Earlier this month, I had the opportunity via the WOM Comms group Soup to test Annabel Langbein’s new cookbook “Free Range in the City”. Why am I so excited about this? I was relatively late in discovering Annabel. It was just earlier this year that I discovered her show Free Range Cook series on ABC. While Nigella makes everything look lushly elegant, Annabel makes everything look effortless, fresh & so downright healthy. I am also a bit of a cookbook collector, before this book from Annabel, my favourite was Arabesque.
So my task from Soup was to cook dishes from the book for a dinner party. I loved the book so much that I cooked two dinner parties from it. For one, I provided the starters & dessert for a friends get together & then the next evening had a small get together of our own.
Today I had about an hour & a half to make some starters & a dessert. I decided to make the Zucchini & Feta Bruschetta, Melon & Jamon salad & Coconut & Raspberry Ice Cream (an easy & quick ‘cheat’).
I particularly liked the Zucchini & Feta Bruschetta, very easy, very tasty & ….. very versatile as I found out. I forget one of the most important ingredients – the bread! We enjoyed it anyway as a dip with corn chips & crackers.
The Melon & Jamon were just perfect for a warm spring day & it looked as colourful & as it was tasty.
This Coconut & Raspberry ice cream is so easy that even an aspiring Junior Masterchef can make it. My only recommendation: stick to the proportions in the recipe…. I added too many raspberries & it detracted from the overall texture & taste.
Today, I decided to make a cake with my budding Junior Masterchef after promising that we could cook together. We thought that the Lemon & Coconut Cake looked divine & so we set out for an adventure together. It all went swimmingly until I realized that I did not have a cake tin large enough. Not to be deterred, I got out whatever I had & ended up with two medium sized cakes & six cupcakes. The large cake & cup cakes went down a treat & the smaller cake was my treat for the next few days…..
As I had some left over melon & jamon, so I whipped up a small platter to nibble as we chatted.
The Lemon Chicken Rocket Salad was simply a breeze to throw together using a Free Range roast chicken from my local gourmet take away – another quick tip suggested by Annabel in the book. No-one even suspected that it was a bought chook – it was our little secret.
……… accompanied by Roast Feta Polenta & Roasted Vegetables. All prepared ahead & grilled/roasted while we were chilling & enjoying the melon.
My favourite from today was Polenta, but closely followed by the gorgeously moist & more-ish cake & the wickedly easy Lemon Chicken Salad…..
This book inspired me this weekend with its fresh takes on old classics & modern recipes that will become your new classics. Will I continue to use it … you betcha… when I get it back from my friends! Mind you, I know what to give them this Christmas.