Cookbook Club Lifestyle

The Dining In Cookbook Review

Last modified on February 25th, 2018 at 12:43 pm

Alison Roman’s Dining In Cookbook is filled with simple yet innovative recipes with standout flavours sure to turn any night in into a special one.

For Philip and I, dining in gets us equally as excited as dining out does. There’s something special about being able to serve yourself for date night or guests and create an at home experience with simple recipes and entertaining tips. And Alison Roman knows simple and entertaining.

Plate with Pork Chops, Plate with Roasted Beet Salad on Yogurt, and the Dining In Cookbook

Vinegar-Roasted Beets with Spring Onions and Yogurt | Dining In Cookbook Review

What was it like cooking the recipe? While the recipe takes a little over an hour from start to finish, it was a simple dish to make using a few fresh ingredients and required only a few steps.

What did the dish taste like? The recipe called for spring onions but we couldn’t find any at the market so we substituted baby leeks in; flavour wise they would be very similar. The earthiness and sweetness of the beets were the perfect balance to the acidity of the yogurt and the fresh finish of dill. The dish was airy and light, decadent and elegant.

Did the finished dish look like the pictures? The yogurt and beet portion definitely did. Of course Alison’s photos has spring onions, chopped more fine than our leeks but the results were definitely the same.

Would we make it again? We’ve made similar versions of this dish, a bit more sweet than savoury, but it’s the perfect side dish for dinner, or even a main for one, and would be a great addition to a brunch menu. There’s something comforting about the creaminess of yogurt especially when served with vegetables. It gives it a bit of luxury without adding rich fats like butter or cream.

Image of ingredients for Roasted Beet and Spring Onion Salad and Image of the Finished Roasted Beet Salad with Spring Onions on Yogurt - from the Dining In Cookbook

Fennel-Rubbed Pork Chops for Two | Dining In Cookbook Review

What was it like cooking the recipe? Don’t even bother looking at the time it takes to make this dish; trust us, it’s worth every minute. This was the perfect recipe to make alongside the roasted beets and yogurt as it took about the same time from start to finish. It’s a rather simple dish to make, the hardest part being crushing the fennel seeds. We found the cooking time was a little short so we finished our chops in the oven at 400° with the fennel.

What did the dish taste like? The flavour of these pork chops was explosive. The saltiness and sweetness of the rub completely reminded us of eating bacon, only in steak form. The fennel shined throughout the dish, with strong notes of liquorice and flavours beyond the traditional pork chop.

Did the finished dish look like the pictures? Yes. Both Alison’s and ours had a nice char on the meat, blackened on the outside and moist and juicy on the inside. Served with additional fennel root, the flavours echoed together and made for one incredible pork chop.

Would we make it again? 100%. This to us was the ultimate pork chop, I don’t think we’ve had better, and we can’t wait to try it again. We found every bite was better than the next and the crust was just amazing. We love the versatility of the fennel mixture as well, and appreciate Alison mentioning alternative ways of using the spice in other dishes like chicken.

Flat lay image of finished Fennel Rubbed Pork Chop from Dining In Cookbook

Dining In Cookbook, Crusted Pork with Fennel and Herbs, and Salted Butter and Chocolate Chunk Shortbread

Salted Butter and Chocolate Chunk Shortbread | Dining In Cookbook Review

What was it like cooking the recipe? Like any good shortbread or pastry this recipe does require some time for the dough to firm up, so you won’t be eating these within 30 minutes of starting them, however, the recipe is rather simple. The most difficult part is rolling the dough into uniform logs and covering the outside in demerara sugar. We found that the cookies tended to break a little bit while cutting the logs into rounds, but it was manageable.

What did the dish taste like? These cookies were the perfect combination of sweet, salty, and chocolaty. The ratio of chocolate to shortbread was aggressive, like any good chocolate chunk cookie should be. The extra sprinkling of salt on top of the cookies is key to getting the perfect flavour.

Did the finished dish look like the pictures? We’ve seen hundreds of Alison’s Chocolate Chunk Shortbread cookies on her Instagram stories and can proudly say ours looked just like the others. What makes these so distinct is the chopping of the chocolate rather than using chips and the rolling of the sugar around the edges, definitely a key step of this recipe.

Would we make it again?   I think I overhyped these cookies in my head. I found the flavour was amazing, but a few tweaks could be made to the shortbread dough. We’re definitely going to be making these cookies again, but with a few adjustments. I fell in love with the texture of the demerara sugar edges, which is something that we will apply to other cookie recipes going forward.

Dining In Cookbook Review - Chocolate Chunk Shortbread Cookies on a wood board with milk in the background

Verdict:

Alison Roman’s Dining In cookbook is the ultimate guide for staying in and having a really good meal. What we love most is her effortless yet witty ability to be right there in the kitchen with you, guiding you and teaching you techniques from each recipe.

This is a must-have cookbook that’ll have you tossing takeout menus and cancelling reservations to simply stay in and enjoy the art of entertaining and dining in at home.

Bon appetit,

Chef Sous Chef

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