.... 'pour a glug of olive oil into a large ovenproof dish'........'use whatever fresh herbs you have to hand', ......'any vegetable you have in your fridge will work with this recipe',..... 'and if you have a bottle of white wine to hand, throw a glass in before stage 3 and just let it boil off a little for a couple of minutes.....'
Typical text, from a man who aims to simplify the route to delicious home cooking no matter what experience you have.
For the littlest ones, it is also a great inspiration to 'help out' (sometimes known as 'make a mess'!) in the kitchen and, almost nonchalantly, puts learning to cook back on the menu!
From the back cover:
'An alternative title for this book might have been 'My Daddy Cooks - how to cook delicious and easy family meals, in the tiniest kitchen, even with the chaotic and messy intervention of a toddler.
Stay-at-home dad, Nick Coffer, and his toddler Archie captured hearts and captivated taste buds around the world when they launched their video blog [..] from their tiny kitchen in Watford.
In his first book, passionate food-lover Nick shares over 100 tried and tested recipes for deliciously simple but innovative home-cooked dishes.
From straightforward suppers and one-pot dishes such as 'Oven-baked Risotto' and 'Mexican Lasagne', to sweet treats and indulgent puddings including 'Peanut Butter and Chocolate Brownies' and 'Frozen Eton Mess Ice Cream', My Daddy Cooks
is a book you'll use time and time again. Whether you are a dad or a mum looking for inspiration, or just someone who loves good food, My Daddy Cooks
will liven up mealtimes without you having to spend hours in the kitchen.'
Nick explains in the introduction that the front cover simply wasn't big enough for that aforementioned detailed title and goes on to say:
'If you have watched any of the videos on my blog of Archie and me cooking together, you will know exactly what I am referring to. And yet, even when all the cake mixture ends up half way down Archie's sleeves, or when half a pot of oregano finds its way into lamb stew, we still make fresh food that tastes delicious......
....of course, you don't have to have any kids in the kitchen with you to make these recipes. And it goes without saying that you don't even have to be a dad. But as they have all been road-tested in the toughest kitchen environment - a tiny three metres square kitchen with a tiny toddler in tow - you can be confident that they are all extremely cookable ........'
And they are.
The main aim of the book is for anyone to achieve great tasting home cooking without the need for over complicated recipes and it does - with a touch of 'cheating', at times, for the sake of frugality or time-saving.
Measuring in around 19.5 cm x 24 cm, Nick and Archie turn out their latest batch on the durable hardback cover which opens to 192 matt pages, split over main chapters:
1. Beyond Toast
2. Lighter Bites
3. Super Bowls
4. My Daddy Cooks the Classics
5. Throw it All in (literally!)
6. (Almost) No Cooking Required
7. Wok on the Wild Side
8. Foolproof Grills and Bakes
9. Puds, Treats and Sweets
sandwiched between a 16-page introduction (which includes an essential storecupboard inventory) and a 4-page index.
Interspersed with colour photography of some of the dishes, a few snapshots and on-location shots, this wonderful book winds up with a page of acknowledgments, the main one dedicated to:
'...of course.....Archie! My funny, wilful, gorgeous little boy and ever-willing sous-chef. Thanks for joining me on this incredible ride. I hope that you will read this book in the future and be as proud of yourself as I am of you right now.'
Each chapter opens with a simple illustration on one side and an opening paragraph on the other, then we are straight into the recipes.
Each recipe has the title, followed by an opening paragraph which includes tips or observations, the number of servings, the list of ingredients, the prep & cooking times and a clearly laid out, numbered method.
I particularly like 'Savoury breakfast bread pudding', from pages 34 & 35 - which has that je ne sais quoi about it - 'not quite a quiche, not quite a soufflé, not quite eggy bread'!
My next best favourites to date, are 'Chicken, leek and tarragon pie with a rosti topping', from pages 88 & 89 and 'Oven-baked seafood paella', from pages 92 & 93, the latter being 'whipped up and chucked in the oven' - and the result is just as authentic, despite using a pack of frozen mixed seafood for speediness!
'Beef, Guinness and mushroom stew' is always a little bit different, based on the 'good handful of whatever fresh herbs you have to hand' enhancement!
Nick uses his 'short-cut' version, i.e. forget the frying pan & the casserole...do it all in a hob-proof dish
which then transfers to the oven; leave it for a couple of hours to produce that tasty dark stew.
The added bonus - less to wash up at the end, too!
Other recipes include:
* Crispy duck pancakes
* My Dad's Thursday Welsh rarebit
* Sloppy Joe beef buns
* Omelette in less than 5 minutes
* Leftover chicken fried rice
* Moroccan harira soup
* Manhattan crab chowder
* Creamy pork stroganoff
* The quickest home-made pizza ever!
* The My Daddy Cooks burger and chips
* My BBQ ribs
* Turbo-quick shepherd's pie
* School-dinner goulash
* Pesto sauce
* Creamy prawn curry
* Thai vegetable green curry
* Sausage jambalaya
* Hot citrus pudding with its own citrus sauce
* No-bake chocolate tiffin cake
* Muddy flourless chocolate cake
* Baked cinnamon apples
'Plum Clafoutis' winds this book up, and as I face a large basket of over-ripe garden plums, I know what I am doing tonight!
'This is my kind of dessert. Elaborate sounding name, unbelievably easy to make, absolutely delicious...........'