Home Made in the Oven, a cookbook review

I got excited when I first found out that Yvette Van Boven was releasing a new cookbook in the US.  I had the pleasure of meeting her about a year ago during her book tour for Home Made Christmas. She and her husband Oof are some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet.  I really believe that her endearing personality comes across in her cookbooks: in the little recipe sketch drawings, and in the little stories she writes. I often skip recipe introduction when I flip through a cookbook, but I won’t skip hers.   

The latest book (available Oct. 15th) by Van Boven is “Home Made In The Oven: Truly Easy, Comforting Recipes For Baking, Broiling, And Roasting.”  There’s over 80 recipes, I believe, all meant to be cooked in the oven. The book is simply broken down by:

  • Vegetables
  • Fish and Meat
  • Baking

Each of these sections have recipes that are categorized by month, but don’t assume there’s an equal amount of recipes for each month. There are five January recipes in the Vegetables chapter, and nothing for July or August.  To be fair, those are hot months in the Northern Hemisphere and therefore turning on the oven is the last thing anyone wants to do. The reality is there are only three July recipes and one August recipe in the whole book.

Each recipe comes with a sketch of how to make it, and a little photo in the top right hand corner.  And I do mean little.  Without grabbing a ruler, I estimate the photos are a little more than an inch by an inch and a half.  The sketches are cute, and the recipes are fairly simple and straightforward (that does not equate to boring).  

Here are the recipes that I’m most interested in making:

  • Sweet potato and spinach gratin
  • Leftover focaccia
  • Cupboard cannelloni
  • Smoky butternut squash and papaya salad
  • Oven asparagus with cashew cream
  • Stuffed autumn portobellos
  • Comforting meatballs (I’ve never seen a beef meatball with shrimp in it before)
  • Salmon, fennel and lemon with spinach miso-mayo
  • Apple almond crumble
  • Clementine yogurt cake
  • Almond apple cake
  • Baked apples with blueberries
  • Royal carrot cake muesli bars
  • Peach scone pie
  • Blackberry ricotta cake
  • Yogurt cake with lemon and ginger
  • Chocolate nut cake

 

For now though, I made the veggie filo pie (which is technically a May recipe even though it’s currently October – but it’s fine!  There’s nothing very seasonal in this dish). I’ve never bothered making a filo pie on my own before so recipe testing seemed as good a time as any.  It has leeks, garlic, spinach, chickpeas, egg, ricotta, nutmeg, smoked paprika, and crumbled feta. You make the filling, pile some filo dough strategically in a pan, and then bake.

It was so easy to make!  It’s not unhealthy either, since Van Boven’s point to this dish is to eat more vegetables.

It seems pretty easy to customize.  Since I have some leftover ingredients, I plan on making a second time this weekend.  But I’m tempted to change the spices. While I love nutmeg and smoked paprika, I felt like nutmeg was the dominant flavor.  I have an overwhelming urge to try curry powder or ras el hanout? I haven’t decided yet. (Your comments will be considered if you have other ideas.)

In general, the whole book is very approachable.  I can’t really think of a recipe in it that’s too intimidating.  If you’re picky about high quality glossy cookbook photos, then maybe this book isn’t for you, but I think everyone else will enjoy it through and through.

 

Disclaimer – I kindly received this book from Abrams for this review.  I’m not getting paid for this post. The views and opinions expressed are purely my own.  
Reference Links:

https://www.instagram.com/yvettevanboven/

https://yvettevanboven.eu/

https://www.abramsbooks.com/

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2018 in review

I have a lot of thoughts about 2018, but since this is a food blog, I’ll keep it to food related things only.

Here are my highlights:

1. Eating bugs with the Nordic Food Lab!

 

2.  Curry biscuit sandwich.  I’m still trying to figure out the right recipe for home re-creation.

 

3.  Ok, this one isn’t food related but it was definitely a highlight – a workshop with Dr. Jacob Harden.

 

4.  This Bon Appétit salad recipe:

 

5.  Finally making Kenji Lopez Alt’s vegan ramen recipe.

 

6.  Meeting Yvette Van Boven.

 

7.  And Kakawa Chocolate House finally opened their MA location in Salem.

 

What were your favorite food memories of 2018?

Recent food adventures

 

 

:: Did a koji and miso fermentation workshop with OurCookQuest.  I really enjoyed it, and it was fun being around other food nerds.

:: I’ve attended a few of this semesters Science and Cooking lectures, presented by Harvard University’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.  So far, I’ve seen Margarita Fores, Wylie Dufresne with Ted Russin, and Vicky Lau.  I’ve learned that the nipa palm looks like a torture device, and don’t make donuts unless you’re crazy.  lol!

:: And most recently, I attended a lunch at Juliet in Somerville, MA.  It was a stop on Yvette Van Boven’s Homemade Christmas book tour.  The lunch menu was inspired by the book.  Both Yvette and her husband, Oof Verschuren, are wonderful people, really friendly and down to earth.  I’m so glad I got to meet them both.

Home Made Christmas, a cookbook review

If you haven’t noticed, I love cookbooks.  Sometimes I like them to be cute like Cook Korean!  Sometimes I like them to give me warm and fuzzy feelings of yum like Martha Stewart’s Cookies.  So I got really exciting when Abrams was kind enough to send me a copy of Yvette Van Boven’s Home Made Christmas.  Van Boven is an acclaimed cookbook author and host of Holland’s cooking show Koken Met van Boven.  In the US, her previous books are Home Made, Home Made Winter, Home Made Summer, and Home Baked. 

I remember Home Made and Home Made Winter when they were first released, but I never really got around to doing a deep dive into either of them.  Probably because I wasn’t cooking as regularly as I do now.  I certainly wasn’t doing cookbook reviews back then.  I forgot how whimsical some of Van Boten’s illustrations are.  It reminds me a little of doodling in the margins of a notebook.

Home Made Christmas is divided into these sections:

Christmas Stress-Relief Tips

  • The Morning **
  • Drinks
  • Snacks
  • Soups
  • Small Plates
  • Main Courses
  • Side Dishes **
  • Desserts **
  • Pantry
  • Menus

** = the chapters I’m personally most interested in.

And these are definitely holiday recipes, meant for celebration.  I wouldn’t say any of them are intimidating, but a lot of them are a little too decadent for everyday eating.

Here’s a sample of the recipes I’m most interested in trying out:

  • Brioche and Red Fruit Swirls with Ricotta Glaze
  • Savory French Toast
  • Squash, Feta, and Sage Pull Apart Bread
  • Cauliflower Creme with Coconut, Cumin, and Pine Nuts
  • Mincemeat Fudge
  • Blood Orange-Meringue Tartlets

The recipes that I am not interested in but you, dear reader, might be:

  • Spicy Goat Cheese Spread with Home Made Melba Toast
  • Cream of Gorgonzola and Poached Pears on Toast
  • Terrine of Tender Leek with Smoked Salmon and Mascarpone
  • Mackerel TartletRum-cured and Smoked Wild Salmon

For my first recipe from the book, I chose apple cranberry Christmas rolls.  It was pretty easy to put together that I was willing to do this at 8pm on a Thursday night even though I had work the next day.  As I was making it, I kept thinking that I was doing something wrong.  There’s no leavening agent!  But I carried on and put my faith in Van Boven.  She wrote that “the dough should be nice and soft, not too dry.”  I ended up with something that was extremely sticky.  Was that the same as nice and soft?  Can I blame this on a translation issue?    I had so many questions.

Once put together, it reminded me a lot of Amazing Raisin Cake which is a mayo based cake with apples and raisins.  (It’s one of the few things my mother would bake during my childhood but that’s a different story.)  I chose to scoop them onto a parchment line baking sheet, and made eight rolls.

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waiting to be baked #food

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I feel like calling them rolls is bad representation, but I’m not sure what a better description would be.  They are substantial and denser than a typical yeasted roll.  But I still really liked them!  Even though there’s applesauce, sugar, diced apples, and dried cranberries, it’s not too sweet.  My only disappointment was that my rolls didn’t brown prettily.  They don’t look like the book photo.  (Granted, I feel like the book photos have an intentional brown tone to them overall.)

I enjoyed the book, and I’m happy to put it on my bookshelf.  I think others will too.

Disclaimer – I received this book from Abrams for this review.  I’m not getting paid for this post. The views and opinions expressed are purely my own.

Reference Links:

https://www.abramsbooks.com/product/home-made-christmas_9781419732386/

https://www.justapinch.com/recipes/dessert/cake/amazin-raisin-cake-1974.html