Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Kitchen Hero Cookbook Review

I had some Amazon vouchers so I thought I'd treat myself to a few books; a couple of amazing cross stitch books (with skull designs no less!) and then Donal Skehan's Kitchen Hero. I didn't know that much about his cooking, I'd read his Good Mood Food blog a couple of times, but it was really his appearance on This Morning one day that made me sit up and take notice. Ok, I thought he was incredibly handsome, no lie! But his food seemed easy to make and his enthusiasm was infectious. Oh, and have I mentioned he was really cute?! Then I saw an excerpt from his book in Yum magazine which swayed me further. I'm so, so pleased I got this book. The photography is bright and colourful, taken by Donal himself, and there are some nice black and white illustrations every so often by Zoe Barker.

There is a quick introduction and then some kitchen essentials, most of the ingredients I already had which was good, ditto for the kitchen equipment. Then it's straight into the 1st chapter - Meals in Minutes. I like that there are no sprawling essays, just quick intros and then on with the recipes. Chapters include Party Food and Drinks, Comfort Food and Stretch Your Meals. I honestly don't think there's one recipe, lamb aside, that I wouldn't want to eat.

The first recipe I tried was the Dig in Fajitas but I can't find the photo. I'm sure everyone knows what a fajita looks like! The seasoning for the meat was absolutely perfect, not too spicy and plenty of flavour. Really lovely and I'd definitely make it again, with chicken this time instead of beef probably.

The 2nd recipe was the Squash and Crispy Pancetta Risotto. Mine was darker than in Donal's photo but that's because I used red onion instead of white. I also used smoked bacon instead of pancetta. I love risotto and this one tasted great. Even without the butternut squash it would be lovely. Risotto is always a good stand-by dish.

The last recipe I made was the Pulled Pork. The recipe was for burgers but I wanted to serve the pork with some cornbread instead. Again, completely perfect. I've made BBQ sauce before, from Nigella's book, but this one doesn't compare - it was way better! It was cooked on the hob rather than roasted but it worked well as it shredded easily. I was afraid the sauce wouldn't reduce enough but with enough boiling it did. I didn't leave the marinade for that long but it still imparted a lot of flavour into the meat. La Mama licked the bowl clean after every serving of this dish! The cornbread is for a later blog, from Supper Club by Kerstin Rodgers.

This book is worth buying just for this recipe if you love pulled pork. Delicious and one to make again and again. I'm super impressed with the book and so glad I bought it. I haven't even ventured towards the dessert section, the Cupcakes and Whoopie Pies sound particularly impressive. I also want to try his Swedish Meatballs recipe having just tried Ikea's version. I bought some Lingonberry Jam in preparation! There are a few Swedish recipes as his girlfriend (dammit!!) hails from there. Great to have such variety in cuisines.

This week I also made some Rocky Road Ice Cream, cheating with some lovely custard from Waitrose! I added so much to the mixture, there are mini marshmallows, glace cherries, brazil nuts, raisins and Dairy Milk chunks! It's pretty sickly but it's also tasty! Not the greatest photo but you get the idea!

We also had our first Farmer's Market in the village, starting off our Festival week. It was a really lovely thing to have locally, with an amazing variety of fruit and veg, fish, meat, olives, gifts and these stunning mini cupcakes and whoopie pies by Tinakiiana. Had to put the 50p there to show you just how miniature these cakes were! There was no compromising on flavour either. I had Raspberry and Coconut, Almond, Summer Fruits, Lemon, Chocolate and Orange and a Butterscotch whoopie pie. Just so cute! They'd be so cool at a party or a wedding. I really hope we get another market soon, would be a great addition to our local shops.