Monday, 30 January 2012

Book Review: Bill's Basics

A first for the Breadsticklers Blog, a book review....

A few months ago whilst in Waterstone's I flicked through this book whilst browsing in the cookery section. A few recipes caught my eye and it was straight on my Amazon Wish List. Lucky me I got a few things from my Amazon Wish List for Christmas this year and Bill's Basics was one of them.

I have made 5 recipes from the book so far and there are still some I am eager to try out.

The book is really good for after work meals as they are relatively simple and require few ingredients. Also you don't need to be a master chef in order to make any of the recipes, the steps are easy to follow  and require no special gadgets.

These are 'Bill's' basics so don't expect to find a Delia bible of basics in here but basics with slight adaptations. For those of you unfamiliar with this chef, Bill is Australian so there is a lot of Australian influenced foods and Malaysian/East Asian influenced food, things I would never have thought about making until I saw it here in this book.

I haven't remembered to take a picture of everything that I have made... but here are the ones I have.

This is Chicken Parmigiana, chicken cooked in tomato sauce topped with mozzarella. Tasted lovely.

This is my attempt at Chickpea Burgers..

Be careful when making the above as you are required to shallow fry the burgers... and oil splashed out of the pan when I turned them...

Scared for life with a little man on my hand...

There was so much mixture left over as the recipe is for 6 people and there are only two of us... so I bagged it up popped it in the freezer and used it again... this time adapting the recipe a little. I made a few little balls and shallow fried them so we could have them in wraps instead. I still have a ball of it left ready to make another couple of burgers or wraps.

(Accidentally burnt one)

This is a picture taken from the book... Cake for a crowd. I baked this cake for New Years Eve as I was going to a friends house for a dinner party. The cake went down very well, and I'm sure if I hadn't of been so tipsy by the end of the night I would have taken the left overs home with me! I had some raspberries stored away in the freezer and whilst they looked great on the cake when I first put them on.. because they had started to defrost they went really juicy and the red juice ran all over my crisp white icing. I pointed this out to my friend and apologised who in turn said if I hadn't of mentioned it he would have thought it was supposed to look like that...

I have also made 'Fried' Chicken (twice) a great Friday night food and so easy to do. The chicken is baked not fried but still tastes amazing and reassuringly more healthy than those buckets of chicken you can buy from fast food outlets of the freezer isle in most supermarkets.

I tried out Bill's meat free lasagne which uses ricotta as a filing instead. It was nice but I think I prefer it to have meat in there!

Recipes I still want to make include:
  • Shakshouka
  • Singapore fried noodles
  • Nasi Goreng (although I'm finding it difficult to find kecap manis?)
  • Polenta Bolognese Gratin
  • Bucatini all'Amatriciana
  • Roast Chicken with Chestnut Torn-Bread Stuffing
  • Bill's Coq Au Vin
  • Chicken Burritos with coriander and green chili
  • Chicken Satay
  • Crisp Pork Belly with Apple Sauce
  • Lamb Curry with yogurt and tomatoes
  • Roasted Butternut Squash Lentil and Spice Pasties with yogurt dressing
  • Peach and Blueberry Pudding
  • Chocolate Mousse Cake
Think that should keep me busy for a while! 

A great starter book for those who are just starting out on the cooking scene (Christmas/Birthday present for a student perhaps?) or like me if you want some alternative ideas for basics or some easy recipes for those nights after work when you're not quite up to making a recipe which lists 25 plus ingredients and about 5 pans.