“Chicken & Garlic Bread Kebabs, Blood Orange, Spinach & Feta” from “Everyday Super Food”

IMG_2246Maureen: As you can see, the plates of the adults do not match the plates of the children.

Tim: Why is that? (laughing, because he already knows the answer)

Maureen: I knew that the younger half of this family would not abide a plate of spinach salad, even if there was feta tossed over it, so I made them couscous and purple-sprouting spinach instead.

Andrew (15): Couscous! I love couscous!

Nicholas (12): Thank you for not making me eat the spinach salad.

Maureen: Your feelings about spinach are clear. Also, I wasn’t sure I was up for the drama involved, so I just bypassed it altogether. What do you think?

Tim: I like it.

Maureen: Me too. I like all of it. Though I know the salad– using the term loosely since it’s really just spinach leaves, oranges and some dressing– would not be a hit with the boys.

Tim: I’m not sure that the oranges add anything.

Maureen: I don’t get why they’re there either. Maybe it’d be better if I had been able to find the blood oranges he wanted me to use, but I doubt it.

Nicholas: I like the chicken.

Tim: Where is the kick coming from in the chicken?

Maureen: You add cayenne to the marinade. I like it.

Andrew: I’m not crazy about it.

Maureen: Why not?

Andrew: I don’t know. I just don’t fancy it. I like the couscous, though.

Maureen: That’s not part of this recipe.

Tim: I think you should make this again, or at least the chicken part of it. It was a winner.

Maureen: I agree.

“Chicken & Garlic Bread Kebabs, Blood Orange, Spinach & Feta” from “Everyday Super Food”

“Chicken, Spinach and Cheese Polpette” from “A Bird in the Hand”

 

Anna: My first recipe from this book and I have already swayed from its central tenet: I have used turkey mince, not chicken.

Peter: Drings do chicken mince, don’t they?

Anna: Only if you order it in advance. And I’m not that organised anymore. I mean, I’ve cooked us something new and different! That’s an achievement these days.

Peter: They are very nice. I’m getting citrus…

Anna: That’s the lemon zest.

Peter: How do they differ to Gwyneth’s meatballs?

Anna: Would you be surprised if I told you they are a lot less healthy? Lots more cheese, breadcrumbs, and that sort of thing. But I like these a lot.

Louis: Yum! I LOVE them! I am going to eat them ALL up!

 

 

“Chicken, Spinach and Cheese Polpette” from “A Bird in the Hand”

“Turkish Poached Eggs with Spinach and Yogurt” from “A Change of Appetite”

Oh wow! If I close my eyes I could be in Turkey. Seriously. I think it’s the garlicky yoghurt. And the foaming butter drizzled over the eggs. This tastes so indulgent and not at all healthy. But the recipe is from this book so it MUST be healthy! In which case I will be making it again. Weekend brunches. Yum, yum, yum.

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“Turkish Poached Eggs with Spinach and Yogurt” from “A Change of Appetite”

“Spinach, Bacon and Gruyere Frittata” from “Rachel’s Everyday Kitchen”

CBAMFritataMaureen: Meat Free Monday!

Andrew (14): Well, not really. Isn’t there bacon in this?

Maureen: Yes, there is. If I was really faithful to Meat Free Monday I would have substituted red pepper for the bacon, but I didn’t. I just can’t turn down bacon.

Nicholas (10): I’m glad you put in the bacon, but why did you have to put in the spinach? You know how I feel about spinach?

Maureen: Yes, I do know that, which is why I showed you the recipe for approval before I made it. Spinach is in the title! It’s hard to miss!

Nicholas: But I missed it, and now I have to eat around it.

Maureen: Why eat around it? Why not just eat it? I love spinach.

Andrew: Come on, Nicholas, this is really good. Give it a try.

Maureen: Yes, I like it too. It was quick, we had most of the ingredients on hand, and, it’s delicious. As a bonus, you can have bacon sandwiches for breakfast tomorrow because I bought too much bacon.

Andrew: Bacon Sandwiches For The Win!

“Spinach, Bacon and Gruyere Frittata” from “Rachel’s Everyday Kitchen”

“My Sag Aloo” from “Save With Jamie”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAKudos for David Loftus, who did the photography for “Save with Jamie,” for making this recipe look so appealing in the photos for the book. My photo doesn’t look horrible, I think, but the ones in the book look SO MUCH more appetizing. 

One of the problems with this recipe is the way that it’s spelled.  Our local indian spells is saag aloo, but a quick check on the Interweb shows that both spellings are OK, so maybe I’m being a bit picky. It doesn’t take anything away from the dish, however, which was quite good.

The recipe itself is a winner. First of all, it’s vegetarian and even vegan — if you drop the use of yogurt– which is always a good thing in my book. We would have had it for Meat Free Monday, but alas we had it on a Tuesday just to mix things up a bit.  I’m always looking for good vegetarian dishes, so I think this one might be added to a regular rotation.

There’s two things you should know before making this, though. First this dish takes some time to make. In my case, it took about an hour from start to finish. This wasn’t a problem for me, as I had the time, but if you’re in a rush, this isn’t a recipe to use. The long cooking time probably did contribute to the really rich flavours that it had, so perhaps the time commitment was worth it. Second, you need to be confident in the instructions and be willing to work the burner on your stove. There is a lot of liquid that needs to be boiled down, but you do get there in the end, even if it does seem like quite a lot of liquid at the beginning. It just takes time to do so (see No. 1).

I had to make one modification, which might have altered things somewhat. It turns out that frozen spinach is a rare ingredient, as none of our local stores (The Cooperative, Sainsbury’s, even Waitrose) had it to sell. In the end, I got 400 grams of fresh spinach– rather than 300 grams of frozen– and mixed it into the curry in batches so it would wilt and become incorporated. I’m quite certain that just adding frozen spinach would be easier, but I had to make do. It might have been even better using fresh instead of frozen as a result.

Did we like it? Yes we did. I had mine wrapped in lettuce leaves (see photo above), while Tim and Andrew had theirs with naan bread and rice. I think Tim and I liked ours slightly more than Andrew, but only because he’s not a huge fan of spicy dishes and this had quite a bit of chilli in it. In the future, I might not add the temper of chilli and garlic to the boys’ dishes and instead just put it into ours.

Will I make it again? Probably. But only on a weeknight in which I had the luxury of time to make it, which, unfortunately, in this house, isn’t very often.

“My Sag Aloo” from “Save With Jamie”

“Mustard Chicken Salad” from “How Easy is That?”

Peter: I like this. What’s in the dressing, apart from mustard?

Anna: Well there’s tarragon in it. And it’s supposed to have tarragon vinegar, but I couldn’t find that. So I used cider vinegar instead.

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Peter: There’s a lot of this. I’ll be having the leftovers for lunch tomorrow.

Anna: I liked her tip for doing the chicken, roasting it on the bone and then shredding rather than poaching. But this did mean that it took quite a while to make dinner which isn’t so cool on a school night.

Peter: This would be good as a salad at a barbeque or a party.

Anna: You’re right. Honestly I find it a bit boring. So I don’t think I’ll be going out of my way to make it again. Sorry.

“Mustard Chicken Salad” from “How Easy is That?”

“Chicken Tikka, Lentil, Spinach & Naan Salad” from Jamie’s 15 Minute Meals

Time taken: 27 minutes

Anna: Words cannot express how little I want to eat this. I feel like I’ve just fought a war with every pan and ingredient in the kitchen, and lost.

Ernie: Wow, this looks incredible. Do you eat like this every night?

Peter: Luckily, no.

Anna: Can I just point out that someone clearly didn’t proof read this book. Jamie says to ‘halve the chilli’. That’s it. Halve it. So I did. And put it in the frying pan. Sceptically. And five minutes later I had to pull the thing out of the frying pan to chop it up because really, that’s what you are supposed to do. Even though he DOESN’T SAY SO IN THE RECIPE. And. And. He calls for a small frying pan. What he means is a medium frying pan. You can’t get a whole packet of lentils in a small frying pan with spring onions and half a chilli and a squashed tomato. So I had to transfer everything halfway through cooking. And part of that bloody tomato went on the floor and my cashmere cardigan when I squashed it. What’s wrong with chopping eh Jamie?

Peter: Please excuse her. She’s having a rant.

Ernie: Well I think it tastes delicious. It is really different. It’s spicy and sweet. Very different.

Anna: I’m glad you like it Dad. But I’m never cooking it again.

“Chicken Tikka, Lentil, Spinach & Naan Salad” from Jamie’s 15 Minute Meals