Friday, 27 December 2013

Simple Baked Southern Fried Chicken

Ok, sorry to remind you but we're approaching New Year and the time for those resolutions.  What will yours be this year?  Lose weight?  Stop smoking?

Have you ever noticed how resolutions are always about what we don't want rather than what we do want?  That's a bad thing because we're not wired that way.  Don't think about a pink elephant.  Go on, think about ANYTHING else apart from pink elephants.  Don't think about it.  You're thinking about it aren't you?  You can't help yourself!

Anyway, in general, I'm always of the opinion that a bit of what you actually fancy is better than 101 diet products.  Let's face it, if you buy diet biscuits, you eat more biscuits don't you?  Go on, we all know the truth...  So although I'm not a huge fan of dieting per se, I also managed to lose quite a lot of weight in the last two years.  You didn't know that about me did you?  I am now a shadow of my former UK size 16/18 self and am now a comfortable size 12, size 10 in Fat Face or White Stuff on a good day with a fair wind behind me (and size 8-10 in US terms which is even better!)

I can't pretend that I'm healthy all of the time either.  It's not true.  I do exercise but I also occasionally eat chips and, very occasionally, fried chicken.  But that said, I can't bring myself to actually fry chicken at home, I can feel my arteries hardening at the thought and there is something a bit gross about the extreme fattiness of it.  If I ever do buy fried chicken (from a certain well known High Street chain), I always drain it on the paper towels to make it a bit less greasy before eating.

So this recipe is good all round.  Lower in fat but also much less greasy which is a good thing and makes it tastier.  No frying smells to stink out the house and you can feel slightly more virtuous for having your cake (or chicken) and eating it!  Just don't eat 10 pieces because it's 'healthier'!

Monday, 23 December 2013

Simple salt free poultry stock and how to make gravy

It's Christmas Eve Eve (i.e. the 23rd) and I picked up our goose yesterday from Seldom Seen farm.  Yes, goose is an extravagance but even at the pampered free range prices you're looking at less than £3 per portion for each meal we will eat it for.  You can't even get a meal in a Toby carvery for that!

So we're having goose but even if we have turkey I always make stock a day or two in advance.  I've been warned though that although you get masses of fat (great for roast potatoes) juices can be a bit thin on the ground with a goose so I'm making some stock.

Chicken stock

Stock is stupidly easy to make.  Think about it as bones and water and you get the idea.  At other times of year I make stock from left over roast bones (especially chicken) but for Christmas it gets a bit special, albeit not expensive.

Saturday, 21 December 2013

How I decorated my Christmas cake (and I'm rubbish at this kind of stuff)

I'm no sugar crafter.  You will see this from my results but although an amateur, I am quite pleased with how my cake turned out this year and the big secret was, it was so easy.

There is no hard stuff here but I'll give it to you with all the short cuts...  You don't even need an icing bag!

Monday, 16 December 2013

Vegetable fritters - great for babies and toddlers on finger foods

After making my sweetcorn fritter recipe; I was determined there must be a good vegetable fritter recipe in me.  Look, I know courgettes (zucchini) aren't terribly seasonal at this time of year but they are still available in the shops and I'm sure you could substitute for another ingredient if you prefer.

This made a lovely, soft, pancake like texture which would be great for babies first finger foods, either alongside traditional weaning or as part of baby led weaning.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

No added sugar, nut free Granola

I find commercial granolas a bit too sweet if I'm honest and although my son loves things like this for breakfast, they're also pretty expensive and, as a three year old, there is still a choking risk on larger nuts.  Not of course if you make it yourself and control what goes in!  This is refined sugar free!

Home made granola

I have to be totally honest and say the chunks weren't all as quite as big as I would have liked but I suspect I might have to add more honey to make that happen.  There were some satisfyingly large bits though and a tasty and pretty healthy option for breakfast.

This should be for over 1's only due to the honey but also be guided by your child and their ability to chew the delicious chunky bits!  My son has been eating things like this since he was around 2 years old.

Nut free granola

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Turkey Sliders for all ages

A slider, so I'm told is a small burger.  I've mixed these up by making them with turkey (seasonal) but also sneaking in some hidden vegetables (why not) and a bit of spice!  These are super easy and healthy because they're made with white meat and baked not fried.

I do have a bit of love for sweet chilli sauce.  Although when my son was under 1 I diligently avoided giving him sugar as much as possible, I eased up as he got older.  Sweet chilli as an ingredient is a great way to introduce some gentle spicing in a way that is more predictable than using a small amount of chilli.


He tried some of my sliders with sweet chilli sauce but on balance preferred his served with ketchup.  Had I got any in the house, I would have served these with baked sweet potato wedges but I didn't so I served with cooked carrot sticks instead.  Might seem a bit strange but he loved it!