Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Book Review - Chloe's Kitchen

Another book I got for Christmas!!
I think the kids' chose it because they liked Chef Chloe winning on Cupcake Wars! On cooking shows they always cheer for the vegan chef, and if there isn't one then the prettiest girl, (hey, they're little girls what do you expect) so they doubly liked Chloe.

The book is an attractive one, printed on shiny paper, filled with lots of photos, and is certainly appealing to flip through. The recipe chapters are logically organised, with nice, yet standard, introductory sections, and as you'd expect, from the winner of a desserts show, there are loads of sweet treats in the desserts chapter. The recipes themselves are set out with lots of space, mostly one to a page, easy to read, easy to follow, with nice chatty introductions to each. They are not exactly health food, but genuine everyday recipes which the average person would find appealing. The only thing I found a little off putting was all the photos of Chloe herself. On the cover is fine, but inside, if there are photos, I want to see the food, not the author. Small thing, but something I didn't like.

On to the recipes I made - page number order -
Page 47 Caesar Salad with Maple Wheat Croutons
Though I didn't make any Croutons. I found the recipe simple to make, basic even, I thought it was lacking a little bit of depth compared to other vegan Caesar dressings I have made recently, and that it needed a little something else to make it really pop. Nice enough as a dressing, but nothing outstanding.

Page 79 Guilt Free Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Oh, yum. Lovely idea too - to use both parsnip AND cauliflower to lower the fat and increase the nutrition in mashed potatoes. You could taste all the ingredients in the mash, but this added interest to the dish. Would make again for sure, though I think I'd add more roasted garlic to make it a more dominant flavour. Below
Page 81 Maple Roasted Brussels Sprouts with toasted Hazelnuts
Loved this. I do enjoy roasted Brussels. Above.

Page 107 Falafel Sliders with Avocado Hummus
I didn't make them into sliders, but found these so easy to make, even with all the component parts, and so very tasty. Really good, can see these being made in summer on the BBQ.

Page 127 Best-Ever Baked Macaroni and Cheese
Nice, simple, comforting and homey. Easy, basic recipe (nothing new or different) which I enjoyed a great deal.

Page 141 Peanutty Perfection Noodles
So very good! I love peanut sauces on rice noodles, and this one didn't disappoint. Loved the touch of heat in the creamy sauce. Very quick too.

Page 155 Wild Mushroom Stroganoff Fettuccine
I found this one a little bland. Boring even. I thought we'd love it as we do love mushrooms, but it felt like it was lacking something, even with the addition of more salt than we usually use. It was easy to make, it just didn't suit our preferences.

Page 161 Country Meatloaf with Golden Gravy and Orange Scented Cranberry Sauce
More time consuming than a number of other recipes I made - there are three separate parts after all, but so very worth the extra time. The gravy is wonderfully savoury, so very more-ish, and the cranberry sauce so tasty with nuances from the orange. The sauce is maybe a touch sweeter than I would like, but I tried it with both the chocolate brulee and the vanilla ice-cream and thought it was perfect as a dessert sauce too! The meatloaf itself is lovely and moist, very tasty. This is perfect served with the Mashed Potatoes (above). The meatloaf also passed the next day pan-fry test. Recommended!

Page 181 Orange you glad I made Crispy Tofu
Tasty - crisp tofu coated in a thick orange sauce. The tofu lost a little of its crispy-ness in the final cooking, and became a little more chewy than crisp, but it was very good. I added steamed broccoli to the sauce and enjoyed this too.

Page 210 Chocolate Creme Brulee
I don't have a wee torch so didn't brulee the top at all. Thick, creamy and comforting, this was a lovely, if a little heavy, dessert. More like a chocolate pudding texture than what I remember from brulee. Good all the same.

Page 221 Cinnamon-Espresso Chocolate Chip Cookies
I made the GF version. These spread like crazy on my sheet forming one big cookie which I had to cut into pieces. The cookies didn't look the prettiest because of this, but tasted awesome! It may have been the GF flour mix I used. Would like to try these again.

Page 238 Vanilla Bean Ice-cream
Texture of this straight out of the machine was wonderful, creamy and thick, but with time in the freezer it became too hard to scoop. The girls' thought it tasted too coconut-y and not vanilla-y enough - maybe adding some vanilla extract along with the bean scrapings would have been better for their tastes.

Page 243 Truffles
Lovely. I rolled mine in cacoa nibs for an extra crunch and chocolate infusion. The chocolate I used for the coating wasn't specifically robing chocolate and the coating ended up too thick. Made a lovely gift too.

No comments: