Saturday, June 29, 2013

Cookbook Review ~ Pretty Delicious by Candice Kumai

Since I've recently rejoined the gym and am on a bid to get healthier and lose some weight this book seemed like a natural choice for June's Cooking the Books. Pretty Delicious by Candice Kumai is a cookbook filled with recipes that keep calories to a minimum but don't skimp on flavour. The Chapters are divided up into different courses such as Brekkie & Brunch, Soups and Salads but also into categories including Fins & Shells, Veggie Mains and Lean Mean Protein. And since this model-turned-chef believes that nothing should be off-limits there is also a chapter on Skinny Sweets & Splurges.

Finally just when you thought it couldn't sound any better the book has a big emphasis on how to be budget conscious and is full of tips on how to make your money go further when shopping for food – a big bonus with today's economy.

Since the book claims to be full of “lean and lovely recipes for a healthy, happy new you” I was excited to start testing the recipes and see whether they delivered or if it was just too good to be true!

The Tested Recipes:

TDF Sliders with Caramelized Onions and Mushrooms
Beverley Hills Fries with Honey-'Cue Sauce
Skinny Tofu Pad Thai (with Asian Almonds)
“Creamy” Tomato Soup
Totally Un-Croque Monsieur Fingers
Potato & Herb Gnocchi
Toasted-Almond Sticky Buns
Albondigas (Meatball) Soup

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Nigella's Nutella Panna Cotta

After posting my review of Nigella's most recent cookbook 'Nigellissima' I couldn't not share this recipe with you! This “cheeky little number” as she likes to call it is courtesy originally of Angela Harnett (if you are unfamiliar with her you can check out my review of one of her books here) but my praise goes to Nigella since this is her slightly adapted version taken from her book. I have changed nothing as I thought it was perfect as it was so here it is – Nigella's Nutella Panna Cotta in all it's glory. Easy to make even easier to eat!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Cookbook Review ~ Nigellissima by Nigella Lawson

It's no surprise that Nigella Lawson's latest book, Nigellissima, is an Italian cookbook since she is so emphatic about how much she loves Italian food and culture, and all of her previous cookbooks feature a lot of Italian or Italian inspired recipes. And in all honesty what else would you expect from someone who spent a gap year working and living in Italy and has (at last count) around 500 Italian cookbooks! It was definitely time for her to add her own name to her collection!

That being said, I wouldn't necessarily classify Nigellissima as an Italian cookbook but it certainly is as the cover clearly states, an Italian inspired cookbook. In this latest book the Domestic Goddess has taken some of her favourite Italian recipes and influences and turned them into her usual no-fuss, no nonsense, speedy recipes that can be made in your home kitchen with minimal ingredients and hassle.

The book is divided into 5 chapters which includes 'Pasta', 'Flesh, Fish & Fowl', 'Vegetables & Sides', 'Sweet Things' and 'An Italian-Inspired Christmas'. All of the chapters feature a good variety of recipes bound to inspire you to get into the kitchen and start cooking with some Italian flare! I bookmarked a lot of recipes but in the end I tested 7.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Father's Day Menu Ideas

From Top L-R: Twice as Spicy Wings; Jalapeno Popper Dip; Prawn Cocktail Trio; Classic Barbecued Beef Burger; Char-Grilled Steak with Basil Hollandaise; Pulled Pork Buns with Coleslaw; New York Cherry Cheesecake; Profiteroles and Homemade Ice Cream

It's Father's Day on Sunday so I've put together a collection of recipes bound to keep the Dad in your life happy! Whether he likes to chill out in the garden with a Beer and Burger, get finger-licking messy with Wings and Pulled Pork (don't forget the napkins!) or perhaps prefers a refined sit-down meal with a good glass of wine, Steak and homemade Hollandaise sauce I've got plenty of ideas.

So for all you Dad's out there (especially my Dad and my husband – both of which are the best Dad's ever!!) have a great day x



Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Quinoa Salad

This is one of my new favourite lunches as it is so tasty but also pretty healthy too and gives me lots of energy for going to the gym! Even better I can make up a batch and divide it up into individual containers so it makes a perfect packed lunch for my hubby and will do us both for 2 days.....well most of the time!

Quinoa makes a great alternative to grains like couscous or rice and is gluten free so perfect for anyone needing to avoid gluten.

Serves 4

2 cups of chicken or vegetable stock
1 cup quinoa
1 big handful of spinach leaves
5 or 6 basil leaves (a few more if they are small)
Zest & juice of 1 lemon
1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped (optional)*
1 red pepper, chopped into small pieces
2 spring onions, sliced thinly
1 tomato, chopped (optional)
50g feta cheese
1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Maldon sea salt & freshly ground black pepper to serve

Bring 2 cups (500ml) of stock to the boil then add the quinoa (you can use water if you prefer, the stock just adds a bit more flavour). Stir then turn the heat to low and leave to simmer, covered for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave to stand for a further 5 minutes.

While the quinoa is cooking prepare the rest of the ingredients. Put the spinach and basil into a small food processor and blitz until very finely chopped. (If you don't have a processor simply chop it up using a knife as finely as you can.)

Once the quinoa is ready pour it into a large bowl then add the finely chopped spinach and basil, lemon zest and juice of ½ the lemon, the chilli, 1 tbsp of olive oil and some salt. Mix everything carefully together using a fork until well combined and leave to cool to room temperature before adding the red pepper, spring onions, tomatoes and feta cheese. Mix again then taste to check the seasoning and if needed add the remaining lemon juice and tablespoon of olive oil before serving.

*If you don't have a fresh chilli you can easily use a good pinch of dried chilli flakes instead.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Curtis Stone's New York Cherry Cheesecake

Just after I posted my review of Curtis Stone's new book What's for Dinner? I couldn't resist trying his amazing looking New York Cherry Cheesecake for a family meal. I'll be honest this is one serious cheesecake and not for anyone counting their calories, but my-oh-my it is worth every single one!! Loaded with cream cheese and eggs it still manages to stay light and super creamy and the touch of lemon gives it the perfect balance to the sweetness. If you like cheesecake and are looking for a new recipe to try I can't recommend this enough, especially since cherry season is just getting started. Try it and you will see what I mean!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Cooking the Books ~ June

With my renewed attempt to get healthy and lose a bit of weight it seemed that Pretty Delicious by Candice Kumai was a great choice for June's Cooking the Books. I've been going to the gym for 6 weeks now and have just changed my 2 month 'trial' membership into a 1 year one so I have no excuses! Of course working out is just one aspect of it and next to that is definitely watching what you eat so I am excited to see what news tips and tricks of the trade this model-turned-chef can teach me!

As usual if you have this book why not cook along with me or leave a comment and let me know what you think of it. So what are you waiting for, let's put this book to the test and start Cooking the Books!!

*To read this review please click here.
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