book review, cookalong, Cookbooks

Cookbook Cookalong No. 3 – Cook Now Eat Later

What can you say about the institution that is Mary Berry ? She always reminds me of my late grandmother – I think it’s the white hair and the aga – but whatever it is you just know that you can trust her and that she’ll hep you in the kitchen. I mean look what happened when she left the bake-off , we were all devastated!

I also feel a certain affinity with her as she once travelled around demonstrating electric ovens . Wonder when I’ll ever get back to doing that ?

Book cover

This book is no exception and it lays out very clearly all you need to prepare and cook ahead. Each recipe has a side bar detailing what you can prep ahead, how to freeze ( if applicable) and how to cook in the aga ( which could be adapted to a slow cooker).
The recipes are comforting – just what we expect Mary to cook for us 🤗
What did I cook ? The Italian Chicken with Olives and Tomato topped the facebook group poll so that was what I cooked , And I have to say I was much more impressed with the finished dish than I thought I would be !
I was unable to get olives stuffed with anchovies so I used pimiento stuffed olives (I left them whole) and added in some chopped anchovies. These definitely added to the flavour and I’ll be adding them to more dishes in future.

Chicken with olives and tomato
Italian Chicken
Roast green beans
roast green beans with Parmesan crust

I served the chicken with green beans and potato wedges. Rather than boiling or steaming the beans I roasted them with lemony Parmesan breadcrumbs and they were delicious. I used a mix of white and purple potatoes both for taste and colour .

purple and white potatoes
purple & white potatoes

Altogether it was a great meal 😍

The one dish that I had hoped would top the poll was the stir-fried vegetable lasagne – I’m going to have to satisfy my curiosity and make it for myself!
I love Mary Berry’s desserts and my favourites from this book are the Raspberry Frangipane Tarts (p. 208) and Divine Lemon Pots (p 219) . I’ve been using the lemon pots on my catering menu for years and they always go down well.

You can find lots of the recipes on her website

My verdict : There are some lovely recipes in this book – most of them comforting and familiar but I don’t think it’s an essential for your library .

If you missed the cookalong you can catch up here

Happy Cooking!

Yvonne xx

If you’d like to join the weekly Hey Pesto! cookalong or attend one of my online cookery classes then please click here  for details. 

📷Special thanks to Jeff Harvey for the great food photography

book review, cookalong, Cookbooks, Healthy Eating

Cookbook Cookalong No. 4 – A Change of Appetite

There used to be an ad with the tagline ‘there’s both eating and drinking in it’ ( I think it was for soup) . That’s how I feel about Diana Henry’s books – they’re a collection of food stories rather than just recipes.
I have four of her books in my library – and another on my wishlist. It was hard to choose just one but I felt the subtitle of ‘where healthy meets delicious’ suited where we all are at the moment.

In the introduction, Diana outlines her attitude to healthy eating and I felt like I had found a kindred spirit – The phrase ‘deprivation is not on the menu’ is my new mantra . She also says that the main thing you can do for good health is to eat proper home cooked food, limit anything processed, keep an eye on refined carbs, switch to wholegrain for at least some meals and up your vegetable intake. You won’t get any arguments from me.

So what did I cook? I’m very interested to learn more about Japanese cooking so I picked two dishes from her Spring section ( the book is divided into 4 seasons) – teriyaki salmon (p.60) and Japanese ginger and garlic chicken (p.63) both with interesting sides .

My store cupboard didn’t stretch to all the ingredients and shopping outside my local area isn’t on the cards so I made a few substitutions – red miso instead of brown , ordinary pickled ginger instead of pink and ponzu instead of mirin . I’m also intrigued to try shisho leaves and will be keeping an eye out for them – but on the day I used mint leaves as recommended. The recipe uses chicken thighs but I used chicken fillets as I had some in the fridge .

Japanese chicken
Japanese ginger and garlic chicken with smashed cucumber

I loved everything about the two dishes, even with the substitutions. The recommended sides – smashed cucumber with the chicken and pickled vegetables with the salmon – were also delicious. Clean eating at it’s best!

teriyaki salmon with pickled vegetables

Diana Henry is the food writer for the Telegraph – and the chicken recipe is here but it is now a subscription website. You’ll find the recipe for the salmon is here .

I recommend following her on instagram @dianahenryfood where she posts delicious daily recipes.

My verdict : I’ll be trying lots more from this book and I think you should have it on your bookshelf – even if there aren’t pictures for every recipe 😊

If you missed the cookalong you can catch up here

Happy Cooking!

Yvonne xx

If you’d like to join the weekly Hey Pesto! cookalong or attend one of my online cookery classes then please click here  for details. 

📷Special thanks to Jeff Harvey for the great food photography