Our previous kitchen had barely enough room to swing a cat, but now that we are settled into our new house with our shiny new kitchen, I was aching to get started on confidently whizzing, chopping, slicing, stirring and creating!
Of course I tell myself that it was lack of kitchen space that had me unable to reach culinary heights, but I must admit to a certain sense of relief when I got a cookbook to review, which pretty much is exactly what I need! It’s called ‘Make it Easy’ by Jane Lovett and it promises to make me a master chef overnight. (that part is not actually true).
I read through the entire book and wanted to make at least about 12 recipes but with my upcoming trip to Singapore, I’ve been dreaming about Asian food and so I opted to make the Oriental Beef salad (substituted with lamb) and the Thai chicken salad.
So first up, the Oriental beef (lamb) salad. It’s billed as a starter for many, but this quantity was just right as a main size!
- 2x 200g lamb tenderloin
- 4 spring onions
- 2 red chillies
- mixed coloured baby salad leaves
- toasted sesame seeds
- sprigs of fresh coriander
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped ginger
- 1 finely chopped clove of garlic
- 1 small shallot finely chopped
- 4 tablespoons sesame oil
- 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 4 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
Fry the lamb until seared on all sides, leaving it a little rare and allow it to cool before you slice thinly.
Slice up the chilli, coriander and spring onions and add to baby leaves. Since we were having it as a main, I added in some yellow peppers. The dressing was easily whisked together and the sesame seeds sprinkled on top!
The husband usually scoffs at salad as a main, but this one was incredibly tasty, he ate the lot without a single word of complaint! It’s definitely going to be added to my every day meal repertoire.
After my salad success, I tried another one, this time the Thai chicken salad. This one is intended to serve 6, but I reduced the quantities a little to serve 2 as a main.
- 2x chicken breasts, oven cooked and then left to cool and shred
- 1/2 a cucumber
- 1 carrot
- 1 bunch of spring onions
- 50g dry salted peanuts
- Roughly chopped coriander
- Small bunch of mint leaves
- Toasted sesame seeds
- 1 teaspooon palm sugar
- Juice of 1 lime
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons soya sauce
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 1 crushed clove of garlic
- 2 red chillies
Peel the cucumber, carrot into ribbons using a peeler and put with the rest of the salad ingredients into a large bowl.
Whisk together the dressing and pour it over the salad and sprinkle with the toasted sesame seeds and voila – the easiest chicken salad ever!
This portion is actually huge so you know what that means, dinner the next day is sorted!
What I really loved about the book is that every recipe has a little side note of things that you can do ahead that make each recipe even easier to accomplish on a busy day when you only have a small amount of time!
Now this isn’t one of those terribly glossy cookbooks that you read once, realise you’ve never heard of half the ingredients and immediately shelve, never to look at again, this is an actual useful book you’d use to make your everyday meals with! I reckon this would make a great Christmas present for the budding (or even accomplished) cook in your life!
I’ll keep you updated on how I’m going with the rest of the recipes I’m trying, but I’ve been pretty happy with the two I’ve tried, especially since it’s convinced the husband to eat salad!
Disclosure: I was sent a copy of the cookbook to review, but as always opinions are my own.