“Roast Citrus, Ginger and Honey Chicken” from “Simple”


Tom: This looks totally epic. The sauce is wonderfully dark; it almost looks like a duck sauce!

Kirstin: I know what you mean.

Tom: And the sauce is a little spicy too. What’s in it?

Kirstin: She says to add some hot sauce. So I added some sriracha. Along with the ginger and other goodies.

Tom: It’s brilliant!

Kirstin: It’s almost like a hot sweet and sour, right?

Tom: I think it’s like having Peking duck as chicken.

Ella: I’m glad we’re chicken it out.

Kirstin: GAH!

“Roast Citrus, Ginger and Honey Chicken” from “Simple”

“Bitter Flourless Chocolate Cake with Coffee Cream” from “Simple”


Book club night!

I love being able to try out new recipes from our tester cookbooks for book club, but they also love to be the guinea pigs, so I call that a win-win situation.

Tonight it was time to try another flourless chocolate cake. I’ve tested quite a few on this blog. I think my favourite– or at least the one I turn to repeatedly– is the one by Angela Hartnett in “A Taste of Home”.

This one was much like the others. I’m thrilled to say that it didn’t collapse, but as I’ve written previously, I know to beat the egg whites in utter submission in order for the cake to stay firm after baking.

The new addition to this particular version of flourless chocolate cake was the making of coffee cream to go with it, where you whip up double cream, a coffee paste and some alcohol. Diana Henry wanted me to add whiskey to it, but given just the smell of whiskey makes me nauseous, I decided to add amaretto instead. Tim suggested if I make the cream again I use Bailey’s Irish Cream, which I thought was a stellar suggestion, so I will do that.

The book club loved it. We were busy disagreeing on our opinion of the book* [see below], but we could agree on loving this cake. It was another winning recipe.

*If you’re curious what we read, it was “The Reader on the 6.27” by Jean-Paul Didierlaurent, and translated by Ros Schwartz. I loved it, but the club was split on its option. Five of us loved it, four of us hated it. I would urge you to read it, but four of my friends would not. For what it’s worth.

This recipe, which I definitely recommend, can be found on the Telegraph website. You can read it by clicking through this paragraph.

“Bitter Flourless Chocolate Cake with Coffee Cream” from “Simple”

“Portuguese Baked Hake and Potatoes” from “Simple”


Maureen: Fish Friday!

Nicholas (13): What fish is this?

Maureen: It’s hake. You should see the mouth on a hake! It’s really something. I asked the nice fishmonger if I could have the head too, but then she warned me that we would have to be extra-careful with it because the teeth have anticoagulants in them. So no fun with fish heads tonight.

Andrew (Now 17! Happy birthday!): I’m not so sure about the hake.

Maureen: What do you mean?

Andrew: I like the potatoes, but I don’t like the taste of the hake.

Nicholas: I agree with Andrew.

Maureen: Well, that might be a first. But I’m not sure I understand why you dislike the hake. I don’t think the hake tastes overly fishy. It’s just a plain white fish.

Tim: I agree with Mom. I don’t see the problem either.

Maureen: Well, we seem to be divided on this one. Maybe when I make it again, I’ll just make it for me and dad and the two of you can have fish fingers or something. That’ll show you. I think this is delicious.

As I said above, the adults really liked this. I honestly don’t know why the boys didn’t like it more. Sometimes Often, children’s tastes are a mystery. But if you want to try it for yourself, click through this sentence to find the recipe in the Telegraph.

“Portuguese Baked Hake and Potatoes” from “Simple”

“Parmesan Roast Chicken with Cauliflower and Thyme” from “Simple”


If I ever had to pick a perfect supper, this would certainly make the list.

  • Tray bake? Check.
  • Chicken? Check.
  • Cauliflower? Check.
  • Cheese? Check.
  • Easy? Check.
  • Delicious? Check.
  • Everyone likes it? Check.

See what I mean? The perfect supper.

This is not to say that I haven’t made a variation of this a million times before. But the reason I’ve made something similar a million times before is because of all the points listed above. It’s a good time of year to have this, as well (though it’s good any time of year, to be honest), as the days become shorter and cold weather begins to descend.

We followed the alternative directions and used gruyere instead of parmesan, but that made it seem all the more like cauliflower cheese, another winning dish.

Would I make this again? Obviously. Why mess with success?

If you’d like to make this yourself, here’s the recipe, as it first appeared in the Daily Telegraph.

“Parmesan Roast Chicken with Cauliflower and Thyme” from “Simple”

“Turkish spiced Chicken with parsley salad” from “Simple, effortless food, big flavours”


Kirstin: So what do you think of this?

Tom: I like it!

Kirstin: It’s called Turkish chicken! Do you think it tastes like any chicken you have had in Turkey?

Tom: Well I like it. And it’s lovely and spicy. But it doesn’t taste anything like the chicken we’ve had in Turkey to be honest. Chicken in Turkey is usually much simpler than this. But I still like it!

Kirstin: What do we think kiddos?

Miles: I love it! I love all the spices!

Kirstin: It’s a good start to the month. Should I make it again? I love the addition of the allspice.

Everyone: YES!

“Turkish spiced Chicken with parsley salad” from “Simple, effortless food, big flavours”

Cookbook of the month, October 2016: Simple: Effortless Food, Big Flavours by Diana Henry

Kirstin: Hooray!

Maureen: Hooray, indeed.

Kirstin: Diana Henry, our friend!

Maureen: A month of food that we actually want to eat. We also loved her previous cookbooks, so I’m feeling very positive about this one.

Kirstin: Proper food that’s tasty that we want to eat. What more can you ask of from a cookbook?

Maureen: The other good thing is paging through and finding multiple recipes that we want to try. That makes for a nice change from the last month.

Kirstin: It’s also well organised.

Maureen: Yes. That’s good too. I think this is our reward for having survived Jamie.

Kirstin: Totally.


Cookbook of the month, October 2016: Simple: Effortless Food, Big Flavours by Diana Henry

Our Verdict: Superfood Family Classics

Maureen: I think I have fallen out of love with Jamie Oliver.

Kirstin: Oh My Goodness.

Maureen: I still love his old stuff, but it has been such a long time since he’s written a cookbook that I’ve liked or we liked.

Kirstin: You’re absolutely right.

Maureen: In some ways, I feel as though I’m in an abusive relationship because every time he releases a new cookbook I want to buy it, even though I hated the last one, but then I cook from it and he disappoints me yet again.

Kirstin: I don’t know who’s cooking this food, but it certainly isn’t me. What I’d really like him to do– because the question after all is what is he going to do next–  is reissue his good books and then add all the nutritional information and people would love it. He could even call it “The Best of Jamie.” I can see it already.

Maureen: Maybe, but why would you and I buy it? We’ve got all the old books– despite all the stains and splatter marks. We wouldn’t need to buy a repackaged one.

Kirstin: You’re right. Do think this might be the last Jamie book you buy?

Maureen: Probably, but we’ll have to see what he does next. Do you think this is the last one for you?

Kirstin: It may well be. But I’ll also have to look at what it is next and then I’ll decide.

Maureen: The whole thing was ridiculous. All of the curries looked gross just in the pictures, I can’t even imagine how they would taste. And he had how many pages of avocado toast? [Pause to find book and learn the answer] SIX! Six bloody pages on avocado toast. I’m sorry, but that is just absurd. Do we really need that many pages on how to make avocado toast? OK. Now I’m just RAGING. I could go all day.

Kirstin: (Whispers) Numpty.

Maureen: Indeed. It’s just awful. If the first test of any cookbook is does it make good food, this one absolutely falls at the first hurdle. For the most part, this food was gross and no one liked it. This was an Epic Fail.

Kirstin:: I absolutely agree.

Overall Grade (A- F): F (Maureen) F (Kirstin) It failed in every way.
Best recipes: None.
Grade for Photography (A-F):  C
Any disasters? The entire book.
Bookshelf or Charity Shop Donation? Do we really need to say?
Would you give this to a friend? Only if they weren’t really a friend at all.

Our Verdict: Superfood Family Classics