“Spaghetti Bolognaise” from “Virgin to Veteran”

Kirstin: I cooked this all afternoon. First on the hob and then in the oven for a few hours. I was even able to play some football with Miles while it roasted away.

Tom: I always say the longer you cook bolognaise the better it tastes.

Miles: I love this!

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“Spaghetti Bolognaise” from “Virgin to Veteran”

“Fast Tandoori-Style Roast with Onions” from “Virgin to Veteran”

Kirstin: I loved the way the spices looked as I prepared them for the marinade.

Tom: And I love all the crunchy bits. Look, even the children are eating it!

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“Fast Tandoori-Style Roast with Onions” from “Virgin to Veteran”

“Smoking Chilli Con Carne” from “Virgin to Veteran”

Peter: What are we having tonight then?

Anna: Smoking chilli con carne.

Peter: Smoking? What makes it ‘smoking’?

Anna: Glad you ask. I had to griddle the chillis first before making the sauce. To give them a smokiness.

Peter: Can’t you just use smokey chillis instead?

Anna: Good question. I do use chipotles in my usual ‘posh’ chilli. That is, the chilli I do on weekends or special occasions, rather than my fail-safe, quick and dirty weeknight chilli.

Peter: This is drier than your usual weeknight chilli.

Anna: You mean less sauce? Is that a good thing?

Peter: Yes. This tastes professional.

Anna: That might be because I had to strain the sauce through a sieve. Not something I would normally do, and I have to admit to being rather suspicious of this step in the recipe. But I think it worked.

Peter: I think I prefer this chilli to our usual one, but maybe that’s becuase I wasn’t cooking it. It didn’t seem so bean-heavy either and I liked the addition of the fresh coriander.

Anna: I think this is a keeper then.

“Smoking Chilli Con Carne” from “Virgin to Veteran”

“Tomatoes marinated in lime juice and honey with salted mozzarella” from “Virgin to Veteran”

A rare day off. A lunch for one.

I marinated the tomatoes in a lime, coriander and honey dressing. The tomatoes were so very tasty and the mozzarella, a perfect foil. I will be making this salad all summer, mark my words!

“Tomatoes marinated in lime juice and honey with salted mozzarella” from “Virgin to Veteran”

“Lentil Salad Three Ways” from “Virgin to Veteran”

Anna: Mr Stern offers 3 options for this recipe. I chose the one with smoked salmon and bacon as it sounded delicious.

Peter: Cold lentils could taste a lot worse than this.

Anna: Lentils are served cold all the time!

Peter: I haven’t had them before. But these are good.

Anna: Puy lentils. You’ve got to love them.

Peter: I wouldn’t have thought about having bacon and smoked salmon together.

Anna: Did it make it too salty for you?

Peter: No, I like it salty. I could have eaten a bit more… being a salad it’s virtually calorie free surely?

Anna: Well I did up the quantities of salmon and bacon slightly otherwise you may have thought we were just having a starter for dinner.  Unfortunately both bacon and smoked salmon aren’t well-known for their low-calorie properties. But it is a carb-free salad.  And pretty filling I have to say.  I think you would like the version with chipolatas.

Peter: Clearly this is a flexible salad. I like the sound of chipolatas.

Anna: So you would like me to do this again?

Peter: I wouldn’t say no.

“Lentil Salad Three Ways” from “Virgin to Veteran”

“Slow Roast Leg of Lamb” with “Baked Aubergines and Dauphinoise Potatoes” followed by “Baked Blackberry Stuffed Apples with Meringue Topping” from “Virgin to Veteran”

Tom: Wow. I love it when lamb goes all gooey and burnt on the outside like this. Just the way I like it! What did you have to do it?

Kirstin: Apart from cook it for four hours? I had to stuff it with all sorts of goodies.

Tom: But what goes on the outside?

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“Slow Roast Leg of Lamb” with “Baked Aubergines and Dauphinoise Potatoes” followed by “Baked Blackberry Stuffed Apples with Meringue Topping” from “Virgin to Veteran”

“Spatchcock and Sides” from “Virgin to Veteran”

Andrew (12): That chicken is some good eating!

Tim: I would definitely want to have this again.

Nicholas (9): I would want to have it again, but not with the coleslaw. Just with carrots.

Andrew: Same.

Maureen: You guys need to go to more American picnics, where coleslaw is considered its own food group in the summer. It’s all delicious.

Tim: This is a plate full of yum. The grilled vegetables are also really good too.

Maureen: Yes, but we’re not talking about those. I can’t stop eating this chicken, it’s so good.

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“Spatchcock and Sides” from “Virgin to Veteran”