Three Good Things … On a Plate (a taster of HFW’s latest book)

On searching through some old magazines and papers I came across this little booklet that I’d managed to get free through The Guardian some time ago. With 25 recipes from Hugh’s Three Good Things, it’s a nice little taster and I’m very tempted to buy the full book so that I can get hold of the other 150.

I must admit that I was very sceptical about this book when I first heard of it. After all, a dish with just three ingredients sounds quite dull, yeah? Of course, it soon became clear that although there are three main components to each dish, there are additional ingredients used. Having said that these are not fussy recipes and each dish we made was pretty simple; great for midweek teas.

We kicked off with what must be our favourite of the lot; Chicken, Plums, Soy. Chicken thighs are cooked with chilli, ginger, garlic, plums and soy and the end result is stunning! The chilli and ginger works well with the plums and the saltiness of the soy helps to accentuate the flavours. It’s dead easy too as the cooking all takes place in one roasting dish. This is definitely going to be done again in the future!

Next up was Pork, Potatoes, Apples which was a bit of a let down to be honest. I guess it was because I’ve done similar a few times before but this recipe seemed a bit more faffy with potatoes to roast and the pork to be pan fried separately from everything else.

Things picked up with a salad of Trout, Watercress, Spelt where the trout is gently poached creating a fish stock which is then used to cook the spelt (or in our case pearl barley). Both are then served up with watercress (my favourite leaf) and a lemon and mustard yoghurt dressing. It was light, but filling thanks to the pearl barley and the dressing is something I may try and remember to use for other salads.

Gav cooked the next one; Squash, Coconut and Chilli. Essentially a butternut squash curry with coconut milk, it was good and tasty and I do love a curry with coconut milk in it once in a while. Hugh tells us to keep the curry paste mild, which Gav did, but we won’t do next time. I know Hugh doesn’t want to blow everyone’s head off but I do at least like a little lip tingling! We did approve of Hugh’s tip of using green beans though; as he says, they did add good colour and texture. We will do this one again.

Last, but not least, was Barley, Onions and Tomatoes; another one that Gav cooked. Sadly, due to the lack of time, he had to skip making the roasted tomato purée used here and use passata as suggested by Hugh. Looking at the ingredients that the tomatoes were to be roasted with in order to make the purée  Gav included some garlic, thyme and bay in the mix. Using the passata made this an incredibly easy dish and the end result was a good thick and hearty soup thanks to the barley. Tonight I had some leftovers out of the freezer and it had thickened up on reheating so I served it as a risotto with some cheese stirred through (another suggestion from Hugh) and it was gorgeous!

Even in this little taster booklet there are a few dishes that I would like to try; Apricots, Tea, Mascarpone; Parsnips, Shallots, Puff Pastry and Beetroot, Mozzarella, Balsamic Vinegar are just a few. How I haven’t bought the full book yet is a little beyond me…

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