There is still a self-imposed lockdown at my house.
The grandkids are back at school and I have a visitor. My br… the visitor is an essential services person who is doing additional training. It is nice to have company, like in human form.
I am doing my part for the cause by cooking. Sadly, even the dog has been known to turn his nose up at some of my offerings and I rely heavily on cook books and the internet to avoid poisoning guests.
Still, it is fun to cook for a captive audience and I had this fabulous idea that I would be incredibly productive by combining my current obsession with spring cleaning with trialling recipes. Any cookbook that didn’t produce a good recipe immediately was going to be donated the Lifeline Book Fair. Delightfully, I didn’t get past the first book.
And here’s why I am posting. The book I picked up was by Matt Preston – The Simple Secrets. First thought to self: this is going to be a no-brainer. After all, he’s no chef and this book is just a money making publicity gimmick. I am so happy to had been proved wrong. This is now rated the second-best cookbook I own.
The first meal I cooked was the shredded chicken with miso dressing because, you know ….. salad. It was delicious.
So I followed it up with meatloaf. Ta da!
I see what you are thinking there. I know. It looks like a hot mess but it was worthy. It was crunchy and salty and sweet. It was also oozy with cheese. No wonder Young Matt is on the hefty side.
On the downside, it is the beginnings of a sodium-induced heart attack in anyone that comes within 1.5 metres of its deliciousness.
Never one to get overly excited, I decided to have another go and try the quiche. I should have known I was in trouble when I read the instructions and then heard myself say, out loud, “I’m not going to do that”. Instant karma.
I’m an idiot. You just can’t tell some people.
Apparently I was supposed to put the base back in the oven and then pour in the mixture. As someone-who-should-know-better said, we got two meals: quiche and baked eggs. I spent most of the next day cleaning every nook in the kitchen and my oven is never going to be completely clean again.
But here’s the takeaway (heh heh). It was extremely edible and has been serving up a number of lunches ever since.
I do have one gripe: People who put these types of books together need to be clearer. I cooked the eggplant and paneer curry. Ingredients specified two eggplants. Surely size matters? How many does that feed? And cook the onion for 15 minutes, add the spices and then cook for 20 minutes. Wait. What? Another 20? Or another 5? Seriously? I spent those “5 to 10” minutes giving an imitation of a toddler learning how to throw a tantrum.
The most important thing is that it fed the dinner party of less than 10 people, and it was a huge hit. It has to be one of the best curries I have ever made. Given my track record, that may not a great measuring stick but my reputation for being a good cook is now looking much more gold and glittery.
I am pretty enamoured of Matt Preston. I just wish he was slightly less enamoured of cheese. I swear I have put on two kilos in five days.
Just casually, I am also a bit done with this cooking and baking lark for a while. I much prefer watching cooking shows, and imagining that I can do better without actually having to put in any effort. Bring on the antipasto.