This review is a little overdue, but in light of my recent adventures, it couldn’t be helped.
I’m quite a big Bill fan to be honest. I adore the breakfast food in his restaurant, Bills. I mean, who doesn’t? Especially the corn fritters with bacon and the ricotta hotcakes with honeycomb butter (pure genius combo!).
If I’m really honest, I’ll have to say that I love eating his food and reading his cookbooks but not watching his TV programs. The fact that he’s a self taught cook and not a chef makes his recipes so approachable, homely and incredibly tasty but this doesn’t translate on screen with his perfect teeth, crease-free t-shirts and sparkling kitchen.
I shouldn’t really hold that against him, after all, I do love clean kitchens :)
The book is set out in helpful sections such as ‘Dinner Dash’, ‘On A Shoestring’ and ‘Freeze Me’ plus suggestions for whole meals with sides, condiments and sweet treats.
As usual, the photography is wonderful – fresh and clean without being sterile. The plating, too, is equal parts haphazard and beautifully arranged. Just enough to make you think it’s possible to recreate in your own tiny kitchen.
That’s the thing about Bill’s recipes, you really want to make them. How many cookbooks do you buy to drool over the perfect cheffy garnishes only to put the recipes in the ‘too hard basket’? I know I have a few.
Bill’s recipes aren’t like that. They use fresh produce cleverly and simply to really make the most of it and this cookbook is full of those kind of wonderful gems.
I made the baked meatballs with tomato and tamarind sauce and the saffron pilaf (that’s my photo above). Super easy and fabulously hearty. It’s meant to be accompanied with a mint sambal and spinach raita. But I was too lazy.
Although I was creative with the leftovers. The meatballs were stuffed into baguettes with cucumber and feta cheese and eaten with gusto.
The extra sauce was used as a warm salad dressing. I tossed chickpeas, canned tuna, red onion slices and baby spinach into a bowl and then dribbled over the warm tomato sauce. Absolutely gorgeous.
Then pop on over to Not Quite Nigella who recently interviewed Bill Granger. She asked some great questions and teased out more than a few interesting answers.
One last thing, Bill Granger’s Feed Me Now! is published by Harper Collins, if you’re interested in that kind of thing. A big thank you to Nicola for sending me a copy.
500g minced beef or lamb (I used beef)
1 small onion, grated
55g fresh white breadcrumbs
3 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
6 tbsp chopped coriander leaves, plus extra to garnish
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp sweet paprika
1 red chilli, seeded, finely chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
3 tbsp olive oil
Preheat the oven to 220C.
Combine all the ingredients, except the oil, in a large bowl. Mix gently with your hands, then shape into small balls (I find wetting my hands makes this easier).
Toss the meatballs gently in the oil in a roasting tin and bake for 10-15 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the tomato and tamarind sauce (see below).
Transfer the meatballs and the sauce into a frying pan over medium heat and stir carefully until the meatballs are coated in sauce then simmer for 10 minutes.
Serve with pilaf with currants and cashews and a condiment plate of spinach raita and mint sambal.
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 spanish onion, finely diced
2 cloves of garlic, sliced
1 tbsp grated ginger
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp turmeric
2 x 425g tins chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp tamarind pulp (or 2 tbsp lime juice)
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Heat the olive oil in a large heavy-based pan over a medium to low heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until the onion is translucent. Add the garlic, ginger, cumin and turmeric and stir for 2 minutes or until fragrant.
Then add the tomatoes, tamarind, sugar, salt and pepper and cook, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes.
1 tbsp light-flavoured oil
1 tsp butter
1 onion, finely sliced
1 tsp sea salt
500g (2 1/2 cups) basmati rice
1L (4 cups) boiling water
2 pinches saffron threads
30g (1/4 cup) currants
2 tbsp chopped cashews
Place a large pan with a tight-fitting lid over a medium to high heat. Add the oil, butter, onion and salt and cook for 5 to 10 minutes, or until lightly coloured.
Add the rice and stir for 1 minute then pour in the boiling water. To this, add the saffron and currants and bring to the boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook for 10 minutes.
Turn off the heat and leave the pan for 10 minutes. Do not lift the lid as it will interrupt the cooking process. Serve immediately with chopped cashew nuts sprinkled over the top.