“Leek and Pea Risotto” from “Food”

Maureen: Ah. Another risotto. We could become a risotto test kitchen. I think we’ve got the experience. [Note: We’ve tested risotto in January 2011, May 2011, August 2011, February 2012 and July 2012.]   What do you think?

Tim: It’s fine.

Andrew (12): It’s OK, but it’s not as good as our usual risotto.

Maureen: Do you mean the one with lashings of butter and cheese?

Andrew: Yes, that’s the one.

Nicholas (9): I agree with Andrew. The other one is better.

Maureen: This one is much healthier, though. There’s not nearly as much butter and cheese as I usually put in. In fact, if you were a vegan, you could probably take out the butter and the cheese and it wouldn’t taste hugely different from this.

Tim: Maybe that’s the problem. Maybe for a good risotto you need butter and cheese.

Maureen: Could be. So should I make this version again?

Andrew: No. Please make the one you usually do.

Nicholas: I’m with Andrew on this one.

Maureen: It seems to me that we still haven’t found a risotto recipe that is better than the Giorgio Locatelli one. But we will keep trying!

Cook’s Notes: Sorry, this recipe can’t be found on the Internet anywhere, but that’s OK, because I think there’s better risotto recipes out there. The biggest problem was the amount of rice it called for– only a measly 250 grams– which she said would serve four people. Let me assure you that 62.5 grams of risotto per person wouldn’t do it in this house. So I increased it to 400 grams, which was sufficient. Beyond that, there’s not much to distinguish this recipe from any other risotto recipe, other than the reduced amount of cheese and butter used. Like I said, it would be a good recipe for a vegan, because I think they could omit them and it would still be fine. But for this family, we won’t be using this recipe again.

“Leek and Pea Risotto” from “Food”

“Superb Pork Loin” with “King of Mash: Irish Champ” from “Jamie’s Great Britain”

Maureen: Tonight we are having roast pork and Irish champ, which is just another version of mashed potatoes.

Nicholas (8): You mean strange mashed potatoes.

Maureen: They’re not strange! I think they’re delicious.

Andrew (12): The roast pork is nice. It tastes like sausages.

Maureen: Well, it should, since sausages are made out of pork.

Continue reading ““Superb Pork Loin” with “King of Mash: Irish Champ” from “Jamie’s Great Britain””

“Superb Pork Loin” with “King of Mash: Irish Champ” from “Jamie’s Great Britain”

“Stir-fried Vietnamese lemon grass chicken” from “Bill’s Everyday Asian”

Peter: This reminds me of Szechuan chicken. It has that dry heat. Don’t look at me like someone’s put your head on wonky.

Anna: I’m just trying to understand what you mean. Is it because it leaves that hot tingle in your mouth afterwards?

Peter: Yes, that. And it’s quite a dry sauce. More of a rub some might say.

Anna: There is definitely a sauce to it it, but you’re right that the predominant flavours come from the marinade which is dry. 

Peter: The portions were definitely right here. It was a bit of a faff.

Anna: Why?

Peter: There seemed to be quite a lot of ingredients.

Anna: There really wasn’t actually. You obviously don’t cook that often! We made it together which made it very quick and easy from my point of view.  The flavours were quite unusual I think. And it was hard to know how much white pepper to put in. Maybe you weren’t supposed to get that much tingle!

Peter: Having never been to Vietnam this tasted pretty authentic…. it certainly wasn’t Chinese or Thai.

Anna: I really can’t be bothered with celery though. If we make this again I will be getting rid of the celery.  Would you like this again?

Peter: Yes, I’d eat it gladly.  Besides which, you’ve bought an enormous thing of white pepper.

“Stir-fried Vietnamese lemon grass chicken” from “Bill’s Everyday Asian”

“Casserole of Roast Chicken with Herbs” from “Easy”

Maureen: Hooray. This is our last recipe from “Easy,” which has been a disappointment from start to finish. This recipe had its share of problems too.

Andrew (11): What’s in here?

Maureen: Leftover chicken from the other night, mushrooms, carrots, onions, garlic, celery, tomatoes and a bunch of herbs. What do you think?

Andrew: It’s alright. It’s not brilliant, but it’s alright.

Nicholas (8): I agree.

Tim: I like it, but I’m inclined to like meals like this because it’s like a stew.

Continue reading ““Casserole of Roast Chicken with Herbs” from “Easy””

“Casserole of Roast Chicken with Herbs” from “Easy”

“Pollo Casalingo al Vino Biano” from “Two Greedy Italians”

I really hate the name of this recipe in English, but I’ll translate it for you anyway because I want to be a Full Service Blogger to you. The name of it in English is “Housewives’ Chicken in White Wine and Vinegar.” See? I told you. Housewives chicken. What year is it? 1954??

Apologies to the readers, but I have no dialogue for this recipe. However, given how boring the dish is, I don’t think anyone would have anything interesting to say. I could easily see the conversation quickly heading into “Who will replace Carlo Ancelotti terrority?” with concern from the Chelsea fan and bitter recriminations from the Arsenal fan at the table. But I digress.

I hate to say it, but this is the first bum recipe from the book. The rest have all been very good. This doesn’t taste bad, it’s just terminally boring. It could easily be classified as, “Food to fill me up but isn’t memorable.” Maybe it could have been improved by adding some hearty herbs to it, like rosemary or thyme.

Basically, all you have to do is get 1.2 kilos of chicken pieces, and add white wine, shallots, carrots, celery, lemon slices and some other bits to a casserole and let it cook for about 50 minutes. Honestly, it could not be easier. From the standpoint of effort, it’s a winner, but that’s the only good thing I could say about it.

((I think even the picture is a bit boring.)) Continue reading ““Pollo Casalingo al Vino Biano” from “Two Greedy Italians””

“Pollo Casalingo al Vino Biano” from “Two Greedy Italians”

“Panzanella Agli Ortaggi in Agrodolce” from “Two Greedy Italians”

Otherwise known as Sweet and Sour Bread Salad.

Maureen: I can’t believe we’re not at the state dinner with the Obamas at Buckingham Palace. Instead we’re eating this.

Tim: Frankly, it’s an outrage.

Maureen: You’d think they would select some good Americans living in London– like us!– to attend. Instead, who makes the cut? Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson. How is that fair? So we’re not having Windsor lamb with basil. We’re having panzanella with a difference. What do you think?

Tim: I like it.

Maureen: Really? I’m surprised. Do you remember the last time I made panzanella? It was a Jamie Oliver recipe, out of his Italy book, and he said it would be a quick and easy dinner. Instead we ended up eating in the dark on the patio at 11 p.m. Not a triumph.

Tim: This is different because it’s just sauteed vegetables. It’s very nice.

Continue reading ““Panzanella Agli Ortaggi in Agrodolce” from “Two Greedy Italians””

“Panzanella Agli Ortaggi in Agrodolce” from “Two Greedy Italians”