What happens when an amateur foodie tries to take on recipes from a professional chef?
Well, I decided to give it a go and try out Nadia Lim’s dinner recipes from her website.
Currently, Nadia is dancing her heart out on TV 3’s ‘Dancing with the Stars’, but she became known after winning MasterChef NZ in 2011. She is known for being an advocate of natural, unprocessed foods and creating nutritious recipes with a health-based focus behind them.
So, I jumped onto her website, chose some recipes, and headed down to the local grocers to get started on a week full of nourishing, delicious food.
To be honest, it was pretty hard to decide on what to make but I settled on the following:
- Coriander and Lime Grilled Chicken
- Beef Nachos
- Moroccan Meatballs with Couscous Salad and Spiced Sour Cream
- Vegetarian Pad Thai
- Chocolate Beetroot Cupcakes
First up: Coriander and Lime Grilled Chicken
I love coriander and I love grilled chicken, so I was really excited about making this. This only took me 45 minutes to make and would have been a lot shorter if I had figured out how to grill chicken properly.
I was a little surprised at first by how many ingredients went into the marinade, but once I tasted the chicken, it made sense.
I know mine looks sad in comparison, but I really liked how the chicken tasted. It was zesty, fresh, and lime and coriander is such a winning combination. This tasted like happy, summer time goodness and clean eating perfection.
For the record, my flatmates were super impressed with me so thank you Nadia.
Next it was time for the Beef Nachos:
When I saw how much went into these nachos I was pretty intimidated, I imagined it taking me hours to prep. Thankfully, it only ended up taking 30 minutes, though the majority of that was dedicated to cutting up veggies. I stuck this baby in the oven and when it was all said and done, I must admit I was pretty pleased with the end result.
Even though mine looks like canned soup compared to Nadia’s, the meal tasted heavenly and seemed pretty healthy, minus all the cheese piled on top. The mince/soup portion of the dish was actually alright despite its appearance, my flatmates lapped it up and even had it for lunch the next day.
This one was definitely a winner in my book and it ticked all the right boxes.
We continue this journey with the Moroccan Meatballs:
This only took me 15 minutes to prep and it was incredibly delicious. I was a bit sceptical when I added the red wine vinegar but oh my goodness it really elevated the flavour, and made the veggies so tasty.
Once again mine does not look anywhere near as pretty, but I promise it tasted like a dream.
I’m from Auckland, where the closest I’ve had to Mediterranean food was once on a trip to Europe. So, to see that Nadia had a recipe for Moroccan meatballs, I knew that I wanted to try it immediately.
The hardest part of this recipe was figuring out if my couscous was cooked properly because it was hard to make out whether it was any different from when it was in the box.
What I also found difficult was grating the carrot because my hand got really tired, really fast.
But once I accomplished the recipe, it was damn delicious. I mean, seriously hands down the best dish of the week.
I would recommend this dish to all of my family and my friends, and all their friends and families.
Then it was time for Vegetarian Pad Thai:
Supposedly, this dish takes 20 minutes to make but somehow only took me around 10. It was so simple that I literally forgot to take photos of the process and went straight to dishing it up.
Oh Nadia. I absolutely love a good Pad Thai but this one just fell flat. Not only was it hella bland but it had such a strong coconut taste which I found was very unpleasant. I was also surprised by how little veggies there were and it just didn’t seem that nutritious compared to her other meals.
Bring back the meatballs I say!
And lastly, the grand finale, Nadia’s Chocolate Beetroot Cupcakes with Whipped Milk-Chocolate Ganache.
I must admit, I don’t really like chocolate-flavoured things, unless it’s actual chocolate. So, diving into this one I wasn’t so sure, considering I had to spend a good 55 minutes making a chocolate cupcake that actually had more chocolate on the top. However, I powered through and turns out it was pretty damn good. I really wanted to try this recipe because I was intrigued by the combination of beetroot and chocolate.
Nadia’s cupcakes looked divine and while I definitely did not do it justice, the flavours were still out of this world. The richness of the dark chocolate combined with the sweetness of beetroot hit all the right notes.
If there were a beetroot and chocolate Olympics, this would definitely win a gold medal.
Trying out Nadia Lim’s recipes for a week taught me that cooking and creating dishes can actually be quite fun and easy. I love the variety of recipes she offers (including baking) and the simple methods she uses.
Whilst four out of the five creations were hits (sorry Pad Thai!), I would definitely recommend to any amateur foodie they jump on her website and try out a few meals as not only will they find them to be delicious, but also nutritious.
If you want to try out any of Nadia’s recipes and see what they taste like for yourself, visit https://nadialim.com or check out Nadiamagazine for more seasonal recipes.