The Great Recipe Challenge – Irene Field

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Life is full of challenges and sometimes we need to push the boat ourselves. The safe and known can be as comfortable as a worn pair of track pants on a wintery night. In previous blogs, I have left no doubt as to my cooking ability and wariness of the unknown. However this doesn’t stop me from setting goals and to challenge myself.


Which brings me to my latest challenge. In November I finished an earlier goal to take one photo a day for 365 days. That went extremely well. So well in fact, that I am now into Year 2. Strike that one off the bucket list. What to do next?


This is when my thoughts (naturally) turned to food. My name isn’t even close to any famous chefs and a challenge has been completed with a movie to match (think Julie & Julia). I really don’t want to venture into the territory of offals or foods I really can’t stomach – pardon the pun. The clock and my brain ticked. Then I spied my bookcase overflowing with recipe books. I have ooh’d and aah’d and salivated over the contents. Then my boring, stick in the mud, tendencies surface and that is as far as I get with said books.


Yesterday, the decision was made! My challenge is to make one new, untried and virgin to me, recipe at least once a week. Not from online or food forums (apologies to Foodlovers), but from the recipe books that are inhabiting my bookcase (built solely for them, I might add!). I may simply open a book and then with my eyes closed, select a page to find a recipe for dinner (and select and select again if it should be a dessert or cake!!). Or hubby can do the honours. The challenge is that it must be an untried recipe.


Last night’s dinner was first off the block. Let me divulge the history of the recipe book. It is the English edition of the book ‘Tuscan Cookery’ by Elisabetta Piazzesi. This book is special to me, as it was gifted by my dear Tuscan friends who reside, where else, but in Tuscany. In a village and countryside that you would sigh over, and my eyes glaze when I recall our time spent there.


Bearing in mind I was not venturing to the supermarket, I picked the first recipe with ingredients to hand. Can I have a drum roll please for ‘Salsicce e Fagioli’. The English translation is simple: ‘Sausages and Beans’. We have an abundance of our home made sausages in the freezer, so I took a packet of these. I sliced three sausages into small pieces and then sautéed them in a small amount of olive oil. I then added to the pan an abundance of chopped garlic (3 large cloves) and sprigs of sage, until the sausages were crisp. Next addition was a tin of tomatoes, lots of cracked pepper, and later two tins of drained and washed cannellini beans. A simple recipe, but oh so effective and tasty.


What is next on the list? Who knows? I will have to venture to said bookcase before our next grocery shop and surprise myself. Watch this space as we delve into the untested! Would you like to join me?


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6 thoughts on “The Great Recipe Challenge – Irene Field

  1. You’re going to have lots of fun Irene. I started to do something similar in 2007 by working my way through the curry recipes on the website (which I run). I’ve gone from being an awful cook (burnt beans on burnt toast) to being able to produce some great meals. Then I do a weekly blog on the website to say how I got on and provide taste and heat ratings. Of course, I have produced some bad meals as well as great – some of which I put down to bad recipes as well as my own incompetence. I still try out a new recipe each week. Have fun with your recipes and be sure to let us know how you get on.

    • Ray, I have never checked out your website before, and apologies for that. Love it, and have bookmarked it now – thanks :)

      • Glad you like it Irene. It has been a labour of love over the last few years. Don’t forget to keep us up to date with your recipe challenge.


  2. I wish you all the best on your new adveture Irene. Sounds like fun. I would love to join in, but 1, I only own baking books and 2, I have a very very limited pallette.

    • I am only using my recipe books as they only get drooled over. Why not pick one new recipe a week even from the foodlovers recipe search? It doesn’t have to be weird or wacky – just something you haven’t cooked before. That is my aim – which hopefully will help me to add to our dinner repertoire :)