Anna: Well as usual, I was underwhelmed by Nigel.
Kirstin: I loved the design of the book but I fear it was style over substance.
Anna: You say that, but it’s a really difficult book to use practically in the kitchen. It’s too short and too fat so it’s tricky to keep open on a particular page when you’re cooking. But it has a good index.
Kirstin: But it has those recipes at the beginning of each chapter and then within the chapter too. I found that a little confusing.
Anna: I know. Well most of the recipes, dare I say it, while I don’t like over-complication, are almost not recipes.
Kirstin: I totally know what you mean. But that’s kind of Nigel’s thing, right?
Anna: Well it is, yes. I think I must be the only person in the world who’s not into Nigel Slater.
Kirstin: Apart from me after our previous Nigel book.
Anna: Oh yes. Those huge tomes.
Kirstin: Those tomes are now in the charity shop.
Overall Grade (A- F): Kirstin: C. Anna: C.
Best recipes: Kirstin: Salmon and noodles. Anna: I guess it’s the rice recipe.
Grade for Photography (A-F): Kirstin: B
Any disasters? Well, not exactly.
Bookshelf or Charity Shop Donation? Kirstin: Bookshelf. For the time being. Anna: Charity. There’s a million recipes in there, but I just don’t think I’m going to use it again. Sorry Nigel.
Tom: This looks like a stew.
Kirstin: It sort of it. The hardest part of this recipe was almost mincing the chicken.
Tom: Yes, I can imagine that was tricky.
Kirstin: There’s a lot of lemon in here too; a squeeze at the end and lemon thyme along the way too. I had to reduce the quantities again because I don’t know where Nigel is coming from but I didn’t need as many herbs as he suggested.
Tom: Well I love it.
Miles: I’m not so sure.
Ella: It reminds me of a meal we used to have at my school.
Kirstin: Is that good or bad?
Ella: Good. Definitely good.
Kirstin: Well then. Maybe I’ll make it again sometime!
Anna: What do you think of this?
Peter: It’s not bad!
Anna: I think it should be more moist. And that’s my fault because I got you to do the rice slightly ahead of time. It dried up while it sat waiting for me to get out of the shower.
Peter: I don’t mind too much.
Anna: It’s quite nice at first. The way the rice is cooked with the red curry paste works. But I think the mouthfuls get a bit boring after a while. Which is no bad thing as it means I’m not going to eat as much.
Peter: The edamame beans don’t help. They are a bit worthy.
Anna: They are very good for you though. Would you eat this again?
Peter: Yes, although it might benefit from the addition of some meat!
Maureen: Sigh. I am not so sure about this.
Andrew (14): It seems OK, I guess.
Maureen: You’re a teenager. I’m beginning to think you’ll eat nearly anything. I was all excited to make this. It’s the combination of two things we love– crab and mac ‘n cheese! I thought it would be great. I think I was wrong.
Nicholas (10): It’s as if the two tastes are battling it out and neither is the winner.
Andrew: Is that just another way of saying you don’t like it?
Maureen: I agree with Nicholas. The crab is always good and mac and cheese is always good, but together, they don’t seem to get along.
Andrew: I’m not so sure about the mustard.
Maureen: Me neither.
Nicholas: The mustard is gross. Maybe that’s why the flavours are fighting.
Maureen: Well, this is disappointing. I think the rest of this is going in the bin. What a shame.
Nicholas: Please don’t make this again.
Maureen: I’m not planning on it.
Kirstin: The original recipe for this had 3 teaspoons of Chinese five spice for two.
Tom: Well you’ve got it just right here. And I love the nuts!
Kirstin: This has less than 3 teaspoons of Chinese five spice. For six. I think Chinese five spice can be totally overpowering and ruin a dish. If I had put in the amount he suggested, it would have been unpalatable.
Tom: Do you think we’ll be making this again?
Kirstin: No. It’s not that special.
Anna: Well hello blogging. I can’t really remember what to do. Cooking new and interesting delights was stifled by morning sickness, long work hours and then dealing with two under 2. Now that Louis is two, and the baby is sleeping through, I am going to move beyond our stock five recipes a week and open a cookbook. So I present to you this steak, from Nigel Slater and his curiously small yet weighty tome: “Eat”.
Peter: Hello 2011.
Anna: What do you mean by that?
Peter: Haven’t we been here before? I’m sure we had a steak salad like this.
Anna: Are you suggesting that this isn’t original? What about the wasabi and the Japanese mushrooms?
Peter: It all worked together, it’s just a shame the cheapest ingredient dominates the rest. It didn’t show off the quality of the steak.
Anna: Well it was quick, and that’s the important criteria for me at the moment. But I don’t think I will be making it again, so it looks like the miso is going to be kicking around in the fridge until I get around to throwing it away.
Ella: Are these prawns? Because you know how much I love prawns!
Miles: I don’t like prawns.
Ella: I’ll have them!
Kirstin: Try one, Miles. You might be pleasantly surprised and it won’t kill you.
Ella: Don’t try one. Give them all to me!
Kirstin: The noodles were really hard to get hold of. I was in Chinatown and went to three different shops to try and find them. Admittedly it’s difficult to find anything in those shops because I don’t speak Chinese but still I thought it would be a good place to start. I ended up getting them in Sainsbury’s.
Ella: They are delicious. But this recipe would be better if it had more prawns.
Miles: I just ate my last prawn.
Kirstin: Did you like them? Good for you Miles! Thankfully I don’t know any fish jokes.
Ella: It could take a whale to think of one.
Miles: Are you shore about that?
Tom: Oh Cod! These jokes are really getting out of hand. We used to just muck about and now they’re on a totally different scale.
Kirstin: OK. I am stopping the recording now. Because I can’t bear any more of these dreadful jokes.
Kirstin: So three years ago I vowed I would never cook from a new Nigel book. And here we are.
Maureen: So what made you change your mind?
Kirstin: The format of this book is so absolutely inviting. I almost couldn’t put it down, new format and all. And I love the cheery yellow, soft cover and size. Not sure how I am going to keep it flat when cooking from it, but it’s so lovely, I will totally forgive the design.
Maureen: And there are so many recipes I want to cook from it already.
Kirstin: I know! It’s so exciting!