My life sometimes seems to be filled with me wondering what I am going to cook for the family, and most importantly when I do are they all going to eat it!
I can count on one hand how many meals I prepare that please them all, but eating out is always a different matter.
One of our favourites is Wagamamma and what I love about this restaurant is their use of fresh and healthy ingredients that also taste great.
I timidly tried to do my own take on this with a mildly spicy broth filled with rice noodles and tasty meatballs.
If you want to have a go yourself then take a look at my super easy recipe. It is also free from most major allergens so great for my little allergy boy.
Vegetable Broth With Ginger And Chilli Meatballs
- 450g minced chicken
- 225g rice noodles
- 3 pak choi
- 8 spring onions
- 2 cloves crushed garlic
- 400ml vegetable broth
- 1 tbsp wheat free soy sauce
- 2 tbsps grated ginger
- 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
- 1 tsp grated lemongrass
- Place the chicken into a large bowl and then with you’re hands mix in the garlic, ginger, lemongrass, half the spring onions and half the chilli flakes.
- Roll into balls that are about 3cm in diameter and place into a hot pan to cook for around 10mins, turning occasionally.
- While the meatball are cooking I a large pan lightly fry the pak choi and remaining spring onions for a couple of mins.
- Add to this the broth, soy sauce and remaining chilli flakes and bring to the boil.
- Reduce the heat and add the rice noodle and meatballs and simmer for a further five minutes.
- This will now all be ready to serve in deep bowls…with chopsticks if you are brave enough!
Hot dogs are always something that most children will eat and are so quick and easy to prepare.
I decided using a couple of great Quorn products to create a vegetarian chilli dog that allows you to sneak a few veggies into one of their favourite foods.
Quorn Chilli Dogs
- Pack Quorn sausages
- Pack Quorn mince
- 4 brioche hotdog buns
- 1 chopped red onion
- 3 chopped cloves of garlic
- 400g tin tomatoes
- 400g tin kidney beans
- 1 chopped red pepper
- 1 vegetable stock cube
- 300ml water
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp chilli powder
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp coriander
- 2 tbsps tomato purée
- Pre heat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6 and then begin to fry the onion and garlic in a large saucepan with a little olive oil for a few minutes until softened.
- Next add the red pepper and fry for a further couple of mins.
- Add to this the spices and and allow to release the flavours for a few minutes.
- Add the Quorn mince, tomatoes, tomato purée, kidney beans, stock cube, water and oregano and allow to simmer for 20 mins.
- Whist the chilli is cooking place the Quorn sausages into the oven for 15 mins.
- Once the sausages are cooked remove from the oven and place inside the brioche buns and top with the chilli.
- Serve with a portion of skinny fries and a mini corn on the cob.
With a large family I love nothing more than a big dish that can be quickly popped into the oven and ready in a short time for us all to enjoy.
This dish was originally made with chicken, but I have easily replaced with Quorn pieces or steak strips and it tastes just as good, if not better!
Quorn, Broccoli And Leek Cheesy Bake
- Pack Quorn steak strips
- 2 medium sliced leeks
- Head of broccoli cut into bite sized pieces
- 3 tbsps plain flour
- 500ml milk
- 60g butter
- 125g cheddar cheese
- 20g Parmesan cheese
- 4 slices white bread
- 1 tsp English mustard
- Preheat the oven to 200c/Gas Mark 6. Place the broccoli florets into a pan of boiling water whilst lightly frying the sliced leeks in a little butter.
- Once the leeks are golden brown and the broccoli is slightly softened put to one side and prepare the cheese sauce.
- For the sauce melt the butter in a large saucepan. Once melted whisk in the flour to make a roux.
- Remove the pan from the heat and slowly whisk in the milk.
- Place back on the heat to cook out the flour until it begins to bubble.
- Remove from the heat again and stir in the cheese and mustard.
- Once the cheese has melted in add the Quorn slices, leeks and broccoli and mix well.
- Transfer to a deep dish and put to one side whist blitzing the slices of bread in a food processor to make breadcrumbs.
- Mix the Parmesan cheese into the breadcrumbs and sprinkle over the top of your mixture.
- Place into the oven and cook for 20 mins and serve with a big salad of your choice.
Valentines Day is fastly become a big celebration in the UK with it being a day not just for couples but something that the children now join in with.
My older children all attend Valentines discos at school and the younger ones have made some beautiful cards at school.
To be honest for me it should be something special left for couples to enjoy but im going with the flow and letting the kids join in with the celebrations too!
Number four wanted to do some baking this week so we went with a pink theme and made some strawberry flavoured cupcakes that were suitable for his allergies.
Strawberry Flavoured Cupcakes
- 110g self raising wheat free flour
- 110g dairy free margarine
- 110g caster sugar
- Egg replacer equivalent to 2 eggs
- 1 tsp strawberry flavouring
- 1tsp red colouring
- 140g dairy free margarine
- 250c icing sugar
- Few drops red colouring
- Strawberry flavoured sparkles
- Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas Mark 4 and lay out 12 cake cases ready for filling.
- Best the butter and sugar together, add the egg replacer, flavouring and food colouring.
- Fold in the flour until completely mixed. Then transfer to cake cases.
- Cook for 10 mins then place in a wire rack to cool.
- Make up the buttercream by combining the margarine with the sugar and then mixing in the food colouring.
- Once the cakes are cooled place the butter cream on top and pull a fork over the top to create a rough surface and then sprinkle over the strawberry sparkles.
One of my biggest pitfalls when it comes to eating a healthy balanced diet is portion control and my love of all things stodgy! Bread, pasta and rice in abundance are my love and something I need to try and get under control.
I had seen a few recipes for cauliflower rice in the past but had not tried it until today and I was very presently surprised. It’s light cous cous like texture was the perfect accompaniment to my spicy mince.
Spicy Mince And Cauliflower Rice
- 1 cauliflower
- 500g turkey/beef mince
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 thumb sized piece of garlic
- 2 red chilli
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
- 100ml stock
- 1 onion
- Half a bag of kale
- Chop the onion and garlic and fry with a little olive oil until softened.
- Add the mince and cook until browned.
- Add the grated ginger, chopped chilli, soy sauce and stock.
- Simmer for 15/20 mins and add a little water if it begins to dry out.
- For the last 5 mins add the kale and cook until it is wilted.
- Whilst the mince is cooking take the heads from the cauliflower and place into a food processor and pulse until it is the consitincy of cous cous.
- Transfer to a bowl and cover with cling film and pierce a couple of times.
- Cook in high for 7mins.
- Serve together with the mince.
Along with most people after the indulgences of Christmas, New Year is the perfect time to get healthy eating regimes back on track. In my experience as a personal trainer most people fall off the wagon due to unrealistic goals and being to strict with themselves.
The word diet immediately puts fear into people’s heads and food plans that are not suited to your personal choice means that they stop before they even really begin.
I am a food lover and find that if I keep my meals flavoursome and varied I am much more likely to stick to them.
A favourite in this house is my sticky Asian salmon that we serve with rice noodles and stir fry veg but is equally as yummy with rice or simply on its own.
Sticky Asian Salmon
- 3tbsp runny honey
- 3 cloves finely chopped garlic
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar
- Thumb sized amount of grated ginger
- 2tbsp soy sauce
- Half a side of salmon
- Line a baking tray with enough foil to sit the salmon on and cover over the top.
- Mix together all the above ingredients and cover the salmon
- Leave to marinade in the fridge for 30 mins or overnight if you can
- Cover and place in a preheated oven 180 C/gas mark 6 for 20 mins
- Cook uncovered for a further 5 mins and then serve
There is nothing better than a lovely warming cup of hot chocolate and a yummy biscuit with the cold weather in the lead up to Christmas.
I’ve made some pretty biscuits that are allergy friendly and can be balanced on the side of your favourite mug or cup and decorated any way you like.
Christmas Cup Biscuits
- 300g Gluten free flour
- 150g soft brown sugar
- 150g dairy free margarine
- 1 egg equivalent of egg replacer
- 2tsp all spice
- 250g icing sugar
- Juice half an orange
- Preheat the oven to 180c/Gas Mark 4 whilst lining two large baking trays with greasproof paper.
- Mix together the flour, and sugar and then rub together the butter and egg replacer to make fine breadcrumbs. Leave it in the fridge to chill for 20 minutes.
- Once chilled roll out onto a floured surface until it is about 1cm thick. Take any festive cutter you like and cut out the shapes. Once out then cut a small rectangle into the bottom of each biscuit slightly larger than the rim of your cup.
- Place in the oven and cook for 15 minutes whist mixing the icing sugar and orange juice to make the icing.
- Once the biscuits have been taken out and cooled place your icing into a piping bag and pipe on your design.
- When the icing has set serve on the side of a cup of hot chocolate.
Who doesn’t have those few browning bananas left in the fruit bowl that nobody really wants but it is always such a shame to throw away.
What better way to use them up than to make a super yummy banana cake that the whole family will enjoy.
I came across this recipe on Cerea’s Kitchen blog and jiggled it around a little so it was also perfect for my little allergy boy too.
- 5 bananas
- 50ml maple syrup
- 130g rolled oats
- 150g wheat free flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking flour
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 75g coconut sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 60ml melted coconut oil
- Preheat the oven to 360F or 180C and lightly grease a square baking tin with coconut oil.
- In a large bowl mash the bananas and add the coconut oil, sugar, vanilla extract, vinegar, cinnamon, salt and baking powder.
- Next mix in the oats, flour and baking soda.
- Finally add the mixture to the tin and cake for around 35-40mins.
Saturday nights should be about rubbish food and easy watching TV with the family.
With number four’s allergies the biggest no no is pizza so instead of ordering a big greasy takeaway we love to get the kids involved and make our own pizzas so that number four doesn’t get to miss out on the fun.
This allergy friendly pizza crust recipe is fine for the whole family but to be honest the others prefer a normal base.
We let the children chose which topping they like and let them get on and get creative.
Here is my pizza crust recipe if you fancy giving it a go:
Allergy Friendly Pizza Crust
- 450g Wheat Free Flour
- 3/4tsp Xanthan Gum
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1/2tsp Baking Powder
- 1tsp Sugar
- 1tbsp Yeast
- 360ml Warm Water
- 1tbsp Olive Oil
- Preheat the oven to 180C 160CFan or gas Mark 5.
- Combine half the water with the yeast and leave for about five minutes. Add the sugar after the first few minutes.
- In another bowl add the flour and baking powder and mix well.
- Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and add the yeast mixture, oil and the rest of the water. Stir well with a wooden spoon.
- Take the dough and place onto a floured surface and form your pizza base. Place into a lightly greased tray and cook for around 30mins.
- Remove from the oven and cover with a tomato sauce base and your favourite ingredients.
- Place back into the oven and cook for another 20 mins.
We had a selection of cheese, ham, pepperoni, sweetcorn, olives and peppers.
The children loved the whole process and cleared their plates.
What is your favourite pizza topping?
I love nothing more than saving a few pennies on the food shop so today we headed into town to pick up some bargains from the butchers and the greengrocer. On the way back we stopped and picked a few handfuls of blackberries that are still around.
During the summer I very rarely make any puddings so as the weather is now on the turn I thought tonight would be great to have a yummy crumble.
This recipe is great if you suffer with food allergies but can easily be converted to your usual ingredients.
Allergy Free Apple, Blackberry And Rhubarb Crumble
- 120 wheat free flour
- 60g caster sugar
- 60g dairy free spread
- 150g cooking apples
- 30g demerara sugar
- 30g dairy free spread
- 100g blackberries
- 1/4 tsp all spice
- Preheat the oven to 190C/170C Fan or Gas Mark 5.
- Add 60g dairy free spread, sugar and flour to a bowl a drub together making a breadcrumb like mixture.
- Next put the 30g of dairy free spread and demerara sugar onto a saucepan and melt together for a few minutes. Stir in the rhubarb and apple along with the cinnamon and cook for a few minutes. Add the blackberries and cook for another couple of minutes. Remove from the heat and place into a deep gratin dish.
- Lastly poor the crumble mixture over the top and place in the oven for around twenty minutes.
Sadly we forgot the custard so had it served by itself. I think we might have to get some for the leftovers tomorrow!
What is your favourite fruit to add to a crumble?