Cookbooks: May – June 2019

Hello my fellow bookworms and foodies, as the weather has (on the whole) continued to warm up, I have enjoyed trying these easy, lighter recipes:

Easy Cheesy Leek Risotto
The Co-operative Magazine

Having previously enjoyed four of the Co-op’s rice based recipes, I thought I would try another: this comforting baked risotto, that I had cut out and saved; which really is as easy as the name suggests! Soften leeks in a oven-proof dish, then add risotto rice and stock, and pop in the oven for half an hour. Once done, stir in cheese and enjoy! I served with some fresh, baby leaf spinach on the side. Delicious and simple! Great recipe.


Roasted Cod Basa with Spicy Lentils
The Co-operative Magazine

Another Co-op recipe I cut out and saved some time ago now, was this rich dish that had me roasting cod – although I used the more sustainable basa fillets and I think you could use any firm, white fish – on a bed of spicy lentils, tomatoes and spinach. Another simple and tasty recipe, but I did have to serve it with some seasonal Jersey Royal new potatoes, because this wouldn’t have been filling enough for my family’s appetites otherwise! Good recipe.


Easy Crispy Chicken
The Hairy Dieters (1) by Si King & Dave Myers
Grills & Roasts – Page 70

Love some finger-licking, crispy chicken? Well this recipe bakes chicken breast fillets with a delicious coating of breadcrumbs, garlic and herbs, cutting the calories considerably but to taste you would never know! It could be versatile too: with the warmer weather I served it with potato salad and seasonal asparagus, but I think in colder weather it will be equally good with chips or mash, and a variety of veg or baked beans. Yum! Great recipe.


Poached Chicken and Tarragon Sauce
The Hairy Dieters (6) Make It Easy by Si King & Dave Myers
Half-Dozen Winners – Page 87

Finally I tried this dieter’s version of the French classic of gently poached chicken with a creamy tarragon sauce, however no naughty cream here but half-fat crème fraiche instead. With only six ingredients this was a super simple and economical dish to make – Perfect served with seasonal Jersey Royal new potatoes and green veg. My only niggle is the sauce was too thin for my liking, that could be easily fixed with more reduction and perhaps some cornflour though. Good recipe.


So altogether that’s four delicious new recipes. I also remade Jamie Oliver’s garlic, sage and honey Pork Chops (30 Min Meals) with his Garlicky Green Beans, and Jool’s Sweet Pea & Prawn Pasta (Save With Jamie). As well as The Hairy Biker’s Coconut Prawn Curry, but substituting the prawn for Quorn, (Hairy Dieters 1) and their White Bean and Tuna Fishcakes (Hairy Dieters 4). What a month or so of great spring cooking, however now I look forward to more sun, trying some new salad recipes and eating al fresco on the patio.

Do you fancy any of these recipes?

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

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Cookbooks: March – April 2019

Hello my fellow bookworms and foodies, as we have moved from winter into spring, I tried these new, comforting, one-pot recipes:

Four Seasons Minestrone (Winter)
Super Food Family Classics by Jamie Oliver
Soups – Page 212

A recipe that makes use of beautiful seasonal vegetables and guarantees you will get your 5-a-day portions in just one serving of this! On top of the basic soup base, there are the wintry additions of beetroot, cavolo nero and kale, also this time I added the optional rashers of bacon. This was a delicious wintry take on this classic Italian soup and I look forward to trying the final spring twist. Great recipe.

(Actually cooked in February, but forgot to post about it!)


Italian Meatballs with Chunky Tomato Sauce
The Hairy Dieters (1) by Si King & Dave Myers
Pasta & Rice – Page 160

Having mastered a good Bolognese, I thought I would have a go at making my own meatballs. This recipe has been slimmed down by using pork mince and adding onion and carrot to the mixture. Once the balls are formed they are gently cooked in a simple tomato sauce. Only problem was my meatballs barely held together – I am blaming the carrot. However they tasted just fine even if they looked ‘rustic’ to say the least! Good recipe.


Sausage Casserole
The Hairy Dieters (6) Make It Easy by Si King & Dave Myers
One-Pot Wonders – Page 114

I whole heartedly agree with King & Myers when they say ‘everyone loves sausages and beans’, and this recipe sees them cooked in one big pot with lots of good veg (onion, celery, carrot and garlic) to make a hearty and comforting dish. Once the ingredients are all in the pot, put the lid on and let it gently simmer away – Easy, peasy. I served it with some fresh, steamed greens for a delicious, healthy family meal. Great recipe.


Hotdog Hotpot
The Hairy Dieters (6) Make It Easy by Si King & Dave Myers
One-Pot Wonders – Page 117

We love Frankfurter hotdogs and we always have a jar or two in the house, so this recipe looked like it would be the perfect, healthier way for us to enjoy them. It joins our favourite frankfurters with onion, potatoes, apple, sage and savoy cabbage to cook together in chicken stock. Another simple recipe, which once all the ingredients were in the pot, I could leave to simmer gently on the hob. However we seemed to lose a lot of liquid – I will try it again in a pot with a heavier lid. Good recipe.


So altogether that was four new recipes tried over the last month or so. Over that time, I also remade new favourites: Trish Sebben-Krupka’s Meaty Mushroom Stew (Plant Based Cookbook) and The Hairy Dieters’ Lean Lamb Hotpot (Book 1), and I have served my family’s firm favourite: Minty Cabbage several times.

Do you fancy any of these recipes?

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

Cookbooks: February – March 2019

Hello my fellow bookworms and foodies, well – except for one glorious week of sunshine, during the school’s half term break – the weather has been wet and miserable in February and the start of this month, so comfort food has been high on my agenda. With that in mind here are the new recipes I have tried:

Lean Lamb Hotpot
The Hairy Dieters (1) by Si King & Dave Myers
Pies – Page 93

One Sunday for lunch, I decided to try King & Myers’ new-wave version of this traditional hotpot of lamb, onions, carrots and potatoes. Just by trimming the lamb well and reducing the amount of potatoes, the calories are lowered without losing out on taste. It was simple to make and made a cracking supper served with garden peas and minty cabbage. Great recipe.


Meaty Mushroom Stew
Plant Based Cookbook by Trish Sebben-Krupka
Soups and Stews – Page 101

I am so pleased I finally got round to making this rich, meaty-tasting stew, with its delicious mixture of onion, celery, carrot, mushrooms, potato, herbs and red wine – It reminded me of beef bourguignon, minus the beef of course! And once all the chopping was done it was a very easy, one-pot dish to make and economical too, as I was able to use a large, value pack of mixed mushrooms to make it. Perfect for veggies and meat-eaters. Great recipe.


Vegetable Chowder
The Hairy Dieters (5) Go Veggie by Si King & Dave Myers
Soups and Salads – Page 60

This veggie take on the traditional chowder keeps the potato, milk and sweetcorn, but swaps out fish for cauliflower and sweet potato. This was my first time making a chowder and I thought this mix of vegetables would be a sure-fire hit for me, but while it was rich, creamy and had a nutty sweetness… it was actually a little too sweet for my taste! I think I need to try making a more traditional fish chowder for a comparison. Okay recipe.


Prawn Stir-Fry with Courgette ‘Noodles’
The Hairy Dieters (3) Good Eating by Si King & Dave Myers
Friday Night Suppers – Page 54

You’d probably never know, or care, that this colourful, vegetable-packed stir-fry with spicy marinated prawns and courgette ‘noodles’ was a dieting recipe! Plus, once you’ve prepped the vegetables, courgettes and prawns, it takes only 10 mins to cook! While there is an extensive list of required vegetables to use, I easily swapped some out for the fresh, seasonal vegetables I had to hand and I used a can of bamboo shoots. Simple, quick, tasty! Great recipe.


So altogether that was four new recipes tried over the last month and a bit. Over that time, I also remade The Hairy Biker’s Cajun Spiced Chicken, which I got the timings right for this time, and well-practised, old favourites: Creamy Haddock With Broccoli and Beef Stroganoff.

Do you fancy any of these recipes?

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

Cookbooks: January 2019

Hello my fellow bookworms and foodies, rather belatedly, due to my being so behind on my book reviews, here are the comforting new dishes I tried over the cold month of January:

Chicken Turkey and Ham Tangle Pie
The Hairy Dieters (1) by Si King & Dave Myers
Pies – Page 80-82

On New Year’s Day, I had my grandad round for lunch and decided to use up the leftover Christmas turkey in this new pie. Made with smoked ham, leeks, white wine, half-fat crème fraiche and cooked turkey (instead of chicken), this pie tastes so rich and creamy you’d never know it was low-fat. Rather than one large pie, I prepared three small individual pies with puff pastry lids, and served with new potatoes and Brussel sprouts. Yum! Great recipe.


Baked Bananas With Chocolate Rum Sauce
The Hairy Dieters (4) Fast Food by Si King & Dave Myers
Speedy Sweets – Page 182

In the comments for my last cookbooks posts, I discussed how I never try new dessert recipes – Something I thought needed remedying. So for dessert on New Year’s Day, I decided to try these bananas, baked with a little rum and demerara sugar, with this divine, homemade dark chocolate and rum sauce. Which I served with a small, naughty scoop of vanilla ice cream. Super easy, super quick and super tasty. Great recipe.


Sweet Carrot Smash
Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals by Jamie Oliver
The Meals – Page 92

With carrots not being a particular favourite in my family, I have to be canny about how I serve them. So this delicious yet simple side dish recipe was perfect for me. The carrots are simply sliced and boiled, with some olive oil, seasoning and thyme, then roughly mashed. That good it has already been lapped up several times by my non-carrot-loving father. Good recipe.


Courgette, Mint and Lemon Soup
The Hairy Dieters (5) Go Veggie by Si King & Dave Myers
Soups and Salads – Page 56

I absolutely love courgettes, so I was thrilled to find this lighter, Vegan-friendly recipe not made with milk or cream, as many other courgette soups are. Instead King & Myers have kept this simple with a healthy blend of courgette, peas, baby spinach and a little potato to thicken it. All given a fresh tang with a touch of lemon and mint to. All in all a tasty, super green soup, which should help keep us lean! Good recipe.


So altogether that was four new recipes tried back in January. Over the month, I also remade Jamie Oliver’s Veggie Bolognese and Super Leek & Potato Soup (Super Food Family Classics), and Minty Cabbage (30 Minute Meals) several times. As well as The Hairy Bikers’ Quick Cod and Prawn Gratin (Hairy Dieters 1).

Do you fancy any of these recipes?

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

Cookbooks: October 2018

Hello my fellow bookworms and foodies, as we have transitioned from the UK’s glorious summer to chillier days of autumn, here are the new recipes I have tried:

Hungover Noodles
Save With Jamie by Jamie Oliver
Veg – Page 32

A quick and tasty recipe Jamie says is perfect for when you’re feeling a little down or, ahem, hung over! And this big bowl of Asian dressed egg noodles, broccoli and mangetout, topped with a runny fried egg and hot chilli sauce, certainly was definitely a great pick me up. I just need a bit more practice to make this quicker. Good recipe.


All-in-One-Pot Summery Chicken
The Co-operative Magazine

Having previously enjoyed three of the Co-op’s rice based recipes, I thought I would try this comforting, one-pot chicken and rice recipe, that I had cut out and saved. A super simple dish that had me cooking chicken thighs with onions, peppers, spices, chilli, chickpeas and risotto rice in one big pot in the oven. Although it says ‘summery’ in the name, I think this was an ideal recipe for sunny but cooler days, served with some fresh greens. Great recipe.


Spanish-Style Chicken Bake
The Hairy Dieters (1) by Si King & Dave Myers
One-Pan Dishes – Page 45

Another one-tray chicken recipe this month, that recreated the taste of sunny Spain, with chicken thighs roasted with chorizo, tomatoes, new potatoes, onion, peppers and lots of garlic! Took a little more work than the previous recipe, but this was still a yummy meal all cooked altogether and ready to serve up immediately. Good recipe.


Baked Fish with Chorizo Crust
The Hairy Dieters (2) Eat For Life by Si King & Dave Myers
Real Food Fast – Page 35

Based on a recipe they first cooked on a beach in Patagonia, but with a lower calorie count. A little naughty chorizo goes a long way, when blitzed with garlic and bread to create a crumb for white fish fillets. I popped the crusted fish in the oven to roast, with some Mediterranean-style vegetables and returned to a delicious, healthy family meal. Definitely be making this again, maybe with some creamy, mashed potato as it gets colder. Great recipe.


That’s four more fabulous recipes tried altogether over the month. I also remade new favourites: Trish Sebben-Krupka’s Hearty Chilli with The Co-op’s Mexican Rice and old favourites: The Hairy Bikers’ A Big Soup and Minted Pea and Feta Omelette. Recently, I got my hands on a copy of The Hairy Dieters (6) Make It Easy by Si King & Dave Myers too, so I am really looking forward to delving into that soon to discover more new recipes!

Do you fancy any of these recipes?

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

Cookbooks: August – September 2018

Hello my fellow bookworms and foodies, in the last month or so of summer here are the new recipes I have tried:

Spinach and Rice Stuffed Tomatoes
Plant Based Cookbook by Trish Sebben-Krupka
Vegetables – Page 141

When I came home from my uncle’s farm with some of his home-grown large, juicy beef tomatoes I just had to try this recipe. Which had me stuffing them with a cheesy rice, spinach and pine nuts filling and then baking them until they were tender and sweet. Simply served with a large, dressed green salad this made for the perfect taste of summer. Great recipe.


Marinated Fish With Stir-Fried Greens
The Hairy Dieters (4) Fast Food by Si King & Dave Myers
Fuller Faster – Page 94

I also came home with a home-grown cabbage from my uncle’s which was stir-fried with spring onions, green pepper and chilli, to accompany fresh salmon fillets cooked in a sticky Chinese style marinade. A refreshing, tasty new take on fish and greens, but I did also need to cook some rice to serve with it, because this wouldn’t have been filling enough for my family’s appetites otherwise! Good recipe.


Four Seasons Minestrone (Summer)
Super Food Family Classics by Jamie Oliver
Soups – Page 212

A recipe that makes use of beautiful seasonal veggies and guarantees you will get all of your 5-a-day portions with just one serving of this! On top of the basic soup base there are suggested veg for each season to top it up – I used baby artichokes, fresh tomatoes* and runner beans* (*brought back from my uncle’s farm). I enjoyed this seasonal take on this classic Italian soup and I look forward to trying the other seasons’ twists. Good recipe.


Pasta with Summer Vegetables and Parma Ham
The Hairy Dieters (3) Good Eating by Si King & Dave Myers
Comfort Classics – Page 112

This deliciously summery dish is made by gently cooking leek, asparagus, peas and runner beans in a light white wine and low-fat crème fraiche sauce. Then cooked pasta and ripped pieces of Parma ham are simply tossed in to finish it off. A super simple but super tasty pasta dish, which made for a refreshing change from the usual tomato-based pasta dishes. Great recipe.


Roasted Cod with Parma Ham and Peppers
The Hairy Dieters (1) by Si King & Dave Myers
One-Pan Dishes – Page 43

Another colourful one-tray meal which is easy to prep and even easier to cook. Consisting of cod fillets wrapped in parma ham, cooked nestled within a tray of roughly chopped peppers, courgettes and onion. I popped it in the oven and returned to a delicious, healthy family meal. However I did serve it with some boiled new potatoes, because this wouldn’t have been filling enough for my family’s appetites otherwise! Good recipe


That’s five new summery recipes tried altogether. I also remade the Co-op’s rich, spicy Summer Veg Pilaf and The Hairy Dieters’ gutsy Chilli Salad Bowls. Although I enjoyed our blistering summer, I am now looking forward to trying some new, comforting autumnal recipes.

Do you fancy any of these recipes?

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

Cookbooks: June & July 2018

Hello my fellow bookworms and foodies, over the last month and a half these are the new recipes I have tried:

Sag Aloo Korma
Super Food Family Classics by Jamie Oliver
Curries & Stews – Page 128

Just before the mad heat arrived, I had my vegetarian friend come round for dinner, giving me the perfect opportunity to try out this veggie korma recipe. A mixture of regular potatoes, sweet potatoes and spring onions are fried off in korma paste, then simmered with chard, spinach and chickpeas in milk, and as the potatoes naturally thicken the sauce – no naughty cream is needed! A rich, ‘creamy’ curry, which is packed with all the good stuff. Win, win! Great recipe.


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

After enjoying the fresh, juicy Ham Salad Wraps in May, I decided to try this tuna version. Like the ham wraps, these are simply large tortillas generously filled with lettuce, sliced pepper, cucumber and carrot, but this time with a mixture of tuna, sweetcorn and mayonnaise. Again these made for lovely, satisfying lunches without too much stodge, which I enjoyed even more than the ham ones! Definitely be making these again. Great recipe.


Chilli Salad Bowls
The Hairy Dieters (1) by Si King & Dave Myers
Vegetable & Salads – Page 116-117

Then the heat wave hit and eating our regular chilli favourite became pretty much out of the question, so I decided to give this a go instead. A real gutsy salad of lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes and spring onions; tossed in lime juice; served in baked tortilla bowls and topped with chilli mince, cheese, salsa and crème fraiche. While a little messy to eat, this was delicious and easy to make, especially as I used ready-made tortilla bowls. Great recipe.


Summer Veg Pilaf
The Co-operative Magazine

After enjoying two of the Co-op’s light, summery risotto recipes, I thought I would try this alternative rice recipe, that I had also cut out and saved. I have never made a pilaf before, but this was super simple to make in just 35 minutes. A rich, spicy one-pan rice dish with peas, green beans and courgettes, which was perfect served with crunchy, salad leaves for an easy mid-week meal. Great recipe.


That’s four fabulous new recipes tried altogether. I also re-made The Hairy Dieters’ yummy Chicken Stir-Fry, although I think I might need to give up on the crispy coating on the chicken: it just won’t stick!

Do you fancy any of these recipes?

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