First up was the Brazil Nut and Rocket Pesto Pasta.
Ease of cooking: This was surprisingly simple mainly because I thought the sauce might turn out to be a bit of a hassle but it was ridiculously easy. Like most of Ella's recipe's it has very few ingredients which keeps it as straightforward as possible. I served it along with some garlic bread for the rest of my family and they also added a bit of cheese on top.
Time to make: It pretty much all came together in the same time it took to boil the water and cook the pasta so around 20 mins which I think is actually quite quick.
Taste verdict: My husband, my eldest daughter and I all loved it - seriously I could easily have eaten another serving and my husband and daughter actually did! Sadly my 15 year old son did not like it at all and my youngest daughter (9) seemed keen at first but halfway through declared it was not as nice as she had thought it would be! Still, considering my husband is not a big pasta fan and he had second helpings I think this was a hit overall.
Overall score: 8/10
Ease of Cooking: a little more faffing than the pasta but still very simple and not too many ingredients overall so again pretty good.
Time to Make: a bit longer than the pasta as the chickpeas needed 40-45 mins in the oven. Whilst they are doing their thing though you can easily prepare the Quinoa which needs around 15 mins plus cooling time.
Taste Verdict: My son was out as he had a school play rehearsal so it was just four of us on the judging panel. Sadly I was the only one who liked these dishes, (honestly I am beginning to think Ella and I might be taste bud twins) although my husband said that the taste was good and he quite liked the chickpeas he just isn't a fan of Quinoa in general.
Overall Score: 7/10 (I would definitely make it for me again and then have it cold during the week as a pre-prepared lunch)
Ease of Cooking: so easy a child could make them...and she did! With very little assistance from me.
Time to Make: pretty quick - about 25-30 minutes in total, probably a bit quicker for an adult.
Taste Verdict: Now I love Ella but...these were not a hit at all. Having had gluten/dairy free 'healthy' flapjacks before I found them okay but I was definitely in the minority. They are not the chewy,slightly crunchy round the edges flapjacks that most of us grew up with. They are softer, a little drier, and much more oat-y. If you regularly buy the healthier variety of flapjacks then you will probably like these but I don't think we will make these again. BUT do try the Raw Coconut and Cacao Bites because they are yummy!
Overall Score: 3/10
Ease of Cooking: Once more these were ridiculously easy and only 5 ingredients needed all of which were store cupboard basics (although not everyone has haricot beans in their cupboard). Her recipe only uses 1 tin of beans but I used 2 as I knew I needed plenty to feed everyone.
Time to Make: about 30-40 minutes all up so a little longer but once they're cooking they kind of take care of themselves so another simple midweek supper. We served them on top of baked potatoes (and I had the leftovers on toast the next day for lunch) and the others had cheese on top.
Taste Verdict: Woohoo! We saved the best until last. This was a definite winner. Everyone loved this and seconds were had. Rich thick sauce, deeply tomato-ey, wonderfully moreish and filling. Delicious.
Overall Score: 10/10
So overall Ella remains a huge favourite of mine and my kids and husband are keen on some and less keen on others (they like a lot of her stews and curries from her blog). In my opinion her cookbook is a very worthy addition to any kitchen (perfect to cook from if you ever want to invite me for dinner) and there is no doubt that her food leaves you feeling great afterwards - no horrible bloating to deal with and satisfyingly full! The other thing I really like about her book is her down to earth advice, top tips and explanations of the different ingredients which make it a cookbook you want to read as well as cook from.