What I'm reading, what I'm thinking of reading & what I've read. And stuff.
Overall conclusion: For food that is supposed to be replacing takeaways or fast food, the recipes in this book are too complicated, take too long & have too many ingredients that are expensive (almond butter) or difficult to find. I only tried a few recipes out, as most seemed not worth the effort, or just sounded horrible. Of the ones I tried the butter chicken was very good (but I simplified it by not making my own curry powder), and the chilli chicken was OK, but needed work (not hot enough, and some odd flavours). I think this book works well as a concept, but not so much as an actual recipe book, and I don't think I'd recommend it to anyone.
Earlier instalments of this review follow...
So, I only saw a few episodes of the series this recipe book is based on (on account of it being on the 'wrong' channel), but what I did see I really liked. And I really liked the whole concept: healthy & tasty versions of standard take-away fare. So I have this out of the library to see if there are recipes in here that I'd actually use. So much is made from scratch, including hamburger buns, pizza bases, pickles & chutneys, spice blends, ice cream cones, chicken seasoning for chips... So, it could be a bit complicated and time intensive.
Update 30 Oct. Tried one last thing before taking it back to the library, and that was Mike's baked beans. This was a combo of 4 different types of legume in a tomato-y sauce. And... yeah, bland. It was a bloody mission to get the designated typed of beans to go it (and I ended up doing a substitution because I could not find haricot beans). I admit I used a tin of tomatoes rather than cutting up 4 fresh tomatoes (tin of toms = 69c. 4 fresh toms... probably $3). And what I have is 1.5L of pretty bland and boring stuff. I shoved in far more tomato paste than the recipe suggested in an attempt to make it a bit tastier, but I think I'm going to have to resort to chilli in some form to make it edible. sigh.
Update 7 Oct.
Staying with my parents for a few days, and decided to try out "Mike's 'Butter' Chicken" - 'Butter' because it has nothing of the sort in it. This has low fat yoghurt and light coconut cream, plus diced peaches and almond butter.
I read the instructions for making the curry powder, and thought "screw that!" and used the stuff in my mother's pantry instead.
Lacking mild chilli powder I used hot, so possibly ended up with a spicer than intended brew, but it was damn good!! Mum & Dad were both impressed with the meal, and I'd definitely make this again.
Suggested variations in the book include replacing the chicken with rabbit, turkey or even watermelon!
Update 3 Oct.
Tried my first proper recipe tonight: "My Chilli Chicken", which was pretty much chicken pieces coated in panko breadcrumbs with chilli powder, paprika & smoked paprika, the baked in a moderate to slow oven. It was pretty easy, but could have been tastier - although part of that was probably my fault because I was fiddly around with the proportions to get the right amount of crumb for the quantity of chicken I had. Also the spice powders seemed to drop to the bottom of the dish I had the crumb mixture in. And then, just as I was about to get them out of the oven the phone rang. It was a friend who had just got back from Wellington and was desperate to tell me about the tour she'd done at Weta Workshop. So, 75 minutes later I got my rather cooler than anticipated chicken pieces. Ah well. I'll probably give this another go and try to adjust the quantities to make it zingier.