“Rump Steak ‘Stew’ ” from “Tom Kerridge’s Best Ever Dishes”

IMG_6054Tim: Well, this doesn’t look like any stew that I know.

Maureen: It’s true, though maybe that’s why I was keen to make it. As you know, I hate stew.

Tim: But I also made dumplings to go with it! This isn’t the type of stew that requires dumplings.

Maureen: No, it is not. But what do you think?

Andrew: It’s good, but I could do without the mushrooms.

Nicholas: I like the steak, but it could do without the spinach. You know how I feel about spinach.

Maureen: Your dislike of spinach has been made abundantly clear. I can’t understand it, since I love spinach, but there we are.

Tim: This is good, but really it’s just steak with some vegetables.

Maureen: Tom says in the introduction that it’s more a stew of flavours that you cook quickly, rather than a traditional stew that takes a long time. Saying that, at least this was one of the speedier meals in the book, which is good for a weeknight dinner. I would eat this again. Would you?

Tim: Yes, I would.

Andrew: Maybe.

Nicholas: I would, if it didn’t have the spinach in it.


“Rump Steak ‘Stew’ ” from “Tom Kerridge’s Best Ever Dishes”

“Forty-cloves-of-garlic brined chicken” from ” “Tom Kerridge’s Best Ever Dishes”


Kirstin: You can always tell a recipe is a winner when you start planning the next time you’re going to make it!

Tom: Indeed. This would be great for entertaining, or even for Christmas. It was a real feast. I could eat that mayo for ever. But we ran out of chicken.

Kirstin: And I didn’t mess up the mayo! Thanks for your help with the separation of the oil from the gravy.

Tom: The garlic was great too.

Kirstin: Yes, but it’s a good thing you didn’t have too much of it, because we’re going to be in the car all day tomorrow. The chicken was so yummy that I forgot to have your roast potatoes!

Tom: They were rather good. I ended up dipping them in mayo instead of the chicken.

Kirstin: I should have thought of that! Very Belgian.

Tom: So what would you do differently next time?

Kirstin: I didn’t do the blowtorch part so I’d like to think of another way to crisp the skin a bit more, without the need for industrial equipment. Maybe grilling it would work. But overall, this recipe was a total winner.

Tom: Yes, we could just grill the chicken at the end instead. It would be good to have a bit of crunchy skin. But that is a very minor detail. This was fab, and I look forward to the next time we have it.

Kirstin: It was a faff, but I would be prepared to do that much faffing again, because it was so good.

“Forty-cloves-of-garlic brined chicken” from ” “Tom Kerridge’s Best Ever Dishes”

“Lemon Pepper Chicken with Green Pepper Salsa” from “Tom Kerridge’s Best Ever Dishes”


Ella: This tastes like chicken, but really dry. It’s like a slab of meat.

Kirstin: That’s what chicken is!

Ella: Yes, but normally you cook chicken in something, like teriyaki chicken.

Miles: Are we filming this?

Tom: No, just recording it! This is actually chicken that tastes a little bit of lemon. I like it.

Miles: I like the chicken!

Tom: And I love the salsa.

Ella: I was talking with a friend today about all the Japanese words she has learnt from watching anime. And the thing is that the only word I have learnt in Japanese from anime, is the word revolution.

Kirstin: Not robots?

Tom: Isn’t the word robot originally Czech?

Kirstin: And on that note I think we shall leave it. This was a pleasant enough recipe, but not one I shall be making again.

“Lemon Pepper Chicken with Green Pepper Salsa” from “Tom Kerridge’s Best Ever Dishes”

“Pulled Beef Brisket in a Bun” from “Tom Kerridge’s Best Ever Dishes”

IMG_6107Want to make this yourself? The BBC has the recipe, which you’ll find by clicking through this sentence.

Maureen: This is the cover star of this month’s cookbook, you know.

Nicholas (11): Yum. Brisket.

Maureen: You know, I was never a fan of brisket until a few years ago. Now I love it. Though I did get repetitive stress injury from pounding out all the spices for the rub. But I think it was worth it.

Andrew (15): This is fantastic. I really love it.

Maureen: I have to note for the record that you guys don’t actually have the alcoholic-laden barbecue sauce. Only the normal stuff, that I bought off the shelf. I didn’t think you’d appreciate the strong taste of bourbon. Between this and the tart, I’m beginning to think that Tom Kerridge really loves the taste of alcohol in his food.

Tim: That much is obvious. What does everyone think the milk buns I made?

Maureen: Delicious. Having home-made bread always makes all the difference. The cole slaw is good too, even if the boys aren’t eating that.

Tim: That’s not a surprise, is it?

Maureen: Not a surprise, but still disappointing.

Tim: This is ALL GOOD. I’d give it 9 out 10 stars. Would eat again.

Andrew: Me too.

Nicholas: Me too.

Maureen: It’s unanimous. We will definitely be eating this again.


“Pulled Beef Brisket in a Bun” from “Tom Kerridge’s Best Ever Dishes”

“Chocolate Tart” from “Tom Kerridge’s Best Ever Dishes”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIf you’d like to make this yourself, find the recipe on the BBC website by clicking through this sentence.

I made this for Sunday lunch. I would have included some dialogue but for the presence of Pablo, our Spanish exchange student, at the table. So we let Pablo off the hook.

Not surprisingly, it was delicious. I say, “not surprisingly” because it used 750 grams of milk chocolate. That’s a lot of milk chocolate. Through bitter experience I know that you need to get good-quality milk chocolate for a recipe like this (and Tom Kerridge backed me up on this because he said to get “the best quality you can find”). So getting 750 grams of Green & Black’s milk chocolate meant I needed to get a second mortgage on the house.

Kidding. But it was still expensive.

I deviated from the original recipe in one crucial respect. It called for a 36 by 12 centimetre rectangular tart pan, which we don’t have. I’m sure you’re not surprised to hear that I am loathe to buy special equipment when I test out recipes for Cookbook a Month (I would need a second-second mortgage– or would that be second mortgage squared?). So I found out that my 9 inch round tart pan was compatible, volume size, with the one Tom said we should use, so I went with my own pan. I’m pretty sure it would taste the same if it was a rectangular shape or a round shape, but perhaps further testing is required.

The recipe for the pastry and the tart worked great. I was dubious that milk chocolate would work, as I usually use dark chocolate for this sort of recipe, but milk chocolate was also good. The coffee cream was a nice touch, but the majority of the table (i.e. those under the age of 16) were ambivalent, so I don’t know if I’d go to the trouble of making it again.

The aspect of the recipe that didn’t work at all was the topping of carmalised almonds. This might be down to operator error, or it might be down to vague instructions, or it could be a combination of them both. Either way, it was a faff and it was frustrating that it didn’t turn out how I expected it would. (However, having just watched him making this on BBC iPlayer, it turns out I did it exactly right. I guess I just didn’t like it.)

When it came time to eat it, I was surprised by how strong the amaretto was. I didn’t like it, and the reaction at the table was mixed. By the next day, I decided to give a fair portion of it to my friends who made appreciative noises when I told them I was making it the day before. They LOVED it. I still was unconvinced.

But by the time I had another slice two days later, the strong amaretto taste had disappeared and I can say it was absolutely delicious.

Would I make this again? Yes, but I don’t know if I’d go to the trouble of making the coffee cream or the topping. But the rest of it gets an A*.


“Chocolate Tart” from “Tom Kerridge’s Best Ever Dishes”

“Classic Kiev” from “Tom Kerridge’s Best Ever Dishes”

Kirstin: Ella, is your plate empty?

Ella: Well actually, there’s dark matter there which you can’t see. And some air…

Tom: I knew you were clever Ella when you were two and I asked you if there was anything under the bed and you said “No, just air”.

Kirstin: Miles, did you like the chicken kiev?

Miles: Yes. But I didn’t like all the crumb bits.

Tom: That’s mad because you like all the crumb bits in Wagamama. What did you think of the garlic?

Miles: No.

Ella: It was like a giant chicken nugget filled with garlic bread. And I loved it.

Tom: It’s like garlic bread, made with chicken instead. Garlic chicken. That was totally yum. It had everything in it.

Ella: What’s Doctor Who’s favourite food?

Kirstin: I don’t know.

Ella: Dalek bread.

Kirstin and Tom: *Groan*

Kirstin: It was an interesting challenge to get the butter inside the chicken breast but I devised a strategy that didn’t involve too much butter going everywhere. And I’m sorry there aren’t any pictures tonight…I hope the joke makes up for it!

“Classic Kiev” from “Tom Kerridge’s Best Ever Dishes”

“Meatloaf” from “Tom Kerridge’s Best Ever Dishes”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMaureen: I thought this would please everyone. Meatloaf!

Tim: I thought there was supposed to be onion rings with this recipe.

Maureen: Technically, yes. But when I saw in the ingredient list that I needed my own pickle liquor, I opted out.

Tim: That’s too bad.

Maureen: So says you, who wouldn’t have to make the pickle liquor. I think what this cookbook wants to do is elevate the every day dishes, but that’s just never going to happen if I need to make pickle liquor first. What do you think of this?

Tim: It’s very spicy.

Maureen: That would be all the tabasco. It really gives it a kick.

Nicholas (11): I don’t like it. It’s too spicy for me.

Andrew (15): It’s good, but I like our regular meatloaf more.

Maureen: I like that it’s different, and I also like the spiciness, but I’m not sure it’s a lot better than our usual meatloaf.

Tim: Was it difficult to make?

Maureen: Well, no, but that’s also because I didn’t exactly follow the recipe. I had already committed to making it when I started reading the directions, so I saw that I had to mix the meat together the night before and have it sit for a day. I didn’t do that. I also didn’t allow the meatloaf to rest in the refrigerator for an hour before cooking it, like the recipe said, because I also discovered that direction too late.

Tim: I think the ingredients needed more time to coalesce.

Maureen: You have got to be kidding me.

Tim: I am.

Maureen: It might have made it better, but it wouldn’t have made it 1000 times better. Should I make this again?

Nicholas: I think you should make our usual meatloaf the next time.

Andrew: I agree.




“Meatloaf” from “Tom Kerridge’s Best Ever Dishes”

Cookbook of the month, November 2014, “Tom Kerridge’s Best Ever Dishes”

Kirstin: As we’ve just come back from the Lake District, we’ve visited lots of pubs and I fancied cooking some pub food myself. You know, cosy November food.

Maureen: It looks like lots of butter and cream. And deep-fried goodness.

Kirstin: And he has some nice Asian recipes thrown in too.

Maureen: And a whole dessert section which is nice.

Kirstin: Oh good! I’m looking forward to seeing you cook some of these, Maureen! And look, no healthy alternatives. Yes!

Cookbook of the month, November 2014, “Tom Kerridge’s Best Ever Dishes”