Featuring 170 recipes to cook now, fill the fridge and freezer with, and eat later, The Dinner Ladies cookbook would have a brilliant kitchen bible for me when my children were at school and I was juggling the role of full-time work with mothering and home duties.
I like these gals! Between them they have two husbands and seven children of varying sizes, appetites and degrees of fussiness. The pair first met at a school gate in 2007 and came up with the idea of preparing dinners for time poor friends so that they would always have homemade food in the fridge or freezer. What started as a back shed project has grown to a fleet of delivery trucks dropping off thousands of home-cooked meals every week to hungry households.
All of the recipes in this new book can be prepared ahead of time. In the introduction, to the book they note that 'one particular celebrity chef '(who they 'admire wholeheartedly') has 'tried to convince the world that we can get dinner on the table in 15 or 30 minutes of frenzied, multi-tasking activity.' They point out that 'even he, with his perfect battery of kitchen equipment, expert knife skills and the energy of a Duracell bunny, doesn't make the job look easy'.
Yup. Anyone who has the role of chief cook and bottle washer in a household will know that there are seemingly a million things to do around dinner time - walking the dog, sorting the laundry, ferrying kids to and from sport and other activities, shopping and cooking being among them.
Enter food that's cooked ahead of time and popped into the fridge or freezer. Among the 170 recipes for make-ahead meals are Thinner Dinners; Crowd-pleasers; Cosy Kitchen Suppers; Spice and Fire; Rib Stickers; and Sweet and Easy.
There are traditional favourites, such as cottage pie, pea and ham soup, meatballs with tomato sauce, and minestrone - together with some deliciously different offerings, including char siu pork, lamb koftas, chicken pho, chickpea and coriander burgers, and sausage rolls with sneaky veg.
The hazelnut tiramisu was given the two thumbs up from the man of the house, as did the instant cheat's ice cream and sorbet.
Yes, there is plenty to cook from here, thanks to the creative duo known as the Dinner Ladies.
The Dinner Ladies by Sophie Gilliatt and Katherine Westwood, Murdoch Books, RRP $39.99. Thank you to the publicity team at Murdoch Books. Take a peek inside the book here.
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