The Hairy Bikers' One Pot Wonders cookbook review: 'Perfect for fuss-free winter eating' 

book cover of One Pot Wonders/ spiced baked plums 
Dave Myers and Si King have gone back to their roots, returning to the comfort food that made them household names, but is the food up to scratch?  Credit: Andrew Hayes-Watkins

The Hairy Bikers are a busy pair. The well-loved chefs, authors and presenters hare around the world every year for their television series (the latest, Mediterranean Adventure, saw them travel across France, Spain and Italy for BBC Two), and they’ve just produced The Hairy Bikers’ Road Trip, an album dedicated to classic rock.

Thankfully, Dave Myers and Si King haven’t forgotten their roots, and return to the comfort-food classics that made them household names with One Pot Wonders (Seven Dials, £22) – containing more than 100 recipes that aim to celebrate easy and fuss-free one-pot cooking.

THE APPROACH 

There are eight chapters, from Breakfast and Brunch (full English shakshuka, anyone?) and Stovetop Suppers (cod and chorizo, and coq au vin cobbler), to Puddings and Cakes (starring chocolate brownies and spiced baked plums).

There is plenty of photography but some recipes come without an image (spoiler: the non-pictured ones are usually the best) and they’ve made sure that each main contains a protein, carbohydrate and vegetable.

There are a few vegetarian options in the mix, and the book is squarely aimed at beginners – the instructions are easy for cooks of any level of expertise to follow, though many of the recipes require a large cast-iron casserole dish that can be simmered on a stovetop.

THE RECIPES 

I have fond memories of my mum cooking from The Hairy Bikers’ Perfect Pies, so I chose comfort food classics with unashamedly indulgent ingredients. It is nearly winter, after all.

Austrian garlic soup

The garlic soup as it appears in the book, left; a home cooked version, right  Credit: Andrew Hayes-Watkins/ MORGAN LAWRENCE 

This silky soup is not for the faint-hearted, nor for those who hope to kiss their partners the same night. Containing 10 cloves of garlic, a large stick of butter, milk and white wine, it’s indecently comforting and certainly one to follow with a salad, but was delicious. It was extremely easy to make (simply sauté, blitz and simmer) and it’s ready in less than 30 minutes. The parsley croutons were great, too.

Coq au vin cobbler

The Hairy Bikers' coq au vin, left; the real deal, right  Credit: Andrew Hayes-Watkins/MORGAN LAWRENCE 

Essentially a cheat’s coq au vin, minus the overnight marination and hours of slow-cooking. Chicken thighs and button mushrooms are tossed in a sage-flecked flour and salt mix, then browned. Stock and red wine are then slowly added and the dish is reduced on the stovetop until it’s about reached the texture of single cream. It was both rich and comforting. The accomp- anying dumplings were easy to make and had a soft, springy texture that was made for mopping up all that delicious sauce.

Spiced baked plums

Spiced baked plums, left; from the home kitchen, right  Credit: Andrew Hayes-Watkins/MORGAN LAWRENCE 

For this dessert, panettone crumbs are rubbed with diced cold butter, cardamom and cinnamon to make a topping for halved plums. Half an hour in the oven and the result was glorious: bubbling claret-shaded plums with caramelised crumbs, molten brown sugar and fragrant spice. I served mine with coconut yogurt to counter the richness of the butter, but a tangy natural yogurt would be perfect, too.

THE VERDICT

The Hairy Bikers have done it again. Here you’ll find plenty of simple dishes with mouthwatering results. Though some require a little more time, it’s a simple case of leaving the dish to simmer away while you put your feet up. Perfect for fuss-free winter eating.