Kirstin: I would definitely recommend making the slaw. But even with my best attempts at putting the chilli peppers into our food processor they still tended to slip in sideways and did not end up the way they looked in the picture! That said, I was pleasantly surprised by the sauce; not very nice by itself but I thought it tasted ok with the chicken. However, this recipe was a tad uninspiring. I do hope this isn’t the start of a sad month of average recipes. Gah!
Kirstin: So I tweeted the very lovely Sabrina Ghayour to ask her what I should make next from her fab book and she suggested the vine-baked feta. I am always up for anything with feta, so when Anna and Tom couldn’t get into work because of flooding, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to make it. Because while I could have eaten all that feta by myself, I felt it was probably best to share it with others!
Did we love it? We totally did! I couldn’t find any vine leaves and instead wrapped it in baking parchment like a present as she suggests in her intro. I should also add that while I was looking for vine leaves I also found a new Lebanese food selection in our local M and S which was very exciting! I am definitely going to make this again as it’s a perfect starter; super easy and very tasty especially with flat bread and olives. All I had to do to make it was add the zest of a lemon, some garlic oil, chilli and thyme to the top of the cheese before baking. And with all the rain today, it was the nearest we were going to get to the taste of the Mediterranean on a summer’s day. Yum, yum, yum! Thank you for the tip! We’ll be making this one again, for sure. And even better with a cheeky glass of rosé.
Kirstin: It’s always a wonderful feeling to find a recipe that you know you will treasure and pass on to others. These recipes, for me, must be easy and delicious. I set the bar even higher when it comes to desserts and baking as our family is not a fan of sweet food. But this recipe might just make into our Hall of Desserts Fame. Fabulously easy and tasting rather special, this chiffon cake is a winner. I was a tad worried about the cardamom, but I shouldn’t have been as it set off the chocolate and coffee perfectly. I am already looking forward to making this again, and smile at the thought of the book page becoming more splattered as the years go by.
Peter: Well this has a bit of tickle.
Anna: Pretty spicy for sure. This is great.
Peter: You can make this again.
Anna: Why thank you. I definitely plan to. It would have been quick too, had I not had that purge of the spice cupboard at Christmas. Thank you for the emergency dash to the Coop for tumeric, by the way.
Peter: So are we thinking this is Thai?
Anna: I would say so. Coconut milk, lemongrass, chilli, lime, fish sauce… seems pretty Thai to me. It would be good with leftover roast chicken too.
Peter: So when are we having this again?
Anna: Well this was perfect for a freezing cold Sunday night in January. Proper comfort food. Pretty easy, though I was a bit suspicious of the additional step required of mixing the cooked potato with the lamb and then popping back in the oven for half an hour or so. But it was really worth it. The potato lid goes crunchy. Parts of the lamb and potato go sticky and caramelised. Which elevates the whole thing. I didn’t entirely follow the recipe to the letter however. Nigel left out a key ingredient. What goes better with lamb and the sweetness of sweet potato then salty feta? You think Nigel would have worked that one out himself! So I recommend you try this recipe. With my secret ingredient.
Anna: This was as advertised: fast, easy and tasted, well, kind of like a chilli. I say that because it was hot (“It has some tickle”, said Peter) though the spice combination isn’t what I’d usually choose for a chilli. Interestingly the recipe calls for curry powder. I was doubtful. Frankly it reads like something out of the 70s. Like a chilli recipe written by someone who has just discovered the concept and decides to sexy up their usual mince recipe. But I went with it. That’s what I’m here for. And do you know what? The spicing wasn’t the issue in the end. It was the sauce, or lack of it. I was so convinced there was a typo in the recipe that I searched online but could find no correction. How you can be expected to ‘simmer’ something that is made up of fried-off mince and drained beans I don’t know. So I added chicken stock. Which is what I would recommend you do too. Served with a baked sweet potato it was a decent mid-week meal. Just don’t forget the chicken stock.
Anna: I committed the schoolboy error of not reading the recipe properly before embarking on it. Well, truth be told I read it just in time. Frustratingly I had been working for over an hour, during which time the salmon could have been cooling (apparently this takes an hour after poaching and cooks the salmon through, according to Nigella). But having taken the recipe at face value I thought it was just an assembly of a few, easy to prepare, ingredients. Which is essentially what it is, apart from the salmon-cooling curve ball. So at 8.30pm I had to make a swift change of plan and postpone making this for a day. It was worth the wait. This is a proper bowlful of food. And by that I mean: it tastes good and healthy but is filling and delicious at the same time. We have had it twice in two weeks, and now I have read the recipe intro properly the cooling hour has been abandoned. Hurray!