One-dish dinners – Penny Oliver
Published by Penguin Random House (NZ)
I was lucky enough to receive a review copy of One-dish Dinners by Penny Oliver. A long-time NZ food writer, Penny has written six cookbooks including Beach Bach Boat Barbecue and Single Serve. The easy all-in-one meals theme of her latest book, One-dish Dinners, appealed to the busy-week-night-mother-with-hungry-chickens in me. I work from home, so I have more freedom than most working mothers in that I can put tea on at any point during the day. However, with after school trips to guitar lessons, choir practice and such-like, dinner prep time can be a harried affair. On these nights, I don’t want to create a delicious healthy macaroni and cheese that uses every pot I have in the kitchen and most of the bowls as well. I do want to create delicious healthy meals with minimum fuss and bother.
I think Penny Oliver is my new top NZ cookbook & recipe writer – every recipe we’ve had so far has been delicious. We’ve had Chilli Beef and Dumplings, the All-in-one Chicken Curry, Roast Chicken Salad (twice), and Casseroled Beef Cheeks in Red Wine. All were easy meals to make and well received by the ‘hungry chickens’. They are also all on the ‘make again please’ list. There are so many recipes I have marked to try that the book looks quite like a hedgehog (porcupine). Chilli Chicken Stew with Couscous and Spiced Beef with Silverbeet both look and sound amazing while the Peach and Blueberry Shortcake makes me wish it were summer already (well, the cold wet weather has a hand in that wish too).
The recipes in this book are varied – from salads right through to ice-cream. It is amazing what you can achieve with one bowl – well one something as the chapters are headed up one pan or wok, one bowl or platter. I wasn’t sure what to expect from a one-dish dinner cookbook as the recipes can, on occasion, be boring, basic and bordering on open a tin of this and that etc. This book is not one of those books. Some of these recipes are worthy of a dinner party. Looking for a recipe that had some sort of apple product (including apples) to feature on this blog, I found a few: Crisp Pork Belly with Vegetables and Lentils. Featuring both apple cider (which is hard cider or alcoholic cider here in New Zealand) and fresh sweet apples, I will be making this just as soon as I find a piece of pork belly. That may mean digging into the depths of my deep freeze or a trip to the supermarket. The Plaited Fruit Pastry looks wonderful – puff pastry stuffed with dried apricots, cranberries, currants, apples, orange zest, cinnamon, ginger & honey. Apple and Tamarillo Sponge Pudding uses Granny Smith apples and tamarillos but to feed our ever expanding family I need six tamarillos and I may have to trade an arm or a leg in order to afford them. They are scarce here in our part of the country unless you like to rise with the worms and go to the Early Bird Market on Saturday to score a decent size bag of fruit for a couple of dollars. On Saturday mornings I am definitely a slug, lazy and snug in my warm bed, nevermind the tamarillos.
Other recipes I could alter to include apples such as the Feijoa and Plum Crumble but the combination of feijoa’s and plums as piqued my interest so we will try that recipe as written although it means another delve into the deep freeze to find the plums I froze at the end of summer. This recipe book is a keeper and I imagine in a few months time it will look well used as I intend to try the recipes on each and every purple-marked page.
Don’t just take my word for the greatness of this little book, here are some other glowing reviews:
– Penny Oliver has the answer for time poor cooks from Kiwi Matters
And to try a recipe from One-dish dinners, here is one for Gold Corn Fritters