Friday 21 February 2020

I review The Hairy Bikers' One Pot Wonders

It's a Crossover! The Cranky Book Reviewer and the Domestic Goddess work at cross-purposes together for a combination book review and meal attempt

(Image courtesy of

As a thoughtful Christmas present this year, I bought Fis a copy of The Hairy Bikers' One Pot Wonders by Si King and Dave Myers. 

Their show is delightful; they're like two sweet (yet hairy) old ladies who have known each other too long, encouraging each other and bickering as they put together meals. Chris appreciated their humour and facial hair stylings, there was a new cookbook coming out, and Tsaketa! Christmas solved.

He made one recipe, mid-way through January.

I let him have his time, but last week, the Domestic Goddess took over.

The DG weighs in on the recipes

I flagged a few tasty-looking recipes and got to work. Of course I didn't follow the recipes exactly. I substituted where I needed to (didn't have the ingredients/didn't have enough/had the ingredients but they were expired), but they still turned out remarkably well.

Their Chocolate Brownie has hazelnuts (but I didn't, so I used almonds) and glace cherries. They're a one-bowl deal, and came out moist and chewy. Thumbs up from everyone except Tamsin, who didn't like the cherries.

Brownies with cherries (and almonds) (image: author's own)

I also attempted the Roast Vegetables with Chickpeas and Halloumi. I know the kids don't love halloumi; they find it too salty, but thought I could sneak it by them it with a mint halloumi (which the Hairy Bikers recommended), which in retrospect was a really terrible idea. Everything was ok, except for the halloumi, which the girls actually refused to eat after the first three bites. Vaughn liked it, though.

Delicious vegetarian food (image: author's own)

For my third attempt, I made their Winter Chicken Bake. Unfortunately, I didn't have the skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs that the recipe called for, so the chicken breasts that I cut down to size ended up dried out, but tasty. Somehow, everyone enjoyed the mix of leeks, parsnips, carrots and brussels sprouts -- it was a reach, but it was flavourful and SO GOOD.

A few days after that, I made their Biker Goulash. Yum, but not enough to feed five, let alone six, as the recipe says. However, I maybe used less meat than was called for, and didn't have any suet (suet!) to make the dumplings, so that probably explains that.

Yesterday morning, in time for Second Breakfast, their Belting Banana Bread was a hit with every member of the family. Not one exclaimed, "Why are there raisins in banana bread?" I see that as a victory.

And yesterday night, I made their Spinach, Ricotta and Parma Ham Lasagne ("It's an assembly job really and a cracking good dish"), and it was, even with less than half the required cheese, and that half being cheddar instead of mozzarella. (Sincere apologies to Messrs. King and Myers.)

The Domestic Goddess is obviously compensating for something. But, it was half term, her bootcamps are off this week, and it was a great opportunity to try out her new digital food scale, which works like a dream. (Get it? Weighs in!)

Is it my turn yet? (image: author's own)

Lies, all lies!

The Cranky Book Reviewer jumps in here to say that I think it's fair to say that I've given this book a chance. The food is flavourful and somewhat easy to make (no weird, advanced cooking techniques), but the idea of this being "one pot" cooking is a sham -- a sham, I say!

Most of the dishes required mixing ingredients in a separate bowl, or browning ingredients and "setting them aside" (not just in a pile on the counter, but in a separate dish). There were always several dishes to wash, not just the one, and to that I say humph.

The CBR also found it upsetting to say the least that there were rarely any leftovers. "Serves four" means "serves four." And, while I appreciate correctness and accuracy, I also want leftovers to eat the next day for lunch.

Joint recommendation

Aside from the misleading title, it was great. Lots of variety, interesting combinations of foods, and the writing - warm, conversational, witty - I felt, was the best part.

"Dead easy this and so good."

Just for that, the book is worth a buy.

Have you tried it out? What did you think?

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