“Simple recipes for easy everyday eating”
By Neven Maguire
I can’t believe I’m only now getting around to reviewing a book by the wonderful Neven Maguire. I cook from his books all the time, I watch him on TV regularly and once, by chance, had a lovely chat with him in the fabulous San Sebastian (in case you’re wondering – he is exactly as nice as he appears to be on TV). But I haven’t reviewed one of his books until now. It was difficult to choose which one to start with from the books of his that I own – the range is amazing. Some include food you’d have to call ‘fancy’, many include everyday achievable recipes. In the end I decided to start with Midweek Meals because it’s the one people are more likely to be taking notice of right now.
Look and feel
Attractive images from photographer Jo Murphy contribute to a clean, easy to follow layout for each recipe (if you love knowing what your finished dish should look like this book will bring you joy). The book is in four sections, fantastic one-pot ideas, recipes that might need a quick run to the supermarket, dinners you can throw together with stuff that is already lurking in your cupboards or fridge, and a slow and low section. The recipe names give you a good idea of what to expect and the instructions are clear and easy to follow (you wouldn’t expect any less from Neven who is always generous with tips and hints). There’s a comprehensive index and a nice section on how to get the best from your larder and freezer.
What sort of food is it?
The clue is probably in the name. If you are looking to get away from the ‘if it’s Tuesday it’s always Spag Bog’ trap, this is a fantastic book for you to try. There are dishes that would work for a brunch – the Sweet Potato Cakes with Crispy Bacon, Smashed Avocado and Poached Eggs (pg 97) are delicious and would be at home on any hipster brunch menu. You’ll find twists on everyday dishes – lamb shanks come with pears on page 192 rather than the more classic root veg accompaniment, the roast chicken on pg 84 comes with romesco sauce. The old classics are well served – the beef burger on page 64 is probably the best I have ever made and the ribs from page 174 were delicious.
Obscure equipment needed?
Not really – the Slow and Low section assumes you have a slow cooker, which are very popular, for good reasons. I love slow-cooker recipes because you come home after a day’s work and it’s so long since you put the dinner on that you feel like someone else cooked it for you (result!). Other than the slow cooker, assuming that you have a normal selection of pots and pans, you’ll have no issues.
Ingredients easily available?
Yes, for sure. Honestly – a local convenience store would even equip you for quite a few of these recipes.
Who is it for?
As well as your regular weekday or weekend family meal, you will find lots of possibilities for entertaining. It’s not in formal ‘dinner party’ territory, but it doesn’t want to be. It ticks all the boxes for getting the family or some pals around the kitchen table (or out in the garden in summer) and being able to serve super food without ending up hating yourself and your guests because of the hours spent in the kitchen.
This is a book that would be at home in any collection but would especially work well for someone who is just starting out in their first very own kitchen, or someone who thinks it’s all gone a bit samey in the kitchen.
Find it on Amazon here
And from Eason here
Published by: Gill Books