“Mushroom, Spinach and Ricotta Yorkshire Pudding” from “Comfort”

March is such a funny month. Not quite winter anymore, but not quite spring. You get fooled into thinking that spring will be arriving when you’re greeted with a sunny morning, only to abandon that notion by dinner time when the temperature has dropped to single digits (celsius).

The recipe is firmly in my favourite food wheelhouse: copious cheese, spinach, mushrooms, and a cheese delivery mechanism, which in this case is a Yorkshire pudding. Yum. Just the sort of thing to warm your belly on a cold March night.

As soon as I surmised that Nicholas, Hater of Spinach, would not be joining us for dinner, I decided to make this. However, what I forgot to account for is that his brother, Andrew, is not a huge fan of mushrooms (it’s the texture, he says). So just after I asked, “Doesn’t this look delicious?” he replied, “Are there mushrooms in this?”

Curses.

Needless to say, Andrew was not a fan. But that’s his loss because the adults at the table loved this. In fact, anyone who didn’t have an aversion to spinach or mushrooms would probably enthusiastically eat this, like we did.

John Whaite’s genius idea is to make a Yorkshire pudding, take it out when it’s done, slather it with loads of cheese, spinach and mushrooms (with the latter two ingredients fried when the yorkshire pudding is baking) and then bake it again. Honestly, it was sublime.

Highly recommended for people who don’t have food aversions.

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“Mushroom, Spinach and Ricotta Yorkshire Pudding” from “Comfort”

“Secret Steak & Chips with Garlicky Green Beans” from “Save With Jamie”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is called “Secret Steak” because Jamie is encouraging us to go beyond the usual cuts– fillet, sirloin, rib-eye and rump– and try skirt steaks instead, which are much cheaper but taste good. I’ve got news for you Jamie: Been there and done that.

We discovered “Secret Steaks” for ourselves back in June when we had “Bavette a l”Echalotte” from the Skinny French Kitchen. We liked it then, and we like it now.

It’s still a top tip from Jamie. However, in this particular instance, our butchers were out of skirt steaks that night, so we went with rump instead. It’s not as expensive as going for a sirloin or a fillet, but it cost more than the humble skirt steak. The dinner was delicious, but I’m not sure this counts as a faithful test of the recipe since I didn’t use the skirt steak.

The other thing I didn’t do– and will never do, to be honest– was use the frozen green beans called for in the recipe. There are several reasons for this. First, it is difficult, if not impossible, to find frozen green beans at the local shops. I tried a Sainsbury’s, a Co-op, a Waitrose and another Sainsbury’s, and couldn’t find them anywhere. Second, when fresh beans are plentiful and not that expensive, why in the world would you use frozen? So I used fresh, but consequently couldn’t follow the recipe as written.

The mushroom sauce was nice, but frankly not that different from any number of other mushroom sauce recipes I’ve used over the years. Fry onion and mushrooms, add cream, mustard and a splash of water. Hardly rocket science.

Finally, the other thing I didn’t do was follow the quantites for the amount of steak. Nicholas, 10, watched the program where Jamie made this (I missed it) and reported the next day, “He didn’t use much steak. That’s not how I would do it.” I can see what Jamie is trying to do– stretch the meal for as much as possible, which means cutting back on the steak to bring down the cost– but it’s not how I would do it. If we’re going to have steak for dinner, we’re going to have STEAK FOR DINNER, which means everyone gets his or her own steak. People (read: my family) wouldn’t be happy if they just got a few small slices of beef.

So would I make this again? As I haven’t even properly followed the instructions the first time, I’m not sure I can answer this question. Would I have steak for dinner again? You bet. But I don’t think I’ll be doing it the Save With Jamie way.

Here’s the recipe from Jamie Oliver’s website. But since I didn’t follow it, I”m not sure you should either. Click through this link to see for yourself. Share any thoughts you have about it in the comments.

“Secret Steak & Chips with Garlicky Green Beans” from “Save With Jamie”

“Sausages with Mushrooms” from “The Family Meal”

Tim: Yum!

Andrew (12): This smells great.

Maureen: This is really good, but it’s got to have one of the least inspiring names for a dinner. Sausages with mushrooms? While it is accurate, it’s hardly the sort of name that’s going to get you inspired to get the pans out.

Nicholas (8): I like the name I came up with: Sausage meatballs!

Maureen: Yes, that’s a much better name.

Continue reading ““Sausages with Mushrooms” from “The Family Meal””

“Sausages with Mushrooms” from “The Family Meal”

“Spaghetti with mushrooms and fennel seeds” from “Good Things to Eat”

Kirstin: Did you like it?

Tom: Yes. A very good midweek pasta dish. And I always think mushrooms are the nearest thing to having meat, if you’re not going to have meat.

Kirstin: He’s good at these pasta dishes, isn’t our man Lucas?

Tom: He is. Like the carbonara, this was really substantial. It’s not like one of these pathetic spaghetti sauces where you don’t feel like you’ve eaten anything.

Kirstin: I had one problem with this recipe, and that was that he didn’t tell you to chop the mushrooms. I assumed you had to. You can’t eat whole mushrooms with spaghetti. Could you taste the fennel?

Tom: Yes. I didn’t realise that was what it was, but it was rather good.

Kirstin: Do you know what would have been really good as well? A little bit of chilli.

Tom: Ooh, yes! Next time! And I suspect there will be a next time. There was no cream in this, either, so it wasn’t too rich. I can see us making this on holiday.

Kirstin: It was lovely and quick. With all these end-of-term concerts and plays and shows going on at the moment, these quick pasta recipes are just what we need.

Tom: Right — let’s see how your macro food photos came out.

Kirstin: I need more practice, I suspect. What a shame! Sam will be pleased though. She loves a bit of macro; I can just see her grinning as she reads this!

Tom: I’ll help with eating the food.

“Spaghetti with mushrooms and fennel seeds” from “Good Things to Eat”

“Macaroni cheese with bacon and mushrooms” from “Good Things to Eat”

Kirstin: I realised today when I was making this that I subliminally wanted to make an Italian version of this.

Tom: What do you mean?

Kirstin: I used pancetta instead of bacon because I forgot to buy any and I almost used mozzarella instead of cheddar.

 

Tom: Well, it was yum. Macaroni cheese can be all liquify and gooey. But this was more like frittata — it was just the crispy bits.

Continue reading ““Macaroni cheese with bacon and mushrooms” from “Good Things to Eat””

“Macaroni cheese with bacon and mushrooms” from “Good Things to Eat”

“Tagliatelle al Vino Bianco on Funghi” from “Two Greedy Italians”

Tom: So you made this pasta yourself then, with white wine?

Kirstin: Yup….oh no, sorry. I had to do a million other things today. So that promise of making you pasta is on hold again. But I will do it. Honest.

Tom: Oh don’t worry about it. Making your own pasta is over-rated. We did it when we were young.

Kirstin: But now we have a special thing for the Kitchen Aid to make it easier. So I really do want to do it. I just need a time machine to add more hours to the day.

Tom: Good point. We really should try it again. Anyway, this sauce was good!

Continue reading ““Tagliatelle al Vino Bianco on Funghi” from “Two Greedy Italians””

“Tagliatelle al Vino Bianco on Funghi” from “Two Greedy Italians”