Friday, November 26, 2010

Based on a popular website,,
Who’s Cooking Tonight? is a one-of-a kind cookbook, written by a teenager especially for other teenagers.
Claire Gourley has packed Who’s Cooking Tonight? full of the type of quick and tasty dishes that we all love to cook and eat. It includes step-by-step preparation instructions for the new generation of cooks who don’t want to spend hours preparing or cooking their meals.

The book, a collaboration with her mum Glenda, is all about fun and ease. Although the recipes are tested and nutritionally sound (don’t tell the kids that one!), if Claire didn’t like the recipe, found it too hard or didn’t like the outcome, it went west — nothing is in this book because Glenda thought it should be. Claire decided what went in.

I believe that young people are savvier about their health today than we give them credit for and although we hear lots of horror stories, many want to eat healthily. They just don’t want to spend lots of time doing it or end up with boring results! That is the beauty of Who’s Cooking Tonight? — the recipes are fun, easy, good for you and won’t take long to produce.

Glenda and Claire make a great team. Glenda, who was a Home Economics Teacher, has spent her career in food and nutrition education and currently does the marketing for Potatoes NZ. She has the pedigree to know what is nutritionally sound and as a mother knows what motivates kids. Claire is not a foodie but she loves food and eating. The book combines the two skills and will appeal to the vast number of young people who, like Claire, love food, but typically have lots of other priorities.

Claire has some great quotes that sum up her approach to this project: ‘If you’re like me, cooking isn’t exactly second nature, but eating certainly is!’ and ‘I don’t do complicated!’. But in the midst of all the fun, Claire is passionate about equipping her generation with the skills to fend for themselves in the kitchen.

And the name of the book – Who’s Cooking Tonight? – well, it’s a good question really. If the answer is one of the children, (and they all should be taking their turn), then parents get a night off cooking. And then the children are in a better position to ask for the car, money for the movies, a new top or a new gadget...

Who’s Cooking Tonight?
Penguin Books 

And here is a recipe for you to try:


Don’t panic that you have to cook three different bits to this recipe because they are all super easy.

There is no issue with timing . . .everything will wait until you are ready – just chuck it all together at the end and it will taste so good!

4 onions, peeled and sliced into rings
2 tbsp olive oil
10 small salad or boiling potatoes
10–12 green beans (about 200 g), trimmed and halved
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup chopped seasonal fruit, e.g. kiwifruit, melon, peaches, nectarines, pawpaw or mango (don’t forget to peel fruits like kiwifruit and melon)
1⁄2 cooked chicken (fresh or smoked) cut into bite-sized chunks

1⁄2 cup your favourite ready-made dressing – mine is mango chilli dressing or Thai coriander and lime dressing


Place the onions and oil in a saucepan. Cover with a lid and cook over a low heat for about 45–55 minutes.
As they slowly cook, the flavour intensifies and they go really sweet.
For more info, see my YouTube video for how to caramelise onions.

Cut the potatoes into bite-sized pieces. Place them in a saucepan and almost cover with cold water. Bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer gently for 15–20 minutes or until softened. You can tell they are cooked if they are soft when you stab them with a knife.
See my YouTube video for how to boil potatoes.

Place 4 cm water into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Add beans and peas and boil for 2–3 minutes.
Drain and cool under cold running water. They should be tender but still slightly crunchy.
See my YouTube video for how to blanch vegetables.

Assemble the salad with the caramelised onions, cooked potatoes, blanched beans and peas, fruit and chicken. Pour over the dressing. Serve while the potatoes are still warm.

I like fruit in salads, but if this is outside your comfort zone you can always miss it out. My advice is to be bold and give it a go – you might surprise yourself! The chicken, potatoes and fruit really do work well together.

Why cry?
A sulphur compound that is formed during peeling and chopping onions makes a lot of people cry. There is a huge range of theories on how to stop this – but probably the best thing to do is to just grin and bear it – I always think the taste is worth it!

Reprinted with permission from Who’s Cooking Tonight?,
published by Penguin Group NZ, RRP$36.00.
Copyright © Claire & Glenda Gourley 2010

No comments: