You can imagine my delight at being asked by Mumsnet to review their cookbook, Top Bananas! Here goes…
The recipes in Top Bananas! are reassuringly based on the most popular tried and tested recipes loaded on to Mumsnet by parents themselves, so it is full of humour and understanding about what it is to be a time-strapped parent. I like the balance of healthy, quickish and easy to follow veggie, meat and fish recipes and appealing, novel ideas for snacks, baking and party food. It is handily divided in to chapters, with lots of tips and encouragement with getting kids to EAT (and cook) plus attractive photos (very important!). There are several recipes that can be used as a base and experimented with, which excites me a lot.
We have had a busy week trying out some of the recipes. I made the delicious cranberry granola and felt very snazzy slapping a homemade sticker on the jar.
The naturally sweet butternut and red onion soup was another hit with my normally anti-soup kids. My partner and I loved the (one-pan!) sophisticated sea bass – it’s so simple and we will be cooking it for guests.
Me and the boys made the beautifully moist chocolate bribe biscuits together and devoured them in an afternoon. They loved having banana pancakes for breakfast. We liked the tuna melt parcels (super easy) and I am hoping my kids will try the great balls of broccoli second time round (they were tasty and I had never thought of grating broccoli). It’s so nice to have new ideas.
So far my absolute favourite recipe has to be the malt loaf. It was so simple to make (each ingredient is a teacup’s worth) and is now a household staple.
Other stand-out recipes I will be trying are kedgeree (a clever way to introduce the kids to spices), golden wonder (a sort of courgette tortilla oven-baked for ease), kid-friendly potato and chickpea curry, salmon espanol, Yorkshire towers, 60-second cheesecake (genius!), lazy days couscous, marmite swirls, ice-cream-cone cakes (excellent idea), chocolate, almond and chestnut cake (yum) and last but not least the no-knead soda bread (I have an aversion to kneading). Were I a meat eater we would definitely be trying some of the one-pot meat dishes and array of chicken recipes.
Thank you Mumsnet parents – your cookbook is packed with interesting, family-friendly recipes, wittily written by those who understand what it is to cook dinner while your kids are hungry and running riot. We will come back to you time and time again.