I was lucky enough to get sent a cookbook in the post recently, courtesy of the Crumbs sisters at their blog www.crumbsfood.co.uk . The cookbook is by the team behind Innocent drinks and it is called “Hungry”. It is a book that is aimed at the family market, encouraging parents to feed their family “with good stuff”, following the ethos of their very successful smoothie range.
What first caught my eye was a recipe by the Crumbs sisters themselves for coconut macaroons. So, these would be perfect to serve at tea time. Seeing as there were only 3 ingredients,they were bound to be quick to prepare.
On to main course for Sunday lunch. With friends over, I wanted something that could be prepared in advance and baked in the oven. It also had to appeal to both adults and children as we would be 4 parents with 6 children (3 each).
I decided on chicken, bacon & leek pie as it seemed like a safe bet. What I did was make 2 pies, with one being leek free just because you never know with kids. Also, being me, I cannot follow a recipe to a tee so I didn’t. I did not add the butternut squash nor the fresh thyme. Being a chef, I’m afraid that I always like to put my own spin on whatever dish I make. It is virtually impossible for me to do otherwise. The only dishes that I never mess with are sweet as they have a chemistry which needs to be adhered to for perfect results. Therefore, the macaroon recipe was replicated exactly apart from the addition of a dark chocolate edging for added indulgence. I could not resist…..
The recipe book is packed full of recipes for all the family. It also includes a healthy drinks section, obviously, including a wealth of smoothie combinations. The food sections are colour coded for reference. The photography is contemporary, with a focus on ingredients. My issue with it is the photos have a dullness and flat light, so the food itself doesn’t seem to sing, nor jump up to grab you. Also, many of the recipes are accompanied by quirky, abstract shots of fruits and vegetables rather than the finished dish. That is fine by me, but I know from speaking to friends who don’t cook much that often a snap of the end result can be helpful.
One other small foible I have is their recipe for ” quick tomato sauce”. I like to think that my own recipe for this sauce is hard to beat. This recipe gives my sauce a fighting chance. Sorry guys, but frying garlic for a minute will kill it. Then giving the sauce “a couple of minutes” until the sauce is reduced (I think a sauce needs at least fifteen minutes to reduce), will not cut it in the good tomato sauce category. I know this because I have been making this sauce all my life, same as my Robert Carrier vinaigrette. Sometimes, you just know because you know.
Surprisingly for me the biggest success was the macaroons. Chewy, gooey yet light. also, terribly moreish. They will be made regularly by me, so thank you crumbsfood!
Innocent have on the whole created a book with many healthy dishes to feed the family with. The recipes are simple to follow. Many of the ingredients featured, you would already have in your store cupboard. It is fun and cool. I can see many parents with an interest in healthy eating finding this cookbook a useful tome of knowledge.