I have used some of Tom Kerridge’s recipes in the past and can fully recommend his book ‘Lose Weight for Good’ ( www.perpetually49.com/pre-holiday-health-eating/ )  so looked forward to watching his new TV series. His aim, in this book, is to encourage families not only to cook food from ‘scratch’ but to do so together. Encouraging family interactions whilst preparing and eating wholesome food (and reducing the reliance on ‘Takeaways’). Sounded a good idea and I’m always keen to widen my food repertoire so tuned in – I was, as always, hooked in from the start so thought I would buy the book and try some items out myself.

I noticed the book for sale in my local supermarket so dashed over, keen to add it to my trolley but looked at the price – £26.00! Oh, that’s a shame I thought and put it back. Cannot remember ever noticing that high a price tag on a recipe book and as I had only seen one of the programmes thought it best to wait until either the remaining programmes persuaded me it would be worth the cost or it was in a sale (which often happens after TV series have finished) 

And, so glad I did. The following week I was in Edinburgh and wandered into Waterstones where I noticed a special half-price sale, and the book was included. Hastily picked it up and at the Service Till handed over my Loyalty Card, to be informed I had £10.00 worth of loyalty points. So, in the end I paid £3.00! What a bargain, the book is full of good ideas alongside useful hints and tips. As usual with Tom’s books do read the recipe through at least the day before as the need to marinade for ‘4 hours’ listed in paragraph 4 may come as a shock when you are expecting to put dinner on the table in 30 minutes! (I have been caught out in the past).

I plan meals in advance as a habit, mainly so I only need to shop once a week although many of these recipes used ingredients commonly found in the pantry – or could be easily substituted for similar ingredients.

Thought I would start with something straight forward and Crispy Beef and Pak Choi Noodles fitted the description. I recommend preparing all the ingredients in advance – then cook. It was all so quick and tasty, a great mid-week meal. 

Spanish Hake Bake was simple to put together needing very little attention, just as well as the Brexit Deal vote  was being broadcast and I was distracted – resorted to speaking to TV!  This fish dish was tastier than I expected and definitely one to do again.   

Asian-Style Glazed Chicken Thighs is another easy to make dinner, despite the long line of ingredients. Once in the oven it needed little attention. I cooked the wild rice rather than use ready cooked (I had a packet in the pantry so why buy some – the ‘Best Before’ date would scare you although we survived). Also, I used plain broccoli, besides cooking a little quicker and perhaps appearing more elegant I cannot see the point of tender stem broccoli.  The portion sizes were very generous so if inviting friends around for dinner I would advise a light dessert.

Miso Ramen – Fairly simple to cook although used a lot of dishes, I could not locate any Smoked Tofu so used Silken instead which broke into pieces too easily and did not ‘char’ in the same way, it remained looking pale rather than browning. No strong flavours although not bland, I have made similar dishes with meat/fish which I have preferred – I am not a fan of tofu so perhaps this dish is down to personal taste (luckily the husband liked it enough to eat the leftovers for lunch the next day) As always the servings are a good size and instructions easy to follow. 

Butternut Squash and Chickpea Curry – I made a few changes to this as I had no green beans so substituted baby broad beans from the freezer. I also had a few cooked artichokes going spare so throw them in. It was  not a hot curry so a good one for introducing children to the spices.

Prawn and Broccoli Rice Noodles – The recipe said this would take 30 minutes although it took  me more like 40. I had no Sriracha hot sauce so used chilli sauce and added a few broken sriracha peppers. I added the beaten egg as instructed – you have to be quick and careful that it didn’t become scrambled egg, I  think I prefer my method of making a thin omelette, chopping it up and throwing it in. I used cashew nuts instead of peanuts as I had an open packet, other than that I followed the recipe exactly 😉 It was very tasty and again one that was warm rather than hot so suitable for all the family.

Italian Turkey Meatballs – Really simple, really filling, really tasty. I served it with bread and salad as suggested but could just as easy have served pasta. As there was only two of us I made a quarter of the recipe and there was still enough left for a small lunch. The full recipe is for 8 although I think could easily feed 10 or supply the freezer. Use an ice cream scope to make the meatballs and then they only need a quick roll to be circular. 

Sausage and Bean Casserole – another easy mix with good sized servings. I had no tins of tomatoes (how did that happen!) so used pasatta instead. Nor did I have any red wine so used a red wine stockpot capsule and slightly extra fluid in the stock and it worked well. This was really filling so could leave out the bread and just serve with a salad. 

I have since made a few more of the dishes and have not been disappointed. I made the Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe recently which disappeared fast! I only used half the amount of ingredients and still made 15 large cookies, which is what the book suggests is the number to make using the full amount of ingredients – they must be enormous!

PS – having used the book for a few weeks, noting the quality of the publication and looked at other cookbooks currently for sale I would say that the original price tag is a fair cost, although only paying £3.00 was an absolute steal!

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