I had had the idea that Curtis Stone was a bit ‘cheffy’ for me, but in the last week I’ve tried two recipes from his new book What’s for Dinner, and they have both been very good and happily, very easy.
The first was the Scallops with mint, bacon & peas which took all of 10 minutes from start to finish. It looked lovely and with some good bread to accompany it was delicious.
Last night I made Fish with spinach and orange vinaigrette which was equally lovely. I bought the fish at the market and had forgotten the recipe was for firm white fish and that it had tarragon in it. I got Atlantic salmon fillets with the skin on and parsley. But no matter. I got the skin on the fish really crispy then cooked it just through on the other side and used the parsley instead of tarragon (I’m not a huge fan of tarragon anyway). The fact that used different fish and herbs is all the better really, showing that the recipe is versatile. The orange zest in the vinaigrette gave it a lovely light zing and all in all it was a great hit. I made a pilaf to go with it which added to the cooking time, but the fish dish itself was only about 15 minutes all up.
I’m very impressed with young Curtis, and will definitely be using his book more. I forgot to take photos of my triumphs, but will do them again I’m sure and I’ll try and remember to photograph them. The book is $39.95
Michele Curtis is one half of the team that created the perennially popular In the Kitchen – always a bestseller at Fairfield Books. It is a huge book, and includes just about everything you could possibly need to know about food and cooking. What’s For Dinner? is equally fabulous, though on a smaller scale! In it Michele has focused on recipes that are quick and easy to prepare, perfect for weekday family meals. It has over 220 recipes set out in easy-to-use categories (stir-fries, one-pots, on the grill, in the oven etc), with lots of gorgeous photos to provide inspiration.
I have two young kids, and not a lot of time to cook. Although we have a rotation of tried and true recipes that we all like (read: that both kids will actually eat!), we really could do with some new ideas to add to the mix. After a flick through What’s for Dinner?, I decided to try out the Greek lamb and feta meatballs. The recipe was laid out clearly and was easy to follow, didn’t take too long, and actually ended up looking just like the picture! I served them with tzatziki, lemon, Greek salad and pitta bread – yum. And best of all BOTH kids ate it all and asked for more! Now I just have to decide which recipe I should try next… maybe Spanish rice with chicken, Moorish lamb with quince glaze, or sticky lemongrass pork patties? Fancy being this excited about everyday cooking! Highly recommended. Paperback, $39.95.