Julius Jaspers is a very famous chef in the Netherlands. He was in multiple juries of cooking contests on TV such as Masterchef. He also writes cookbooks. His formula is simple: easy to prepare, fast to finish. In my student days this seemed like the best cooking formula ever, so I bought his cookbook Smartfood – Small Bites.
But however easy these recipes were, this was yet another cookbook signing up for some serious dust eating over the years. My years as a student are long gone, and this book was still unused.
Time to change that! On April 11 to be exact. This would be my 8th cookbook to use in my Day Zero Project. Remember my goal?
No. 69 – Try out 10 new recipes from 10 different cookbooks.
This book is called Smart Bites for a reason; it’s filled with party food. But I wouldn’t be throwing a party any time soon and cooking 40 chicken wings or 24 salmon toasts for just Ruud en me didn’t seem like the smartest thing to do during my diet. But I found one party dish that could be easily transformed into a proper meal: Cinnamon Drumsticks with Couscous. I reduced the number of drumsticks from twenty to four, while leaving the amount of couscous just as it was described in the recipe. I also added extra zucchini and eggplant to the couscous, to make it more nutritious. Perfect solution!
I suddenly realized why I never cooked anything from this book before. I must have been scared they recipes would still be too hard to make or too time-consuming. I mean, when a famous TV chef states his recipes are easy and simple, exactly how simple will they be for the common man?
I turned out to be scared for no reason, though. The recipe truly was very simple! The drumsticks only had to be sprinkled with spices and then heat in the oven. And couscous is always easy, because it only has to soak. The drumsticks were very tasty, although I would probably add more cinnamon in the future (but hey, I’m a cinnamon addict). The best part of the dish however was the couscous. I had to enrich it with a mixture of honey and orange juice and raisins, mint and roasted almonds. Omnomnom! That combination was heaven! Best couscous I ever had for sure.
So next time I’m hosting a party, I’ll know where to look for inspiration! This book definitely is a keeper!