Hot off the press, the latest cookbook to hit my shelf is Nick Coffer’s ‘My Daddy Cooks’. Things are very exciting in the world of cookery books at the moment as more and more non-TV/non-celebrity cooks and food writers are making themselves heard. This is partly due to the growing popularity and phenomenon of Internet blogging, which is literally thrusting ’up and coming’ foodies straight into the hands of publishers who seem to be keen on bringing the very best of such ’new voices’ forward. It seems there is room for new talent and I believe there should be. Whilst they may not soar quite as quickly as books written by or endorsed by the ‘big guns’ of the food world overnight, I say, look out -there is some real talent emerging.
Enter Nick and Archie. I first met Nick when I was asked to appear as a guest on his BBC radio show (I have the very lovely English Mum to thank for our introduction.) Nick was in the process of writing his first cookery book (though he has always kept the show and his blog/book quite separate). It was clear to me that his love of food was all-encompassing and that his enthusiasm would propel him forward at great speed.
I am very pleased to report that there are no jacket potatoes that have been made to look like mice, nor are there any individually ramekinned shepherd’s pies, hidden vegetable sauces or gimmicky foods. Phew. I think there are quite enough of those type of books out there already.
Nick has come up with some very clever short-cuts to make food fun and easy to make (he calls it “giving it the My Daddy Cooks treatment”) and other than a few pots and pans and a set of scales, no fancy equipment is needed. A fair amount of recipes are cooked in the oven, though this is because it is often easier to stick something in an oven out of a toddler’s reach. Some of the recipes can be cooked on the stove, such as the recipes in the chapter called ‘Wok on the Wild Side,’ and there are even recipes for microwavable cakes for those moments when you only have enough time to “ping and ding”.
The notion of layering flour tortillas up with chilli shouldn’t work (I’m not a fan of sogginess) but my goodness, it does. The tortillas actually don’t go soggy, they stay remarkably intact and just end up being like chewable pasta – which the kids loved. Keen to re-create the yummy dish I had tasted at The Real Food Festival, I attempted the Mexican Lasagne on the afternoon of a toddler tea party in my garden. I had made the sauce a few hours before just to let the flavours develop and then my kids helped me ‘build’ the lasagna a bit later on. Four ‘under fives’ wolfed it down and asked for more. We re-heated the rest later in the evening and it was still as good, if not better, despite Nick saying in the book that it should be eaten straight away. Just to check it really was as good as I thought it was, I made it for the second time this week, re-naming it ‘The Mex’. I also tweeted Nick to ask him to dedicate a Facebook page entirely to this one recipe. Enough said about this one (my photos below).
My Daddy Cooks – published by Hodder & Staughton