As I mentioned in my Halloween post, I’ve been cooking from Lorraine Pascale’s Home Cooking Made Easy, in that case I made the Sausage Roll’s Big Night Out, which is to be honest the reason why I bought the book, and they were an extremely big hit (the recipe for which is here). I also, on the party night made Bacon and Cheddar Cheese Twisties (twists of bacon and puff pastry) but I didn’t serve them because despite the puff pastry being brown on the outside, the bacon wasn’t cooked properly on the inside which was a shame, as apart from the raw meat bit, they looked delicious (if I were to make them again I think I would lightly pre-cook the bacon first or maybe use a ham like proscuitto – yum, now that would be a good idea).
Tonight, in between two shifts at work, during a day of multiple shifts (I’m working a total of 9 hours today, I started work at 8am and will finish at 10pm), I made the Creamy Pancetta Pasta (minus the mushrooms) from the book and this is where the book really comes in handy because most of the recipes are either quick and/or easy, which is what I so need right now. I am still working out the balance between work and the rest of my life and my cooking has born the brunt of the change, specially as a lot of my shifts fall over meal times (so I eat early or late or yet another sandwich). I live in a one-cook household, which was ok when I wasn’t working . . . You should see the amount of food we’re wasting at the moment, it sickens me but it’s been a case of, in a jam packed day, of ‘well something’s got to give’ and it’s been decent food which is such the wrong thing to give, how can my body or anyone else’s in the family cope with the busy lives we all have without being fuelled properly? I am tempted to just go back to 100% convenience food but ugh, not some of the stuff I used to eat, years ago, before I learned to cook, no way and anyway, I remain convinced that a switch to convenience food would make our already expensive food budget, sky high.
But back to the book . . . Home Cooking Made Easy is just the book I need, for most of the recipes the ingredient lists are short and sweet and if something takes a long time, the length will be down to the cooking time not preparation time. There are some more preparation intensive recipes in the book but they’d be put down as weekend cooking instead.
The choice of recipes are pretty much what you would expect, there’s nothing that surprising here and the book is perhaps lacking a little bit in the innovation of some of my favourite food writers, probably due to the whole ‘easy’ aspect of the book. And if I’m to continue comparing the book to some of my favourite food writers, the book is not as ‘pretty’, as some of my favourites either and yes, call me shallow, but as a time starved cook, if I don’t have time to cook, I like at least the food on the pages of my cookbooks to look good and to be nicely stylised^. Also, and if I’m going to be really picky here (and yes I am, sorry), the paper in the book is wrong (yes, you can throw the rotten veg in my food recycling bin at me now), it’s shiny, which so shrieks at me early last decade, in fact it’s not just the paper, the whole styling is like that.
But sorry, yes I’m being mean and picky, it’s the recipes that count and apart from the bacon twisties problem, the sausage rolls and the pasta were delicious.
You can find the recipe for the pasta here.
Other recipes which look good include:
- Roasted butternut squash soup with chilli and ginger.
- Duvet day chicken noodle soup.
- Satay chilli chicken.
- Twenty-first century ham, cheese and chive bread – which I am soooo making.
- Really quick Danish pastries – want to make these to.
- Thai green curry
- Quick brown sugar and spring onion chicken teriyaki.
- Lasagne – possibly on the menu next weekend.
- Paprika baked sweet potato wedges with honey-glazed bacon and herby creme fraiche – oooh yum
- Hassleback tatties
- White chocolate mousse with creme fraiche and stem ginger (nice to see a mousse recipe that doesn’t involve egg)
- Steamed chocolate pudding with Mars Bar sauce – now I could see myself making that at Christmas as no one likes Christmas pudding.
- Party time chocolate fridge cake would not do my diet* any good
- Raspberry muffins with brown sugar topping
- Chewy white chocolate fudge cookies
- Apple, blackberry and cinnamon chutney looks interesting.
- Chocolate marshmallow brown sugar fudge with apparently no sugar thermometers!
- Asian chilli jam – yum
- Peppermint creams sugar rush look a nice idea again for Christmas, for presents this time, and no raw egg again, I’m sure peppermint cream recipes I’ve seen before have raw egg in . . .
- Winter spiced lemon curd with cinnamon and vanilla – oh yum
- Toffee caramel popcorn
- Even proper lollipops!
^ *Ahem* she who throws stones in glass houses? I know some of my photography on here recently, including tonight’s pasta, looks awful.
* Yes I am still on a diet and yes the cream used in that pasta was half fat stuff and yes it still tasted good.