Monday 21 June 2010

Fay’s Family Food and a Lovely Quick Summer Side Salad Recipe

This is a cookbook from Fay Ripley (remember the fantastic Cold Feet?) the actress - Fay’s Family Food which came out in 2009 published by Penguin, Micheal Joseph. It is indeed a family cookbook, as the title would suggest. You may think that is a funny point for me to make, but I have found a lot of 'family' ’recipes in books are way too spicey for me, let alone any children I am trying to feed! Not this one though, lots of ideas for feeding the family, and the recipes are all geared towards feeding young children and adults alike as the food is unseasoned in cooking, then you season on your own plate.
I’m beyond the unseasoned food point (fortunately!), but it is good to have the pointers, if you are trying to feed the whole family the same food. Chapters are: Breakfast at Ripley’s, Red Meat, White Meat, No Meat, Don’t Panic, Don’t Panic Puddings and It’s my Party and I’ll Eat Sugar if I Want Too.

I have always thought of Fay as being a very funny woman, and it comes across in some of her writing, I was laughing out loud several times at her witty prose. The tale of the bluebottle in the introduction to the No Meat chapter springs to mind.
I’ve enjoyed most of the things I’ve cooked from this book with two exceptions – the quick steak stroganoff and creamy boursin salmon pasta, I’m not saying they are bad recipes, but these two were not my family’s thing. Having said that though, there is plenty that we have enjoyed, and indeed I’d have paid the price of the book for her Chicken Soup recipe alone, which is top notch and so good. It’s nothing like my Mum’s chicken broth, but still I crave it. Parker’s Cheese on Toast also went down very well, no picture of the toast though.

Here are some of the things I’ve cooked with pictures.

Sausage Rolls
What a revelation these were, uncooked sausages, wrapped in bought puff pastry and baked in the oven, best sausage rolls ever!

Made up Tuscan Sausage Stew
I loved this, made it when it was very cold outside, and it was filling and comforting - lovely.

One Pot Lemon and Thyme Chicken Casserole
Another good one - chicken, veggies and brown basmati rice.

Cobbled salad
I went with Fay’s recommended selection here, but you could easily alter it to suit your family. Very pretty for supper in the garden.

Creamy Lemon Pots
This one looks lovely, but it wasn’t one of our favourites.

Warm Chicken and Pesto Salad
A simple filling tea time dish.

Chicken Soup
First class, excellent! If you make nothing else from this book – make this!! It’s so comforting and good, yet bright and sprightly with the addition of lemon.

Cheats Tomato and Bacon Risotto
This is such a cheat of a recipe, but it delivers a comforting rice dish with lots of flavour.

My Normal Pasta Bake
Liked this one too. My Hubby doesn’t like tuna, or sweetcorn off the cob. Did I convert him? No, made it one night when he was away. I’ve tried at least four tuna and sweetcorn pasta bakes, and this is the best so far, easily.

Nutty Pomegranate Salad
This is lovely. Nice for this time of year, but good in Winter too when it’s a blast of fresh light salad. We like this with the home-made sausage rolls above.

Nutty Pomegranate Salad – A simple, refreshing light and delicious salad
Fom Fay’s Family Food by Fay Ripley published by Penguin, Micheal Joseph 2009. I add the seasoning to the salad and also peel the cucumber, but do leave the skin on as in Fay’s own recipe if you like. Note: contains nuts. Obviously, do not add the nuts if your child is not old enough to cope with them! I have made this recipe lots, and don’t always remember to add the nuts, it’s good with or without them.

50g cashew nuts
1 smallish cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
¼ of a red onion, peeled and finely chopped
pomegranate seeds from 1 pomegranate or 1 or two boxes of ready to use seeds
2 tablespoons coriander (cilantro) leaf, chopped
2 ripe avocados, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ to 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper
Pre-heat the oven to 180 oC and toast the nuts on a baking sheet for 8 to 15 minutes, keep checking as they burn easily. Let cool.
Place the nuts, cucumber, onion, seeds, coriander and avocados in a bowl. Toss with the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper to taste.