Little Dish & the Russian Ingredients Challenge...

>> Thursday, 26 August 2010

So, it's review time again. Last summer, when I was (sob) still living in London, Little Dish were kind enough to send me some ready meals for my boys to try. The taste test was - mostly - a success, and I blogged about it here. Not so long ago, they got back in touch and asked if this time I would be interested in reviewing the 'Little Dish Favourites Cookbook'.


Now, I live in Russia these days. (You might have noticed - that fact has featured on The Potty Diaries once or twice...) And whilst there are many things you CAN easily buy here, like, um, well, honey... and umm vodka, healthy ready meals are not one of those things. Consequently scratch cooking is majorly back on the agenda in the Potski household (except for Fridays which is religiously Pizza night - I deserve one night in seven off, surely?) and having fallen into something of a rut on the meal-planning front, any and all inspiration is welcome.

So, the Little Dish Favourites Cookbook; how do I rate it?

The opening section on First Tastes contains simple and practical advice on weaning your baby. It probably wouldn't do as the only book in your repertoire, but it contains easy purees and is a great place to start, especially if you're a first time mum and have no idea where that might be.

It does contain a recipe for homemade chicken stock and whilst I have nothing against that per se I would say to all new mums introducing solids for the first time: on the subject of home-made chicken stock; DON'T DO IT. Your house will stink, you will stink, and since Waitrose (amongst other places) now sells a perfectly good salt, additive and preservative free alternative, buy a couple of packs there, stash one in the freezer for when you next need it and save yourself a whole heap of time and effort. (Sorry Annabel Karmel and any other Domestic Goddesses reading this, but life is just too short to make your own chicken stock...).

The main bulk of the recipes come under the Family Dishes section and in the interests of properly reviewing this book, I decided that rather than just reading it and making my mind up, I would walk the walk and use it to cook from. I chose one recipe per day for 5 days this week, and here are the results (It would have been 6 but, come on, Friday is pizza night after all...). So. What did I cook, and how did it go?


Sunday: GG's Chicken Supreme (p 78)

This was easy to make (even when having to substitute Russian ingredients like Smetana for the soured cream), and it was great to know that having put it together the evening before, I had minimal fuss on Sunday evening to pull dinner out of the hat. Plus it was absolutely delicious. We all loved it - even fussy Boy #1. I will definitely make this again.


Monday: Monty's Favourite Fish Fingers (p54)

Not a success. In fact, after my first bite I took pity on my sons and told them they didn't have to eat it, and we dined handsomely on vegetables and ham instead; however, this is much more down to the completely rubbish quality of white fish generally available here than anything wrong with the recipe. In actual fact I would expect this recipe to work fine with most fish you could get from a fish counter in the UK.


Tuesday: Chicken Enchilas (p76)

Pretty yummy. Boy #2 and I wolfed it down, Boy #1 - after initial negotiations concerning non-consumption of the flour tortilla had been concluded - did the same. With the exception of the tortilla, obviously. (What it did contain, which he usually never eats, was cheese. He didn't notice. This is a Result in my book - it's going on my List).


Wednesday: Easy Fish in Foil (p50)

I know, it's not fair to make the book run the fish gauntlet twice but I'm looking for any way I can to make the fish available here palatable. This time I used imported frozen salmon (from Norway), so the start point was a bit better, but I have to say the reaction from Boy #1 was still wholly unexpected. He pronounced the first bite 'Delicious!' and came back for seconds. Yesss!


Thursday: Spanish Tortilla (p122)

No fish today, and I decided to give ourselves a break from genetically modified meat with genetically modified eggs instead (seriously; you should see the size of the average chicken breast here. It would dwarf many turkeys back home...). This recipe was - OK. I enjoyed it, as did Husband who ate more than half of it without pausing for breath, but the Boys objected to the use of parsley and I would probably leave that out when I make it again for them (which I will). Again, it contained cheese and again, Boy #1 didn't notice (or at least, didn't identify that as one of the things he didn't like about it).


Overall then, I would give this book around 8 / 10. I will use it again, and already have my eye on some of the other recipes, so culinary boredom has been postponed for a while longer in the Potski household. Thankyou, Little Dish!


This was a sponsored post. (I got a free copy of the book, in other words).

5 comments:

Nora 27 August 2010 at 02:57  

Those recipes sound good and like something even I would like. Will you post some of them or would you get into trouble with the copyrights?

Nora 27 August 2010 at 02:57  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Potty Mummy 28 August 2010 at 09:46  

Hi Nora, unfortunately I think it would breach copyright so no recipe, I'm afraid. You could probably find something similar online though?

apartments in dubai 29 August 2010 at 16:58  

All those are my favorite dishes. Though I know recipe of only two of them. But I used to get fun of eating them when go for restaurant. I wish you could share the recipe but never mind you have given the solution of finding out the recipes :)

Muddling Along Mummy 30 August 2010 at 19:48  

These sound fab - are the instructions really easy to follow?

We've a new nanny who isn't a great cook and I'd like to get her a simple cookbook to help (or rather to stave off my children starving...)

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