COOKBOOK CONFIDENTIAL – from my kitchen to yours

Hi there,

Today it is my genuine pleasure to share a review of The Nutmeg Trail by Eleanor Ford.

The Nutmeg Trail

The Nutmeg Trail is a captivating culinary exploration of spice. Eleanor Ford shows in her chapters how centuries of spice trading changed the world’s cuisine.

The book follows the ancient trade route through the spice islands to India and Europe.

Following the ancient spice trail, the book showcases the different elements of spices. Chapters and recipes are divided by spice. The chapters are filled with surprising and interesting facts about the role spices have had in uniting and separating nations.

I am always on the lookout for a novel chicken recipe, and I have a great enthusiasm for dates and almonds. So, I decided to make Venetian Chicken with Almond Milk & Dates.


Recipe by ELEANOR FORD Course: DinnerCuisine: VenetianDifficulty: Time Consuming


Prep time


Cooking time




  • 8 8 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs (I used skinless, bone in-in

  • 1 tablespoon 1 plain flour

  • 3 tablespoons 3 olive oil

  • 2 small 2 onions

  • 2 ounces 2 ginger, peeled and finely chopped (I used ginger paste)

  • 4 cloves 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped (I used garlic paste)

  • 1 teaspoon 1 ground cinnamon (I used Vietnamese Cinnamon)

  • 1/2 teaspoon 1/2 freshly grated nutmeg

  • 1/2 teaspoon 1/2 ground coriander

  • pinch pinch ground cloves

  • 2 leaves 2 bay leaves (I used fresh bay leaves)

  • 1 and 1/2 cups 1 and 1/2 unsweetened almond milk

  • 2 tablesppons 2 verjuice (I used unfiltered apple cider vinegar)

  • pinch pinch saffron strands

  • 2 tablespoons 2 date syrup

  • 4 4 medjool dates, stoned and quartered

  • 2 tablespoons 2 toasted almond flakes

  • handful handful cilantro leaves (I omitted)


  • Season the chicken thighs generously with salt and pepper, then dust with flour. Set a large casserole pan over a medium-high heat, and when hot, pour in the olive oil. Add the chicken thighs and brown to a deep golden on all sides. Remove to a plate, leaving the oil behind.
  • Add the onion to the pan and cook to soften but not colour. Stire in the ginger, garlic, spices and bay leaves and cook a few minutes until fragrant. Return the chicken to the pan in a single layer.
  • Pour in the almond milk and verjuice, scrunch in the strands of saffron and add the date syrup and dates. Season with salt. Bring to a bubble, then lower the heat and simmer for 1 hour. The chicken should be tender and falling from the bone.
  • Remove the chicken with a slotted spoon and turn up the heat. Bubble the sauce until it has reduced and thickened. Taste for seasoning and adjust. Serve the chicken in the sauce, scattered with almond and coriander, alongside rice or polenta.


  • This is a rather long list of ingredients but once you have the ingredients assembled, the cooking process is easy and goes quickly

This is a fascinating cookbook. And, if you are a person who enjoys history as well as cooking, this cookbook deserves a spot on your bookshelf.

I am thinking of starting a cookbook club. The rough idea would be that we would all read the same cookbook. Each one of us would write a review and cook one of the recipes. I plan on using cookbook titles that are available from the public library so that there will not be any expense involved – just fun!

Please let me know in the comments section if participating in this cookbook project would be something that appeals to you. I am looking forward to a lot of YES answers.

25 responses to “COOKBOOK CONFIDENTIAL – from my kitchen to yours”

  1. Good morning Bernadette and Happy New Year!!! I would love to participate in the cookbook club!!! Great idea!!!🙂👍

    • Hello Rita, that would be wonderful. I will get back to you once I get organized. Wishing you and Tom a 2023 filled with many reasons to smile.

  2. Yum! I don’t think I’ve ever met a spice I didn’t like. The Venetian chicken with almond milk and dates sounds delicious. My hubby would lose his mind if I got another cookbook, but I’m looking forward to all the great flavors to come!

  3. I always wanted to take a cooking class that covered herbs and spices, since the only one I use is garlic. Garlic on everything, Bernadette. Lol. That recipe sounds unique, and I’m intrigued. I wouldn’t partake in a cooking club, but I definitely like to try recommended recipes. I have a few favorites from your blog! Happy Cooking.

  4. Hi Bernadette, this recipe looks lovely. I like spicy food from time to time. I will join the book club if the books will be available on as ebooks. Don’t worry if that doesn’t work for you.

  5. Hi, Bernadette – The Nutmeg Trail sounds like a wonderful book. Chicken with Almond Milk and Dates sounds like a super interesting dish!
    I am interested in your Cookbook Club – sounds like lots of fun!

Any comments or suggestions are appreciated. If you like this recipe, please give it to your friends.

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