I have a love hate relationship with Master chef. On one hand it fascinates me and on the other it has become one big weeping slobbering quest for perfection. Few people own up to watching yet it’s back into production for its 7th season. That must mean that it has a lot of viewers. I count myself in there because I would watch a fly cooking. cooking is cooking to me and I have the sickest of obsessions.
One of the most fascinating and talked about parts of Master chef, besides the way George uses a knife and fork is Matt Preston. He manages to polarize people’s feelings, I don’t really mind him as long as I don’t have to watch him chewing. I was swayed a little by meeting him back at about Master chef 4. I went to a lunch English v’s French at Felix Bistro with Marco Pierre White as the tyrant in charge of the kitchen that day. In between the cooking George, Gary and Matt were hanging around the bar, and so I might add, was I. The fun banter confirmed he is both irreverent and quite sarcastic. I didn’t mind, it felt like I was in a restaurant kitchen with a smart arse waiter or chef and that made me feel at home. It was a brush with fame in an odd way because after watching Matt act like himself for 4 seasons I felt like I already knew him, which of course I don’t. One of my favourite parts of the week on MC is the Master class, where Gary and George demonstrate their prowess in the kitchen in order to remind us that they themselves are Master chefs and are quite able to judge the efforts of others. This now includes a small section hosted by Matt Preston, who himself has quite an impressive cooking and food industry history much much too long to list, but just be assured he has earned his place behind the stoves as well as in front of them.
And why am I talking about him?. Well that would be because my niece loves him and I have just ordered her his new book – wait for it…”Cook Book” for her birthday on November 5th. I wanted to buy from a company in Australia so I ordered it from Bookworld thinking it may take a while, but it arrived in 2 days without shipping costs.
Ok so, I thought I might just cook something from it, just because it’s here. Is that bad? I chose a very simple slow cooked Lamb dish so I could do something else while it cooked. It’s a book full of very diverse recipes and sage advice for cooking for friends and family.
It’s not about the money you spend, it’s about the care you take.
And that my friends is something I firmly believe too. So I will risk my niece seeing this post and tell you what else is in the book. It’s a trip around the world in a way, in fact in the intro Matt talks about eating and friends and simple home cooked dishes on his many trips around the world. There are pages of
advice rules on cooking for friends, appropriate behavior in restaurants, and menu choices when having people over. I am sure my niece will love this helpful section delivered with his customary dry, sarcastic wit. There are sliders- ok I forgive him, and there is sticky ribs, even my son Skater likes them, so this must be good. In amongst the kale chips and the breakfast smoothie are some great tips on simple doughs, for pastry, flat bread, pizza and quick breadmaking. There are multitudes of ways to make quick chicken mince dishes, lots of simple salads, pastas and vegetable dishes in fact 187 recipes that you will probably already have most of the ingredients for.
Desserts won’t freak you out either they’re mostly everyday things you might want to make without having to go and look for a recipe like banana bread and Lemon Meringue Pie. It mightn’t challenge some, but it will definitely not intimidate others.
Let me emphasize everyday ingredients. There are as many fresh as tinned ingredients but overall you could whip up something from the book in no time at all. That’s what my niece needs to do because she gets home from work late each night.
The funny thing is I have chosen a recipe that takes hours. I know that isn’t proving the speedy cooking point at all, but I pretty much put it in the oven and then went back a few hours later. One teensy little problem I hope she doesn’t notice when she gets this book is the recipe I made called Slow Roast Lamb with Risoni and Anchovies had no anchovies in the actual recipe …oops. I made it with the alternative suggestion on the top of the page and added feta, gremolata, and a squeeze of lemon juice.
I might buy myself a new book from Bookworld. Have a look at the cookbook section and tell me what you think I should buy…?
Slow Roast Lamb with Risoni
- 800-900 gram Lamb Shoulder chopped into bite sized chunks defatted, boned
- 300 gram onions brown chopped
- 4 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon paprika smoked
- 400 gram tomatoes chopped peeled (1 tin)
- 270 gram risoni 1 1/2 cups
- 750 ml water boiling 3 cups
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup chopped Parsley about 1/2 bunch
- 1/2 cup chopped mint about 1/2 bunch
- 50 gm Panko crumbs (1 cup) toasted Japanese breadcrumbs or home made from bread
- 2 tablespoons lemon zest
- 100 gram Feta creamy danish
- Preheat the oven to 180 C / 350 F
- Place the lamb in a baking or casserole dish with the onion, spices, and tomato , cover and bake for 90 minutes
- Take off the cover and bake for a further 40 min to brown the meat.
- Add the pasta, boiling water and salt to the dish, recover and bake for a further 40 minutes. If the pasta looks dry add a bit more water
- Top with Gremolata, made by combining all the Gremolata ingredients ,except the feta. Dot that over the top and bake till melting
The “Cook Book” was bought by me from Bookworld but this post was produced in collaboration with Bookworld. All cooking was done by me LOL, and all opinions are of course my own