Celebrate! Top Picks from the Chinese Table by Mrs Leong Yee Soo, pdf, 9814634581

  • Full Title: Celebrate! Top Picks from the Chinese Table
  • Autor: Mrs Leong Yee Soo
  • Print Length: 80 pages
  • Publisher: Marshall Cavendish International (Asia) Pte Ltd
  • Publication Date: 
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9814634581
  • ISBN-13: 978-9814634588
  • Download File Format: pdf


Celebrate! Top Picks from the Chinese Table promises to brighten your dinner table with 28 classic recipes from The Best of Singapore’s Recipes series, a six-book collection of favourites from the late Mrs Leong Yee Soo, culinary matriarch and the foremost authority on Singapore food.

Specially selected to spice up any celebration or gathering, this indispensable collection of recipes includes all-time favourites such as seven-treasure steamed duck, yu sang and braised hot pot as well as traditional crowd-pleasing snacks such as spicy prawn rolls, pineapple tarts and kuih bangkit.

With entertaining snippets on the diets of the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac, this book makes an ideal gift and is an absolute must-have for all occasions!


About the Author

The late Mrs Leong Yee Soo represented the last bastion of Peranakan cooks whose attention to detail is legendary and for whom cooking skills were developed to a fine art. In this invaluable collection of favourite Singapore recipes, she imparts all her wealth of expertise and gives it that distinctive flavour as only she knew how. From her decades of cooking experience, you can expect only the very best from each family recipe.



is wine gluten free, wine guide, biscuit recipe, types of steak cooked, chicken dishes,
how many carbs per day on keto, spinach lasagna, american coffee, easy dinner ideas, vegan chocolate, he cuts of foods, the temperature of your ingredients, etc… Use your better judgment when cooking to determine when foods are cooked to your liking. The great thing about an air fryer is that you can very easily remove the drawer at any time during the cooking process to see how things are going.

Table of Contents




If You are Brand New to Air-Frying…

Converting Recipes to Your Air Fryer

General Tips for Air-Frying


Recipe Rules

Snacks and Appetizers

Charred Shishito Peppers

Crispy Spiced Chickpeas

Buffalo Wings

Cherry Chipotle BBQ Chicken Wings

Honey-Mustard Chicken Wings

Popcorn Chicken Bites

Beer Battered Onion Rings

Homemade French Fries

Skinny Fries


Parmesan Fries

Crabby Fries

Spanakopita (Spinach, Feta and Pinenut Phyllo Bites)

Potato Chips with Sour Cream and Onion Dip

Grilled Ham and Muenster Cheese on Raisin Bread

Arancini with Sun-dried Tomatoes and Mozzarella

Cheesy Pigs in a Blanket

Warm Spinach Dip with Pita Chips

Crab Rangoon Dip with Wonton Chips

Spiced Nuts

Pork Pot Stickers with Yum Yum Sauce

Shrimp Egg Rolls

Blooming Onion

Zucchini Fries with Roasted Garlic Aïoli

Breads and Breakfast

Cheddar Cheese Biscuits

Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Glaze

Hashbrown Potatoes Lyonnaise

Roasted Vegetable Frittata

Western Frittata

Roasted Tomato and Cheddar Rolls

Bacon Puff Pastry Pinwheels

Soft Pretzels

Seasoned Herbed Sourdough Croutons

Crunchy French Toast Sticks

Bacon, Broccoli and Swiss Cheese Bread Pudding

Garlic Bread Knots

Pepperoni Pizza Bread

Ham and Cheddar Gritters

Country Gravy

All-in-One Breakfast Toast

Steak and Burgers

Marinated Rib-Eye Steak with Herb Roasted Mushrooms

Pepper Steak

Asian Glazed Meatballs

Provolone Stuffed Meatballs

Carne Asada

Tomato-Corn Salsa

Zesty London Broil

Bacon Wrapped Filets Mignons

Easy Red Wine Butter Sauce

Chicken Fried Steak with Gravy

Red Curry Flank Steak

Dijon Thyme Burgers

Mexican Cheeseburgers

Inside Out Cheeseburgers

Pork and Lamb

Honey Mesquite Pork Chops

Spicy Hoisin BBQ Pork Chops

Bacon, Blue Cheese and Pear Stuffed Pork Chops

Apple Cornbread Stuffed Pork Loin with Apple Gravy

Pork Schnitzel with Dill Sauce

Mustard and Rosemary Pork Tenderloin with Fried Apples

Rack of Lamb with Pistachio Crust

Lamb Koftas (meatballs)

Cucumber-Yogurt Dip

Lamb Burger with Feta and Olives

Chicken and Poultry

Honey Lemon Thyme Glazed Cornish Hen

Crispy Duck with Cherry Sauce

Sweet Chili Spiced Chicken

Tandoori Chicken Legs

Pickle Brined Fried Chicken

Spinach and Feta Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Jerk Chicken Drumsticks

Philly Chicken Cheesesteak Stromboli

Tortilla Crusted Chicken Breasts

Thai Chicken Drumsticks

Apricot Glazed Chicken Thighs

Chicken Wellington

Parmesan Chicken Fingers Tandoori Chicken Legs

Fish and Seafood

Sea Bass with Potato Scales and Caper Aïoli

Black Cod with Grapes, Fennel, Pecans and Kale

Fish Sticks with Tartar Sauce

Spicy Fish Street Tacos with Sriracha Slaw

Fish and “Chips”

Tartar Sauce

Maple Balsamic Glazed Salmon

Coconut Shrimp

Crab Cakes

Sherry Sauce

Nutty Shrimp with Amaretto Glaze

Lemon-Dill Salmon Burgers

Lemon-Dill Mayonnaise

Vegetarian Main Dishes

Cauliflower Steaks Gratin

Roasted Vegetable Lasagna


Spinach and Cheese Calzone

Roasted Vegetable Stromboli

Stuffed Zucchini Boats

Eggplant Parmesan

Broccoli Cheddar Stuffed Potatoes

Mushroom, Zucchini and Black Bean Burgers

Curried Potato, Cauliflower and Pea Turnovers

Asparagus, Mushroom and Cheese Soufflés


Steak Fries

Seasoning Salt

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

Salt and Pepper Baked Potatoes

Mini Hasselback Potatoes

Rosemary Roasted Potatoes with Lemon

Parsnip Fries with Romesco Sauce

Roasted Herbed Shiitake Mushrooms

Roasted Ratatouille Vegetables

Florentine Stuffed Tomatoes

Sesame Carrots and Sugar Snap Peas

Spicy Fried Green Beans

Fried Cauliflower with Parmesan Lemon Dressing

Fried Eggplant Balls

Fried Pearl Onions with Balsamic Vinegar and Basil

Roasted Garlic and Thyme Tomatoes


Chocolate Soufflés

Boston Cream Donut Holes

Bananas Foster Bread Pudding

Caramel Apple Crumble

Puff Pastry Apples

Molten Chocolate Almond Cakes

Mixed Berry Hand Pies

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

Fried Banana S’mores

Glazed Cherry Turnovers

Orange Gooey Butter Cake

Nutella® Torte

A Little More…


Roasted Onions

Roasted Bell Pepper

Roasted Garlic

Fried Tofu

Toasted Nuts

Blue Jean Chef Pizza Dough

Corn Tortilla Chips

Cooking Time Charts

About the Author

Blue Jean Chef Favorites

Super Easy Recipes




David Venable

If you’re like me, you’re always looking for new and creative ways to get delicious food on the table. Food that is simple to prepare, family-friendly, and better for the ones we love. My friend Meredith Laurence, aka The Blue Jean Chef, has done just that with her new cookbook titled Air Fry Everything! It’s a new collection of recipes featuring the air fryer to deliver crispy, mouthwatering results in a fraction of the time and with less fat and oil.

For 15 years on QVC, Meredith has been our teacher in the kitchen and her new cookbook delivers what we love to eat in record time. Having sold over 100,000 air fryers on QVC, I hear first-hand from our Foodies who are clamoring for more recipes for this unique appliance. In Air Fry Everything!, Meredith delivers what you’ve been asking for, with tasty favorites such as Buffalo Wings, Bacon Wrapped Filets, Fried Banana S’mores, and a special recipe I requested—Philly Chicken Cheesesteak Stromboli. It makes me want to do the “Happy Dance” just thinking about it.

Every page in the book and each one of the over 130 recipes will inspire you to think about your air fryer in a brand new way. More of my favorites include Puff Pastry Apples, Honey Mesquite Pork Chops, and Beer Battered Onion Rings. Meredith’s energetic style is contagious and shines through in every delicious dish. As always, she makes you feel comfortable in the kitchen with her easy, confident approach to cooking and in this case, air frying!

Air Fry Everything! will become your go-to recipe collection for family dinners, parties, and everyday snacks. I know you’ll enjoy every lip-smacking bite.

Keep it flavorful,

David Venable

Host, In The Kitchen with David®



I’ve been getting older these last few years. And as I get older, I find myself more resistant to new gadgets and gizmos, new devices and crazes. I guess many of us find ourselves changing in this way, but that is why it is astonishing that I have become absolutely besotted and enamored with air fryers. Air fryers are the latest greatest addition to the world of kitchen electronics, but they do sound a little gimmicky, and it is rather in the nature of a gimmick to be a passing fad without purpose. I’m not drawn to passing fads, so when I first heard about an air fryer, I doubted that it would be a useful tool for me in my kitchen. I had survived for so many years without one.

Then, I tried it. I made steak frites. The frites were pretty good (good enough to motivate me to tweak my technique to perfect them) and made with so little oil that I felt perfectly guilt-free. The steak, however, was outrageously good. Nicely browned and seared on the outside and so very juicy inside. It was so good that I was convinced that if only for cooking steaks, an air fryer would be a worthwhile investment. The air fryer had planted its hook in me.

So, I tried more things. The more I tried, the more I liked this new appliance – no longer a gimmick in my mind, but a useful, efficient and multi-purpose tool. Now, I can’t imagine the inconvenience of being without one. It sits on my counter, next to my neglected and disgruntled oven, and is used daily, whether it’s to make a full meal, or just to heat leftovers, or toast some bread or make quick croutons. It’s quick, efficient and effective. If it were applying for a job in my kitchen, it would be hired on the spot!

As the Blue Jean Chef, I share most of what I do in the kitchen with people because I am passionate about helping people be successful and comfortable in their kitchens – as comfortable as they’d be in their blue jeans. And so, I am sharing my new passion with you again – this time in the form of air-frying. It’s easy, it’s fun, it’s quick and it gives great results. What sort of person would I be if I held that from you?

If You are Brand New to Air Frying…

Air Frying Basics

In the simplest of terms, an air-fryer is a compact cylindrical countertop convection oven. It’s a kitchen appliance that uses superheated air to cook foods, giving results very similar to deep-frying or high-temperature roasting. Many of us have convection ovens in our kitchens. In a standard oven, air is heated and the hot air cooks the food. In a convection oven, air is heated and then blown around by a fan. This creates more energy and consequently cooks foods faster and more evenly. Air fryers use the same technology as convection ovens, but instead of blowing the air around a large rectangular box, it is blown around in a compact cylinder and the food sits in a perforated basket. This is much more efficient and creates an intense environment of heat from which the food cannot escape. The result is food with a crispy brown exterior and moist tender interior – results similar to deep-frying, but without all the oil and fat needed to deep-fry. In fact, when you are air-frying, you usually use no more than one tablespoon of oil!

Better still, an air fryer doesn’t just cook foods that you would usually deep-fry. It can cook any foods that you would normally cook in your oven or microwave as well. It is a great tool for re-heating foods without making them rubbery, and is a perfect and quick way to prepare ingredients as well as make meals. To me, it is the best new kitchen appliance that has been introduced in recent years.

Health Benefits

Obviously, because it can produce results similar to deep-frying using a tiny fraction of the oil needed to deep-fry, the health benefits are apparent. When deep-frying, you submerge the food in oil and oil is inevitably absorbed by the food. In an air fryer, you still use oil because oil is what helps crisp and brown many foods, but you really don’t need more than one tablespoon at a time. Instead of putting the tablespoon of oil in the air fryer, you simply toss foods with oil and then place them in the air fryer basket. In fact, spraying the foods lightly with oil is an even easier way to get foods evenly coated with the least amount of oil. Investing in a kitchen spray bottle is a great idea if you have an air fryer.

Quick and Energy Efficient

We all know that sometimes it can take fifteen to twenty minutes to pre-heat our standard ovens. Because the air fryer is so compact, that pre-heat time is cut down to two or three minutes! That’s a huge savings in time as well as energy. In the summer, you can pre-heat your air fryer and not heat up the whole kitchen. In addition, the intense heat created in the air fryer cooks foods quickly, about 20% faster than in an oven, so you’re saving time and energy there as well. No one these days seems to have time to spare, so this should please everyone!

Safe and Easy to Use

Air-frying is safer and easier than deep-frying. Most air fryers have settings for time and temperature. You simply enter both and press start. It doesn’t get much easier than that! When deep-frying, you have to heat a large pot of oil on the stovetop, use a deep-frying thermometer to register the temperature and then monitor the heat below the pot to maintain that temperature. On top of it all, you are dealing with a lot of oil, which can be heavy to move, dangerous if it gets too hot, and is cumbersome and annoying to drain and dispose of. Why bother if you can get the same results so much more easily with an air fryer?

Clean and Tidy

I didn’t earn the “Miss Tidy Bed” badge in brownies for no reason! I love keeping the kitchen clean and tidy when I’m cooking and after I’ve been cooking. The air fryer fits into my world perfectly. It cooks foods in a contained space and that keeps the food from splattering anywhere. Period. It is simple and straightforward to clean and keep clean, and you know what they say about cleanliness…

Using Air Fryers to Prepare Ingredients

So often, I find myself turning to the air fryer to cook ingredients for meals that might not even call for an air fryer. Don’t underestimate the convenience of quickly toasting some nuts for a salad, or roasting a pepper for pasta, or quickly cooking bacon for an egg sandwich. Ingredients in recipes often come with a qualifier – “walnuts, toasted”, or “bread cubes, toasted” – and the air fryer comes to the rescue, once again saving precious time.

Converting Recipes

Converting From Traditional Recipes

You can use your air fryer to cook recipes that have instructions for cooking in the oven. Because the heat in the air fryer is more intense than a standard oven, reduce the suggested temperature by 25°F – 50°F and cut the time by roughly 20%. So, if a recipe calls for cooking at 400°F for 20 minutes, air-fry at 370°F for about 16 minutes. You can also refer to the cooking charts in this book on page 238 to help determine the right cooking time for foods. Remember to turn foods over halfway through the cooking time (as you would in a skillet or on the grill) and check the foods for your desired degree of doneness as you approach the finish line.

Converting From Packaged Foods Instructions

The same rule applies to prepared foods that you might buy at the grocery store. If a bag of frozen French fries suggests cooking in the oven at 450°F for 18 minutes, air fry the fries at 400°F and start checking them at 15 minutes, remembering to shake the basket once or twice during the cooking process to help the fries brown evenly.

Converting to Different Sized Air-Fryers

Larger air fryers can make life a little easier, especially if you’re cooking for 4 or more people. Because the baskets in these air fryers are larger, you can cook more food at one time and do not have to cook the food in batches as specified in many of these recipes. Just remember not to over-fill the air fryer basket, since that will just slow down the overall cooking time and result in foods that are not as crispy as you’d like them to be.

In addition, some larger air fryers with more power might cook foods slightly faster than smaller, lower wattage air fryers. This will not be a significant difference, but might save you a couple of minutes on some recipes. As with all things you cook in the air fryer, it makes sense to pull open the air fryer drawer and check the foods as they cook. That way, you’ll avoid over-cooking anything.

General Tips for Air-Frying

Preparing to air-fry

•Find the right place for your air fryer in your kitchen. Always keep your air fryer on a level, heat-resistant countertop and make sure there are at least five inches of space behind the air fryer where the exhaust vent is located.

•Pre-heat your air fryer before adding your food. This is easy – just turn the air fryer on to the temperature that you need and set the timer for 2 or 3 minutes. When the timer goes off, the air fryer has pre-heated and is ready for food.

•Invest in a kitchen spray bottle. Spraying oil on the food is easier than drizzling or brushing, and allows you to use less oil overall. While you can buy oil sprays in cans, sometimes there are aerosol agents in those cans that can break down the non-stick surface on your air fryer basket. So, if you want to spray foods directly in the basket, invest in a hand-pumped kitchen spray bottle. It will be worth it!

•Use the proper breading technique. Breading is an important step in many air fryer recipes. Don’t skip a step! It is important to coat foods with flour first, then egg and then the breadcrumbs. Be diligent about the breadcrumbs and press them onto the food with your hands. Because the air fryer has a powerful fan as part of its mechanism, breading can sometimes blow off the food. Pressing those crumbs on firmly will help the breading adhere.

•Get the right accessories. Once you start air frying, you may want to invest in some accessories for your new favorite appliance. Truth is, you may already have some! Any baking dishes or cake pans that are oven-safe should be air fryer-safe as well, as long as they don’t come in contact with the heating element. The only stipulation, of course, is that the accessory pan has to be able to fit inside the air fryer basket.

•Use an aluminum foil sling. Getting accessory pieces into and out of the air fryer basket can be tricky. To make it easier, fold a piece of aluminum foil into a strip about 2-inches wide by 24-inches long. Place the cake pan or baking dish on the foil and by holding the ends of the foil, you’ll be able to lift the pan or dish and lower it into the air fryer basket. Fold or tuck the ends of the aluminum foil into the air fryer basket, and then return the basket to the air fryer. When you’re ready to remove the pan, unfold and hold onto the ends of the aluminum foil to lift the pan out of the air fryer basket.

While you are air-frying

•Add water to the air fryer drawer when cooking fatty foods. Adding water to the drawer underneath the basket helps prevent grease from getting too hot and smoking. Do this when cooking bacon, sausage, even burgers if they are particularly fatty.

•Use toothpicks to hold foods down. Every once in a while, the fan from the air fryer will pick up light foods and blow them around. So, secure foods (like the top slice of bread on a sandwich) with toothpicks.

•Don’t overcrowd the basket. I can’t stress this enough. It’s tempting to try to cook more at one time, but over-crowding the basket will prevent foods from crisping and browning evenly and take more time over all.

•Flip foods over halfway through the cooking time. Just as you would if you were cooking on a grill or in a skillet, you need to turn foods over so that they brown evenly.

•Open the air fryer as often as you like to check for doneness. This is one of the best parts of air fryers – you can open that drawer as often as you like (within reason) to check to see how the cooking process is coming along. This will not interrupt the timing of most air fryers – the fryer will either continue heating and timing as you pull the basket out, or pick up where it left off when you return the basket to the fryer.

•Shake the basket. Shaking the basket a couple of times during the cooking process will re-distribute the ingredients and help them to brown and crisp more evenly.

•Spray with oil part way through. If you are trying to get the food to brown and crisp more, try spritzing it with oil part way through the cooking process. This will also help the food to brown more evenly.

After you air-fry

•Remove the air fryer basket from the drawer before turning out foods. This is very important and it’s a mistake you’ll only make once. If you invert the basket while it is still lock
raspberry leaf tea, low fat snacks, gateau, baked ziti, pork loin recipes, own the length of the garden. They seem quite happy with this arrangement, clucking animatedly every time one of us walks by, particularly the super-noisy Pearl, named for her gorgeous pale grey plumage, who is the only one who likes to be handled. I shan’t pretend keeping hens has been entirely straightforward, but the eggs they provide, three or four every day, are truly joyous and worth every penny of the wooden run, the food and the bedding.

A Good Egg charts the year in my kitchen. It is not an egg cookery bible, but rather a seasonal diary of all that I did with my eggs, and the food I grew and gathered to eat alongside them.

The changing seasons are one of the most wonderful things about living in Britain. Like many people who live on this island I like to moan about the weather, but really I relish the change in tempo and mood the seasons bring. Not for me the endless sultry twelve-hour days and nights of the tropics – give me cold frosty mornings and balmy long summer nights any day. I have always been a keen gardener, but now with the arrival of the chickens in my urban plot I have a new and intimate connection to the seasons. Daily forays up and down the garden to feed them scraps from the kitchen and collect the eggs mean that this year, more than ever before, I have been in tune with what is going on outside my back door. And that connection not only makes me feel vital and alive, it has reinvigorated my cooking – and gardening – no end.

Cooking for me is driven by seasonality, simplicity and taste. I am not replicating fancy restaurant food at home, but cooking for pleasure and to provide myself, and my family and friends, with something delicious to eat. And if some of the ingredients – eggs, fruit, vegetables and herbs – come from my garden, the happier I am. I am naturally drawn to the cuisine of the countries around the Mediterranean – Spain, Italy, Turkey, Morocco and Tunisia, in particular – as well as India and the Far East, and so herbs and spices play a vital role in my kitchen. This is due, in no small part, to a love of travel instilled in me as a child by my mum. She ignited a spark of curiosity about the way other people live and eat that still burns bright today, influencing my kitchen, and my kitchen garden.

Growing a few good things to eat brings me immense contentment and satisfaction. I am a working mum so most of my food shopping, out of necessity, happens in a manic trolley dash around the supermarket. But cooking something I have nurtured from seed, protected from frosts, garden pests and over-zealous pets, takes the pleasure I gain from eating to a whole new level. A plate of ripe figs, split open while still warm from the tree, drizzled with olive oil and eaten with creamy ricotta and torn basil leaves was one of my salad highlights of the year. Another triumph was the fat, deeply coloured stems of purple sprouting broccoli, surely the best I have ever eaten, the taste no doubt enhanced by the full twelve months it took to get them from seed to plate. Getting my hands dirty, feeling my way through the soil, adapting our eating to what is available outside, with all the failures and successes, makes me appreciate my food all the more. My children are just as frustratingly fussy as other people’s, and would quite happily eat fish fingers slathered in ketchup every day. But I know that by planting and nurturing our own produce, and cooking and eating it with them, in time my children will grow to see the value in good food.

What follows is a record of our year of good eating, from exquisite Portuguese custard tarts in spring to toffee-apple doughnuts around a bonfire in autumn, a warming Malaysian egg curry for a winter night, and a cake for, almost, every weekend of the year. All thanks to the garden, and the girls.

All the eggs I use in these recipes are large, unless otherwise stated.


A chink of light

SPRING IS A season of mixed emotions, the weather one day teasing us with a little warm sun, the next day plunging us back into the cold again. Cruelly, snow often seems to come in March, just as we feel we have finally come through the tunnel of another long winter. So eating in spring can be an up-and-down affair, cooking following closely the variable moods of the moment. With the arrival of the chickens I find myself tracking the minute changes in the garden that indicate spring is coming, and this brings me immense joy as I plan for the growing season ahead.

There comes a moment when I finally breathe a quiet sigh of relief, realizing that spring is here: the new season has begun. The flower buds on the magnolia stellata outside my desk window become so plump and fluffy they look like they might burst open at the merest touch. In the woods I spot the first shoots of wild garlic peeping through the woodland floor, tantalizing me with how delicious they will be in a few weeks’ time. A little later, the buds on the wisteria have grown and differentiated to the point where I can tell which are going to be leaves and which will turn into precious, headily scented flowers. This, for me, marks the true onset of spring. Change accelerates quickly afterwards.

This is also when I plant the first of the year’s seeds. Right now I have two types of chilli, Padrón and Cayenne, in a propagator under my desk. I also have a couple of trays of peas, and one of broad beans. Here they will benefit from the floor-length window as they germinate into life. There are no shoots yet but I check them every day, just in case. One morning they will surprise and delight me. Outside the overwintering edible plants are also making good progress now the days are lengthening. I notice the first dark buds appearing on the stems of the purple sprouting broccoli, indicating that soon, at last, there will be something to harvest. I planted plenty, taking a some-for-us, some-for-the-chickens approach to my sowing. Under its terracotta forcing pot, the rhubarb plant is slowly coming out of winter dormancy, its tight pink buds unfurling into crunched-up crinkly leaves. The bare branches of the grapevine show the merest of swellings just under the surface. Happily it won’t be long before it too surges back into life.

The chickens sense change too. They seem more active, and are very perky and vocal when I go into the garden. Finally I take off the wooden boards that shelter half of their run from the worst of the winter weather, instantly giving them more air and sunlight, like opening up the shutters on a dusty room. Sadly for them, they cannot yet free-range in the garden. The tender and tasty shoots emerging all over the place would be devoured in seconds if I let the hens roam unwatched, and the garden would be finished before it had even got going. To compensate, I give the chickens extra treats. Deeply ferrous leaves from the cavolo nero, slightly past-it bananas and stale cake are all great favourites. Once the young plants are more established, the hens will be allowed some time to forage by themselves.

Spring’s recipes are about revitalizing and lifting the mood.


Pastéis de Belém

Smoked salmon & chive soufflé

Rhubarb & rosewater pavlova

Omelette with Caerphilly & wild garlic

Mocha éclairs

Herby French toast with sun-blush tomatoes, avocado & crispy bacon

Chinese egg & prawn custard, with stir-fried greens and rice

Sticky toffee pudding

Purple sprouting broccoli with lemony hollandaise


Wild garlic, spinach & pecorino gnocchi with tomato sauce

Classic hot cross buns

Rhubarb & custard tart

Pasta ‘carbonara’ with cavolo nero

Béarnaise sauce

Apricot and hazelnut roulade

Watercress & brie flamiche

Crispy bacon, asparagus & egg salad with creamy mustard dressing

Stem ginger, raisin & whisky steamed pudding


Coffee & walnut cake

Crab & egg ‘brik’

Huevos revueltos with asparagus & prawns

Fig & oloroso upside-down cake

Stir-fried vegetable noodles with chilli egg and soy salmon

Greek lemon, egg & asparagus soup

Indian spiced potato pancakes with coriander & tomato chutney

Bacon & fried egg sarnie

3rd March

Pastéis de Belém – warm Portuguese custard tarts

I first tasted pastéis de Belém on holiday in Lisbon when I was a child, and so exquisite were they that I have not forgotten the taste nearly three decades later. Many, if not most, of my pleasurable memories centre around food. Lucky for me then that my mum, a single parent, worked exceptionally hard to take us on a foreign holiday as often as she could afford, opening our eyes wide to a wonderful edible world out there. For this I will always be grateful.

I distinctly remember the café in which we ate the tarts: sombre waiters in stiff black and white uniforms, walls covered in blue-and-white-patterned ceramic tiles, the whirring ceiling fans and the hiss of the espresso machine, and most of all the tarts themselves. Crisp, flaky pastry filled to the brim with wobbly, vanilla-scented custard, the finishing touches a dusting of cinnamon and a caramelized top. So much more of a treat than our own English custard tarts, which were soggy and stodgy by comparison.

Now with such a plentiful supply of eggs I have no excuse not to make them myself. They are pretty straightforward, but you’ll need nerves of steel and an exceptionally hot oven to get the all-important caramelization. They are best eaten within a few hours of being made – they are so delicious this shouldn’t pose a problem.

Makes 12

300ml milk

1 vanilla pod, split lengthways

175g caster sugar

25g plain flour, plus extra for dusting

3 egg yolks

1 whole egg

375g pack of ready-rolled puff pastry (use half and save the rest)

1 heaped tsp ground cinnamon

Vegetable oil for greasing

Make the custard filling: pour the milk into a small saucepan, add the vanilla pod and bring gently up to just below boiling point. Turn off the heat and set the milk aside to infuse for 15 minutes.

Put the sugar in a large bowl and sift over the flour, mixing together well, then beat in the egg yolks and whole egg until you have a thick creamy paste. Remove the vanilla pod from the milk, scraping in the seeds as you go, and discard the pod. Pour the vanilla-scented milk into the bowl and beat together until really well mixed. The custard requires no further cooking now, and needs to go completely cold so it doesn’t overcook when it bakes.

Cut the roll of pastry in half through the middle, saving one half for another recipe. Unroll it, evenly sprinkle over the cinnamon, then reroll tightly. Wrap in clingfilm and chill in the freezer for 20 minutes.

When the custard is cold and the pastry chilled and firm, turn on your oven to its highest setting – mine goes to 240°C – and let it get up to temperature. Brush the insides of a 12-hole muffin tray with a little vegetable oil. Cut the roll of pastry into twelve 5–7mm-thick discs. Take each disc and flatten it on a lightly floured worktop using the palm of your hand. The aim is to get the pastry as thin as you can without creating any holes. Use the flattened discs to line the muffin tin. Pour the cold custard evenly into each, taking care not to spill any over the edges – I find a jug the easiest way of doing this.

Very quickly open the oven, set the tray on the highest shelf and close it again. The oven will be fiercely hot and it’s important not to lose the heat. Cook the tarts for 10–12 minutes, by which time the pastry will be crisp and the surface of the tarts speckled with deep dark patches. Be brave – you are treading a fine line between caramelized custard and burnt pastry.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature.

6th March

Smoked salmon & chive soufflé


I would hate to give the impression that I regularly cook soufflés on a weeknight, especially just for myself. My cooking normally resides rather more squarely in the real world than that. But I was home alone, and I can’t deny that this is exactly what I did. I had a bit of leftover smoked salmon in the fridge that sorely needed a good home, and I fancied trying something new. The kids had gone to bed, the menagerie had been fed and the house was blissfully, finally, quiet. This time of day is my favourite time to cook, just me and a glass of wine as I potter, taste, chop and stir. No one to please but myself, and what could be more relaxing than that?

Serves 1, or 2 as a starter

25g unsalted butter

20g flour

150ml milk

2 tbsp mascarpone or full-fat cream cheese

1 egg, separated

1 tbsp finely chopped chives

50g smoked salmon, chopped, plus a little extra to garnish

Salt & freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas 4. You will need 2 small ramekins or 1 individual, straight-sided pie dish.

Melt the butter in a saucepan over a low heat. Brush a little melted butter inside the ramekins or pie dish, and add the flour to the rest in the pan. Stir to form a roux, which will look a little like wet sand. Pour in the milk and whisk until you have a thick, smooth, white sauce. Turn off the heat. Stir through the mascarpone or cream cheese, followed by the egg yolk, chives and salmon, stirring well to mix evenly. Season generously.

In a clean bowl, whisk the egg white until stiff. Using a metal spoon, fold the egg white through the soufflé mixture in a figure-of-eight motion. Take care not to over-mix or you will knock valuable air out. Pour into the prepared ramekins or dish and bake in the oven for 20–25 minutes for smaller soufflés, or 25–30 minutes for a larger one.

Garnish with a few extra strips of smoked salmon and eat immediately.

10th March

Rhubarb & rosewater pavlova


I love rhubarb so much I have just planted a second clump in the garden, this time a ‘Champagne’ variety known for its vibrant pink stems. Unfortunately it won’t be ready to harvest for at least a year, and my original plant has not yet grown enough for me to pull out any stems, so I have to be content to buy rhubarb for a little while longer.

This pudding was unashamedly feminine, the thin, pale pink stems enhanced to another level of ‘girlishness’ by the addition of rosewater. That’s not to say the men didn’t enjoy eating it as much as we did. Meringue, cream and fruit seem to have been invented for each other. As a final flourish I drizzle a little extra honey over the pavlova, not for extra sweetness, but because it makes it even prettier.

I make meringues in my trusty food mixer, but an electric whisk in a large bowl would do the job just as well. I wouldn’t, however, contemplate making them by hand – it sounds to me like too much work.

Enough for about 6, depending on greed

For the meringue:

3 egg whites

200g caster sugar (or double the weight of the egg whites)

1 tbsp rosewater

For the filling:

400g young pink rhubarb stems, cut into 4–5cm lengths

50g caster sugar

300ml double cream

2 tbsp runny honey, plus a little for drizzling

4 tbsp full-fat Greek yogurt

1–2 tbsp rosewater

Preheat the oven to 100°C/Gas ¼. Line a baking tray with baking paper.

Tip the egg whites into the very clean bowl of a food mixer and whisk until stiff. Add about a third of the sugar and whisk until completely combined, then add a third more and whisk again. Add the final third and whisk on high for 2 minutes. Pour in the rosewater and whisk once more for a further minute to ensure it is thoroughly mixed. Scrape the meringue into a pile in the centre of the baking tray and use a spatula to spread out to a circle of about 23–24cm diameter. Hollow out the centre a little so the sides stand a couple of centimetres higher. Bake for 2½ hours, after which it should lift cleanly off the baking paper. If it doesn’t, return to the oven for another few minutes. Remove and allow to cool completely, then transfer to a serving plate.

Lay the rhubarb in a single layer in a shallow pan – I used a deep frying pan. Add a little water, just 2 tablespoons or so, and sprinkle over the sugar. Set over a medium heat, cover tightly with a lid or foil, and poach for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow to cool.

Whisk the cream with the honey in a large bowl until lightly whipped but not too stiff. Fold through the yogurt and stir in rosewater to taste. Then, using a large metal spoon, lightly fold in half the rhubarb, along with a little of the syrup. Don’t mix too thoroughly: you want to marble the fruit through the cream.

Spoon into the centre of the cool me
new orleans cuisine, 40th birthday cakes for men, healthy recipes blog, chicken butter masala, design a cake, dishes. The whole family is happier, and we can finally enjoy mealtimes again.

Since becoming a mom, I’ve discovered that being a parent is largely about being challenged all the time. Whether you work outside the home or stay at home with your children, parenting is just plain difficult, and mealtimes are often an unpleasant pressure point. All we want is to make simple, fast, nutritious meals that our kids will actually eat. But after just one experience of watching a child throw our best efforts onto the floor, or refuse to eat, we just want to give up. Who has that kind of time—and food—to waste?

The recipes in Deceptively Delicious changed that equation for me.

This book is nothing more than one mom’s coping skills. We all have shortcuts and wisdom we learn from our own mothers, from friends, and from the best teacher of all—failure. But there’s no reason why everyone has to repeat the same mistakes. You should know that for every recipe in this book, I’ve tried ten others that no one—and I mean no one—liked. I’ve endured the catastrophes so you don’t have to.

I’m not a professional chef—far from it—and these recipes require no training or kitchen knowledge whatsoever. Each one has been tested—relentlessly—on my own kids and other families with young children. And when I found the gems that worked for me, I enlisted the help of a wonderful kid-friendly chef, Jennifer Iserloh, to distill my research into practical recipes any family can enjoy.

I’ve chosen dishes that I’m confident children and parents will feel comfortable with because they’re the familiar ones that kids love already—macaroni and cheese, tacos, chicken nuggets, pizza, pancakes, and brownies. The recipes were developed for speed and ease, and most of them are doable in thirty minutes or less, with only five to twenty minutes of actual work. (Total cooking time, as well as prep time, are listed at the top of each recipe.) And they all conform to nutrition expert Joy Bauer’s rigorous standards of nutrition.

But if there’s one thing I’ve learned both from cooking these recipes, and from having three strong-willed children, it is this: ensuring your family’s nutrition requires much more than just the ability to follow a recipe. To make every meal (or nearly every meal) a healthful one, you need a system that works for your family’s lifestyle.

So, in addition to the simple, family-friendly meals contained in here, you’ll also find tips and suggestions from other parents with young children that could inspire and help you in your own home.

Organization is key: being prepared makes the most of your precious time and will give you the confidence to cook. So before you even get to the recipes, I’ve laid out a strategy for gathering a collection of must-have kitchen utensils; stocking your kitchen pantry so that you always have staple ingredients on hand; and, of course, making the purees. Once you’ve got your kitchen in order, you’ll find that cooking is the fun and easy part.

I’ve also gotten advice from two parenting experts, Jean Mandelbaum and Pat Shimm; and I’ve included their wisdom in the book as a series of tips running throughout. You’ll see that I’m the sort of mom who likes rules—I work best with structure—so I’m giving you the rules that I use in my household. It’s what works for me, but, of course, the best methods are the ones that work for you and your family.

The day that Jerry and I came home from the hospital with our first child, Sascha, we looked at each other and said, “Okay, now what?” We had no idea what we were doing—we were so clueless. We couldn’t believe they let us leave with her! But there’s no recipe to parenting, and I’ve spent every day of the ensuing six years just trying to figure it all out, solving problems and putting out fires. I find that these days I actually enjoy the process of solving parenting problems—I don’t mind failing now and then until I find a better way.

I hope that this book will give you the same confidence, or at least, ensure that you never again have to hear yourself say, “Eat your vegetables!” But more than anything, I hope Deceptively Delicious will give you the tools you need to give your family good, healthful, and peaceful meals.


WOULDN’T IT BE great if kids came into the world with the innate desire to eat the right foods?

In reality, however, too many food choices—many of them unhealthy—make it impossible for kids to distinguish the good from the bad. It’s up to us as parents to make choices for them, at least until they are able to figure things out for themselves.

And it’s not realistic to simply disregard their food aversions, either. Forcing your kids to eat foods they hate only reinforces their distaste.

That’s where a little loving deception comes in handy. Deceptively Delicious enables parents to give kids what they want and what they need at the same time. It acknowledges your kids’ genuine dislikes without being confined by them. It empowers you to exert some legitimate control over what your children eat, without inviting the usual fights. And most important, it’s a way to give your kids a head start toward eating what’s good for them so that they’ll grow up and eat better food throughout their lives.

Just as the most powerful lessons are the ones that aren’t taught, the best parenting solutions are the ones that build good habits—invisibly. I want my kids to associate food and mealtimes with happiness and conversation, not power struggles and strife. With a little sleight of hand, you can make the issue of what your children will and will not eat disappear from the table.



Hi, I’m JESSICA, and this is my Kitchen Cabinet, my all-important staff of advisors. My three children are my official recipe tasters. They are my toughest critics. If they approve, I am confident that your tasters will too. I’ve also tried these recipes out on their little friends and cousins who come by the house, some of whom are difficult eaters as well.


SASCHA, our oldest, is six years old, and she is my toughest taster. In fact, she is practically impossible to please. From birth, it seems, she has been decisively clear about what she will and won’t eat. She takes a hesitant and apprehensive approach to food and rarely will try anything new. Sweets are the exception, however, and she will try anything that even remotely looks like dessert.


JULIAN, our middle child, is four years old. He’s a good eater if his older sister isn’t around to influence him. On his own, he’s happy to eat what is presented to him, but when he’s with Sascha, he falls prey to whatever she dictates. So all of a sudden, even when I’ve cooked food I know he likes, he’s pushing his plate away and saying, “I don’t like it.” And now I’ve got not one, but two kids who aren’t eating, and with whom I would have spent the rest of the meal negotiating.


SHEPHERD, our “baby,” is two years old, and he is a remarkable eater. He will eat anything. ANYTHING. He will eat himself sick. The first word he spoke was “that,” which was baby talk for “I want THAT food, there, on your plate.”


My husband, JERRY, is a great eater. He’s quite happy to eat vegetables and any healthy food I make, for that matter. In fact, he’ll pretty much go along with whatever’s happening, which is one of the many things that make him such a great husband. And he’s a marvelous taster because, unlike the kids, he’ll say things other than, “Ew, gross, this is disgusting.”


Getting organized will make your life much easier. Follow these four steps to healthful family meals.

1. Equip your kitchen with tools that make cooking easier.

2. Stock your kitchen with staple ingredients that you will use again and again.

3. Make purees, a few at a time, and then portion and freeze them for use in the recipes.

4. The recipes. The deception begins!

If you’ve read this far, you’re ready for action. So here’s my plan.

To encourage your family to eat better, you’ll need to make a few changes in the way you cook. The first step is to put together a number of simple fruit and vegetable purees. You will quickly and easily learn to prepare, cook, puree, and portion the purees. Then the purees will be available to use when they’re called for, just like any other ingredient in my recipes.

I learned from changing my own cooking habits that I needed to recalibrate my brain—I needed a systematic approach to organize myself. And I’m going to show you my system so that you can set things up in your own home to make cooking as efficient as possible.

Theoretically, you can make a puree as you need it, that is, just before you make the recipe in which it’s used. I can tell you, though, that it doesn’t work that way in my house. If I can reach into my freezer and grab a portion of butternut squash, my kids will be eating mac and cheese twenty minutes later, whether I’ve added the squash to my own recipe or to a packaged mix. If the squash isn’t there, it’s back to “Eat your vegetables” for me.

Think of me as your kitchen trainer. I want to encourage you to spend about an hour each week preparing the purees so that you’ll always have them on hand. You certainly won’t want to do it every week (how much do you really want to go to the gym?) but you’ll find that it’s worth it. As change begins to happen, you’ll hardly notice the extra 2–5 minutes it takes to puree, and you’ll increasingly find nooks of time to do it. Pureeing will become a habit, like anything else.



There are a few pieces of special equipment that will help you to become an efficient and accomplished chef de puree.

It’s useful to have both a large piece of equipment (such as a standard-sized food processor or blender) and a smaller one (such as a mini food processor or Magic Bullet); the food processor is best for making a large quantity of purees, but if you find yourself pureeing for just one dish, a mini-chopper is better.


Rice steamer, collapsible steamer, or pasta pot with a drainer basket

Of the three, my favorite is a rice steamer, because I can set the timer and the steamer turns off automatically. I can go off and do things around the house, and the buzzer calls me back to the kitchen when the vegetables are done.


Food processor, Magic Bullet, or blender for pureeing and chopping

Some people like to use a blender, but I prefer a food processor or Magic Bullet (my husband actually bought this from a late-night television promotion and I love it) for chopping and pureeing because the purees come out a little smoother.


Strainer or colander

Cutting board

Vegetable peeler

Large (10-inch) chefs knife

Small paring knife

1- and 2-quart saucepans

6- and 8-quart pots

Kitchen timer

Wooden spoons: small, medium, and large

Measuring cup and spoon

Food storage bags

Black permanent marker to label the puree bags


Plastic storage bins

Scissors (to snip open zipper-lock bags of puree)

Box grater

Waxed paper, aluminum foil, and cooking parchment

Potato ricer or potato masher

Large (12-inch) nonstick skillet and large ovenproof nonstick skillet

Baking dishes

Popsicle mold (2-ounce popsicles)

9×5-inch loaf pan


Heatproof silicone spatula


Mixing bowls

Ice cream scoop for filling muffin cups

12-cup muffin pan; mini-muffin pan or doughnut mold

Large baking sheets

Baking pans (8×8-inch and 9×12-inch)

Cooling rack

9-inch cake pan

9-inch pie plate

Electric mixer (optional, but great to have)

Paper baking cups




Large eggs

Trans-fat-free soft tub margarine spread

Reduced-fat sour cream

Lowfat plain or Greek yogurt

Reduced-fat mayonnaise

Reduced-fat mozzarella and Cheddar cheeses


Lowfat (1%) buttermilk

Reduced-fat cream cheese

Reduced-fat cottage cheese

Nonfat (skim) milk

Wheat germ

Flaxseed meal



Fresh ground pepper


Dried basil

Chili powder


Ground cloves

Ground cumin

Garlic powder

Whole or ground nutmeg

Onion powder

Sweet paprika

Pumpkin pie spice

Dried thyme


Whole-wheat bread

Brown rice


Pastas (preferably whole-grain whole-grain or multi-grain) such as penne, elbows, alphabet, and spaghetti

No-boil lasagna noodles

Whole-wheat tortillas


Whole-wheat flour

All-purpose flour

Oatmeal—old-fashioned and quick-cooking oats

Granulated sugar

Confectioners’ sugar

Light and dark brown sugar

Semisweet or bittersweet baking chocolate

Semisweet chocolate chips

Unsweetened cocoa powder


Pure vanilla extract

Pure lemon extract

Natural applesauce

Dried apricots, prunes, and cherries

Chopped pecans and walnuts


Canola or vegetable oil

Baking soda

Baking powder

Cake mixes (yellow, devil’s food, and brownie)

Instant pancake mix

Lowfat graham crackers



Olive oil

Nonstick cooking spray

Natural peanut butter (I love the Peanut Butter & Co. brand, carried at most major and gourmet supermarkets)

Reduced-fat low-sodium chicken broth

Reduced-fat low-sodium beef broth

Canned tomatoes—crushed and whole

Canned chickpeas

Canned beets

Canned navy beans

Canned kidney beans

Solid pack pumpkin (not pumpkin-pie mix)

Crushed pineapple (packed in juice)

High-quality bottled pasta sauce

Unsweetened coconut

Breadcrumbs: panko,

Italian-style whole wheat, or regular

Balsamic vinegar

Reduced-sodium soy sauce


Worcestershire sauce

Pure maple syrup







Step 1

Set aside time every week.

Plan to go grocery shopping once a week to buy all the fruits and vegetables you need for the week’s worth of purees. In addition, plan to spend one hour a week making the purees. I have a standing date with my husband in the kitchen every Sunday night after the kids have gone to bed. We do a good catch-up and planning meeting for the week ahead while I puree the night away (really, it only takes an hour to make a ton of purees). And when I’m done, I feel so virtuous.

Which vegetables do you buy? Decide which you think your child is most likely to eat. If he is very picky about green vegetables, I’d suggest starting with cauliflower, butternut squash, zucchini, and yellow squash, because they’re easier to conceal.

And how much? Start with one pound of each vegetable, or one head of cauliflower, or one butternut squash. Once you get a stash of purees in your freezer, you can simply replenish it as necessary each week.

You can steal a few minutes here and there at other times during the week, too: when I’ve got the oven on for baking, for example, I’ll throw in a couple of sweet potatoes to roast alongside whatever else I’m cooking.

Step 2

Prepare vegetables and fruits.

1. Wash the veggies and fruits and drain in a colander.

2. Lay out a sheet of waxed paper, a dish towel, or a recycled paper shopping bag (cut so that you can open it out) to collect the trimmings.

3. Prepare the vegetables and fruit as shown.

Sometimes, instead of using fresh produce, I’ll use frozen veggies or just open a can. Canned beets and pineapple, for instance, make fine purees (buy pineapple that’s packed in natural juices, not sugar syrup). Drain before pureeing.

If I’m really in a hurry, I’ll sometimes use the cut-up fresh vegetables that are sold in supermarkets. Check that they look fresh, not dried or discolored.

4. Remember that the good thing about fruits is that they don’t need to be cooked. In certain recipes, even the vegetables don’t need to be cooked—just finely chopped in the food processor. You’ll see that I’ve noted this in recipe headnotes, wherever possible.

Step 3

Cook the vegetables.

Steaming is a great way to cook vegetables because it preserves their nutrients. You can use a rice steamer, a collapsible steamer basket, or a pasta pot with drainer.

1. Peel, trim, and cut up the vegetable as shown.

2. Put about 1 inch of water in the bottom of a pot. Add a steamer basket (without the vegetables), cover, and bring the water to a boil. (Or follow the instructions that come with your rice steamer.)

If you don’t have any other type of steamer, you can also steam in a saucepan: bring ½ inch water to a boil, add the veggies, cover, and steam. But be careful—the water evaporates quickly; if it does, the vegetables may burn.

3. Place the vegetables in the steamer—up to a double layer will steam well—cover, and steam the number of minutes recommended.

If you’re steaming several different batches of vegetables, start each batch with fresh water. Particularly with green vegetables, the steaming water gets bitter and it will turn the vegetables bitter, too.

4. Drain the vegetables in a colander.

Roasting is our friend. It is an easy way to cook sweet potatoes, beets, and butternut squash—just throw the vegetable unpeeled in the oven, set a timer, and forget about it while you go check your e-mail or make a fort with your kids.

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.

2. Prepare the vegetables as recommended, place them on a foil-lined baking sheet, and roast until tender.

3. Set aside until cool enough to handle. Then peel beets, or scoop sweet potato or squash out of the peel with a tablespoon—it should glide right out.

Microwave cooking is fast and requires no special cooking equipment. Since all microwave ovens are different, it’s impossible to give hard and fast cooking times, but you’ll get a handle on it quickly with a little trial and error.

1. Peel, trim, and cut up the vegetables.

2. Put the vegetables in a glass or ceramic container (no metal!). Add 2 tablespoons of wa


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