nearly as nice as my memory of Dani’s.  I mentioned this the next time I saw her and she said said had made the Valli Little one.  I made this one a few weeks later and it was maybe still not as good as Dani’s but better than one in Persiana.  Kudos to Valli Little for an amazing delicious recipe.  Just no one tell Sabrina Ghayour.  Because I love her.

Lamb & Apricot Taginep24 Massaman Curry Lamb Shanks

This is such a good dish for winter!  Slow cooked, fragrant, hearty.  Magnificent! I swapped out the peas in the recipe for beans and served with bread instead of rice. 

Lamb Shank Massaman Curryp28 Lamb En Croute

This was the last recipe I made from Slow and it was a lovely way to finish.  I was a little disappointed as even though I followed the recipe to the letter, by the time the pastry cooked, the lamb was over cooked for my taste.  Next time I make this I will cut down the sear time on the lamb.  And pray.    Lamb En Croute (2)p36 Macaroni Cheese with Truffle Oil

Sorry,  this is another photo from the book. There is a story attached to this though.  I went to…ok…in Australia we have two main supermarkets, and then we have the IGA’s and then we have the European Cheap Supermarket.  Now I am quite fond of the European Cheap Supermarket except for one thing.  The people who shop there, in my locale anyway are….ok….I’m going to sound elitist and snooty here but just between you and me…they’re all kinds of trashy.

To wit – the other day I went in there and was nearly barrelled over by some dude stealing a pack of biscuits.  I think he thought that my going in through the turnstile would negate his charging out but no, Einstein, it doesn’t work like that and you triggered all the alarms anyway.

If I was more like a commando instead of totally living inside my head I could have taken him down and been a citizen’s arrest hero.  Then again, he was stealing fake Tim Tams from Aldi.  Hardly a master criminal. I like to think that if I was going to launch myself into a life of crime, I’d at least go for the real Tim Tams. 

Mac and Cheese with Truffle OilAnyhoo, all this is just cotton candy.  I went into the cheap European….oh, WTF, I’ve already outed it as Aldi,  a few months ago and they were selling truffles. 

Only thing was no price on the truffles and, being Aldi, no one to ask.  So, I took it up to the counter, along with my six slabs of their Fair Trade Dark Chocolate (amazing) and my six bottles of their Tudor Pinot Noir (even more amazing) and asked the price. Because you know…truffles…that bottle could be a thousand dollars.  I’m kinda doubting that in Aldi but you know…c’est possible.

“Seven ninety nine” drawls the sales clerk.

“I’ll take ’em” I say.

And that should have been the end of it.  Buyer.  Seller.  Agreement. Capitalism at it’s finest. 

TrufflesUntil some toothless old hag who was behind me in line decided to get in on the act.  I almost expected her first line to to “By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes”  But instead she snatched the bottle from the cashier’s hand and began shrieking

“Why are you paying eight dollars for such a small jar?  What’s in that?”

“It’s truffles”

“So what’s that then?”

“Well…they’re…they taste kind of like the most mushroomy mushroom you ever ate but they grow…”

“I could buy a kilo of mushrooms for that”

“They’re not mushrooms”

“You said they were”

“No I didn’t”

“Well, I hope you know how to cook them better than you know how to explain them”.

Well, I hope you fuck off and die you nosey old bag. I’m sorry I’m not buying  eye of newt or tongue of dog or any other ingredient I’m sure you are far more familiar with.

I used one truffle for something else then topped up the jar with some olive oil.  After about a week it became quite truffle-y Then I used that oil on my Mac and Cheese.  And it was good.  But you know…Mac and Cheese =  comfort food goodness with, or without, truffle oil. 

p44 Meatballs with Heavenly Mash

Mmmm..meatballs.  And that mash was heavenly.  It contains cream, fontina cheese and butter.  Need I say more? 

Meatballs with Heavenly Mash

p62 Roast Quail with Split Pea Dhal

Sounds very exotic.  Tasty pretty ordinary.  It was the first time I had cooked quail.  It might be the last. I did not care for the curry butter at all.

Roast Quailp68 Duck Cassoulet

I hadn’t originally planned on making this, but I had some confit duck legs and some white beans from something else so and I thought why not?  A better question would have been why? Not my favourite.  By a long shot. I think it was the olives.  I normally love olives but I just don’t think they worked in this dish. 

Duck Cassouletp88 Mushroom Soup with Garlic Bread

This was delicious. 

Mushroom Soup with Garlic Breadp92 Cauliflower Cheese Soup

I found this too much.  Too much cream.  Too much cheese.  Who knew either of those things existed? But apparently they do.

Cauliflower Cheese Soupp104 Pumpkin, Goat’s Cheese and Onion Marmalade Jalousie

This was very tasty.  I am already thinking about how to do mini versions which I think would be adorable. My only problem with this is that I find most bought onion marmalades too sweet.  This one was no exception.  I think I will have to start making my own.  Sigh. Another thing to add to my increasing list of things I need to cook from scratch!

This is one of my favourite photo’s.  I think it turned out really well. 

Pumpkin, Goat's Cheese and Onion Marmalade Jalousie

p106 Twice Baked Souffles

The Francophile in me really wanted to like these.  The rest of me found them a bit heavy.  Which reminds me.  Back when I used to work in the hell-hole, the area I was in merged with another department.  And as part of the two groups getting to know each other we had to do this dumbarse thing where we each had little cards printed up with a picture on one side and a fact about you that no one might know on the other.  And you had to swap them with everyone you met.  Because we were all five.  I mean really?  REALLY?  We’re playing SWAP CARDS?  FFS people!  Anyway my “fun” fact was “I am a Francophile and have just read Harry Potter in French”.  And I thought that was kind of cool until one of the biggest dumbarses looked at my card and said “Francophile?  Is that like a Pedophile?”  For a vague second I knew exactly how those people who mow down their work mates with machine guns must feel like.  It was the kind of event that made me want to re-evaluate every choice I had ever made in my life that had lead me to be in that place, at that time, swapping dumbarse cards with the terminally stupid.

Twice Baked Goats Cheese Soufflesp110 Mushroom & Potato Tarts

These.  Were.  Awesome. 

Damn, they were good!  I need to get these on high rotation. 

Potato and Mushroom Tartsp116 Bagna Cauda with Baby Vegetables

Mmmmm…salty creamy dip with vegies  AKA – All the good words. I loved this.  And the dip with the eggs?  Out of this world good. 

Bagna Caudap118 Instant Fondue with Roast Vegetables

And just when you thought the best was past, Valli goes and saves the best to last!

I went totally over the top with this.  Valli’s suggestion is roast vegetables.  Which I had but I also had grissini sticks, twiggy salami, roasted olives, potato chips…anything that can be dunked, should be dunked in this.  This is not only super tasty but so much fun. What a fabulous appetiser, give everyone a fork and allow them to tuck in!

Instant FondueI don’t think it’s any surprise that I have loved cooking from this book and there are so many recipes I will cook over and over.  My favorites?  The fondue above, the beef cheeks, the radicchio and gorgonzola risotto, the fish pie, the feta baked mushrooms, the recipe that made me like carrot soup.  This may be a little book but it is jammed with great recipes. 

Hmm…our December book club was going to be a recap on all of the books we have cooked.  I am so tempted to do the instant fondue….

What do you think?  Anything grab your fancy? What would you make?

Previous recaps of Slow are




I feel like I have been a bit more vitriolic this time.  I’m putting it down to reading that Marie Kondo book on The Magical Art of Tidying Up.  Don’t even get me started on her particlular brand of insanity but I think maybe I am cleaning out my closet mentally as well as physically.

Next up, I will be focussing on cooking through Persiana which is still, to my view, the best book we have ever done at Tasty Reads even though I liked Vall’s Lamb and Apricot Tagine better.  See you with the results of that in a year. 

Oh, do you have a favourite post on here?  In October I will be doing a LIVE reading of a post at a local literary event.  I have a couple of posts that I think might go down well in front of a live audience but please let me know what you think.  And if you are local, please don’t come, I am terrified enough about doing this as it is. 

 Have a great week!

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