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.
One of my favourite gifts to make at this time of year is chocolate bark. You can use a mixture of so many different ingredients and it is completely up to you what combinations you choose.
This year I got a resounding ‘no’ when I suggested it again for teachers presents.
I took to the Internet and found a great recipe for melting snowman that I knew would change their mind.
All the recipes I found were American so lots of the ingredients were unavailable over here.
I managed to change things around a little and here is how we made them.
- 6x200g bars white chocolate with krispies
- Small amount of orange royal icing
- Black sweet beads
- Handful pretzels
- 10 rolos
- Shallow baking tray
- Grease proof paper
- Break up the chocolate into a heat proof bowl and melt over a pan of boiling water.
- Line a baking tray with greasproof paper and spread the melted chocolate across the whole tray.
- Place a rolo side on into the chocolate to create a hat.
- Place on two black beads to make the eyes and three more for his buttons.
- Roll a small amount of icing to create a nose and place this on the chocolate too.
- Lastly break the pretzels into small strips and put onto the chocolate for the arms.
- Put the tray into the fridge and allow to harden for a few hours.
- Cut into sections and place into cellophane bags.
If we are having a bit of a lazy day over the weekend we always treat ourselves to a late breakfast that is something a little different from the usual cereal we have during the week.
I’m a continental breakfast lover and will always opt for crossaints and coffee but the rest of the family all love a cook breakfast which I hate cooking!
I seem to create a huge mess and it takes me forever to prepare.
Feeling a little experimental and with a lack of food in the house I decided the other weekend to create a one pan meal that would have some tradition English breakfast elements plus something a little spicy.
One Pan Brunch
- 150g chorizo sliced in 2cm rings
- 2 herby sausages
- 1 peeled and diced potato
- 4 eggs
- Three sliced tomatoes
- 1 chopped red onion
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1/2 tsp rosemary
- Heat a little olive oil in a large frying pan. A cast iron one is great for presentation.
- Add the onion to the pan a fry for a few minutes until softened.
- Add to this the potato and chorizo and fry over a medium heat for 5 mins.
- Add to this the tomato and herbs and cook over a low heat for for about 10 mins until the potatoes are softened.
- Lastly create four small wells in the ingredients and crack one egg into each well.
- Cook for a further 5 mins and serve with a big chunk of crusty bread.
Over the summer we spend the majority of time eating out of a picnic hamper. I love eating outside on the go but it can become a little boring if you don’t try out different things to add.
We had our first camping trip over the Bank Holiday and I wanted something tasty that would feed us all, take up limited space and not create lots of rubbish to throw away.
I have seen lots of breads that are filled with yummy ingredients and wanted to give it a try with all the things we love.
Here is my recipe for my ‘tear and share’ bread that was a hit with us all.
Tear And Share Picnic Bread
- 1 large loaf of tiger bread
- 2 balls of sliced mozzarella
- 120g antipasto selection platter
- 285g jar of drained and chopped chargrilled peppers
- 285g jar of drained and chopped sundried tomatoes
- 50g grated cheddar cheese
- 400ml mayonnaise
- 3 cloves of crushed garlic
- 1tsp dried oregano
- 1tsp dried thyme
- 1tsp dried rosemary
- Cut 2cm slices into the tiger bread stoping just before the bottom.
- Mix together the mayonnaise, garlic and herbs and spread a generous amount into each side of the bread.
- Into each section place a mixture of meat, mozzarella cheese, peppers and tomatoes.
- Once it is all nicely filled sprinkle the top of the bread with cheddar cheese and place under the grill on a low heat for around 5 mins to melt the cheese and allow all the filling to mingle together.
- Once cooled wrap in brown paper and pack up ready for your picnic.
We had our first experience of camping at a festival this weekend and I really wanted to try out some tasty treats that were easy to prepare with limited space but we’re still a little bit special.
We had decided that disposable BBQs were going to be our best friend as we could quickly prepare the food and throw everything away when we were done.
The whole family has a sweet tooth so something sticky and chocolaty would be the perfect treat. Take a look at these yummy cones if this is the kind of thing that takes your fancy too!
Gooey Chocolate BBQ Cones
- Pack 10 waffle cones
- 200g milk chocolate
- Large pack of marshmallows
- 120g cadburys nibbles
- Punnet of strawberries
- Break chocolate into pieces, cut marshmallows into half and quarter the strawberries.
- Take out the cones and equally divide the chocolate, marshmallows, nibbles and strawberries between each of them.
- Wrap the cones separately in tin foil and place on the BBQ when it is just warm at the end of your main cooking.
- Leave to warm through for around 10mins, remove and serve. They would be perfect with a big blob of vanilla ice cream.