Welp, the sixth book in the Hairy Dieters series has arrived (well, it was released some time ago, but I’ve only just gotten around to making a start on it…) and it is pretty darn good!
Book review bit: Not much I can say about this book that I haven’t already said about previous entries in this series — the recipes are clearly written and easy to follow, with calorie counts per portion, number of servings and approximate cooking time at the top of each one. Most recipes also have colourful and incredibly appetising photographs of the finished product next to each one. The book is split into themed sections — 15-minute recipes, low/no-cooking assembly jobs, 6-ingredient recipes, guilt-free desserts and so on, which makes it easy to pick out recipes and plan ahead for meals for a week or so. In general, definitely well up to the high standard set by the previous Hairy Dieters books!
Recipe wurbles: I started my run through this book with almost the first recipe in the first section, ‘quick Mexican eggs’. It’s basically a super-fast version of huevos rancheros — black beans simmered in a bit of water with tomato puree, herbs, garlic and spices (because ‘proper’ refried beans take ages), a fried egg and a tortilla per portion, plus a ‘salsa’ made of diced avocado stirred up with lime juice.
A note at the end of the recipe suggested stirring through a bag of fresh baby leaf spinach — I didn’t have such a thing in my stores, so I dipped into a bag of frozen spinach that’s been sitting in my freezer for a while and added a few chunks of that. This tweak is a pretty good idea, actually — spinach has a good amount of fibre and iron, so you can jack up the proportions of those nutrients without affecting the calorie count much. I also diced and threw in a red chilli that had been randomly sitting in my freezer for ages, so as to add a bit of an extra kick — and hoo boy, did it deliver!
The salsa was a bit more awkward, because I somehow managed to buy the one avocado that was still kind of under-ripe even after two days in my fridge. This made getting the flesh out of the skin sort of interesting, but I managed it ^^ And it did make dicing it a bit easier 🙂 I stirred it up with the juice (and zest — waste nothing!) of a lime, and that also helped a bit. I’ll definitely have to be a bit more careful with my avocados next time I make a recipe like this, though.
Oddly enough, the eggs went almost perfectly — I’ve generally struggled with doing fried eggs that didn’t stick to the pan in the past, but here I somehow, serendipitously, managed to consistently get sunny-side up eggs with the white all cooked, the yolk delightfully runny, minimal burnt crunchy bits and absolutely no sticking! I’m rather pleased with that — though it remains to be seen how this new-found knack transfers to omelettes and other such things (which I’m even worse at, generally, than fried eggs), especially as tomorrow’s recipe (from the same section of the book) is prawn foo yung. The lady at my local Asian food shop was a bit surprised when I mentioned the low-calorie prawn foo yung recipe, because it’s generally a very rich dish. The low calorie count on this version seems to come from using fewer eggs, minimal oil and lots of veggies. I’ll be using frozen pre-cooked-and-peeled prawns (Sainsbury’s finest basic ones), rather than the raw ones mentioned in the ingredients list, so I should hypothetically be able to skip the step of finishing the dish under a very hot grill to get the prawns properly cooked — I’ll see how things turn out ^^
All in all, a very auspicious start!