Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Spicy Sausages with Cous Cous for the Whole Family

I bought some sausages from Grasmere Farm at the weekend and I felt inspired to make something with a North African vibe to go with them.  I should point out this isn't a sponsored post, I certainly pay for every banger I buy from Grasmere but I happily do so.  They are the best sausages I have ever tasted, not full of fillers and fat like a lot of commercial sausages can be but a real quality product.  They do mail order too if you're not based in the midlands and can't get to one of their shops or farmers markets they frequent.

I saw the 'Zouk' sausages for sale (unfortunately not currently available on their website) and thought I'd give them a go.  Subtly spiced with paprika and lots of other lovely goodies, they went a treat with this cous cous recipe but if you can't get hold of them, merguez sausages are also lovely.

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Mutter Paneer for the whole family

If you've never tried paneer it might seem a bit odd to put cheese in a curry but bear with me.  Yes I am serious about putting cheese with spices and yes it does work.

For all of you doubters out there, think about halloumi and how well that works when cooked and with spicy ingredients.  In fact the taste of paneer is a lot like halloumi, not to put you off but there is a hint of squeakiness about it but that firm texture works really well in a curry.

I first had paneer when travelling around India.  In India I had some of the best and worst food I think I've ever had but the paneer was in the first category along with the traditional breads like chapattis and paratha and yoghurts.  I just think if I decided one day to become a vegetarian I could happily live on Indian food without missing meat too much.  My husband described this as "delicious" and said that it solved one of those issues for him with a lot of vegetarian food at not just being mush with that lovely firmness of the cheese.  I also like chickpeas (garbanzo beans) for making a vegetarian curry with texture.

Oddly if you ever see paneer on a restaurant menu, it is often described as "cottage cheese" which in the UK anyway means a disgusting lumpy bland concoction, absolutely nothing like paneer.  If you can't find paneer, there are recipes out there to make it on the internet.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Skordalia for the whole family

Hey, I'm not Greek so this is probably really inauthentic.  What I know about this dip come spread come side dish is it's always garlicky, it's a bit like hummus but not quite.  Sometimes it's made with potato, bread or other bulking foods.  I've made it here with split peas which you can pick up from the supermarket for pence.  Whatever the origins, I like it and I enjoy it.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Prawn and Broccoli Pie - Great for babies, toddlers and adults

This is a great one for older babies and toddlers.  Some hidden vegetables and a thick cheesy sauce.  Great for parents too because not only is it tasty, the ingredients are pretty cheap too.  No need to splash out on the priciest prawns.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Courgette Salad for Grown Ups

This was an impromptu salad put together from fridge ingredients.  I have to be honest and say if I'd had parmesan, that's what I would have used but I didn't unfortunately but the upside is by using a good strong cheddar, it was vegetarian (as parmesan contains animal rennet) and so it's suitable for most people.

My son had some of this, ate the cheese, had a bit of a nibble on some courgette but generally was more into the cheese so perhaps more of an adult recipe.  A great dish though for lunch boxes (just put the dressing in a different pot until you're ready to serve) and a different way of serving courgettes for all of you lucky people who have loads and aren't looking at little tags in the ground marking the place the plant used to be before the slug attack like some kind of vegetable tombstone :'(

Monday, 13 August 2012

Sugar Free Pear and Date Turnovers for all the Family

Some of my recipes are driven by necessity.  There were some pears stubbornly refusing to ripen, some dates at their use by date, why not combine them?  Why not indeed?  It turned out to be a magic combination that I'll definitely repeat.  Delicious warm but fantastic cold on our picnic in the park.

I made far too much filling so feel free to reduce the quantities or freeze and make a lovely crumble or pie.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Chickpea and Spinach Curry

I have been making curries like this for years but I wrote down the recipe for the first time to go with Tandoori Chicken.  Although I would normally serve some kind of salad on the side with Tandoori Chicken, my fridge was a little bare and so I knocked this up from store cupboard and basic ingredients to ensure my son had a bit of variety in his meal.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Being a toddler in the 70s...

I was my son's age now at the end of 1978.  Blimey that makes me feel old.  It got me thinking, how much has the world changed since I was that age?

Me, in the 70's.  Love that outfit and the 'fro!

It's easy as an adult to look back and think everything was peachy.  Not so.  If you think about it...

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Stuffed Naans

A great use of extra chicken tikka or tandoori chicken and making it into a lovely lunchbox dish.  Regular readers will know that money is a bit short through one thing and another (but who's not in the same boat?)  Making the most of your leftovers is a great way to ensure you're not wasting food but you're also saving money.  Take a look at this and tell me whether that £2 petrol station cheese sandwich is looking as appealing?

I have to thank a very good friend of mine for giving me this idea and a tonne of other inspiration for this blog and life in general.

It's almost too simple to call a recipe but I will fill you in later on different ways you could mix this up.  I know if I have the same thing day in, day out, I am less interested by it and it doesn't seem to taste as good.  Of course we all have hits and misses but why not mix up what you, your child or your partner has in their packed lunch?

Friday, 3 August 2012

Mint Raita for the whole family

I made this to go with the Tandoori Chicken I blogged about recently.  I thought it would be the thing my son went straight for but actually although he liked it with the chicken, he pulled a face when he ate it on his own.  It is an accompaniment though, great with tikka or tandoori chicken.  The recipe is a touch inauthentic, I've not added salt and most recipes have cumin rather than garam masala and chilli powder.  I've toned it down a touch.

Just be aware that like many natural herbs and spices, mint strength varies.  I picked a handful of home grown mint and barely used a third.  Home grown herbs in my experience tend to pack more of a punch than fresh supermarket alternatives (probably because they are slower to grow) but there are loads of different types of mint too.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Tandoori Chicken for the whole family

This is highly inauthentic I'm sure but I couldn't really find anything which felt right to me.  I certainly didn't want to include artificial colourings (as many restaurants and recipes do) to get the red colour which is why I've included red pepper and paprika into this recipe.

It might look like a lot of ingredients but it's not that difficult or long winded.  Also chicken legs are fantastically thifty cuts and so you can pick them up for not much cash at all.  I did feel a bit cautious about writing a recipe which has to be started the night before but actually if you think about it, it's a good idea for the busy mum, tot's in bed, a quick 10 minute job before you sit down and relax and tea is sorted for tomorrow.  Result!