“Pomegranate-Glazed Chicken Thighs with Red Quinoa Salad” from Home Cook

Kirstin: I’ve been looking forward to cooking with pomegranate molasses, but never had the opportunity before.

Tom: Is that what’s on the chicken?

Kirstin: Yes, it’s what makes that wonderful glaze.

Tom: Well whatever it is, it’s awesome. And the salad is fab too!

Kirstin: I love all the herbs and vegetable textures in the salad. They go so well with the quinoa.

Tom: And the kids liked the chicken too.

Kirstin: They did! I do have to add that her timings with cooking the chicken were way off, but the end result was totally worth it. There is also a bonus recipe of a pomegranate cake at the bottom of the page. A little random, but still worth looking at.

“Pomegranate-Glazed Chicken Thighs with Red Quinoa Salad” from Home Cook

“”California Roast Chicken with Citrus, Oregano and Chilli” from “Home Cook”

Kirstin: I have never stuffed a chicken before, so I was curious about this recipe on two fronts.

Tom: Well I love it!

Miles: It smelled of Greece in the kitchen!

Kirstin: I know what you mean, Miles. The stuffing had pancetta, along with lots of other yummy ingredients.

Tom: And I love the red peppers and potatoes.

Kirstin: Me too! Must try and remember that for future cooking.

Tom: But I really loved the guacamole.

Kirstin: Wasn’t that amazing with the chicken? Wow! So good. It was indeed ALL good. Although her wording could have been a little bit clearer, if I’m honest.

“”California Roast Chicken with Citrus, Oregano and Chilli” from “Home Cook”

“‘Nduja, Plum Tomatoes and Clams with Casareccia Pasta” from “”Home Cook”

Kirstin: Today we have Guest Blogger, Anna. Remember her from the old days?

Anna: I think you should call me your Executive Blogger!

Kirstin: Really?

Anna: You weren’t sure about the pasta, were you?

Kirstin: Well it’s usually linguine or spaghetti with clams, right? But this works. I was surprised.

Anna: It totally works.

Kirstin: And I loved all that ‘nduja.

Anna: It’s incredibly rich. If I was going to do my own version of this, I would have left the pasta out and had more clams.

Kirstin: That’s interesting, because I would have had less wine. But same everything else. So less soup-y. I would also get that pot of water on the hob and start it boiling before starting the sauce.

Anna: We ate it in a record short amount of time. Fifteen minutes.

Kirstin: There were children to pick up from school.

Anna: And the fellow mums very much enjoyed our spicy garlic breath.

“‘Nduja, Plum Tomatoes and Clams with Casareccia Pasta” from “”Home Cook”

Cookbook of the month, May 2017: “Home Cook” by Thomasina Miers

Maureen: Even though I read it every week,  I’ve never made anything from her Saturday column in the Guardian

Kirstin: But it always looks nice.

Maureen: True. But it also always seems slightly mad, which could be the reason why I’ve never made anything.

Kirstin: I didn’t know she had won Masterchef.

Maureen: She won in 2005, which might have been when they relaunched it in its current format, whereas before it was with Lloyd Grossman. After she won, it really launched her career. She went on to do more TV, and then she started the Wahaca chain, which we love, in 2007.

Kirstin: Poor Thomasina has a tough act to follow after we did Melissa Clark. I could happily do Melissa Clark for the rest of the year.

Maureen: I don’t think Thomasina’s philosophy is that dissimilar to Melissa Clark’s. It’s all about making good tasty dinners for your family.

Kirstin: We shall see.

Maureen: Indeed.

Cookbook of the month, May 2017: “Home Cook” by Thomasina Miers

Our Verdict: “Dinner, Changing the Game”

Kirstin: I just want Melissa Clark to move in to my house and cook with me. With all the jalepenos

Maureen: I could see how that would work. She would be fun to cook with and I also think her attitude would be, “Don’t stress. It’s just dinner.”

Kirstin: All the sticky tabs I use to mark the recipes I want to make are no longer relevant because I just want to make everything.

Maureen: Every time I open the book I find something else I want to make. I feel bad because due to a variety of factors, I wasn’t able to post everything I made. But there were no disasters, which is always the sign of an excellent cookbook.

Kirstin: She is so good at flavour combinations. Everything is so tasty.

Maureen: But they were all made with easily sourced ingredients. Other than my experience with daikon radishes, though enough people told me they thought I’d easily be able to find them in London. I still haven’t seen them in any of the greengrocers or supermarkets I use regularly, but I’ve not given up hope.

Kirstin: I’ve loved this book so much that I’ve already given four copies away.

Maureen: If that’s not a sign of a good book, I don’t know what is. The thing I loved about this book is that it was all attainable deliciousness. It’s not overly cheffy in that it involves multiple steps and multiple bowls. They were all pretty straightforward, but absolutely delicious, which is all you really want, in the end.

Kirstin: I think this is my favourite book ever.

Maureen: High praise indeed.

Kirstin: You know how much I love Gwyneth Paltrow and Bill Granger. They do lovely Italian and Asian dishes, which is what we love most in our house. But Melissa Clark does those dishes so much better than they do.

Maureen: This is a very, very, very good book. I don’t know if it’s my favourite cookbook ever, but I don’t know what that would be. That’s going to take some thought.

Kirstin: This cookbook is just the business. Everything has tasted so amazing. It’s made me really get back into the kitchen and enjoy being back in the kitchen.

Maureen: I think it’s made me a better cook overall. I really started to think about what we should have for dinner, what would taste good with it, what extras I could make. Not in an over the top way, but in a more thoughtful way than I usually do, and I put it down to this book.

Kirstin: If I could only have one book on my shelf, it would probably be this one. This is my Desert Island Cookbook.

Overall Grade (A- F):  A* (Maureen)  A***** (Kirstin)
Best recipes:  Korean Bulgogi (Kirstin) There were so many good ones, it was hard to pick one. But maybe the Za’atar Chicken. (Maureen)
Grade for Photography (A-F): Kirstin: A
Any disasters? (Kirstin and Maureen) Absolutely not.
Bookshelf or Charity Shop Donation? High-rotation bookshelf.  Kirstin: This one might have its own bookshelf.
Would you give this to a friend?  (Maureen) Absolutely. (Kirstin) Indeed. I’ve given it away four times already.

Our Verdict: “Dinner, Changing the Game”

“Pizza with Broccoli Rabe, Ricotta and Olives” from “Dinner”

Kirstin: We love pizza. We have it every weekend and having played around with the dough recipes, we’ve decided the best one is the Roberta’s recipe from the New York Times. But then that leaves the question of the toppings!

Tom: Nduja know what my favourite topping is?

Kirstin: I knew you were going to say that.

Tom: I’m just trying to do Nduja right thing. Anyway, you were saying…

Kirstin: So I liked the look of this recipe with broccoli, ricotta and olives. Normally we don’t cook the toppings — we just use olives, prosciutto, passata, garlic…

Tom: And Nduja!

Kirstin: Yes, and that. Anyway, this recipe involves cooking the broccoli, garlic and chilli flakes, and then you chop it up and add the olives.

Tom: And then bung that on the pizza, plus ricotta and olive oil. And salt. And a few more chilli flakes. It was fab!

Kirstin: I loved it. I would do that again. Would you?

Tom: Amazingly, yes. Normally I don’t like pizzas without meat, but this was great!

Kirstin: I think I would add some jalapeño. I’m surprised she didn’t.

Tom: Everything is better with more jalapeño!

“Pizza with Broccoli Rabe, Ricotta and Olives” from “Dinner”