Cookery Book Review: My Daddy Cooks By Nick Coffer

17/05/2012 16:57 | Updated 22 May 2015

The rise of the blogger in the last five years has been phenomenal - suddenly it's not just celebrity chefs dominating the book shelves, the refreshing voices of food bloggers are starting to be heard.

Nick Coffer, the Daddy behind My Daddy Cooks started his blog when he lost his job and became a stay-at-home dad to toddler Archie. He rolled up his sleeves and decided to teach his son how to cook - with hilarious results.

His blog is an infectious mix of video calamities and enticing recipes. Anyone who's tried to cook with a two-year-old child will make an instant connection.

He swiftly built an army of loyal fans and shot into the public eye soon after, bagging his own radio show Nick Coffer's Weekend Kitchen on BBC Three Counties. The next logical step was for him to release a cookery book.

Just for Dads?

My Daddy Cooks is aimed at anyone who wants to whip up a delicious home-cooked meal for their family - with an emphasis on simplicity. Nick calls it "Tuesday evening cooking," that doesn't phase someone who's tired and got little people snapping at their feet demanding to be fed, like NOW!

Fans of Nick's blog will be delighted with the pictures of ultra-cute curly-haired Archie, along with the warm chatty prose from his dad that features heavily throughout the book.

This is no re-hash of the blog though, there are 100 recipes to cook your way through with only a scattering of old favourites from Nick's site.

Easy to follow Billed as foolproof and toddlerproof this is a dream for the inexperienced cook.

The section headings are down to earth with titles like Throw It All In (Literally) and (Almost) No Cooking Required, clearly signalling that this book is a welcoming kitchen companion rather than a snooty foodie tome.

The recipes are clearly laid out, with the method in short numbered instructions. Nick is generous with his guidance if you're a bit kitchen shy, really holding your hand throughout the recipes.

He's quick to fill you in on little tips, like how to remove bones from chicken legs and not to worry if you've not got exactly the right amount of ingredients.

Family friendly

Being a parent/foodie blogger, Nick knows his audience so he's gone for crowd-pleasing classics like his Turbo-quick Shepherds Pie, along with some more adventurous recipes such as the delicious sounding Moroccan cod kebabs with minty lemon tabouleh. None of the ideas are lofty or require advanced culinary skill.

He doesn't sanitise food and feels it important that children should try different tastes and textures – no hidden vegetable sauces here!

You might get the impression from the cover that this is a 'show your kids how to cook' type book. It's not – it's a book of great family recipes that you can choose to get your kids involved with and Nick makes that very clear from the get-go.

He also makes helpful suggestions of how to adapt the recipes for younger and older tastes, like holding the spices back in a curry or making two versions of the same brownie – rich and a double-indulgent rich.

Recipe highlights

Sausage jambalaya. The perfect weeknight supper with a bung-it-all-in approach and easily adaptable to whatever meat you've got in the fridge.

Chinese lettuce wraps. Kind of like tacos but with lettuce – surprisingly good and would make a fun weekend light lunch.

Bready scrolls. A great alternative to sarnies for a picnic and there are endless possibilities for fillings.

Feta, mint and pea sauce. Such a fabulous flavour combination – Nick clearly has a good feel for food.

Oven-baked risotto. I love these kind of unfussy recipes that cut many corners but still leave you with a winning result.

Get in the kitchen, dad!

I would definitely recommend it to someone who had run out of kitchen inspiration in the daily quest for the perfect family meal. It's reminiscent of Jamie Oliver's Ministry of Food; a mix of classics and adventurous ideas but above all approachable and keen to get you cooking from scratch.

If you're looking for a Father's Day present that will inspire the man of the house to start cooking dinner every now and again, this is definitely a good place to start.

My Daddy Cooks is out now, Hodder & Stoughton Hardback, £16.99 An enhanced eBook will be available on publication.

You can read our interview with Nick Coffer here.


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