Cookbooks: May 2018

Hello my fellow bookworms and foodies, I am sorry this is a little late! I am pleased to announce the weather, here in the UK, did improve dramatically over the month, which saw me trying out these simpler, lighter recipes:

Ham Salad Wraps
The Hairy Dieters (2) Eat For Life by Si King & Dave Myers
Meals On The Move – Page 140

Instead of making my standard, rather boring sandwiches, I gave these fresh, juicy salad wraps a go. These are simply large tortillas generously filled with lettuce, sliced pepper, cucumber and carrot, good-quality, thin ham slices and a low-fat creamy dressing, which made for a lovely, satisfying lunch without too much stodge. I have made these several times already and I can see myself making them many more times. Great recipe.

Cottage Pie
The Hairy Dieters (1) by Si King & Dave Myers
Pies – Page 90-91

With my granddad coming round, one particularly busy Sunday, I decided to try this new recipe for this classic British dish, as I could prep it all in advance and then just pop it in the oven just before lunch. By using lean beef mince, no oil and bulking out the mash topping with leeks, this is much lower in calories, but you’d never know it! It made for a delicious, comforting meal, which we enjoyed out on the patio with some steamed greens. Great recipe.

Pregnant Jools’s Pasta
Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals by Jamie Oliver
The Meals – Page 32

One evening, to feed his pregnant wife’s instant craving for a sausage ragu, Jamie created this quick cheat’s recipe. Packed with springs onions, carrots, chillies and sausages (blitzed for speed), tomatoes, garlic and balsamic vinegar, this delivers the rich, comforting flavour of a ragu, but is cooked in about a quarter of the time! I don’t think I got the consistency of the sauce quite right though – a little practise needed! Good recipe.

Chicken Stir-Fry
The Hairy Dieters (3) Good Eating by Si King & Dave Myers
Friday Night Suppers – Page 72

After filming in Asia, King & Myers put their discoveries to good use in this healthy recipe. A stir-fry with some traditional Chinese flavours and packed with veg, so you can have generous servings! And as I learnt from their fake-away Chicken Chow Mein recipe, I used double the bean sprouts as a lighter alternative to noodles. Took some time to prep, but it was then super quick to cook and delicious. However I need to practise the golden coating on the chicken… mine didn’t really stick! Good recipe.

Spring Risotto
The Co-operative Magazine

After loving the Co-op’s light, summery Scottish Salmon Risotto, I thought I would try another of their risotto recipes, which I had cut out and saved. This is a more traditionally cooked risotto, where the rice is simmered slowly, bit-by-bit, in white wine and stock, with leeks, spring onions and pancetta, although I used bacon instead, and finished off with spinach and parmesan cheese. It took longer to make, but it was well worth it. Great recipe.

That’s five tasty, new recipes tried over the last month. As I said before, the weather has warmed a fair bit over the month, so along with trying the Ham Salad Wraps above, I also made up batches of The Hairy Dieters’ Simple Tuna and Sweetcorn Pasta Salad (Book 1) and Prawn Pasta Salad (Book 2) for more, lighter work lunches.

Do you fancy any of these recipes?

What cookbooks are you reading? Have you tried any new recipes?


Cookbooks: December 2016 – January 2017


Hello my fellow bookworms and foodies, although the weather here in the UK has been milder than expected, it has generally been cold and miserable. So I have definitely still be in the mood for hearty, comforting food. First up, soup:

Red Lentil and Bacon Soup
Hairy Dieters 4 – Soups and Starters – Page 47

A hearty, comforting soup of bacon and red lentils with a good, healthy portion of onion, pepper and ‘super food’ sweet potato in too. Really easy to make and one bowl filled me up nicely which left 4 portions to freeze, so yummy work lunches too!


I also re-made the  Hairy Bikers’ Golden Vegetable Soup (twice!) and Jamie Oliver’s Happy Frumpy Minestrone, which made for wonderfully warming lunches.

Then I find there is nothing more comforting and warming than a hot and spicy one-pot of goodness, so I tried these new recipes:

Vegetable Curry
Hairy Dieters 3 – Friday Night Suppers – Page 60

A super simple dish to make with a lovely blend of onions, aubergine, courgette, mushrooms and green beans cooked in a simple, tomato curry sauce. Which is tasty, full of fibre and very good for the waistline. Could be served as a main with rice, as I did for me and my vegetarian friend, or as a side to a meat dish.


Chilli Con Carne
Hairy Dieters 1 – Pasta & Rice – Page 163

A rich, meaty dish with a delicious mixture of herbs and spices: chilli powder, cumin, coriander, oregano and bay. This recipe helpfully had the option to make this hot or mild; I went hot! A simple recipe with great results – I will definitely be making chilli this way again.


Coconut Prawn Curry
Hairy Dieters 1 – Fakeaways – Page 143

A lighter version of a Keralan curry, which is a Hairy Biker favourite. I have never eaten one before so wasn’t sure what to expect. Turns out it is yummy with a creamy, tangy, sweet flavour and super simple to make. The recipe calls for medium curry paste – I am tempted to go hotter next time I make it!


(Keralan Chicken Curry – I edited the above prawn curry, with the help of a recipe out of the Co-op magazine, to make a hotter chicken version. ***)

Mushroom Rice
Hairy Dieters 2 – Along Sides – Page 179

When I have a naughty take-away curry I love to have mushroom pilau rice with it, so I was thrilled to find a lighter version from the Hairy Bikers. Super simple to make and absolutely scrumptious – I served it alongside the Keralan Chicken Curry above.


So pleased with all the recipes I have tried over the last two months and I look forward to many more. I am also excited about reading my new cookbook: Jamie’s 30-minute Meals By Jamie Oliver.

Do you fancy any of these recipes?

What cookbooks are you reading? Have you tried any new recipes?