Friday, 15 June 2012

Vegetable Frittata

This is such a simple dish to make.  Perfect for using up leftovers from a Sunday lunch.

Serves 4

8 eggs, beaten (add a pinch of salt and dash of pepper)
100 gm potato, peeled, boiled and diced
250 gm cooked vegetables (I used roasted vegetables (courgettes, tomatoes, shallots and peppers) but you can use boiled or steamed of your choice)
100 gm, grated cheese
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion, peeled and diced
1 clove garlic, crushed

Heat the oil in a large saucepan and cook the onion until transluscent.  Add the garlic and cook for a further minute.

Add the cooked potato and vegetables and cook over a medium-low heat for a couple of minutes.

Turn on the grill.

Add the beaten eggs and stir a couple of times to ensure the vegetables are mixed up well with the eggs.

Cook on a medium heat for a few minutes until the sides start to look cooked and peel slightly from the edge of the pan.

Add the grated cheese and then transfer to the grill.

Cook until the eggs and cheese are cooked and start to turn slightly brown.

Serve with a lovely side salad of green leaves and beetroot.


Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Easy Peasy Playdough

Play dough is a really simple, yet effective way to keep small hands and minds busy.  It is a great texture to play with and really lets the imagination fly.  Best of all it is super easy to make and stores well wrapped in cling film.  You can keep it for quite a few days, but do remember that it is made up of food stuffs so will eventually go mouldy.

Easy Peasy Playdough - This recipe makes quite a bit of playdough.  You could always halve the quantity to make a little less or make two batches with different colours.

2 cups plain flour
1 cup salt
2 cups water
2 tsps cream of tartare
2 tbsps vegetable oil
food colouring of your choice.

Place all the ingredients into a large saucepan and stir over a medium heat.

The mixture will seem very watery at first and you may be inclined to add more flour - don't!  The water will be absorbed and after about 5 minutes of occasional stirring the dough will form into a gelatinous mass.

Once formed, turned out onto a greaseproof baking sheet and leave to cool for a few minutes.

Whilst still a little warm, knead the dough to gain some elasticity and then leave to cool before allowing little hands to play.

NB Dough is hot when it first comes off the stove so wait until it has cooled before letting children play with it.

It kept Miss Boo amused for a short while.

Bob enjoyed playing with the play dough when he got back from school too.  Great fun for all ages.

Monday, 11 June 2012

Cook's Staple - Bolognese

This is a classic bolognese sauce - serve with pasta of your choice.

450 gm minced beef
1 onion, peeled and chopped
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 stick of celery, cut into small slices
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1 beef stock cube
400 gm tin of chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato puree
300 ml boiling water
1 teaspoon mixed herbs
2 bay leafs.
Olive oil

In a large saucepan, cook onion until soft (about 5 minutes).

Add garlic and stir.

Add minced beef and cook until meat has turned brown.

Add carrot and celery. Stir.

Add chopped tomatoes and tomato puree.  Stir in the herbs.

Dissolve stock cube in boiling water and add to pan.

Bring to boil, place a lid on saucepan then lower heat and simmer for approximately 20 minutes, stirring often.

Remove lid, stir and cook for a further 10 minutes.

Serve with  pasta.

Can add grated Parmesan according to personal preference.

Friday, 8 June 2012

How to make a building block cake

It was my hubby's birthday yesterday. 

"What kind of cake shall we make Daddy?"

"Twinkle star!" cried Boo

"Lego!" shouted Bob.

"Lego!" confirmed Boo.

"Lego it shall be." I declared.

Well, we settled on a 'building block' look.


8 oz butter
8 oz caster sugar
8 oz self raising flour
1-2 tsp Vanilla extract
4 eggs

Buttercream icing

4 oz butter, softened
8 oz icing sugar, sifted
2 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract


2 tbsp raspberry jam, heated gently over a cup of hot water


Shortbread biscuits
Coloured fondant icing
Smarties (optional)

Turn on the oven to 180C.

Grease and line two rectangle tins 6" x 8"

Cream the butter and sugar together.

Beat the eggs and vanilla extract together.

Slowly sift the flour into the creamed butter and sugar, alternating with the beaten eggs.

Little hands are great for helping with the mixing!

Spoon the batter into the lined tins.

Cook in the oven for 30 minutes.  Check the cake is cooked by inserting a skewer into the centre.  If it comes out clean, the cake is cooked.

Turn out onto a cooling tray and leave to cool completely.

Wrap with cling film and place in the fridge for about an hour.  This will help when creaming the cake as it will stop too many crumbs coming off.

When ready, remove the cake from the fridge and start making the butter icing.

Spoon the warmed jam onto one cake and a layer of butter icing on the other.

Sandwich the two together.

Next roll out the coloured fondant. I used these as squares and rectangles to decorate the cake board.  I used a cookie cutter to make slight circular imprints to look like building blocks.

Next place the cake on the board and cover with the butter icing.

Place the shortbread biscuits on top in two rows of three.  I used shop bought biscuits but you could make your own if you so desired.  Otherwise you could also use large marshmallows cut in half.

Finally, cover with a large layer of rolled fondant.  I found that rolling this out on a greaseproof sheet made it easier to transfer onto the cake.  Simply turn the sheet over and gently unroll.  Much easier than trying to lift a large piece of fondant with your hands!

Cover with candles and surround with Smarties (Bobs decision), and celebrate.

Happy Birthday darling hubby xxx

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Easy Peasy Lemonade

There are so many wonderful things about summer, but for me the best part is the excuse for tall glasses of refreshing drinks.  And none is more refreshing than home made lemonade.  This recipe is so simple and truly delicious - you will be keeping stock in your fridge before you know it!

Makes just over 1 litre.

Juice of 4 lemons
100 gm sugar
600 ml water (plus an additional 400 ml of water for later)

Simply add the sugar to the 600 ml of water and heat over a low heat, stirring all the time until the sugar has dissolved.  Bring near to the boil and remove from the heat.

Add the lemon juice and remaining 400 ml of water.

Allow to cool and then serve in long tall glasses with ice.

NB:  You can sieve the lemon juice first to remove the pith if you wish for a smoother drink, or keep the pith in the mixture for a more authentic, cloudy lemonade drink.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Teriyaki Chicken Mini Burgers

I have been experimenting with burger making, seeing as the summer is upon us and BBQ's are the way forward.  I love food that has a hint of Asian tastes to it, and so whizzed up these delightful burgers, which went down a treat, and fast, for dinner this evening.

Makes 4 Mini Burgers

200 gm Chicken fillet
2 Spring onions, roughly chopped
1 Tbsp fresh coriander, roughly chopped
1 Tbsp Teriyaki sauce
1/2 cm Ginger, skin sliced off.

Whizz all the ingredients together in a food processor, until thoroughly blended.

Heat a tablespoon or two of oil in a frying pan at a medium heat.

Dust your hands with a little flour and then make up 4 mini burger patties out of the mix.

Place in the frying pan and cook for 15 - 20 minutes, turning every 5 minutes so as to cook evenly throughout.

Serve with a side salad, cooked vegetables or with a little cheese in a mini bap.


Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Cheesy Crackers

For my son's upcoming birthday party I plan on keeping to a Pirate/Neverland theme for the food and want to make some cheese crackers.  I have been practising making cheesy biscuits this weekend, to some success but I still think there is some tweaking that can be done.  When the party comes around I will cut them in the shape of fish, so as to keep with the Pirate/Sea theme of the party dinner.

I found a recipe online from Cooking in Montana, and this did make a lovely biscuit, but I think I will adapt it some more with a few herbs and see how it turns out.

For my current batch I adapted the original (I used different flour and lowered the salt content) and cooked as follows:

75gm Strong Wholewheat flour
75gm Strong Plain flour
56 gm cold unsalted butter
1/2 tsp salt
225 gm cheddar cheese, grated
3 tbsp water

In a food processor, blend the flour, salt and butter until you have a coarse grain texture.  Slowly add the cheese, a handful at a time and keep blending.

Finally, add the water a tablespoon at a time and blend until it comes easily off the blade.

Remove from the food processor, it will probably feel a little sticky from the heat and water, and wrap in clingfilm for at least 20 minutes, or up to 24 hours (perfect for party planning as can be made ahead of time!)

When ready to bake, heat the oven to 190C (350F) and lightly flour a clean working surface and rolling pin.  Roll out the dough until about 1/8' thick and cut shapes with your cookie cutter.

Place on a greased baking tray and cook for about 15 minutes, until the cookies are golden.

Remove from oven and allow to cool on a wire rack before serving.

Absolutely delicious!