Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Eating the week - Nigella Bites

Last week we ate from 'Nigella Bites'. It's much shorter than Nigella's other books and there's less to choose from, but there are some real gems. Here's what we ate and what we thought...
  • Soft-boiled Eggs with Asparagus Soldiers (p.157) - Yes, it's true that asparagus and egg go together like - well, like any other perfect flavour combination. But the problem is, you can't get a lot of soft-boiled egg to stick to a stem of asparagus. So it was nice, but the egg/asparagus ratio was off.
  • Chicken with Chorizo & Cannellini (p.60) - Oh yum. And easy. And quick. My only 'but' was that there was a bit too much chorizo for my palette. We used spinach to bed it all on instead of kale - we get enough kale in our vegetable box without voluntarily buying more! Also, this is my go-to recipe for poaching a chicken breast. I love a bit of poached protein, but there are so few recipes for it. It's also easier to clean a poached-chicken saucepan than a griddle, frying or baking pan!
  • American Pancakes with Wafer-bacon & Maple Syrup (p.10) - A tasty, unusual, filling lunch. But we didn't do enough streaky bacon to go with them, and they are a little bit too decadent for much repetition. And better for brunch I think.
  • Salmon Fishcakes (p.34) - These are the best fishcakes I've made, and I've made a lot. Most fall apart on cooking; these don't. Most don't have quite the flavour of a good shop-bought version; these do. I coat them in breadcrumbs instead of matzo meal as I can't get hold of it.
  • Italian Sausages with Lentils (p.154) - Another really good, hearty, family meal. I made it for my parents who came to stay and we were all very satisfied! Very filling, and there are usually leftover lentils to pick at the next day.
As there are less recipes in this book, we also dipped into Nigella's 'How to Eat' and had...
  • Chicken Patties (p.487) - They were in the children's section but they made for a great family meal, with two sausages adding lots of flavour to what was otherwise a plainish batch of chicken cakes. I'd make them more often but we can't get free-range chicken thighs off the bone up here, so my poor husband spent half an hour de-boning and de-skinning the meat first. Why is it so hard to get free-range chicken portions outside of Greater-London-Foodie-Land?
  • leftover hummus from Hummous with Seared Lamb & Toasted Pine Nuts (p.262) - Ha, ha, I made this recipe as it said, as the meat didn't look much for serving four. Big BUT - I failed to read that it was part of a mezze feast for three times as many! Hence a glut of hoummus that had to be gifted to neighbours as well as eaten constantly here. But it was SO good. As good as good shop-bought hoummous. And I was so proud of myself: usually a good meal shows a good reader (it's simply accurate instruction following), but I kept tasting and tweaking to get the lemon/chickpea juice/seasoning combination right, so it felt like a little less Nigella, a little more me.
More weekly menu news next week! Do tell me if it's dull/unhelpful, and I'll stop.

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