I’ve got to say that it seems a bit of a cheat that Nigella is including a recipe for cheesy garlic bread in this cookbook. Surely everyone knows how to make cheesy garlic bread?
This is how I usually do it: 1. Make garlic butter. 2. Cut french stick horizontally. 3. Spread garlic butter liberally over each side of bread. 3. Sprinkle mozzarella (again, liberally) over the top of the garlic bread. 4. Put under broiler and watch like a hawk to make sure it doesn’t burn. 5. Eat with gusto.
I suppose we could call Nigella’s version a slightly more sophisticated take on this dish, as rather than banging two slices under the broiler, which is much quicker, you cut the bread vertically and then stuff the garlic butter and mozzarella between pieces. You wrap the whole thing up in aluminium foil and then roast it at 220C/400F for 30 minutes.
Is it better? I’m not sure. It definitely takes longer, and it looks nicer. But usually when I’m having cheesy garlic bread, I’m having it with pasta and that only takes 10 minutes to cook. So this version takes a bit of advance planning, which I’m not convinced is worth it.
But no matter how you make it, cheesy garlic bread is ALWAYS delicious.
Ella: Well this is succulent and juicy!
Kirstin: I have to admit I made this a few weeks ago for just me and Miles.
Miles: I remember it!
Kirstin: And we’re having it with pitta bread. This is such a wonderful summer recipe. My picture does it no justice and that’s because it should be photographed outdoors in evening summer light. Nigella, I apologise profusely. But really the rolling pin to squash the chicken does not work at all. I had to use a mallet in the end.
Ella: I love it.
Kirstin: And I love it too. I haven’t done one of Nigella’s recipes where you stick everything into a freezer bag for a while for no good reason. Genius recipe. Also, I’ve just seen Call Me By Your Name, so the word succulent is taking on a whole different meaning because peaches.
Ella: I’m not sure I want to know.
Kirstin: It’s ok. There’s no way I can describe it to you. That said, I have loved this trilogy of films by Luca Guadagnino and in particular the way food is featured.
This recipe is peak Nigella: delicious and simple– so simple that I bemoaned the fact that I hadn’t thought to do this myself.
Essentially what you do to make this recipe is you put a load of tomatoes, red chillies, red onion, red bell peppers and garlic on a roasting tray, toss them in sea salt and veg oil, roast it for 40 minutes and then whizz it– either in a food processor or with a stick blender. See? Easy.
Nigella recommended 50 grams of red chillies, but I knew that was probably more heat than the boys could bear, so I only put in three. It still was hot, trust me. But also very yummy.
Would I make this again? Absolutely.
Maureen: Look! It’s the patron saint of Cookbook a Month!
Kirstin: I am excited about this one. I think I preordered this back in June, back when I first heard about it.
Maureen: Initially I was pretty excited, but then the book came and now I’m not so sure.
Kirstin: I am the same, but we have high hopes for her.
Maureen: The problem is, when I was paging through it, while I did see several recipes that I wanted to try, I wasn’t consistently tagging stuff that I want to do, unlike in the past.
Kirstin: The clue is in the title: this is home cooking. It’s just really simple recipes. It’s just a different kind of vibe. We have to remember that while we’re cooking from it.
Maureen: She does excel at dishes you can throw together with things you probably already have at home or at least can find easily.
Kirstin: The desserts look good. I’m excited about the ice cream! The no-churn ice cream looks amazing.
Maureen: She’s got some fun cocktails in the back, too. We should try some of those.
Kirstin: It’s a different kind of book from the book that she normally does, and we just have to take it differently.
Maureen: But she will always be our patron saint.
This was one of the first recipes I tried from Nigella’s book, back last year. Chocolate chip cookie dough, but all melty in a pot…what could wrong? Well it turns out NOTHING. This recipe is perfect in every way and I’ve made it countless times this year. Super easy, you can prepare it in the fridge hours before your guests arrive (I use the clingfilm covering to push down the dough in the pots) and it’s always a winner. ALWAYS. Which is pretty much what Maureen said last year too! . So if you’re looking for an easy, crowd pleaser of a dessert then try this one. And enjoy!
Maureen: This has been the best month, by far, in 2015.
Kirstin: Absolutely. i’m so sad it’s coming to an end. It’s been an epic month.
Maureen: I think it’s funny that one of our readers has twigged that the more recipes we publish, the more we like the book.
Kirstin: Ah yes.
Maureen: This book was so great for so many reasons. I loved that there was a wide array of things to try, everything from breakfast to dessert. I loved how for the most part they were straightforward to prepare. I loved that they were just different enough to make them interesting, but not so different that the boys would refuse to eat it.
Kirstin: And the recipes are really tasty.
Maureen: Even Andrew commented on how much he loved the food from this month’s cookbook. I did so some recipes that were just okay, but I didn’t write those up and there weren’t that many of those anyway.
Kirstin: The winners were so good it evened out. It was a fantastic book.
Maureen: Mine’s already splattered and stained and all sorts. It already looks very well loved. That’s always a good sign.
Overall Grade (A- F): A+ (Kirstin) A+ (Maureen)
Best recipes: Kirstin: Nutella Brownies and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Pots. Maureen: In addition to those, the salted chocolate tart was unbelievably good.
Grade for Photography (A-F): A
Any disasters? Kirstin: Only when I didn’t read the recipe correctly. Maureen: There were no disasters, but there were definitely some recipes we didn’t absolutely love, so I didn’t write those up.
Bookshelf or Charity Shop Donation? Kirstin: Bookshelf, high rotation. Maureen: Same
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!