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Angela Hartnett “A Taste of Home”

Anna: Lovely Angela! This has been a good book this month. This is a book I will definitely cook from again.

Kirstin: Oh yes, and there are recipes I still want to make from it. And some I cooked, took pics of and then never posted.

Anna: Me too! There are loads of recipes I want to do in the autumn. Some of the stews and the casseroles. I did have that one mishap with the salmon noodle thing where the quantities were all wrong. But I’ll forgive her for that.

Kirstin: I have thoroughly enjoyed this month. I think my favourites were the ones I cooked in Italy. But that might have been because the tomatoes tasted so much more amazing over there.

Anna: Thank you Angela for a good month!

Kirstin: Angela, you rock!

Tom: This is great! I’m having seconds. This is the best macaroni cheese recipe so far. Yum!

Miles: It’s delicious!

Kirstin: Should I make it again, Miles?

Miles: Um, no thanks.

Tom: Why not, Miles? Do you just like other things?

Miles: When I tasted it with loads of sauce on it, then I didn’t like it. I wanted to taste the sauce. With a little bit, then I liked it. With a lot, then I didn’t like it. May I please be excused?

Kirstin: It was very easy to cook.

Miles: And very delicious!

Ella (eating it from the pan): I like the crunchy bits. They are all chewy!

Tom: Leave some for me!

Ella: Uh-uh. These are the only bits I will eat.

Kirstin: I will keep cooking macaroni cheese recipes until these two decide that they like it.

Ella: You will be cooking for hundreds of years. And into the afterlife.

Kirstin: Well, there’s a challenge! And I really struggle to make macaroni cheese look good in a picture, I so do. I feel another challenge coming on….

Anna: The spinach was a guest ingredient, but I actually think it made the dish.

Peter: This was good. I liked the fact it was a small pasta. The ham was a change from the usual pasta we have. It was like a luxury macaroni cheese. With vegetables.

Anna: I thought it reminded me of a carbonara actually. The salty ham and the cream and the parmesan.  It was so quick and easy we’ll definitely have this again I think.

Peter: You could probably adjust the vegetables for whatever is in season.

Anna: I’d do it just with the ham and spinach.  Angela did miss one trick with this recipe. She instructs you to cook the asparagus separately to the macaroni, when in reality you can do it in the same pot at the same time, and just take it out after a couple of minutes. One pot. Time saved. Simples.

Anna: Where’s the broth?

Peter: There doesn’t really seem to be enough of anything in this recipe.  That said, when we you ate it it was reasonably filling.

Anna: It doesn’t look anything like the picture in the book. That suggests a big steaming bowl of salmon and noodles in broth. In reality the noodles were just a little moist.

Peter: I think she has special photographic bowl, like those pint glasses you can tip upside down even though they look like they are full.

Anna: You doubled this recipe anyway, didn’t you?

Peter: Yes, I made it for 4, even though it was just the two of us. Apart from the salmon of course.

Anna: You had to, otherwise we would only have had one baby sweetcorn each!

Peter: It was really easy to make though. No issues, no complications, only 3 paragraphs of instructions. I think you would agree that I didn’t screw this up.

Anna: I don’t always think that you screw recipes up. In fact, left to your own devices as you were tonight, you often get them spot on. In fact it was Angela who screwed this up, from an ingredient quantity point of view.

Peter: I think you could customise this recipe. For example, bean sprouts.

Anna: Yes, we’ll be making this again. Just with more broth. And veg.

Sorry, loyal readers. No dialogue for this one. It was Sunday lunch and I was just too lazy busy to write it up.

I made this as part of a Sunday barbeque. We had some tuna steaks for our main, a nice rocket salad on the side, some steamed green beans and this.

It was very nice but it was also very rich. I couldn’t understand, reading the method beforehand, how only 500 grams of new potatoes would be enough to feed between four and six people. But now I know. You can’t take a really big portion of this because if you did, it would be very overwhelming. Especially if you were a vampire.

But it’s a really nice way to do potato salad, and believe me, as an American, I know my potato salad. First you roast the new potatoes in olive oil, rosemary and garlic. Once they’re roasted and cooled down, you add in the mayonnaise, parsley and lemon juice. While I was preparing them, I couldn’t stop myself from eating them. I may just do the first step in the future to roast new potatoes.

But while I loved them, not everyone agreed. Tim liked them, but didn’t go back for seconds because he found them a bit overwhelming. Neither of the boys liked them, probably for the same reason.

I think I would make them again, but for a bigger crowd. That way, everyone could have a little, but not so much that they would become Walking Vampire Repellant.

Ian: This pork tastes really lovely.

Aine: It is so tender. It’s really hard to get pork that isn’t tough.

Ian: I was tortured with dry pork chops as a kid. And I wasn’t allowed to pick them up and eat them with my fingers.

Aine: Pork chops were made to eat with your fingers!

Anna: You have to gnaw at them!

Ian: Well this was lovely. No gnawing required.

Anna: That’s what happens when you cook it for 4 hours. Yum. Pork belly, crackly crackling. One of my favourite things.

Ian: Does it have any spices on it?

Anna: Nope. But it was cooked on a bed of garlic, shallots and herbs so that’s why it might taste as though it does. I have to say this was the easiest pork belly recipe I’ve ever cooked. No peeling of garlic or shallots required. Just smash them, halve them and bung it in the oven. And it’s delicious.

Aine: How did you make the gravy?

Anna: It was just the cooking juices. I forgot to put any on yours Ian.

Aine: The potatoes are lovely and creamy. They go really well with the pork.

Anna: There’s no cream in them, just chicken stock. Potatoes Boulangere….

Peter: Which is?…..

Anna: Well the Boulangerie is where you get croissants. I have no idea.

Peter: Are there any apples in them?

Anna: The sweetness comes from the onions.  I used waxy rather than floury potatoes, I don’t know if that was right. But it’s worked, hasn’t it?  The best thing about this meal, apart from the yumminess of it, was I got to nap in the garden for part of the afternoon. This is my sort of cooking!

Tom: Well this is, as our friend Judy would say, a great combination. The radish is really crunchy and sharp. The broccoli is not quite so crunchy and sharp. And the salmon is not at all crunchy and sharp. Yum.

Kirstin: I loved the colours in this one. I had to cook the fish for longer than she said. But she is forgiven for that wonderful collision of yummy flavours.

Tom: Can we have this one again?

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