It’s not often that I get so engrossed in a new cookbook that I end up pretty much cooking every recipe from cover to cover. However, the latest offering from Ebury Publishing to land on the doormat was something rather special. If you are a mother (or father – let’s not have any gender stereotyping here, dear Reader) and you love cooking, this is the book for you. It’s a wonderful example of how family cookbooks should be – completely unpatronising and all about cooking dishes that the whole family can enjoy together. Dear Reader, I give you The 5 o’clock Apron: Proper Food for Modern Families by Claire Thomson, mother of 3, chef, restaurant owner and all round fab foodie (in no particular order).
With poor old Poppy ill for the last month with tonsillitis and then various mystery bugs, the book could not have been more timely. Tempting her to eat has been pretty tricky so I was exceptionally grateful for some new culinary delights to cajole her back into nosh. Easy Peasy Rose ice cream was a godsend and easily whipped up in minutes for a little one who could not eat much. I tested it out on some grown ups too at a dinner party and they’ve been clamouring for the recipe ever since. Just for the record, I am NOT sharing this one – it’s too good to share.
Trying new things is what this book is all about. With that in mind, I had a go at making some Labneh – a recipe that was completely new on me. This yoghurt based soft cheese is so easy to do and tastes wonderful in both savoury and sweet variations – it has been a revelation to be honest. Who would have thought that with almost no kit and just some salt and yoghurt, that you could knock up a delicious cheese overnight? Genius. I shall be making this with the girls over and over again.
Perhaps the reason I loved Claire’s book so much is that I could really relate to the reasons she decided to pen these recipes. I often find myself cooking meals for the children and then something else for Jerry and me and the time it takes to cook more than just one meal is time I could be doing other things…….(daily mantra: get that piece of writing finished, Margot). I think that we all make the mistake of thinking that children can’t cope with gutsy flavours or aren’t interested in trying new things. Well with most, that simply couldn’t be further from the truth. Certainly when it came to testing out Claire’s new recipes on Poppy and Primrose, moving away from our boring midweek staples of lasagne and chicken risotto made the food much more exciting! As Claire writes in her book, “Make food interesting”.
Honestly dear Reader, there is not a dud recipe in this cookbook. So I urge you to step away from Wednesday night’s spag bol rut and liven up the supper table with recipes such as Chicken Shawarma and hummus, Cassoulet or Sweet and Sour Chicken Wings with ‘slaw. Why not have Snail bread for breakfast or Ginger Beer scones for afternoon tea? It’s not about making mealtimes more time-consuming or complicated. Believe me – this book will SAVE you time! Make The 5 O’clock Apron the family cookbook you buy this year. You won’t regret it.
Have a look at some of Claire’s fab recipes from The 5 O’clock Apron on The Happy Foodie site too.