The Big Family Cooking Showdown
By Rosemary Shrager
What’s the niche?
The Big Family Cooking Showdown is the official TV tie-in to the BBC Two series hosted by Nadiya Hussain and Zoe Ball with chefs Giorgio Locatelli and Rosemary Shrager who judge and crown the nation’s best family of cooks in this feel-good show. It’s all about celebrating the joy of home cooking and family favourite recipes, so it seems pretty spot-on for Feeding Boys readers!
From stews to fish and chips, and curries to pasta, these really are the kind of family recipes to populate your meal planners week in, week out!
Who is it for?
I’d say it’s aimed at both capable family cooks who love food and rustling tasty meals up, and also for those of us who are partial to cutting a few corners as opposed to making everything from scratch!
The book is broken down into straight-forward chapters, which make it really easy to use when you’re menu planning by food type:
- Brunch, Lunch and Snacks – a great chapter for tapas-style eating which is great if you’re having a group of friends over but don’t want to cook a full meal
- Fish – I’m not hugely adventurous when it comes to fish but I love the look of the red prawn curry and the spiced spin on fish & chips
- Poultry – you can never have too many chicken recipes in your repertoire and there are some corkers in here
- Meat – really great original recipes in this section that will inspire lots of meals for entertaining. If you’re a fan of lamb there’s plenty here!
- Vegetarian – quite a short chapter with some really tasty offerings, but would like to have seen more.
- Desserts – massive chapter! My pudding-king Sam will be delighted about this and I’m going to set him a challenge to choose his favourites to cook for the family this term.
- Salads, Sides and Sauces – there’s some great inspiration here for some different side dishes, which I’m always on the lookout for.
Easy to follow?
Love the simple recipe ideas at the beginning of each chapter packed with easy ideas that you can just throw together in a not a very exact way which typifies on-the-hoof weeknight cooking in our house when you just need a bit of inspiration for a quick meal.
The recipes and instructions are clearly written, with helpful Family Tips and also Shortcuts to keep things real. So you are told how to make things from scratch, but also how you can skip certain steps if you buy ready-made ingredients like hummus if you haven’t got the time or inclination to make your own.
Most of the recipes have images, however I would have liked to have seen little introductions to each recipe to make it clearer what the dish is all about when there isn’t an accompanying image.
Beautiful and light full-page photography of many (but not all) of the recipes, styled in a perfectly imperfect way to reflect the family kitchen vibe of the book. Some nice shots of the presenters, chefs and contestants for fans of the TV series too.
Most likely to cook…
Where do I even begin? There are SO many recipes I want to try. These are the ones that leapt out at me, and ones I’ll be including in my meal plans for September with a few Slimming World tweaks of course!
Salt & Pepper Tofu with Smacked Cucumber Salad – a lush veggie alternative to salt and pepper squid which I think my whole family would love with some egg fried rice on the side.
Roasted Vegetable and Lentil Salad with Goats Cheese – sounds hearty, healthy and tasty
Chicken Bastilla – it’s a spiced Moroccan Chicken Pie topped with filo pastry, and sounds all kinds of good to me.
Smoked Chilli Pork Tacos with Apple & Avocado Salsa sound perfect for taco tuesdays
Swedish Meatballs with Dill Mash – looks like you could easily scale this up for a lovely autumnal meal if you’re feeding a crowd – would satisfy my IKEA meatball cravings for sure!
Roasted Vegetables – sound amazing with figs and pomegranate in… def giving that a whirl.
Rosemary’s One Large Rosti – think this would get demolished and the perfect foil for a vegetarian sausage casserole
Least likely to cook…
Sea Bass Baked in Salt – anything involving cooking a whole fish and putting things in its cavity is a big no-no for me, but that’s not a reflection on the book and more with my own hang-ups!
Would you buy it for a friend?
I think this is a great buy for a family cook who’s looking for inspiration, there’s loads of new things to try to get you away from the same-old same-old.
Rating out of 10:
8 out of 10 – brilliant for family-friendly meals that are a bit more adventurous than the usual weeknight suppers. It just loses a couple of points as I’d like to have seen more vegetarian recipes included.
Disclosure: I have been commissioned by Penguin Random House to share this content with you. All views are my own.