Do you have shelves of recipe books sitting there waiting to be used? I used to but I gave all my recipe books to the local charity shop – with the exceptions of a book of curry recipes given to me by my daughter a couple of Christmases ago and another on how to cook in my bar-b-que. The reason behind my generosity came about when I located the web site, taste.com.au.
Before this breakthrough I used to sit with my books searching the indices for a meal to suit the family's requests or a craving that had manifested itself during the day. This is a time-consuming and often futile way to find the perfect meal.
Then I discovered taste.com.au and preparing evening meals developed a totally new problem – endless choice. The site has a search facility allowing you to find meals by ingredient, type, cuisine, season, special diet and even by your preferred cooking method.
You still have to spend some time going through the selections but it's much faster than searching a shelf full of books and the more cravings you have the fewer the selections will be. For example, if you have cravings for bacon, spinach and feta with eggs you will probably end up with our family favourite – the Family Spinach and Bacon Pie.
The Family Spinach and Bacon Pie is an easy to make and totally delicious meal when served with a salad. In fact, the recipe has a suggested salad to go with it. Whenever I make this for dinner I do double the recipe and have a spare for lunch the next day.
Unfortunately the warming weather is making my next favourite a bit out of date. This is the best Irish Stew I have ever tasted (and I've tasted a few, even one in Ireland!). I always make it in my slow cooker (or crock pot to us oldies) and I'm not particular about what cut of lamb I use. This is a great, cheap meal that will really warm the insides during the colder months.
Q - Is this a Slow Cooker or Crock Pot? A - Depends on when you were born.
Another in much the same vein as Irish Stew is the Classic Shepherd's Pie. While this is certainly a favourite I never, ever make it as set out in the recipe. My version is not allowed to have celery included (don't tell the others but I do sprinkle a bit a celery salt in). I feel a bit of a fraud nominating this recipe because I make that change from the original ingredients and often wonder how different mine is to the original.
But I'm not as bad as some. Have you ever noticed with web site recipes where people make comments and say things like, 'This is tasteless and looks nothing like the picture. I didn't use the spices in the recipes I used something else and added extra milk to make sure it wasn't dry. I won't be making this again.'? Well they didn't make the recipe anyway!
Another favourite my darling wife and I love, but our daughter doesn't, is Chicken and Cabbage Salad with Yoghurt Herb Dressing. A fantastic meal at any time and the recipe makes up so much you can feed an army. It's a favourite because it is very, very tasty – especially for a salad. We think the tarragon in the dressing really gives it a zing.
Finally we (my beautiful wife and I, forget the kid) have a couple of seafood favourites. Again I don't religiously follow the recipe. I use a marinara mix rather than buying the separate lots of seafood listed in the recipe. The meals are a Seafood Malabar and Seafood Lasagne – I'm getting hungry just thinking about them. By the way, with the Malabar I don't make the coconut sambal. I did make it the first time but it didn't really do anything for us and is a fair bit of trouble to make.
Just one more little treat I can give from taste.com.au is a mustard butter we have with our steak. It's set out in the recipe, Rump Steak with Mustard Butter and Jacket Potatoes. The whole meal is lovely but we all love the mustard butter and I usually make it whenever we are having a steak for dinner.
Well, that's my selection of favourites. What do you think? Do you use taste.com.au or have you got another stash of recipes? Are there other recipes out there in the internet's ether I should know about?