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Good Food Sorted by Chris Bavin

Wednesday, 6 March 2019
I was sent Chris Bavin's debut cookbook to review, and also asked my friend who isn't an especially keen cook to try a few recipes and tell me what she thought of the book. 

Chris Bavin is an award winning greengrocer turned TV presenter, best known for appearing on Eat Well for Less and Britain's Best Home Cook. He has a young family and is a keen cook, so he knows the challenges of getting healthy food on the table to please hangry children when you're knackered.

Good Food Sorted

The cookbook contains over 100 family friendly recipes, the vast majority of which are accompanied by a photo of the finished dish, and plenty of useful tips and tricks to save money and make cooking quicker and tastier.

There's a 'Feed the Freezer' and 'Love Your Leftovers' tip at the bottom of most of the recipes, as well a 'Flex Your Flavours' tip for alternative ingredients or additions to maximise taste with minimal effort.  

The book is divided up into sections: breakfast, pasta rice, noodles, meat, chicken, fish and shellfish, vegetarian, puddings, snacks, and feasts. It's written in a practical and accessible style with clear instructions and recipes are fairly straight forward.

The beginning of the book has advice on organising your store cupboard, freezer, etc which most families would find useful. There's also double page spreads with useful hints and tips designed to save time and money such as: 10 top tips for batch cooking and freezing, 5 handy herb and spice mixes, 10 ways to freeze flavours, 5 ways to use up fruit, 5 ways to keep ingredients fresh and 10 ingredients to freeze not throw.

The recipes use easy to source and fairly thrifty ingredients. Flicking through the recipes and pricing up the ingredients in my head, about 75% would fit within our family meal budget which is pretty good going for a cookbook that doesn't claim to be aimed at budget conscious cooks.

My friend who isn't a keen cook was able to try half a dozen recipes over two weeks, three on busy week nights. The recipes were all easy to follow, the dishes were tasty, and cooking from scratch didn't stress her out as much as she thought it would. She's even got a couple of meals stashed in the freezer because she made double quantities of the dinners she cooked on the weekend.

Good Food Sorted

I think the book is well written, the recipes are well set out and easy to follow, and the many hints and tips are useful and practical. It would be a good resource for busy families stuck in a cooking rut of making the same recipes on rotation, as well as those just wanting a bit more inspiration and variety. The many tips and hints are sure to save money, and cut down on food waste.

The tag line on the cover is "Save time, cook smart, eat well" and that sums up the book perfectly.  I'd recommend the cookbook to other families who want some tasty and quick meal inspiration, and have already loaned my copy to my friend until Easter so she can try more recipes and get her husband and children to cook a few to give her a rest.

Good Food Sorted by Chris Bavin is released on 7th March and rrp is £18.99, it's currently on offer for £13.99 on Amazon.

Pulled Jackfruit Tacos

Thursday, 28 February 2019
We've recently been trying out some vegan dishes and experimenting with including more plant based meals in our diet.  It's a great way to broaden our tastes and of course eat more vegetables and pulses.  My family will usually eat most things if they taste good enough to satisfy their tastes, and this meal was a hit with everyone.  Most of my family didn't even realise that there was no meat at all in the dish, jackfruit is great at absorbing flavours and has a 'meaty' texture.

With the recent unseasonably warm weather, these tacos were perfect for a weekend supper sitting out in the sun.  I never thought we'd be able to do that in the UK in Febriary, we had snow at the beginning of the month!  

Pulled Jackfruit Tacos

2 large onions, thinly sliced into strips
4 Tblsp oil
2 tsp Tamari, or soy sauce
3 tins green jackfruit in water, about 400g each
8 Garlic cloves, roughly chopped
2 tsp Cumin seeds, ground
2 tsp Garlic powder
3 tsp Smoked paprika
½ tsp Chilli powder, to taste
salt and pepper to taste
300ml vegetable stock

To serve
8 soft tortillas, or more
1 or two red onion, finely sliced
2 peppers, deseeded and thinly sliced
1 or 2 avocados, sliced
fresh coriander, roughly chopped

Preheat your oven to 200C.  Cook onion in oil on a low heat for 10 minutes until softened and sweet, be patient and don't rush this step.  Drain the jackfruit then break up into smaller chunks.  Add to the onions with all the remaining ingredients.  Increase the heat and cook over a high heat for 5 minutes or more until the liquid has been absorbed.

Tip the jackfruit mixture on to a lined oven tray and spread out to an even layer.  Bake for 45 minutes to an hour, stirring twice during cooking.  You want the jackfruit to be lightly browned and no longer overly moist.  Serve on soft tortillas with sliced avocado, red pepper, red onion, a sprinkle of sliced chilli and fresh coriander.

Middle Eastern Inspired Pilaf with Chickpeas

Tuesday, 26 February 2019
I'm constantly trying to create dishes that fill our tums for pennies and taste delicious.  There's always rice in our store cupboard, along with spices and dried fruit, so this scrumptious pilaf was easy for me to whip up one evening when the shopping delivery hadn't come due to bad weather.  I've made it a few times, and adjusted the spices to our tastes.  Now that it has been thoroughly tested and approved by my family of hungry taste testers, I can blog the recipe.  This Middle Eastern Inspired Pilaf has been a delicious, filling, and thrifty discovery which will feature on our Family Meal Plans in the future. 

Middle Eastern Inspired Pilaf with Chickpeas

2 Tblsp oil
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 pepper, deseeded and diced
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
4 whole cloves
6 peppercorns
2 cinnamon sticks
300g uncooked long grain rice
400g tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
75g raisins
600ml vegetable stock
75g lightly roasted cashews, roughly chopped

Put the oil in a large saucepan over a medium high heat.  Cook the onion and pepper until softened.  Add the rice and spices and cook, stirring for a couple of minutes, to enable the spices to become fragrant and to coat the rice in the oil.  Add the chickpeas, raisins and vegetable stock.  Bring to a boil, cover with a lid and simmer for 15 minutes until all the stock has been absorbed and the rice is tender.  Stir through the cashews and then garnish with fresh mint.

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