The draw for this book, for me, was the stamp on the front that says ‘127 dinners that take 30 minutes or less to prepare’. With so much going on at the end of the school year (plus both my kids have birthdays in November and December – how’s that for bad planning!) I’m after simple and tasty, not complicated and long!
Matt Preston – he of Masterchef Australia fame – has created a book based on all those factors that matter to the busy parent. Can I freeze it? Will this dinner create an avalanche of dishes? What can I make quickly when the kids are hungry? How can I make the most of leftovers? It’s a simple concept, but these are the kinds of issues that often make the difference between whether I’ll make it, or whether I just can’t be bothered.
This book has some delicious dishes – but above all, it’s practical, and it has loads of recipes you can get into the kids without a fight! The book is divided up into sensible sections (Mince; Red Meat; Chicken Thighs; Fish Fillets; Spring/Summer Veg), so you can look at what to make with what you’ve got in the fridge. It’s a good system, as I’ll often bring out half a dozen books just to see what I can do with one ingredient. This works better.
Some of the dishes in the book are thoroughly modern – Teriyaki Salmon Bowl with Salmon Crackling is delicious, and the Healing Summer Bliss Bowl ‘with ironically retro Cajun prawns’ will appeal to more adventurous cooks. That being said, there are also plenty of ideas based on traditional themes.
First up has to be the baked-not-fried chicken nuggets; as soon as you tell any kid they are having chicken nuggets for dinner their eyes light up! Matt’s nuggets, of course, are made out of real chicken and make perfect finger food for those who aren’t so keen on cutlery. I’m also a big fan of his Sweet & Sour Pork Meatballs, which he puts with brown rice; and his simple recipe for Instant Flatbreads is one of those recipes that once you’ve figured out how to make it, you’ll do it again and again.
Yummy, Easy, Quick, Matt Preston, Macmillan Publishers NZ, RRP $39.99