“Macaroni Cheese” from “A Taste of Home”

Tom: This is great! I’m having seconds. This is the best macaroni cheese recipe so far. Yum!

Miles: It’s delicious!

Kirstin: Should I make it again, Miles?

Miles: Um, no thanks.

Tom: Why not, Miles? Do you just like other things?

Miles: When I tasted it with loads of sauce on it, then I didn’t like it. I wanted to taste the sauce. With a little bit, then I liked it. With a lot, then I didn’t like it. May I please be excused?

Kirstin: It was very easy to cook.

Miles: And very delicious!

Ella (eating it from the pan): I like the crunchy bits. They are all chewy!

Tom: Leave some for me!

Ella: Uh-uh. These are the only bits I will eat.

Kirstin: I will keep cooking macaroni cheese recipes until these two decide that they like it.

Ella: You will be cooking for hundreds of years. And into the afterlife.

Kirstin: Well, there’s a challenge! And I really struggle to make macaroni cheese look good in a picture, I so do. I feel another challenge coming on….

“Macaroni Cheese” from “A Taste of Home”

“Macaroni with Asparagus, Cream and Ham” from “A Taste of Home”

Anna: The spinach was a guest ingredient, but I actually think it made the dish.

Peter: This was good. I liked the fact it was a small pasta. The ham was a change from the usual pasta we have. It was like a luxury macaroni cheese. With vegetables.

Anna: I thought it reminded me of a carbonara actually. The salty ham and the cream and the parmesan.  It was so quick and easy we’ll definitely have this again I think.

Peter: You could probably adjust the vegetables for whatever is in season.

Anna: I’d do it just with the ham and spinach.  Angela did miss one trick with this recipe. She instructs you to cook the asparagus separately to the macaroni, when in reality you can do it in the same pot at the same time, and just take it out after a couple of minutes. One pot. Time saved. Simples.

“Macaroni with Asparagus, Cream and Ham” from “A Taste of Home”

“Salmon with Spicy Rice Noodles” from “A Taste of Home”

Anna: Where’s the broth?

Peter: There doesn’t really seem to be enough of anything in this recipe.  That said, when we you ate it it was reasonably filling.

Anna: It doesn’t look anything like the picture in the book. That suggests a big steaming bowl of salmon and noodles in broth. In reality the noodles were just a little moist.

Peter: I think she has special photographic bowl, like those pint glasses you can tip upside down even though they look like they are full.

Anna: You doubled this recipe anyway, didn’t you?

Peter: Yes, I made it for 4, even though it was just the two of us. Apart from the salmon of course.

Anna: You had to, otherwise we would only have had one baby sweetcorn each!

Peter: It was really easy to make though. No issues, no complications, only 3 paragraphs of instructions. I think you would agree that I didn’t screw this up.

Anna: I don’t always think that you screw recipes up. In fact, left to your own devices as you were tonight, you often get them spot on. In fact it was Angela who screwed this up, from an ingredient quantity point of view.

Peter: I think you could customise this recipe. For example, bean sprouts.

Anna: Yes, we’ll be making this again. Just with more broth. And veg.

“Salmon with Spicy Rice Noodles” from “A Taste of Home”

“Garlic-Roasted New Potato Salad” from “A Taste of Home”

Sorry, loyal readers. No dialogue for this one. It was Sunday lunch and I was just too lazy busy to write it up.

I made this as part of a Sunday barbeque. We had some tuna steaks for our main, a nice rocket salad on the side, some steamed green beans and this.

It was very nice but it was also very rich. I couldn’t understand, reading the method beforehand, how only 500 grams of new potatoes would be enough to feed between four and six people. But now I know. You can’t take a really big portion of this because if you did, it would be very overwhelming. Especially if you were a vampire.

But it’s a really nice way to do potato salad, and believe me, as an American, I know my potato salad. First you roast the new potatoes in olive oil, rosemary and garlic. Once they’re roasted and cooled down, you add in the mayonnaise, parsley and lemon juice. While I was preparing them, I couldn’t stop myself from eating them. I may just do the first step in the future to roast new potatoes.

But while I loved them, not everyone agreed. Tim liked them, but didn’t go back for seconds because he found them a bit overwhelming. Neither of the boys liked them, probably for the same reason.

I think I would make them again, but for a bigger crowd. That way, everyone could have a little, but not so much that they would become Walking Vampire Repellant.

“Garlic-Roasted New Potato Salad” from “A Taste of Home”

“Slow-Cooked Pork Belly” and “Potatoes Boulangere” from “A Taste of Home”

Ian: This pork tastes really lovely.

Aine: It is so tender. It’s really hard to get pork that isn’t tough.

Ian: I was tortured with dry pork chops as a kid. And I wasn’t allowed to pick them up and eat them with my fingers.

Aine: Pork chops were made to eat with your fingers!

Anna: You have to gnaw at them!

Ian: Well this was lovely. No gnawing required.

Anna: That’s what happens when you cook it for 4 hours. Yum. Pork belly, crackly crackling. One of my favourite things.

Ian: Does it have any spices on it?

Anna: Nope. But it was cooked on a bed of garlic, shallots and herbs so that’s why it might taste as though it does. I have to say this was the easiest pork belly recipe I’ve ever cooked. No peeling of garlic or shallots required. Just smash them, halve them and bung it in the oven. And it’s delicious.

Aine: How did you make the gravy?

Anna: It was just the cooking juices. I forgot to put any on yours Ian.

Aine: The potatoes are lovely and creamy. They go really well with the pork.

Anna: There’s no cream in them, just chicken stock. Potatoes Boulangere….

Peter: Which is?…..

Anna: Well the Boulangerie is where you get croissants. I have no idea.

Peter: Are there any apples in them?

Anna: The sweetness comes from the onions.  I used waxy rather than floury potatoes, I don’t know if that was right. But it’s worked, hasn’t it?  The best thing about this meal, apart from the yumminess of it, was I got to nap in the garden for part of the afternoon. This is my sort of cooking!

“Slow-Cooked Pork Belly” and “Potatoes Boulangere” from “A Taste of Home”

“Salmon and sprouting broccoli salad” from a Taste of Home

Tom: Well this is, as our friend Judy would say, a great combination. The radish is really crunchy and sharp. The broccoli is not quite so crunchy and sharp. And the salmon is not at all crunchy and sharp. Yum.

Kirstin: I loved the colours in this one. I had to cook the fish for longer than she said. But she is forgiven for that wonderful collision of yummy flavours.

Tom: Can we have this one again?

Continue reading ““Salmon and sprouting broccoli salad” from a Taste of Home”

“Salmon and sprouting broccoli salad” from a Taste of Home

“Liz’s Banana Bread” from “A Taste of Home”

Anna: Yum, yum, yum!

Peter: Why have you decided to make banana bread today? It’s not something you’ve made that often before.

Anna: Because I have been craving it for weeks. And I haven’t made it much before as you told me you don’t like banana bread. Do you this?

Peter: I’m not a fan of mushy bananas.

Anna: You can hardly call this mushy bananas! It’s a bread.  Flavoured with bananas. With crunchy walnuts and sultanas in it. Besides, I didn’t see you leaving it on your plate. It seems to have disappeared….

Peter: This reminds me of Australia where they are very big on banana bread.

Anna: You’re right! And it reminds me of my childhood. My mother used to make banana bread and the taste of it takes me back 30 years. I need all the help I can get these days. Will you be taking a slice to work.

Peter: I will, but will I smell of booze at my desk? There’s certainly alcohol in this.

Anna: Just a bit of rum, that’s all. This was so easy I’ll be making it again!

“Liz’s Banana Bread” from “A Taste of Home”

“Grilled Salmon with Courgette and Tomato Salad” from “Taste of Home”

Kirstin: This was fab. She says the salmon has to be in season, but ours was defrosted.

Tom: Well, I had thirds of the salad. Yum!

Continue reading ““Grilled Salmon with Courgette and Tomato Salad” from “Taste of Home””

“Grilled Salmon with Courgette and Tomato Salad” from “Taste of Home”

“Rigatoni with Aubergine” from ” A Taste of Home”

Anna: You’ve just said she’s ruined aubergines.

Kirstin: She has. I like my aubergines crunchy. These are soggy and taste of vinegar. I mean what was the point of frying them if we then had to stick them in the sauce like that?

Anna: I don’t mind a soggy aubergine and I don’t mind the taste of vinegar, but I can hear what you’re saying. We think perhaps this would work better if you added the vinegar to the tomatoes first and then added the aubergine.

Continue reading ““Rigatoni with Aubergine” from ” A Taste of Home””

“Rigatoni with Aubergine” from ” A Taste of Home”

“Rocket, Feta and Bread Salad” from “A Taste of Home”

Maureen: Yum. I like this a lot. I like how there are bursts of mint with the rocket.

Tim: Not me. I’d rather just have the peppery rocket, just on its own, no mint.

Maureen: I like the grilled haloumi. You can also use feta, but I went with haloumi. As you know, any time there’s grilled haloumi, sign me up.

Maureen: It’s a very nice salad, but I don’t think it’s particularly healthy.

Tim: With the wodges of grilled cheese, do you mean?

Maureen: Yes, but it’s still delicious. This has been a good month so far. Do you remember the time we met Angela Hartnett on our 10th anniversary?

Tim: Yes, that was back in the day when she was at the The Connaught. We had the tasting menu. It was amazing. That’s certainly in our top five of favourite dinners, if not at the very top.

Maureen: I remember I sent in a thank you note to the kitchen, and she happened to be working, even though it was a Saturday night. She came out to wish us a happy anniversary, but I was busy checking the train schedule when she approached the table. Not my finest moment, but a very classy move on her part to come say hello and say thank you for the thank you.

Tim: She was very nice. What a meal. What a night.

Maureen: I think this is one of the reasons why I like this cookbook so much. It reminds me how great that meal was, but also how down-to-earth and nice Angela was.

“Rocket, Feta and Bread Salad” from “A Taste of Home”