Tuesday, 25 January 2011

The Hairy Bikers' Family Cookbook: Mums Know Best Review - and Bill's Basics revisited

This week I've been trying out my Hairy Bikers Mum's Know Best cookbook. I've had it since I saw them last year (talked about it in my first month of blogging) and oh yeah, my edition is signed! Obviously didn't mean I was itching to use it straight away though! That's what happens when you're addicted to borrowing cookbooks from the library, you never get around to using your own! The book has a great layout, practically one photo per recipe and they're nice and bold with big close ups. It includes all the lovely recipes that were in the TV show, again I'm going to pick on The Great British Book of Baking as how not to do it! If you buy a book to accompany a series you want all the recipes you've seen, any extras are most welcome of course.

There is a good selection of starters, mains and desserts as well as accompaniments. Some of the chapters are Family Favourites, Show-off Food and Birthday Treats. It also spans a wide variety of cuisines from Estonian bread to Curried Mutton from the Carribbean. A nice dip into some styles you might not have tried before.

Looks all kinds of wrong but this is Maryland Chicken, my first dish. Sticky, sweet marinated chicken serves with a baked banana wrapped in bacon. It also sounds all kinds of wrong but it was really tasty together! We were running out of honey so I used maple syrup instead for the marinade and I think it worked really well. A certain someone in the house licked all 3 plates after we'd finished as the sauce was so delicious! It was really easy to make and I'd make it again - including the bananas. The combination also made me think that my next batch of French toast with maple syrup and bacon also needs some baked bananas. Yum!

The other dish I made was the Sweet and Sour Pork Hong Kong Style, brought to us by the Chinese Older People's Group. It sounds like they have an amazing time together! This was more time consuming to make and the batter was disappointing but the sauce was perfect. It tasted exactly like a take-away sweet and sour sauce, except you knew everything that was in it. Brilliant. I used pork belly which was fairly lean. The pork had to be marinated in chicken stock, sugar and seasoning but I'm not actually sure why. It didn't say the quantity of water to put in so I think I added too much. I got rid of most of the liquid when I then added the egg and cornflour but it was still too liquid and the egg mixture was a bit pointless. No nice coating for me but it still fried nicely and was gorgeous and crisp on the outside. A shame though, would have been to have a bit more guidance in the recipe. Other than that I was very happy. I think I might just make the sauce next time and add it to some prawns.

So apart from my batter mishap I'm very happy with the book. I've already bought it so there's no great decision about whether to get it or not. I'd certainly recommend it to other people. Next up for me are Boston Baked Beans and Kringel ... maybe ... if I can tear myself away from new cookbooks. Just bought 4 new ones, so very naughty! And 6 more to pick up from the library!! Oops.

Oh, and there is a second Mum's Know Best coming out next month. I hope that means another TV show as I really enjoyed the last series and the Christmas edition was great too.

After my tagine adventures last week I had some preserved lemons in the fridge to use up so I had a look at some books and found Spaghetti with Scallops and Preserved Lemons in Bill's Basics. Ah, darling Bill Granger! It was a slightly strange flavour to get used to at first as it was slightly bitter from the lemons but it did grow on you. I think the butter helped to soften the sauce and it didn't overpower the sweet scallops. One to make again with slightly less preserved lemon. I like the sound of this recipe though: http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/12711/preserved+lemon+salmon+caper+pasta

1 comment:

  1. Great review. Like your comment about the sweet & sour but at least knowing what was in it ;-)
    That sticky Maryland Chicken looks an interesting combo. Worth a try!