Cook Book Review 'Super Easy' One Pound Meals by Miguel Barclay
This issue of CIBARE is all about eating on a budget. We’ve all been there, are there or will be there at some point. Cutting costs usually means cutting quality and budget cookery books are definitely not new. Taking this concept to an extreme is Miguel “One Pound Meal “ Barclay who, if you're not yet familiar with, is a bit of a social media hit. Take a look at Miguel’s Instagram account, he has a huge following which is due in no small part to his stories, his honest enthusiasm is endearing and relatable. However, this guy is one smart cookie and this drive has led to 4 successful books, the latest which is due for release as I type this review and will certainly be as popular as the others. The books are a reflection of his personality - clever, fuss free and hashtagged!
And so to the meal. As my tradition dictates, I cooked a meal for friends with every dish taken from book 3 “Super Easy". Two starters: Padron “poppers” & tomato and Parmesan - wrapped asparagus, the main Chorizo dumplings and a side of Roast squash carpaccio. It took about an hour to cook my chosen menu from start to finish and conveniently each dish is cooked at the same oven temperature, so all I needed to worry about it getting my timings right.
The starters: The padron peppers stuffed with feta cheese and sprinkled with breadcrumbs, although delicious are quite a dry combination. But add a forkful of the tomato and onion salad and you've got yourself the perfect balance. The Parmesan - wrapped asparagus was a no-brainer, they were as simple to make as they looked. However my advice is to eat whilst still warm as they tasted nicer straight from the oven, left to go cold and the flavours fade. I know this will bump up the costs, but I might try wrapping a little parma ham around the asparagus and then covering in the blanket of filo pastry...? #twopoundmeals
The main course: To make the chorizo dumplings I was instructed to rub cold butter into flour until I had something resembling wet sand, but I found I needed triple the amount of butter to get it feeling like this. I’ve never eaten British dumplings before and there’s no Greek alternative, so I had nothing to compare these to. My guests on the other hand knew them well and the general consensus was that the added chorizo was a great touch, which gave flavour where perhaps there normally wouldn't be.
I served the dumplings with roasted squash carpaccio; My mandolin produced thin and even slices of butternut squash - but was it too fine? After 10 minutes of roasting they started to burn but weren't cooked! So I splashed a little water into the roasting tin and covered them with foil until ready and crumbled in the left over feta cheese previously used for the padron peppers. I definitely got my money's worth on this food shop, with nothing wasted. #smug
But wait, there are no one pound puddings! I decided to break my own rule and go rogue for dessert. But in keeping with the low cost theme, I stewed some apples with honey, cinnamon, raisins with a dollop of creme fraiche. I think book 5 is writing itself eh Miguel? I'm continuing to work my way through the book and let me tell you, if you have a few hours to spare, try the Slow Roast Rendang as its a bit of a superstar!
So, what to expect if you're considering buying this book? You might be cutting costs but my first impressions are, not to the detriment of flavour. You’ll also easily find all the ingredients in one supermarket, ‘cheats’ on familiar dishes, a lot less washing up (#bonus) and way more coinage in your pocket.