“Speedy burrito bowl” from Packed

Kirstin: It’s hot in London at the moment. Seriously hot. So I fancied a bit of Mexican food and this recipe totally did the job. I didn’t slice the avocado until I got to work and as you can see from the pic, only half squished the lime so I could add more at work. I would definitely make this again and it could easily be made for two days. Next time though I’m going to add some chopped chilli instead of the powder variety for a fresher taste.
And I have to say all my work colleagues were very impressed!

“Speedy burrito bowl” from Packed

“Tuna, Cannellini bean and Sugar Snap Salad” from Packed

Kirstin: I had meant to make this a few weeks ago, but was distracted with my love of chorizo. And that’s the beauty of this recipe. It’s essentially things I have in the cupboard anyway. I wasn’t sure about the beans and tuna together but they work well and I feel surprisingly full having just eaten it. I might add a little jalapeno chilli or sriacha next time though just to make the tuna a little bit more exciting.

“Tuna, Cannellini bean and Sugar Snap Salad” from Packed

“Chorizo with couscous, roasted peppers and tomatoes” from The Little Book of Lunch

Kirstin: I will eat pretty much anything with chorizo, even though I admit I bought the wrong kind of chorizo for this recipe. That’s internet shopping for you! You think you’re buying chorizo and actually you’re buying chorizo sausages. Anyway. I digress. I made this one morning before heading to work and while cooking and eating my porridge. I say that to give you an idea of how quick and easy it was to make. Next time I plan to buy the right kind of chorizo because that will be epic with the peppers! And there will be a next time!

“Chorizo with couscous, roasted peppers and tomatoes” from The Little Book of Lunch

“Roasted red peppers with anchovy and tomato” from The Little Book of Lunch

Kirstin: I used to make this recipe from an Alastair Little book ALL the time. As a starter. It never crossed my mind to make it for lunch. Genius. I made this the night before, slicing garlic into the halved peppers and adding tomatoes and anchovies before roasting for 30 minutes. I then microwaved them the following day at work.
These taste of summer which was something I loved looking forward to as I watched all the sun inside (while being stuck inside). I just wasn’t so keen on the anchovy bones that got stuck in my teeth afterwards. I’m not sure my patients liked seeing me struggle with them either, so I might just leave that bit out next time!

“Roasted red peppers with anchovy and tomato” from The Little Book of Lunch

Cookbooks of the month, July 2017: “Packed” and “The Little Book of Lunch”

Maureen: Two books for the price of one! You wanted to do lunch books because you have lunch at work, unlike me since I work from home.

Kirstin: I’m cooking interesting food at lunchtime now. I’ve already taken in a microwave egg poacher and microwave egg boiler, so I figured there must be other interesting lunch things I could do. I’ve been missing htis oppty to make delicious food and cheer myself up in the middle of the day.

Maureen: I get that. I remember when I worked in an office and lunch was an opportunity to get up from my desk and get away from the computer. Now that I work from home, all it means is I go downstairs and forage through the refrigerator looking for good leftovers.

Kirstin: I was also trying to have fewer carbs. Carb-free lunches is basically salads, so it’s good to try new stuff. I can see this is a growing market. There’s definitely space out there for good lunch books.

Maureen: Off to the world of lunch, then.

Cookbooks of the month, July 2017: “Packed” and “The Little Book of Lunch”

“Salmon Roasted in Butter” from NYT Cooking App

Kirstin: So this is a NEW salmon recipe. As recommended by the very lovely Deirdre on our fb page.

Ella: It is the death fish.

Kirstin: Seriously? This is the life fish!

Tom: She’d much prefer it if you cooked salmon else.

Ella: What are all these green things?

Kirstin: That’s flat leaf parsley. It adds flavour. Pretend it’s like salt but in leaf form, just adding flavour.

Ella: Salt is a rock! Not a leaf!

Kirstin: Well try it anyway. You might like it.

Ella: NEVER!

Kirstin: So I’m finally tasting it after the discourse with Ella and it’s YUM!

Ella: Why does the top taste different from the bottom? It tastes like that sea bass recipe I really like.

Kirstin: That will be the butter! And so good with the lemon.

Tom: It tastes really good with the rice too. It’s Of-fish-al.

Miles: [thumbs up while eating the fish].

Kirstin: Well thank you Deirdre. We shall definitely be making this one again! Epic.

And here’s the recipe for those who would like to give this recipe a try.

“Salmon Roasted in Butter” from NYT Cooking App

“Spice Rubbed Spatchcocked Chicken” from NYT Cooking App

Kirstin: Melissa Clark is VERY keen on spatchcocking chickens. So this is not the first time I have been inspired to make one of her recipes with the exciting part of spatchcocking beforehand. I’m definitely getting better at the part where you remove the backbone of a chicken, put it that way. Also the squashing part. And, as Melissa says in her video for this recipe, it is SUCH a good word! SPATCHCOCK! I particularly love it when she has all her utensils out and ready to use in the video. She is brilliant.

(And another small digression: I didn’t have any of the ancho chile powder for this recipe, so I found some of the dried whole peppers and ground them down in my new grinder which was very exciting, as you can imagine!)

And now to the recipe itself. The spice combination itself smelled incredible as I put it on the chicken. It’s one of the Top Ten recipes made from the New York Times this week and I could see why as I rubbed the spices on. However. There is just something about me and these spatchcocked chicken recipes that I am not getting right. Is it the temperature of the oven? Is it the length of time to cook? There is something that I continue to get wrong every time. While the chicken was not pink, it was chewier than usual despite me effectively burning all the spices on the top and also leaving the chicken to rest for a full ten minutes, or in fact longer as Tom had to edit something which took longer than I had anticipated. And I note that she adds olive oil before she cooks hers on the video, but not in the recipe. Maybe that made a difference.

So, the question is would I make this again? No. Would I try spatchcocking a chicken for Melissa? Probably not. No, not even butterflying one. But I might try spatchcocking for someone else’s recipe to see if I could get it right. And yes, that might be just so I could use the word again!

“Spice Rubbed Spatchcocked Chicken” from NYT Cooking App