Sunday lunch inspired by The Innocent cookbook

I was lucky enough to get sent a cookbook in the post recently, courtesy of the Crumbs sisters at their blog . 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.

Chicken, bacon & leek pie :~ serves 4-6 ( I have adapted this recipe  slightly)

Ingredients :~

2 leeks
8 chicken thighs, skinned , boned & cut into chunks
4 rashers smoked streaky bacon chopped
olive oil
2 tbsp plain flour
200ml chicken stock
double cream to enrich the sauce (optional)
1pkt puff pastry
1 egg

Method :~

Pre-heat oven to 190 degrees.
Heat some olive oil in a pan and sweat off the sliced leeks. Use a lid to help them cook thoroughly without colouring. This should take around 10 minutes.
Add some more olive oil to a larger pan and fry off the chicken and bacon for about five minutes before adding in the cooked leeks.
Add the flour and cook it out for a couple of minutes.
Next add the stock and cook for a further ten minutes..
Add some double cream for extra enrichment at this point and cook for a minute or two, it gives a silkiness to the sauce.
Place the cooked mixture into your chosen pie dish.
Roll out your puff pastry on a floured surface until it is large enough to cover the pie dish.
Use your egg, once beaten, to wet the sides of the pie dish so that the pastry sticks to the sides.
Place the pastry lid on the pie, trim the edges with a knife and glaze with the beaten egg. generously as this gives the pie a golden sheen once cooked.
Crimp or press down the pie edges with your fingers or a fork.
Make a hole in the centre of the pie from which the steam can escape.
Bake for 40 minutes. If the pastry is browning too quickly, cover it with foil half way through cooking.
I served the pie with peas, broccoli and mini roast potatoes. Also, I had some left over pastry. I rolled it out thinly, glazed it with the egg wash, sprinkled sugar on it and baked it. The children had it for pudding with some ice cream!

Macaroons by crumbsfood :~ makes about 24

2 eggs
100g caster sugar
160g dessicated coconut
dark chocolate for garnishing (optional addition by me)

Method :~

Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees.
Line a baking tray with baking parchment.
Separate the eggs and set the yolks aside (I used them as my egg wash for the chicken pie).
Mix the egg whites, sugar and cocnut in a bowl.
Put the mixture on to a clean surface and give it another mix.
Pull off little blobs of mix with your hands and mould it as you would a hamburger.
Pop the shapes onto the baking tray.
When all the macaroons are shaped, I went around the edges with a mini palette knife to compress the mixture as it is quite loose in texture.
Bake for 12 to 15 minutes.
Once cooled I melted 50g of dark chocolate and dipped the edges of the macaroons in it. This is probably because as I child I used to absolutely adore bounty bars and toasted teacake marshmallow sweets!


    • laura says

      Thanks Karen,
      I just love coconut and they keep brilliantly in the fridge too. I am wondering if the French are fans of a good pie in your experience?


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