Features & Stories

Newsletter: Southern US cooking + celebrating cranberries

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Cooking with heart and soul in the American south

“It’s one of the truest forms of American cuisine, because American cuisine to me sometimes can be a mishmash. Southern food, soul food, gullah cuisine, whatever you want to call it. It’s not going anywhere.”
Kevin Mitchell – Taste of the State
Our newest feature, Southern US Cooking, explores the rich tradition and exciting diversity of food from the southern states of America. The Southern US library on ckbk contains fourteen books, and counting – a superb resource of both classics and up-to-date volumes. All provide a lens through which to deepen knowledge of the ingredients and dishes at the heart of Southern US cuisine.

One of the newest additions to the regional library, Kevin Mitchell and David Shield’s Taste the State, explores the history and traditions of South Carolina’s culinary practices.
The book features their investigation of 82 key ingredients, and shows the important role that Black and Indigenous cooks and chefs have played in establishing the local cuisine. Try Black-Eyed Peas; a tribute to Mitchell’s Grandmother Doris and the kitchen that was at the heart of her home. We also recommend the Shrimp Pilau, or the very tempting Okra Tomato Fritters – a dish that uses a key ingredient in a favorite local dish.
Another new book for you to explore; The Cheese Biscuit Queen Tells All is packed with author Mary Martha Greene’s hugely entertaining family anecdotes, that bring its classic Southern dishes to life. The book takes its name from Greene's Aunt Mimi’s legendary cheese biscuits, and invites you to cook up a storm for friends and family. Serve Chicken and White Bean Chili with a big basket of cornbread. Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie is just one of many tempting options for dessert.
For more insight on these and all the books in this collection, read on in our Southern US Cooking feature.
Find more than 80 gumbo recipes
Pictured above: Chicken-Andouille Gumbo from Tom Fitzmorris’s New Orleans Food by Tom Fitzmorris

Get 25% off ckbk Premium Membership

From now until the end of November, we’re offering 25% off ckbk Premium Membership to help you explore our broad range of Southern US cuisine. Just use the code SOUTHERNCOOKING at checkout to claim your discount. You'll not only get full access to the fourteen Southern books on our regional shelf, but you'll also receive unlimited access to all 116,000+ recipes and 600+ cookbooks on the site.

ICYMI: Replay our vegan livestream

A huge thank-you to everyone who joined the latest in our series of free virtual events. Blogger, retreat chef and cookbook author Bettina Campolucci Bordi, gave us fascinating insight into plant-based cookery. She included her favorite go-to store cupboard ingredients, how to ensure protein-rich vegan diets and how a plant-based diet can save money in a time of sky-rocketing food prices.  

In case you missed it, a recording is now available to watch online. You’ll also be able to view Bettina’s live demo of her versatile Chickpea Omelette, Rocket, Avocado & Mango Salsa. The feature contains Bettina’s recommendations for crowd-pleasing vegan feasts and celebratory meals for the upcoming festive season.  
Save the date of November 28 for our next free livestream and watch this space for further details.

In celebration of cranberries

With Thanksgiving and Christmas on the horizon, you may be thinking about adding a jar of cranberry sauce to your grocery list, but give the product little other attention. 

Jack Van Amburg was the same until he had his first real cranberry experience making a recipe from a Thanksgiving guide pamphlet. Since making that cranberry sauce there was no going back. “Their pops, sputters and hisses as they simmer away on the stove, perfuming the kitchen with wafts to spice and orange peel. Nothing heralds the arrival of the holidays for me quite like the smell of cranberry sauce burbling away on the stove.” he said. Discover what he learned about cooking with cranberries and which recipes you should make while they’re in season.

Do you have a consuming passion, a dish, food, or ingredient that you feel strongly about? Let us know by emailing us at hello@ckbk.com with the subject line ‘Consuming passions’ – and you can tell others about it in a guest post on ckbk.

What to cook now: venison and persimmon

Venison is the term used for the meat of deer, and occasionally meat of the deer family, such as elk or moose. A highly-prized meat, it is only since deer have been farmed that it has become more widely available.
Dark, lean and full-flavored, venison suits a range of different cooking methods and brings a unique and fine quality to diverse dishes – such as the 16 recipes in our Versatility of Venison recipe collection. Try Filet de Chevreuil au Raisins Blonds to see how well the meat pairs with fruit. Or head to China for Stir-Fried Venison.
Vivid-orange ripe persimmons are a symbol of late fall in regions where the fruit are grown, from the Mediterranean straight across North America and Asia.
Unpleasantly astringent when underripe, they’re wonderfully soft and sweet when ready to eat. We love all the recipes in our 12 Ways with Persimmons collection. Try this Korean Bamboo Shoot Salad with Persimmon & Soy Dressing. Follow that with Persimmon Pudding Pie, all washed down with a Persimmon Margarita.

6 gorgeous gratins

Whether you go for a classic potato dauphinois, or get experimental with your vegetable basket and fridge, a gratin is a fine thing. Creamy underneath, crisp and perfectly browned on top… here are six to get you started.

Potato Gratin Dauphinois

from Mediterranean Clay Pot Cooking by Paula Wolfert

Sweet Potato Gratin with Sage Cream

from The Side Dish Handbook by Tori Ritchie

Shredded Vegetable Gratin with Crème Fraîche and Gruyère

from Vegetarian by Alice Hart


from Lucy’s Food by Lucy Cufflin

Sweet Potato & Beetroot Gratin

from Easy Vegan by Sue Quinn

Beetroot and Pink Peppercorn Gratin

from Autumn and Winter Cooking with a Veg Box by Guy Watson
Take a tour of Southern US cuisines with 25% off ckbk Premium Membership.
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