“Pasta Snails with Garlic Butter” from “Simply Nigella”

IMG_7879Maureen: Meat free Monday! Featuring a dish from the new cookbook.

Tim: What is it?

Maureen: She calls it Pasta Snails with Garlic Butter.

Andrew (16): Why pasta snails?

Maureen: Look at the shape of the pasta.

Andrew: Got it.

Maureen: Nicholas, this might remind you of the escargot you tried when we went to Paris.

Andrew & Tim: Nicholas tried escargot?

Maureen: He did. [Nicholas makes gagging noises.] To be fair, the escargot was not the best I’d ever had. The restaurant was highly rated on Trip Advisor, but it was rubbish. The waiter literally raised his eyebrows in surprise when I ordered the escargot. Either he wasn’t used to tourists ordering escargot, or it was a subtle warning to stay away. We’ll never know. What do you think of this?

Nicholas (12): Unlike the snails, I like this.

Andrew: Me too. I would happily eat this again.

Tim: So would I. What’s not to like? There’s loads of garlic butter in here.

Maureen: I’m not even going to tell you how much butter each person was apportioned [Editor’s Note: 25 grams per person. That strikes me as a lot.], but I think that’s why it was so good. This is a great meal for when you’re short on time. Easy to prepare, no exotic ingredients, delicious. I will definitely be making this again.

Nicholas: Unlike escargot, which I’m not in any hurry to try again.

“Pasta Snails with Garlic Butter” from “Simply Nigella”

“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”

“Spicy Spaghetti” from “Bill’s Italian Food”

Kirstin: So we had nothing in the fridge to cook for dinner tonight. And I thought I’d have a look through this book to see if there was anything suitable. And there was!


Tom: This is yum! But I’m already thinking of what we can add to it.

Kirstin: That’s a good start to a new recipe! What were you thinking?

Tom: I was thinking breadcrumbs. What about you?

Kirstin: Funny you should say that. When I was cooking it, I thought about that too. I wonder if a few roasted cherry tomatoes might be good and maybe even bit of tuna.

Tom: Sounds good to me. I can see us eating this on holiday.

“Spicy Spaghetti” from “Bill’s Italian Food”

“Hot Chilli-Ginger Stir-fried Squid” from “A Change of Appetite”

Anna: Meh. I had such high hopes for this and I am disappointed. I’m sure if a personal chef had made it for me I would love it.

Peter: It wasn’t as hot as I thought it would be.

Anna: That’s the chilli’s fault. I could have left the seeds in and probably should have done.

Peter: Did the squid need marinating?

Anna: Why do you say that?

Peter: It was a bit dry I guess…..

Anna: Couldn’t you taste the lemongrass?

Peter: Yes. And I got the salty and sour. I’m not sure what it is that’s missing.

Anna: A professional chef. This would be perfect in a Thai restaurant. Somehow it hasn’t worked for me at home. It’s perfectly ok. And it was easy to cook. But I won’t be doing it again.






“Hot Chilli-Ginger Stir-fried Squid” from “A Change of Appetite”

Japanese ginger and garlic chicken with smashed cucumber from “Change of Appetite”

DSC_2522Kirstin: Oh my goodness, this smelled amazing in the oven.

Miles: What kind of chicken is this?

Kirstin: It uses chicken thighs, which are tastier than chicken breasts. If a little more fiddly to eat. She says to serve this with brown rice, but I used white. I can imagine it would be rather good with brown. I might try that some time.

Miles: I really like this.

Kirstin: And thank you for making the salad, Tom. It looked like quite a faff with the plastic bag and all.

Tom: It was so good with the mint though.

Kirstin: Agreed. Delicious. Absolutely delicious. Definitely one to put on heavy rotation.

Japanese ginger and garlic chicken with smashed cucumber from “Change of Appetite”

Globe Artichoke with Garlic and Lemon Vinaigrette from “The Skinny French Kitchen”

Kirstin: I know we usually have a mustard and olive oil dressing for artichokes, but I thought it might be good to try something new.

Tom: When I was first introduced to eating artichokes, one long summer in France, we ate them outside every night with just olive oil as a dressing. The oil in the bowl gradually warmed up from having the artichoke leaves dipped in it. So this reminds me a bit of that. But this is even better!

Kirstin: I love the hint of garlic in the dressing combined with the lemon. I would definitely make this again.

Tom: You can’t go wrong with raw garlic. I still like our mustard dressing, though. Could we have both of them?

Kirstin: That would be one way of doing it. We now have two recipes to choose from!

Globe Artichoke with Garlic and Lemon Vinaigrette from “The Skinny French Kitchen”

“John Dory with Orange, Fine Herbs & Pink Peppercorns” from “Polpo”

Maureen: Fish Friday!

Nicholas (9): I’m not so sure about Fish Friday anymore.

Maureen: What do you mean? We’re doing our bit for the planet by eating less meat, and we’re doing our bit for ourselves, by eating more fish, which is good for us.

Andrew (13): I do have fish and chips every Friday at school.

Maureen: Well, sure, but it’s good that we’re doing it as a family too. What do you think?

Tim: It’s delicious.


Maureen: I think this is the best thing I’ve made so far out of the cookbook. I might be swooning right now. But I can’t tell if it’s because I like the recipe, or if the John Dory is just an excellent fish to eat.

Tim: Could be either. Or both.

Maureen: The woman at the fishmonger said John Dory is her favourite fish.

Tim: I think the pink peppercorns sort of overwhelm it.

Maureen: I’m not sure I agree. They look pretty, though.

Andew: I think it’s good.

Maureen: Should I make it again?

Andrew: Sure, I suppose so.

Tim: Yes. I think it’s nice. But maybe less peppercorns next time.

Nicholas: I’m not sure.

Maureen: I think it’s utterly delicious. We’re definitely having this again.

“John Dory with Orange, Fine Herbs & Pink Peppercorns” from “Polpo”