Sunday, 30 September 2012

Slow Cooked Creamy Pork

So back to the recipes...

I love slow cooked pork at the moment.  There is something about cooking pork in a slow cooker that intensifies the 'porky' flavour.

This recipe is based upon one from the good food website.  I have changed it a bit and made it a touch more kid friendly and cheaper.  Also it's now cooked in a slow cooker so it's something that doesn't need fussing with once it's on.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Chicken, Stuffing and Butternut Squash Pie for the Whole Family

Well I did say in my previous post that chestnut stuffing rocks in leftovers right?  Absolutely.  This is my favourite way to use it.  The butternut squash is a recent addition but I have to say I liked it, as it absorbed loads of chicken-y flavour in the pie.

That said, you could make this the ultimate leftovers dish if you liked and you could use cooked veg leftover from your sunday roast?

Monday, 24 September 2012

Chestnut Stuffing

Shhh.  Don't tell my mum I've shared this recipe...

When I was little, Christmas Day meant presents.  I was an annoying child for Santa and my poor parents though, I never really knew what I wanted.  So, every year, realising that knowing what you were getting anyway was a bit rubbish, I would ask for a "surprise".  I'm sure my parents looked at each other with forced smiles at my letter for Santa saying through gritted teeth "that's great honey, we'll just let Santa know to get his thinking cap on..."

I would love to say I'd grown up into an easier adult but frankly it's not true.  I love thinking really deeply about what someone might like for a present, what makes them tick.  I don't get it right every time but when I do, I love the feeling.  I love the feeling more than I love getting presents because, let's face it, I'm a difficult person to buy for.  So that's why I love Christmas, the sense of surprise but also the joy of getting presents for people that they never would have thought of asking for but actually are perfect for them.

After presents though was the joy of Christmas lunch.  For breakfast I would only eat grapefruit so my stomach would be rumbling come 2pm for the joy of Turkey, chipolatas, potatoes, brussels sprouts (picked that morning), carrots, peas, turkey liver wrapped in bacon, parsnips and of course, chestnut stuffing.  It was a once a year treat.  My mum would start the night before by roasting the chestnuts in the oven and getting me and my sisters to peel them.  Even though it was really annoying and the skin got under your nails, it was worth it knowing what you'd be eating tomorrow.

Nowadays, as with everything, we are kind of spoiled.  You can buy ready cooked, ready pureed chestnuts in a tin (which, shhh, I actually think makes better stuffing than whole chestnuts).  It does mean that a once in a year treat becomes a once every 2 months or so joy.  Is it diminished because of that?  Maybe a little, perhaps all things are diminished slightly when they are more accessible but it is still a wonderful thing and a very tasty thing.  I first made this for my son for Christmas 2011 when he was 18 months old.  He had a little pot of it just to himself (because he was going to be napping during Christmas lunch).  To say he loved it may have been understating things...  I love the fact I'm now passing on a love of another food close to my heart to my son.

I am not great at carving joints as you can tell...

Friday, 21 September 2012

Pepper, Onion and Goats Cheese Tart

I have to be honest and admit my son didn't have any of this but only because he was in bed.  I think he'd like although I'd have to watch out for him picking the cheese off the top and just eating that (he does love his cheese).

Anyway even if the kids don't get any, it's a very simple teatime dish, especially if you get ready rolled pastry and most of the prep can be completed in advance.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Guest Post: Chicken and Butter bean Casserole

Things are hectic in the Mamacook household.  As many of you know, there have been some problems going on of late and things have been stressful and busy.  As a result, I have gratefully accepted the offer of a guest post from the lovely Best of 2 Sisters.

I was honoured to be given a few options on what I'd like them to cook for us and chose this because it sounded like something my son would love and seemed great for the increasingly chilly days.  I hope you enjoy too and also take a look at their blog, which has fantastic photography I think you'll agree.  And so without further ado, may I hand you over to Louisa and Camilla Best of 2 Sisters:


Monday, 17 September 2012

Spinach and Goats Cheese Cannelloni

I'm very tired.  I had the amazing gift of a day off being a Mummy on Saturday so I went to London to see the Preraphaelite exhibition at Tate Britain.  It was an amazing experience.  So many paintings I thought I knew well but seeing them in real life felt like poetry.

So after a full day on Saturday making a roast dinner felt like the last thing I wanted to do on Sunday and something about tiredness brings out the creativity in me so I came up with this off the top of my head.  I have to say even if I'm blowing my own trumpet, it was a success.  The wee man ate two cannellonis and half a slice of garlic bread all on his own occasionally looking up to say "hmmm".

What's best though is apart from this being a cheap meal (as meals without meat often are), it's delicious and it contains at least four hidden vegetables which are great for you; spinach, tomatoes, pepper and carrots.  Perfect for the little (or big) fusspot in your life.

Friday, 14 September 2012

Top 10 Great recipes for your family from your freezer

What is it about autumn which starts you thinking about filling up the freezer?  Perhaps it's a throwback to the times of plenty; harvest time and the bottling, curing, drying and preserving which would have gone on then.  Whatever it is, at this time of year I dust off the slow cooker, start soaking pulses and buying big packs of beef mince.

In that vein, I thought I'd do a bit of a summary on recipes I know freeze brilliantly, those recipes where it's really worth making double and having a night off later!

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Broccoli and Ham Pasta

It would be wrong of me to call this 'carbonara' but that was the inspiration for this recipe.  It is pretty far removed from the original but still retains that creamy deliciousness.  Like all the best carbonara recipes (in my humble opinion), this might taste creamy but contains no cream so as the only dairy is from hard mature cheese, some lactose intolerance sufferers may be able to get their creamy pasta fix from this as a result.  Definitely good enough for adults and enthusiastically devoured by my 2 year old.

This isn't one for babies though because the eggs are lightly cooked, make sure you use Lion eggs but still there is a small risk.  Also the salt is a little high but fine for a toddler portion.  The recipe below is for what I would call an 'average' adult appetite and a toddler bowl, it's not a huge bowlful but something about carbonara makes it pretty filling I think.  Add more pasta though if you know you're really hungry.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Crispy Baked Paprika Chicken for the Whole Family

Suitable for toddlers upwards and maybe younger, this is a way of getting really crisp chicken pieces without frying.

I'd seen a few American recipes using corn flakes as a coating for chicken and Annabel Karmel sometimes uses corn flakes or rice krispies.  I've taken that idea and made a dish suitable for the whole family.  If you wanted to make it just for adults, maybe include a bit of chilli into the coating.  If you're concerned your little ones might find the flavour a bit full on, reduce the amount of smoked paprika and miss out the chilli and mustard (or some variation of that).

Friday, 7 September 2012

Lunchtime inspiration

The kids are back at school or you and your partner are back at work, I know what it's like, it's difficult to get out of the rut of having cheese sandwiches every day so here are a few ideas to liven up that lunchbox whether it's for your child or anyone else!  You all deserve a decent lunch, it's that little moment for you in the middle of the day!


Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Ginger Parkin (or thank you for babysitting)

It was my birthday recently and the weekend before my in laws babysat at short notice so I could get out for the evening.  To say "thank you" to my Yorkshire born Father in law, I made some ginger parkin.

This is not the traditional recipe as that contains oats but this is adapted from how my mum made it so apologies if it's not authentic.  Ounces first because this is how the recipe was written, it's pretty old...

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Mushroom Stroganoff for kids

This is loosely based on this recipe from the good food website but I've made a few changes to make it my own.

My son loves mushrooms, along with prawns he'd eat them for every meal if I let him.  I'd had the idea of making a mushroom stroganoff for him for a while but never attempted it, to be honest knowing what he's like I was worried it would be too bland but with some tweaks to this recipe it really wasn't, if perhaps it was a bit redder than normal recipes due to all the paprika but tasty!

I served it with rice but all the mushrooms were eaten and the rice was ignored.  I think he's on some "why should I eat rice unless it's got interesting bits in it" vibe at the moment.  Well who can blame him I guess?