Tag Archives: recipe

Crispy Seaweed

Okay so this isn’t officially seaweed, it is made with kale. But the boys love the seaweed starter at our local Chinese restaurant buffet, even son2 who is very fussy about what he will eat. So I wanted to see if I could come up with something vaguely similar at home.

Crispy Seaweed

Crispy Seaweed

Ingredients (serves 4)

150g kale
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp brown sugar

Method

Preheat fan oven to 200 degree C.
Wash and chop the kale.
Pour oil onto a baking tray.
Spread the kale out on the baking tray, ensuring it is coated in oil.
Bake for about 15 minutes until the kale is going crispy, but do not allow to char.
Sprinkle on the sugar.
Tip into a dish.
Serve and enjoy.

Crispy Seaweed

What a success! The boys loved it, so a new way to get some alternative vegetables into their diet. I’d love to hear your top tips for serving vegetables to reluctant eaters.

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Streusel topped fruity slices

If you are wondering what streusel is, it is fairly similar to the topping on a crumble. I certainly managed to confuse the boys with this, as they kept saying strudel, which is a pastry dish. Something else I’ve never tried making yet. Must give that a try sometime soon.

Streusel

Streusel topped fruity slices

Ingredients (makes 16)

200g self raising flour
120g soft brown sugar
140g butter
50g ground almonds
100g dried strawberries
100g dried apple
50g sultanas
30g oats

Method

Preheat fan oven to 180 degree C.
Line a 20cm square baking tin with greaseproof paper.
Rub the butter into the flour.
Stir in the sugar and ground almonds.
Reserve 150g of this mixture for later to make the topping.
Add the egg to the rest and mix to a dough.
Place the dough in the tin and flatten.
Chop the strawberries and apples.
Mix all the fruit together in a bowl.
Spread the fruit over the dough base.
Mix the oats into the reserved mixture.
Sprinkle over the fruit.
Cover the tin with foil.
Bake on middle oven shelf for about 30 minutes until golden.
Allow to cool.
Cut into slices.
Serve and enjoy.

Streusel

You could easily vary the fruits used in the filling. So I’d love to hear if you have some alternative suggestions.

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Coconut and Jam Sponge

I recently organised a Macmillan Coffee Morning at work, so I thought I’d make one new recipe and one that was tried and tested. And importantly, so that the boys wouldn’t feel that they were missing out on a cake opportunity, I decided that I would incorporate ingredients that the boys aren’t overly fond of. So for my new recipe, I decided that the key ingredient was to be coconut. And taking my inspiration from a pudding I used to enjoy many years ago for school dinners, I made a traybake cake version of Coconut and Jam Sponge. But thankfully without the hideous pink custard. Who remembers weird coloured custards from their schooldays?

Coconut and Jam Sponge

Coconut and Jam Sponge

Ingredients (makes 16 slices)

225g margarine
225g caster sugar
225g self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
4 eggs
100g desiccated coconut
200g raspberry jam

Method

Preheat oven to 180 degree C / 160 fan / Gas mark 4.
Grease and line a 20cm square cake tin.
In a large bowl, cream together the margarine and sugar.
Beat in the eggs.
Fold in the flour and baking powder.
Spoon into the tin.
Bake in preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes.
Turn the cake out onto a cooling rack.
Allow to cool completely before decorating.
Spread jam over the top.
Sprinkle with coconut.
Cut into 16 slices.
Serve and enjoy.

Coconut and Jam Sponge

So I’d love to hear what would be your top choice of tasty treat to either cook for a bake sale or to purchase there?

And I’m pleased to say that our Macmillan coffee morning raised nearly £100 for this very worthwhile charity.

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A trio of healthy red meat meals

Britmums have challenged bloggers to take the #HealthyRedMeat Challenge to create a delicious family meal with beef, pork or lamb. And as one of the first 100 to sign upto the challenge, I received a free £10 Tesco voucher to purchase red meat.

Now son2 is very fussy about what he will eat and son1 doesn’t like beef, so I decided to play it safe and spent the voucher on 2 packs of pork mince and a pack of sausages, as I knew those should go down well. Plenty of good quality #HealthyRedMeat at a very affordable price.

Tesco red meat

Experts recommend including lean red meat in children’s diet from weaning onwards. Red meat provides a range of important nutrients that are often low in toddlers and children – including iron, zinc, and B vitamins, selenium and potassium.
Red meat has been in the spotlight recently, and experts fear that the nutritional benefits have been overshadowed by misleading negative views. To cut through the confusion, the Meat Advisory Panel, an independent group of health and nutrition experts, is partnering with BritMums to promote red meat in the diets of children.
Dr Emma Derbyshire, a public health nutritionist and mother, says: “Including a small portion of red meat in the diet a few times a week after weaning can help to bridge nutrient gaps and so help to maintain good health through childhood and beyond.”

So the first pack of mince was used to make Breaded Pork Meatballs which I served along with my homemade Cheesy Chips. Or plain chips for son2 who has recently taken a dislike to cheese. Luckily it is simple to remove a portion of chips before adding the cheese.

Breaded Pork Meatballs

Breaded Pork Meatballs

Ingredients (serves 4)

500g pork mince
2 slices of stale bread
1 egg
2 tbsp plain flour
salt and pepper
1 tbsp olive oil

Method

Tear bread into small pieces and put in blender.
Whizz into breadcrumbs.
Beat the egg in a flat dish.
Form the mince into about 16 balls.
Sprinkle the flour on a chopping board.
Roll the meatballs in flour.
Dip the meatballs in the egg.
Tip breadcrumbs into a dish and season with salt and pepper.
Roll the meatballs in breadcrumbs to fully coat them.
Gently heat the oil in a wok on hob.
Cook the meatballs for about 15 minutes, until they are thoroughly cooked, turning at intervals.
Serve with cheesy chips and your choice of vegetables.
Enjoy.

Breaded Pork Meatballs

A really tasty meal. The next day it was mince up again. This time I made Pork Burgers which I served in ciabatta bread along with a repeat of the Cheesy Chips. But rolls would be fine too.

Pork burger with cheesy chips

Pork Burgers

Ingredients (serves 4)

500g pork mince
1/2 tbsp plain flour
1 tbsp olive oil

Method

Form the mince into 4 burgers.
Sprinkle the flour on a chopping board.
Coat the burgers in flour.
Gently heat the oil in a frying pan on hob.
Cook the burgers for about 15-20 minutes, until they are thoroughly cooked, turning at intervals.
Serve in your choice of ciabatta bread or bread rolls with cheesy chips and salad or vegetables.
Enjoy.

Pork Burgers

Again another delicious meal. And finally a meal we have frequently in our household as it is one of both boys’ favourites, namely Toad in the Hole. I served this with mini roast potatoes and a wide range of vegetables so that everyone could choose which ones they wanted alongside.

Toad in the hole

Toad in the Hole

Ingredients (serves 4)

375g pork sausages
150g plain flour
1 egg
450ml milk
pinch of salt
spray oil

Method

Preheat fan oven to 200 deg C.
Put flour and salt in mixing bowl.
Make a well in centre of flour.
Crack egg into well.
Add sufficient milk to beat to a paste.
Gradually whisk in remainder of milk.
Meanwhile spray oil onto baking tray.
Prick sausages and place in baking tray.
Cook sausages for 5 minutes on middle oven shelf.
Pour batter over sausages.
Return to oven and cook for about 30 – 40 minutes.
Serve with roast potatoes, gravy and your choice of vegetables.
Enjoy.

Toad In The Hole

Of course this went down very well. And here is the Cheesy Chips recipe, mentioned earlier.

Cheesy Chips

Ingredients (serves 4)

600g potatoes
50g grated cheddar cheese
1-2 tbsp olive oil

Method

Preheat fan oven to 200 degree C.
Peel the potatoes.
Chop potatoes into thin chips.
Heat the oil in a baking tray in oven for 3 minutes, ensuring the base is fully covered.
Add the chips and turn a few times to ensure coated in the oil.
Cook for about 15 minutes, turning halfway through.
Meanwhile grate the cheese.
Once the chips are cooked, sprinkle the grated cheese over the chips.
Return to oven for about 3 minutes, to allow cheese to melt.
Serve and enjoy.

Cheesy Chips

So a thumbs up from the boys for the meal choices this week using #HealthyRedMeat.

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Disclosure. This post mentions products I purchased using a voucher I was sent for free. All opinions are my own. This post is an entry for the BritMums #HealthyRedMeat Challenge, sponsored by the Meat Advisory Panel.

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More fun with Snappertime plus giveaway

Regular readers of my blog may remember the fun the boys had back in June doing the Time Lord Challenge and the Soap Ships Challenge from Snappertime.

So they were very pleased when Snappertime sent us a new bundle of goodies.

Snappertime is a website full of lots of fun screen-free activities for children, spread across five categories, namely Super Science, Great Outdoors, Tasty Tasks, Arty Farty and Super Hero.

Snappertime goody bundle

The bundle comprised the following goodies:-
A selection of Snappertime Challenge cards
Mr Men on the Farm book
The Stick Book
Danger Mouse Mission Improbable DVD
Swallows and Amazons DVD
Wooden Sailboat Kits
Swallows and Amazons badges and stickers

Plenty of fun to be had with all of these, although I was surprised that it included DVDs, since Snappertime does focus on screen-free activity. But I’m very happy with the choices since I loved the Swallows and Amazons book as a child and remember how this series inspired some of my playtime. I had a vintage copy carefully wrapped in brown paper which belonged to my Dad.

After watching some of the Danger Mouse episodes, the boys decided it was time to tackle some more challenges.

Watching Danger Mouse

Son2 updated our doodlebot and then chose to do the Fizzy Foam Challenge from the Super Science category, which is based on the Roald Dahl book “George’s Marvellous Medicine”. This is a story that we enjoyed reading together a while ago. He loved mixing his potion together and he used a couple of different food colourings, so that his went from pink to purple. He compared it to a volcano as it bubbled and frothed up the beaker. He had to bear in mind that it contained washing up liquid, as it almost looked good enough to drink.

Fizzy Foam Challenge

And son1 opted for a Tasty Tasks challenge, namely to cook some Choc Dollops. A nice simple recipe for children to cook which only needs chocolate and cream plus some decoration. Son1 decided to use white chocolate and decorated half with chocolate curls and the other half with honeycomb pieces. These were delicious and son2 has decided he wants to make some too. See here for the recipe.

Cooking Chocolate Dollops

Afterwards we uploaded photos of their projects for them to earn another DoodleCoin each. And once you have 8 coins, you can claim a free reward. There is a great selection of rewards to choose from, some of which are worth upto £25, most are for free, although a few request £5 postage.

Snappertime doodlecoins

I would definitely recommend you sign your children up for this fab website with its great freebies. So much fun.

I’m really looking forward to introducing the boys to Swallows and Amazons via the dvd next.

And I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition to giveaway a fabulous kids goody bundle to one lucky winner, courtesy of Snappertime, just like the bundle I received.
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a Rafflecopter giveaway – Please click on the link to enter.

And you may see my other giveaways here.

I’d love to hear what screen-free activities your children enjoy.

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Family Fever

Disclosure.  This post mentions some goodies I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

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Lemon Drizzle Cake

When it was my turn for baking and serving at the teahouse, I decided to make a couple of Lemon Drizzle Cakes as half of my contribution.

Lemon Drizzle Cake

Lemon Drizzle Cake

Ingredients

200g margarine
200g caster sugar
2 lemons
3 eggs
200g self raising flour
milk to mix (optional)
75g granulated sugar

Method

Preheat fan oven to 160 deg C.
Line a 21 x 8cm loaf tin.
Grate the zest from the lemons.
Cream margarine and caster sugar together.
Mix in lemon zest.
Beat the eggs in a jug.
Gradually beat in the egg.
Fold in the flour.
The mixture should be a dropping consistency. If it is too stiff, add a little milk to mix.
Spoon into prepared tin.
Cook on middle shelf of oven for about 45-50 minutes.
Test with a skewer. It will come out clean when the cake is ready.
Leave in tin.
Meanwhile squeeze the lemons.
Mix granulated sugar into lemon juice.
Make lots of holes in top of cake with a skewer.
Gradually pour over the warm cake.
Leave to cool before removing from the tin.
Cut into slices.
Serve and enjoy.

Lemon Drizzle Cake

Lemon drizzle is one of my favourite cakes. I’d love to hear your favourite?

Lemon Drizzle Cake

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#ThankGoodness for two quick tasty Bolognaise recipes

Britmums have challenged bloggers to take the Dolmio #ThankGoodness Challenge to create a nutritious mid-week family meal. And as one of the first 100 to sign upto the challenge, I received a bundle of groceries from Tesco.

Tesco Dolmio hamper

When it comes to cooking on a school night, a jar of sauce like Dolmio, is a great bonus for a speedy meal. And son2 prefers the flavour of it, compared to when I do make a tomato sauce from scratch.

What Is In A Jar of Dolmio

A jar of Dolmio Bolognese sauce contains no artificial colours, flavours, preservatives or sweeteners. Always a plus point as far as I’m concerned. And a jar provides 1 of your 5 a day portions of fruit and veg for a family of 4.

What a lot of food in the delivery. Certainly more than enough for two meals, which is what I’m going to share with you now. The first night I decided to make a Chicken Bolognaise with Char-grilled vegetables.

Chicken Bolognaise with Char-grilled vegetables

Chicken Bolognaise with Char-grilled vegetables

Ingredients (serves 4)

4 chicken fillets
1 500g jar of Dolmio Bolognaise Sauce
1 aubergine
1 green pepper
1 courgette
1 large carrot
1 medium onion
2-4 tbsp olive oil

Method

Peel the onion and carrot.
Deseed the pepper.
Prepare the vegetables, chopping the aubergine and onions into discs and the other vegetables lengthways.
Cover the wire rack in your grill pan with foil.
Preheat grill to a moderate heat, using combined grill / fan setting if you have that functionality.
Add 1 tbsp of the olive oil to a wok and heat gently.
Add chicken to wok and cook for about 25-30 minutes, turning regularly.
Meanwhile place carrots on the foil and drizzle with olive oil, brushing the oil over them.
Place under the grill.
After about 5 minutes, add the aubergine, again drizzling and brushing with oil.
After about another 5 minutes, add the onion, again drizzling and brushing with oil.
After about another 5 minutes, add the courgette, again drizzling and brushing with oil.
After about another 5 minutes, add the pepper, again drizzling and brushing with oil.
Throughout this, keep turning vegetables as required to avoid burning.
If necessary, cover those vegetables that are more well cooked with those that are less cooked.
Once the chicken is fully cooked, pour jar of Dolmio Bolognaise Sauce over the chicken.
Allow sauce to heat fully.
Serve and enjoy.

Chicken Bolognaise with Char-grilled vegetables

A really tasty meal. The next night I went traditional with a Spaghetti Bolognaise with the addition of some more of the fresh vegetables for the adults. The boys prefer theirs just as it comes.

Spaghetti Bolognaise

Spaghetti Bolognaise

Ingredients (serves 2 adults and 2 children)

500g beef mince
1 500g jar Dolmio Bolognaise Sauce
250g spaghetti
1 onion
1 courgette
1 yellow pepper
200g mushrooms
2 tbsp olive oil
50g Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

Method

Peel the onion and deseed the pepper.
Chop the vegetables.
Add a few drops of olive oil to a pan of water and bring to the boil.
Add 1 tbsp olive oil to a wok and heat gently.
Add 1 tbsp olive oil to a frying pan and heat gently.
Add the mince to the wok, turning regularly.
Add the spaghetti to the saucepan and cook for 8 – 10 minutes.
Add the onion to the frying pan.
After a couple of minutes, add the rest of the vegetables to the onion. stirring regularly.
Grate the cheese.
Once the mince is fully cooked, pour jar of Dolmio Bolognaise Sauce over the mince.
Allow sauce to heat fully.
Drain the spaghetti.
Tip spaghetti onto dishes.
Cover two portions of spaghetti with the bolognaise.
Stir vegetables into the bolognaise before serving the other two portions.
Serve with grated cheese and black pepper.
Enjoy.

Spaghetti Bolognaise

Yummy bolognaise and some leftover for me to take to work tomorrow.

Spaghetti Bolognaise

Spaghetti Bolognaise

We all enjoyed both these meals. And I’ve still got plenty of the groceries left to use.

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Disclosure. This post mentions products I was sent for free. All opinions are my own.
This post is an entry for the #Dolmio #ThankGoodness Challenge, sponsored by Dolmio. www.dolmio.co.uk/thankgoodness.

Leek and Kale pan fried Hake

The British Leek Growers Association have challenged bloggers to create a leek-based recipe. Excellent timing as British Leeks are in season right now. I love leeks so I didn’t need asking twice. I decided to combine the sweet flavour of leeks with kale and hake.

Leek and Kale pan fried Hake

Leek and Kale pan fried Hake

Ingredients (serves 3)

100g leeks
100g kale
3 fillets of hake
2 tbsp olive oil
50g margarine
50g plain flour
450 ml milk
75g grated cheese
salt and pepper

Method

Chop the leek and kale.
Grate the cheese.
Gently heat 1 tbsp oil in each of 2 woks or large frying pans.
Add the leek to 1 pan and fry for 2 – 3 minutes.
Add the hake to the other pan and fry for about 10 minutes, turning half way.
Add the kale to the leek and continue to fry until vegetables are softened.
Meanwhile melt margarine in a jug in the microwave.
Mix in the flour.
Gradually stir in the milk, microwaving for short bursts between stirring.
Once the sauce has thickened, stir in the grated cheese.
Microwave for 1 more minute.
Heap the leek and kale onto the plates.
Place the hake on the bed of leek and kale.
Pour cheese sauce over the hake.
Serve and enjoy.

Leek and Kale pan fried Hake

A delicious leek recipe for St David’s Day. And I’d love to hear your favourite dishes using leeks.

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Caramelised Onion Bruschetta

I like to use onions in some of my recipes for flavour, but neither of the boys are keen on onion and tend to pick the pieces out. So I was quite surprised recently when eating out at Zizzi to see that son1 couldn’t seem to get enough of the caramelised onion bruschetta that was supposed to be my starter.

Was it the sweetness? Did he not realise it was onion? Anyhow I thought I would create my own version at home and see how it went down.

caramelised onion bruschetta

Caramelised Onion Bruschetta

Ingredients (serves 2 as a starter)

2 slices of crusty white bread
1 large onion
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp brown sugar
30g grated cheese
salt and pepper

Method

Peel and chop the onion.
Gently heat oil and butter in a small frying pan.
Add the onion and sugar.
Stir-fry for about 15 minutes until soft and brown.
Meanwhile cut bread into slices and preheat grill.
Heap the caramelised onion onto the bread.
Sprinkle with cheese.
Season with salt and pepper.
Cook under grill for 1-2 minutes until cheese melts.
Serve and enjoy.

caramelised onion bruschetta

This recipe got the thumbs up. I’d love to hear what dishes your kids have surprised you by eating?

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Chicken and New Potato Hash

When I was a child, my dad used to grow most of our own vegetables, but he never bothered planting potatoes, as he said they would strip most of the nutrients from the soil, so that there wouldn’t be anything left for the following year’s crop. Instead my parents used to buy huge sacks of potatoes straight from the farm which would last us for months. But occasionally when they came into season, my mum would buy some new potatoes from the greengrocer. I loved how the texture and taste always seemed better than the potatoes we ate the rest of the year.

Nowadays we don’t have to wait for the British crop of new potatoes to be in season. Good job as it is the middle of winter. Instead just pop along to the supermarket, where in Tesco, you’ll find Cypriot new potatoes on the shelf in branches nationwide until the end of March.

Cypriot New Potatoes

I received a free £10 Tesco voucher to purchase ingredients including Cypriot new potatoes for a tasty recipe. For me, a new potato is all about the texture, so no point mashing it, making soup or using it in the slow cooker. Instead I’ve opted to boil my new potatoes and then make them into a yummy hash.

Chicken and New Potato Hash

Chicken and New Potato Hash

Ingredients (serves 4)

500g new potatoes
100g frozen spinach
150g mushrooms
2 tbsp olive oil
150g cooked chicken
2 eggs
salt
pepper

Method

Scrub the potatoes to remove any blemishes, no need to peel.
Chop into small pieces.
Allow the spinach to defrost.
Chop mushrooms into quarters.
Bring a saucepan of water to the boil and add the potatoes.
Boil for about 10 minutes until just cooked.
Add oil to wok and heat gently.
Add the mushrooms and then the potatoes and stir-fry gently for about 5 minutes.
Mix in the spinach and chicken.
Season with salt and pepper.
Crack the eggs directly into the wok and mix in.
Cook until egg has set.
Serve and enjoy.

Chicken and New Potato Hash

I’d love to hear what is your favourite new potatoes dish?

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Disclosure. This post is an entry into the #CypriotNewPotatoes Challenge with Tesco and Foodies100. It mentions products I purchased using a voucher I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.