Cookbooks: April 2019

Hello my fellow bookworms and foodies, as we have moved further into spring and enjoyed some milder weather (plus a mini-heatwave over the Easter weekend), I tried these comforting but lighter recipes:

Jool’s Sweet Pea & Prawn Pasta Shells
Save With Jamie by Jamie Oliver
Fish – Page 240

Perfect for a busy, weekday this can be easily rustled up last-minute from store cupboard and freezer essentials: dried pasta, tomato puree, frozen peas and frozen prawns. The only fresh ingredients called for are garlic and one red chilli, although I think you could probably substitute for dried chilli flakes. So a super quick, super tasty dish, which I served up with a lightly dressed green salad. Yum! Great recipe.


Cheddar & Pea Omelette
Save With Jamie by Jamie Oliver
Bonus Recipes – Page 260

I love an omelette because let’s face it, it is like the best, healthy fast food. For this one, you simply soften half a finely chopped onion, add some frozen peas, mix in your beaten eggs, and finish with grated cheddar cheese, fold and serve! Simple, quick and tasty. I served with a side of salad and pickles, which made a lovely meal for one. Great recipe.


Home-Made Fishcakes
The Hairy Dieters (2) Eat For Life by Si King & Dave Myers
Family Favourites – Page 52

After making the White Bean and Tuna Fishcakes, I thought I would try these more traditional ones made with white fish, smoked haddock and potato. With more fish and less potato these are less calorific and even tastier. Win, win! There are quite a few steps to making these, but they are relatively simple. However one of these wouldn’t satisfy our larger appetites, so I cheekily made two each. Good recipe.


Garlicky Green Beans
Save With Jamie by Jamie Oliver
Beef – Page 150

As I invited my grandad round to celebrate Easter Sunday, I thought this might be a nice, new accompaniment for my favourite, stress-free One-Pan Lamb Roast. And this kept things easy, as it only involved me frying green beans (from frozen) with some garlic! It went well with our roast, which we enjoyed al fresco on the patio in the stunning Easter sunshine. Good recipe.


So altogether that’s four tasty, new recipes tried. I also remade The Hairy Dieters’ Veggie Bean Burgers and Sausages and Rich Onion Gravy (both from Book 2). All in all another good month of cooking and eating.

Do you fancy any of these recipes?

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

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Cookbooks: November 2018

Hello my fellow bookworms and foodies, as the days have turned cooler, I have found myself craving comforting, traditional food. So I gave these new recipes a go:

Creamy Mash
The Hairy Dieters (2) Eat For Life by Si King & Dave Myers
Along Sides – Page 180

As, like Si & Dave, I couldn’t possibly live without mashed potato, especially now the days are getting colder, it is great that they have come up with a couple of different ways to serve it without overdoing it on the calories. This one is simply potatoes boiled and then mashed with half-fat crème fraiche, instead of butter or milk. It was yummy and very creamy. Good recipe.


Mashy Peas
Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals by Jamie Oliver
The Meals – Page 142

A delicious yet simple side dish made by cooking and then mashing potatoes, broccoli and regular, garden peas together, and then finished off with some seasoning and mint. I also stole from The Hairy Bikers above by replacing the butter here with half-fat crème fraiche. My only issue with this recipe was there was no timings, as I wasn’t cooking the whole recipe just picking out one of the sides. However I managed well enough. Good recipe.


Four Seasons Minestrone (Autumn)
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 were the autumnal additions of butternut squash and fresh and dried mushrooms. I enjoyed this autumnal take on this classic Italian soup even more than the summer! I look forward to trying the winter twist next. Great recipe.


Pork Chops, Crushed Potatoes and Minty Cabbage
Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals by Jamie Oliver
The Meals – Page 242

With a couple of batches of pork chops in the freezer, I thought I would try this. Instead of going straight to the grill, Jamie had me fry the chops to crisp the fat and then pop them in the oven, with garlic, sage and honey, to finish. Served with crushed, mustard potatoes and minty savoy cabbage. Yum! Relatively simple to make and no timing issues this time, as I was following the whole recipe. Great recipe.


That’s four tasty, new recipes tried over the last month. During that time, I remade new favourites: Jamie Oliver’s Hungover Noodles (Save With Jamie), Trish Sebben-Krupka’s Curried Cauliflower Coconut Soup (Plant Based) and The Hairy Bikers’ Gammon with Parsley Sauce (Book 1), which made a nice change when we had my granddad round for Sunday lunch. I also finished reading The Hairy Dieters (6) Make It Easy by Si King & Dave Myers, so lots more new, healthy recipes to look forward to!

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: 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?

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: April 2018

Hello my fellow bookworms and foodies, the start of the month was still pretty chilly and we had Easter to celebrate, so with that in mind I gave these new recipes a go:

Fisherman’s Pie With Leeky Mash
The Hairy Dieters (2) Eat For Life by Si King & Dave Myers
Family Favourites – Page 55

After enjoying King & Myers’ Quick Cod and Prawn Gratin and Creamy Haddock and Broccoli, I thought I would try this more traditional fish pie made of thick white fish, smoked haddock and prawns in a creamy sauce, which is topped with leek-filled mash. This may have taken a lot longer to cook than the previous recipes, but well worth it if you have a bit more time on your hands! Great recipe.


Roasted Root Vegetables
Everyday: Granny’s Favourites
Granny’s Festive Favourites – Page 114

As I invited family and friends round for a celebratory roast dinner on Easter Sunday, I thought this might be a nice, new accompaniment for my traditional leg of lamb. Once all the cutting was done, this mixture of carrots, parsnips, butternut squash and sweet potatoes was easily cooked on one big tray, with mixed herbs and a little oil. This made a sweet and delicious side which was eagerly gobbled up by all, including the fussy eaters! Great recipe.


Sweet Potato and Bean Chilli
and Mexican Rice

The Co-operative Magazine

With the remaining sweet potatoes from the recipe above, I thought it was an excellent chance to give these recipes, cut out of an old Co-op magazine ages ago, a try. This healthy and vibrant chilli, made with sweet potatoes, peppers, and red kidney and cannellini beans, was super easy to make and was delicious served with the Mexican rice. Which was simply basmati rice simmered in vegetable stock with spring onions and tomatoes. I think from now on I will make this rice with all my chillies! Great recipes.


Gammon with Parsley Sauce
The Hairy Dieters (1) by Si King & Dave Myers
Grills & Roasts – Page 65

King and Myers have managed to make a low-fat version of this all-time classic dish by switching out the butter and flour in the sauce for cornflour. Gammon, boiled potatoes and green beans I have cooked before, but this was my first time making homemade parsley sauce. This method was so easy to follow and if it’s healthy to boot, I will make my own parsley sauce like this from now on! Great recipe.


That’s five great, new recipes tried over the last month. I also remade The Hairy Dieter’s comforting Creamy Chicken and Tarragon Pots (Book 3) and, with the remaining root vegetables from my Easter Sunday roast, I made a big batch of Golden Vegetable Soup (Book 1).

Do you fancy any of these recipes?

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

Cookbooks: March 2018

Hello my fellow bookworms and foodies, sadly March has turned out to be an equally cold month to the previous two, so warming, comfort food has still been called for! With that in mind I gave these new recipes a go:

White Bean and Tuna Fishcakes
The Hairy Dieters (4) Fast Food by Si King & Dave Myers
Fuller Faster – Page 93

Loving fishcakes I just had to try this tasty take on the classic tuna and white bean combo. Although my mixture was a little too wet these were simple to make, conveniently with tinned tuna and beans, and turned out well. Due to the cold weather, I served them with potatoes, greens and parsley sauce, but I could see these being great with salad in summer too. Good recipe.


Curried Cauliflower Coconut Soup
Plant Based Cookbook by Trish Sebben-Krupka
Soups and Stews – Page 85

A creamy cauliflower and coconut soup accented with warm spices, which with its bright flavours was perfect to cook up after a long, cold day. My dad and I indulged in two bowls and still had plenty to freeze for future warming work lunches. I will definitely be making this again. Great recipe.


One-Pan Lamb Roast With Gravy
The Hairy Dieters (2) Eat For Life by Si King & Dave Myers
Family Favourites – Page 68

One Sunday for my dad, granddad and myself, I rustled up this easy one-tray roast dinner, which consists of lamb cutlets topped with mint sauce and cooked nestled within a tray of roughly chopped new potatoes, root vegetables, courgettes and onions. I popped it in the oven and about 45 minutes later I had a delicious, healthy family roast. I will definitely be making this again. Great recipe.


Veggie Bolognese
Super Food Family Classics by Jamie Oliver
Pasta & Risotto – Page 170

As we love a Bolognese in my family, I thought I would try this vegetarian alternative that switches minced meat for copper-rich and fibre-tastic green lentils. Although I don’t think this will be replacing my favourite rich meaty Bolognese, it was tasty and surprisingly still rich. It will be perfect to make when my vegetarian best friend comes round. Good recipe.


That is four new recipes tried over the month. I also remade The Hairy Dieter’s comforting A Big Soup (Book 2); All-In-One Spicy Pork and Rice (Book 2) and Rich Beef and Ale Casserole (Book 1); fab fakeway Very Easy Thai Chicken and Coconut Curry (Book 1); and new favourite Jamie Oliver’s Super Leek and Potato Soup. All in all I think a very impressive month of cooking.

Do you fancy any of these recipes?

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