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Cook from the Book: Easy

by Jessica Lockyer-Palmer

published on 8 April 2022

The Happy Foodie team has been taking things nice and Easy in the kitchen, with the brand new cookbook from Chris Baber. Chris is a professionally trained chef and M&S Food consultant who has a particular passion for making home cooking accessible to everyone. In Easy he shares a set of fast, simple and enticing recipes that will slot with ease into even the busiest of schedules. To find out just how easy the recipes really are, The Happy Foodie team took to the kitchen to try out everything from cookies to Cajun salmon. Here’s how we got on.

Who: Morgana Chess, Campaigns Officer, Ebury Publishing

What I made: Bean Chilli Loaded Wedges

What I thought: My housemates and I were delighted with this Friday night sharing feast. Buried under my many toppings (I went with avocado, soured cream, spring onions and jalapeños), the roasted sweet potato wedges and bean chilli went really well together. The recipe was super easy too and mostly used ingredients I already had in the cupboard. As well as for entertaining, this could also be a great dish for a healthy, weekday meal prep – definitely one to be repeated in my house.

Who: Lara McLeod, Brand Executive, Ebury Publishing

What I made: Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies

What I thought: These cookies were so delicious! And I have to say, very easy and simple for such tasty results. I am not a natural baker but Chris’ directions were clear and concise, making it super accessible even for someone who doesn’t have much of an idea about baking. I really liked that, rather than using chocolate chips, you crushed and broke up bits of dark chocolate. It meant when you got a piece of chocolate in the cookie, it wasn’t uniform and had a lovely melted chocolate taste to it. The mix made 10 cookies of a very generous size that were soft and gooey in the middle. My cookies went down very well, and I will definitely be doing them again.

Who: Anna Lambert, Publicity Officer, Ebury Publishing

What I made: Creamy Garlic Mushroom Tagliatelle

What I thought: I made the Creamy Garlic Mushroom Tagliatelle and it was delicious! The recipe didn’t call for too many ingredients and lots of them were the sorts of things most people would already have at home. The process of making this was incredibly easy – the steps were very simple to follow and, other than chopping the mushrooms and garlic, there was a minimal amount of prep time. Within 15 minutes, we had a huge pan full of pasta (easily enough to feed 5-6)…and having it all cooked in one pot meant there was hardly any washing up too! I’ll definitely be cooking this again, it’d be a great thing to make for friends or when you need some good comfort food.

Who: Abby Watson, Senior Campaigns Manager, Ebury Publishing

What I made: Harissa Beans with Honey Glazed Halloumi

What I thought: Cheese on beans on toast is one of my favourite comfort dishes – I’m usually a super simple Heinz and cheddar girl but loved the idea of jazzing up a classic with this recipe. This was incredibly simple and ridiculously satisfying – a great low fuss working from home lunch. The sweetness of the honey on the halloumi was a real winner for me and complimented the dish so well. The beans were also really tasty, I loved the addition of harissa.

Who: Mia Oakley – Campaigns Officer, Ebury Publishing

What I made: Blackened Cajun Salmon with Homemade Salsa

What I thought: Chris’s cookbook definitely lives up to its name. This recipe was EASY to cook, EASY to buy (sourced all the ingredients at my local shop which is a massive plus) and EASY on my wallet. So easy in all aspects in fact that I already know what I am going to cook from the book next (it’s the Sticky Honey & Mustard Pork Chops with Crispy Roast Potatoes, in case you wondered). This Cajun Salmon with Salsa was the perfect midweek meal packed with so much flavour and colour. I normally cook salmon in the oven so frying the fillet was a wonderful departure from my usual. Also, by marinating the fillets in Cajun spices I completely negated any need to use tartare sauce (which I normally do when eating fish). You can tailor the salsa very easily to your preferences which I love; I decided to add spring onions, more cherry tomato and less sweetcorn. I even made a variation of this salsa to serve with dinner the following day, and had the subsequent leftovers for lunch. As Chris suggested, I served the food with rice which made it a filling hearty dinner.

Who: Ellie Auton, Communications Assistant, Ebury Publishing

What I made: Lamb Orzo

What I thought: This dish had my housemates crowded around the pot asking what the delicious smell was! Orzo is always a winner with me, but I couldn’t believe the minimal effort needed to make such a flavoursome meal. This tasted like pure comfort food and definitely something I’ll make again when I need a winter warmer.

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