“Korean Chicken and Potato Stew” from “Gizzi’s Healthy Appetite”


Kirstin: I made TWO trips to the Asian supermarket to get the ingredients for this recipe. But I got there in the end!

Miles: I’m going to try it!

Kirstin: Me too! I put in half the amount of curry paste that it said. But was it still too much?

Miles: It’s sooooo yum!

Kirstin: Ooooo. It’s really yummy! I’ve missed having things that taste good!

Ella: What if yum was the accusative of yus?

Kirstin: It’s so good!

Miles: I know, right?

Kirstin: And of course it took much longer too cook than it said in the book, but that’s possibly because I had a long chat with my mother in law in the middle about Christmas arrangements and then had to pop to the Asian supermarket as I had bought the wrong paste.

Miles: hashtag epicfail.

Kirstin: And what do you think of the chicken, Ella?

Ella: It’s a bird. An edible bird.

Kirstin: And you are eating the edible bird.

Ella: And it’s yum. And do you know what else is yum?

Kirstin: No!


Kirstin: Thank you for that. Would you I make this again? Probably not as it’s a bit of a faff, but I have the paste now, so you never know!

“Korean Chicken and Potato Stew” from “Gizzi’s Healthy Appetite”

“Pimped-Up Pad Thai” from “Gizzi’s Healthy Appetite”

IMG_7656I love a Pad Thai. Always have, always will. When I was a young reporter in Chicago, a group of us would go to our favourite Thai restaurant around the corner from our office every pay day without fail, and I frequently ordered Pad Thai.

[Brief pause to go to Google Maps to see if the Thai restaurant is still there. It is! I love it when despite the drumbeat of time, my favourite places are still where I remember them. As you were.]

So I was excited to make this for my family. It was even a Friday, which if memory serves actually was our payday, but that could just be my memory playing tricks on me. I really wanted to like this. But it didn’t work out that way.

I don’t know if it was operator error or the recipe didn’t quite work, but the pad thai was extremely gloopy by the time I served it. I did everything as instructed– had the wok as hot as it would go, followed the rest of the instructions to the letter– but it just wasn’t a pad thai that I could recognise.

The rest of the family, not surprisingly, was less than enthusiastic about the result. I feel bad not being able to whole-heartedly recommend this recipe, since the rest of the book looks so promising, but it didn’t work for me.

Maybe I’ll have better luck with the next thing I try.

If you’d like to try this yourself, The Pool has the recipe, which you can find by clicking through on this paragraph. Maybe you can figure out where it went wrong for me. Answers on a postcard. Or an e-mail.

“Pimped-Up Pad Thai” from “Gizzi’s Healthy Appetite”

Cookbook of the month, October 2015, Gizzi’s Healthy Appetite: Food to nourish the body and feed the soul

Maureen: What do you think?

Kirstin: It looks like there are some mad ingredients in here.

Maureen: Argh! You know how i feel about mad ingredients

Kirstin: It looks like I’m going to have to go to the Asian supermarket to get ingredients.

Kirstin: There’s a shepherds pie with cauliflower but it takes four hours to make. Oh my God. And it’ll take longer than that, right?

Maureen: A four-hour shepherd’s pie! That seems to defeat the purpose of making a shepherd’s pie in the first place.

Kirstin: It’ll probably be more like six when I’m done with it. But there’s a lovely lasagna recipe here.

Maureen: Yes, that looks good. I’ll do that one, as lasagna is firmly in our family’s meal wheelhouse. We all love it.

Kirstin: The recipes look tasty. It’s a little bit of everything.

Maureen: I like the looks of this. After a month of living virtuously, perhaps too virtuously, I like the look of a recipe that uses butter and cheese. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that this month will be better than the last one.

Cookbook of the month, October 2015, Gizzi’s Healthy Appetite: Food to nourish the body and feed the soul

Our Verdict – “Everyday Super Food” by Jamie Oliver

Maureen: I feel a bit meh about it. I was hoping it would be better than it was. It wasn’t terrible, but I can’t see myself using this book very much again.

Kirstin: I didn’t feel the food was very good. it was missing something.

Maureen: I agree. More than once, we  tasted something and said this needs something else, but we couldn’t figure out what it could be.

Kirstin: It didn’t make me happy.

Maureen: I think the problem with Jamie is that he feels compelled to release one book a  year. Maybe if he took his time, like Nigella for example, and left a few years between books they would be better. I feel like it’s been years since I used a book of Jamie’s and I put it on to my high rotation shelf. That’s disappointing.

Kirstin: One thing that cheesed me off about the book is that most of the recipes were for two people. Who cooks for two?

Maureen: I noticed that too! It was so annoying. Jamie has a family, he knows that many people have a crowd to feed. He could at least scale up each recipe to four, rather than having us do the math.

Kirstin: The other thing that annoyed me was all the brown rice and pasta he used. I couldn’t find brown couscous anyway. Brown couscous! Where can you find that? How ridiculous.

Maureen: I do admire his desire to get us to eat better, but this book did not inspire me.

Kirstin: It’s too worthy. If it had been anything like Anna Jones’s books, it would have been fine. Or Gwyneth Paltrow’s book, which was healthy and tasty and I still use all the time.

Maureen: All in all, a disappointment.

Kirstin: Yes. There’s something missing in this cookbook. The missing ingredient is joy.

“Everyday Super Food”
Overall Grade (A- F): C (Kirstin) C (Maureen)
Best recipes: Kirstin: None. Maureen: None spring to mind, unfortunately.
Grade for Photography (A-F):  Taken by Jamie! The photography was good. A.
Any disasters? Kirstin: Happiness Pasta. The Tree Trunk Pasta. Maureen: No disasters exactly, but nothing I’m excited about trying again, either.
Bookshelf or Charity Shop Donation? Kirstin: It’s in a holding pattern at the moment. I might give it another go. Maureen: I’m pretty sure I’m going to donate this to the library. I suspect someone else would get more use of it than I would. On the other hand, maybe I should give it another chance. We’ll see.

Our Verdict – “Everyday Super Food” by Jamie Oliver

“Chicken & Garlic Bread Kebabs, Blood Orange, Spinach & Feta” from “Everyday Super Food”

IMG_2246Maureen: As you can see, the plates of the adults do not match the plates of the children.

Tim: Why is that? (laughing, because he already knows the answer)

Maureen: I knew that the younger half of this family would not abide a plate of spinach salad, even if there was feta tossed over it, so I made them couscous and purple-sprouting spinach instead.

Andrew (15): Couscous! I love couscous!

Nicholas (12): Thank you for not making me eat the spinach salad.

Maureen: Your feelings about spinach are clear. Also, I wasn’t sure I was up for the drama involved, so I just bypassed it altogether. What do you think?

Tim: I like it.

Maureen: Me too. I like all of it. Though I know the salad– using the term loosely since it’s really just spinach leaves, oranges and some dressing– would not be a hit with the boys.

Tim: I’m not sure that the oranges add anything.

Maureen: I don’t get why they’re there either. Maybe it’d be better if I had been able to find the blood oranges he wanted me to use, but I doubt it.

Nicholas: I like the chicken.

Tim: Where is the kick coming from in the chicken?

Maureen: You add cayenne to the marinade. I like it.

Andrew: I’m not crazy about it.

Maureen: Why not?

Andrew: I don’t know. I just don’t fancy it. I like the couscous, though.

Maureen: That’s not part of this recipe.

Tim: I think you should make this again, or at least the chicken part of it. It was a winner.

Maureen: I agree.

“Chicken & Garlic Bread Kebabs, Blood Orange, Spinach & Feta” from “Everyday Super Food”

“Golden Salmon Steaks, Sweet peas and Smashed Veg” from ” Everyday Super Food”


Kirstin: I couldn’t get the salmon cut in a medallion style because no one seems to do that any more. It seems to be out of fashion, so it’s fillets for us today.

Tom: How did you cook it?

Kirstin: With a bit of fennel.

Tom: In the picture, the salmon seems very brown. Oh I like the mash! It’s lovely!

Ella: Today is Bilbo Baggins’s birthday.

Kirstin: What do you think of the food? I think the salmon is quite bland, but then again we are used to teriyaki salmon so we’re used to lots of flavours.

Ella: I like the salmon. Well I don’t hate the salmon. If I had a choice not to eat the salmon, I wouldn’t eat the salmon.

Tom: How is the fennel applied to the salmon?

Ella: Injected with a syringe?!?

Kirstin: Well I’m not overly impressed with this recipe. I won’t be making it again.

“Golden Salmon Steaks, Sweet peas and Smashed Veg” from ” Everyday Super Food”

“Happiness Pasta, Sweet Tomato, Aubergine and Ricotta” from “Everyday Superfood”


Kirstin: So Ella and Miles, you’re not so convinced about this happiness pasta, I can tell.

Ella: I’m not very keen on the texture.

Miles: Me neither.

Tom: It just feels too worthy. And the ingredients do not come together as a whole.

Kirstin: I know what you mean. That said, I like the addition of the ricotta and you know how much I love aubergine!

Tom: It’s just not doing it for me, I’m afraid to say.

“Happiness Pasta, Sweet Tomato, Aubergine and Ricotta” from “Everyday Superfood”