During August I bought 'another' new cookery book, The Hairy Dieters Fast Food. I've chosen 2 books for the Cookery calendar Challenge, you can find more on the link at the end.I'd watched the Hairy Dieters series of cookery programmes and I was pleased to see they'd released a new book. This book promises to help you have a meal on the table within 30 minutes. One that is healthy and lower in calories and hopefully won't be clogging up your arteries or tipping the cholesterol balance.
The book seems to be carrying on in the same vein as their previous books where they lesson the refined sugar carbohydrates and try and look for replacements. For example in this book, they bake bread tartlets with sliced bread instead of high fat pastry and in a previous book they cut leeks open length wise and used the layers instead of pasta sheets in a lasagne. For this healthy reason alone, I would recommend them.
Si and Dave write in their unique style that feels like they are there with you. You can be sure they've tried and tested each recipe and if they say it's good, it is. Following their testimonials at the beginning of the book, they reveal their new challenge, which is to have 'fast' recipes for the table before you reach for the snacks.
There is a section in the book for slow cooking and making use of the pressure cooker. The slow cooking just means, the preparation required will take up to 30 minutes. I'm tempted by some of the pressure cooked recipes as I love using my pressure cooker. I find stews and casseroles always taste full of flavour cooked in there and have been very disappointed with my slow cooker. My second recipe I've chosen requires the pressure cooker, though you could simmer it for an hour.
The first recipe - 'Stove-Top Granola' is from the 'Breakfast and Brunch' section. I was looking for an oat cereal recipe as most shop cereals contain one or more of these - barley, soya, dried stoned fruits, nuts and coconut. As I can't eat any of these, I was pleased to see a few recipes that are suitable. I will be re-testing the nuts soon and hope these will be ok to eat.
The recipe itself is simple enough, melting the butter and maple syrup with some oil and then stirring in the oats and salt in a pan to coat evenly, this is done in 20 second bursts for 5 minutes. They should give off a nutty aroma and look slightly golden.
At this point you can add your chosen dried fruit, seeds and nuts if wanted. Then tip onto a tray to cool and crisp before serving with milk or yoghurt. It'll store in an airtight container, this amount for one will last a few days. I used sultanas and sunflowers and I also added some fresh fruits to my bowl one morning.
There was a nice buttery taste with this cereal but I was a bit disappointed. When I think of granola, I imagine crisp, hard pieces or nutty oats but this quickly absorbed the milk and became the usual soggy oat based museli breakfast. I did wonder if baking it in the oven rather than a non-stick frying pan would've crisped the oats up a bit.
I would definitely make it again, but would use less butter, as the taste was overpowering after a while, with the milk.
The second recipe I've chosen is 'Pressure Cooked Tomato Sauce' from the 'Slow, Slow, Quick, Quick, Slow' section. We were wanting to use up some tomatoes from the greenhouse and this was perfect. You do need a glass of white wine for this recipe, not to drink whilst it cooks, but to add to the pan as it steams away merrily. The recipe calls for 2 cans of chopped tomatoes, so you could of course make this all year.
You start by lightly frying a chopped onion to brown the edges, meanwhile continue chopping the other ingredients and then adding the garlic.
All the other ingredients can then be added but don't be tempted to add more water as it won't need it. My assistant was busy chopping for me whilst I stirred and tidied things away.
Here it is in the pressure cooker before the lid went on for steaming. It is very bright, bold and with the red onion, quite something to see.
The recipe says to cool quickly and reduce the sauce on the hob stirring with the lid off. I served some (not reduced yet) in a ramekin dish alongside our jacket potato as dinner had already been planned but we wanted to try it. The sauce was delicious, sweet, fruity and flavoursome.
As it was not yet reduced it was more liquid than it should have been but I ended up tipping it on my plate and it complemented the dinner nicely.
I shall be making this again, they suggest freezing it, eating it with pasta, meatloaf or burgers. I've made tomato sauces before and they have never tasted this good. I've added marrow or other squashes and basically ended up with a very watery tasteless liquid. I wouldn't really like to call them a sauce. This one is delicious and looks and smells good too. There was no complaints from the family which is always good when they like what you've provided.
Next month I'm going to choose 2 recipes to cook from Jamie Oliver's 'Ministry of Food' cookbook. I know not everyone is keen on him or his style of presenting his ideas but I've watched this particular series on TV and bought the book. The whole point of the cookery calendar challenge was to get reacquainted with our long forgotten cook books, this book certainly fills the brief.
I hope you've enjoyed reading about my 2 chosen recipes, I certainly loved making them and hope to make more in the future.