Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Fish curry

I love this curry. I can't get cod cheeks very often so it is a real treat when I can make it.

1 onion
1 tbsp butter
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 apple (eating type), cored, peeled and chopped
1 tsp - 1 tbsp curry powder (depending on your taste)
1 tsp branston pickle
1 lb cod cheeks

Chop the onion and saute gently in the butter until starting to colour. Add the curry powder and saute for another minute. Add the apple, tomatoes, cod and pickle and simmer gently until the fish is cooked through.

Monday, 15 December 2008

Brussel sprouts

These are so good - I eat these as a meal in them selves with a fried egg.

1 onion
1 tbsp butter/lard
3 rashers bacon
brussel sprouts, outer leaves removed and stalks trimmed

Slice the onion and cook very slowly in the lard or butter until caramelized and brown (at least half an hour). Grill the bacon until it is crispy. Lightly steam or boil sprouts until they soften (but don't over cook) - about 5 minutes. Slice the sprouts into about 4 slices and add to the onions. Slice or crumble the bacon in with the sprouts and onions and cook for another minute or so. Season to taste and serve.

Cheese dip

This is a very simple and lazy cheese dip and it tastes just divine! Just add some finely grated cheese to creme fraiche and enjoy! You can use different cheese for different tastes - blue cheese is delicious but a mix of cheddar and Parmesan is more kid friendly (to most kids - mine love Stilton - definately my kids!).
You can add extras - like onion or chives. Or leave out the cheese and add garlic and dill. All good!

Sunday, 30 November 2008

Malt Loaf

This isn't like the sticky, dark, sugar loaded stuff you get in the shops. It is less of a cake and more of a bread. But a delicious snack - especially thickly spread with butter.

7 fl oz buttermilk or thinned yogurt
12 oz wholemeal flour
3 tbsp butter
1 tbsp honey
1 1/2 tsp malt extract
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp yeast
1/2 cup raisins or other small pieces of dried fruit

Mix the buttermilk and flour and leave in a warm place for 12 -24 hours. Put the malt extract and honey into the bread machine pan. Place the flour mixture on top. Add the salt and butter in opposite corners of the pan. Put the yeast into an indentation in the middle of the ingredients. Run the machine on a whole wheat setting, light crust. Add the raisins 5 minutes before the kneading finishes (or when the beeper goes off to remind you to add extra ingredients - not all machines have this feature).

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Fried Mush

Another nourishing traditions recipe! The kids loved this and it was very easy to make from leftovers.

1 1/2 cups cooked porridge
1 egg
Cooking fat

Mix the porridge with the lightly beaten egg. Try in small cakes until golden on the outside and cooked through. Lovely served with honey or maple syrup. Could also be made savoury with porridge cooked in stock and served with ketchup or salsa.

Roman lentil soup

This is a recipe from Nourishing Traditions. We all really liked it - I can see it becoming a regular fixture.

1 cup red lentils (soaked for 7 hours)
2 leeks or onions, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
1 litre stock (beef or chicken - or veg if you are vegetarian)
1 tsp fresh thyme
1/2 tsp crushed green peppercorns
Fish sauce or sea salt to taste
Splash of lemon juice or whey
Creme fraiche to serve (optional)

Gently fry the leeks and carrots in the butter and olive oil for half an hour. Add the stock and lentils and bring to the boil. Skim off the foam that rises and then reduce heat. Add the thyme and peppercorns and simmer for another half hour. Liquidize and stir through the lemon juice or whey. Season to taste and serve with creme fraiche.

Bean burgers

Finally beans the kids will eat! Other than sugar loaded tinned baked beans of course. ;0)

1 can beans (or equivalent of dried, soaked, cooked beans)
1 egg
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 tsp curry powder
pinch salt (unless beans were salted in the can)

Drain and rinse beans. Place ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth. Fry batter in small blobs until set.
You can also add more veggies to this. Grated carrot and finely chopped broccoli are good. I have promised my daughter than next time I'll try them with cheese instead of spices so I'll update with how well that works (or not!).

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Potato bread #3 (soaked version)

I am totally in love with potato bread! I made a loaf yesterday with the flour soaked and using the timer on the bread machine (is there anything nicer than getting up to hot, fragrant fresh bread? OK - anything not involving Johnny Depp?). Soaking the flour overnight in something slightly acidic like yogurt or buttermilk helps to reduce the phytic acid content and unlock the minerals in the wheat. For more information this is a great place to look. If you can't eat dairy products then you could use water made acidic with a little lemon juice or apple cider vinegar.

7 fl oz yogurt or buttermilk
10 oz wholemeal flour
3 oz white bread flour
4 1/2 oz cold mashed potatoes
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp butter
1 1/2 tsp raw sugar
1 tsp yeast

Mix the yogurt and wholemeal flour. If you use a food processor you could probably also mix in the butter but I didn't bother. Place in the bread machine pan. Put the mashed potatoes and white flour on top. Put the salt and sugar in opposite corners and the butter in the third corner (unless it is in the flour). Make a small indentation in the white flour (making sure it doesn't go down to the wet flour underneath) and put the yeast in it.
Leave your bread machine in a warm spot and set the timer so it will be ready when you need the bread.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Vanilla extract

I use quite a bit of vanilla extract and the price always makes me flinch! So I am having a go at making my own. Very similar to the blueberry gin instructions - put vanilla in vodka. Leave. Done!

1 cup vodka
2 vanilla pods (the recipe I read called for 3 but they are expensive! I'm hoping I can get away with 2 if I leave it a bit longer)

Cut the pods almost all the way along their length (leave them joined at the top). Put the vodka into a clean glass jar (clear lets you see how dark it has got). Push them down into the vodka so they are submerged. Leave in a dark place for 8+ weeks until it has developed a dark amber colour. Pour into dark glass bottles.

* Update *
This worked perfectly. The vanilla extract is dark and tasty. I keep it in a cupboard with the pods still in the jar rather than decanting it (unless I am giving some away). When I am running low I can just top up the vodka a few times. Eventually I will need some new beans but so far so good!

Potato bread #2 (wholemeal version)

I tried the potato bread with more wholemeal flour today and it has worked brilliantly again. It rose well, isn't too dense and is still soft and moist.
Today's recipe:

7 fl milk (at room temperature)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp honey
10 oz wholemeal flour
3 oz white flour
1 tsp salt
4 1/2 oz mashed potato
1 tsp yeast

Put the milk, oil and honey in the pan. Cover with the flours and then add the mashed potatoes. Put the salt in one corner and the yeast in the middle and run your bread machine on a basic setting.

Next experiments - soaking the flour and enriching with egg!

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Blueberry gin

Making fruit gins is so easy and they make great presents. Sloe gin is the most famous but as there are no sloes or damsons to be had around here (badly timed frost in spring) I am making blueberry gin. Might try black berry gin too as I still have pounds of them in the freezer waiting to become jam.

1 75cl bottle gin
1 cup blueberries
6 tbsp sugar

Mix in a large sterilised jar or bottle (or two) and leave for a couple of months. There - told you it was easy!

Friday, 7 November 2008

Potato bread

This loaf is a great option for sandwiches and helping fussy kids get used to wholemeal and homemade bread. It is soft and keeps really well. I made it with half wholemeal and haven't experimented yet to find out how much wholemeal the recipe can stand but I will update when I have tried more combinations. But my kids really liked this bread - my daughter even ate the crusts which is unusual!

3 1/2 fl oz potato cooking water (make up with tap water if you haven't got enough)
3 1/2 fl oz milk
2 tbsp oil (I used olive)
6 oz white bread flour
7 oz wholemeal bread flour
4 1/2 oz cold mashed potato
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp raw sugar
1 tsp yeast

Put water, milk and oil into the pan. Sprinkle over the flours and add the mashed potato. Put the salt and sugar in opposite corners and the yeast in the middle. Cook on a basic or normal setting. If you like then glaze the loaf with milk at the beginning or half way through the cooking time.

If you use left over mash then you might need to add a little less liquid (because of the milk and butter mashed into the potatoes). If making the potato for the bread, use about 6oz raw potatoes for this recipe.

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Pizza!

Pizza is a big favorite in my house and the number one cause of me buying expensive junk food in our local shop. Sigh. And the really stupid thing is it is easy to make and I like the taste of homemade, wholemeal crust better. So I got all industrious today and made 25 pizzas for the freezer (that sounds like a huge amount but most of those are tiny child size ones).
To make life easy I used my bread machine to make the dough and used an organic yuck free jar of bolognaise sauce. The recipe for the crust is a French style one, with egg and butter rather than olive oil. No particular reason - just a change!

Makes 1 large pizza base (or two if you like a very thin crust like me)
3 1/2 fl oz water
1 egg
1/4 cup white bread flour
6 oz wholemeal flour
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp butter
1 tsp yeast

Put the water and egg into the pan. Put the flours on top and the salt and butter in opposite corners. Put the yeast into the middle and run the machines dough cycle (or a pizza one if it has one). When it has finished knock the dough back gently and roll out to the right size and thickness. Spread with sauce and top with your favorite toppings.
Either bake straight away or freeze. I freeze mine on their baking tray, then remove the tray and wrap them in greaseproof paper and a plastic bag when they are hard. You can also freeze the bases without toppings in the same way.
This recipe doubles just fine if you are making a lot of pizza!

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Wholemeal bread in a machine

I like this recipe that I've been using in my machine lately very much. It makes a tasty loaf with a good texture.

7 fl oz liquid *
2 tbsp honey or maple syrup
2 tbsp polenta or oats
325g freshly milled wheat flour **
1/4 cup white bread flour
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tbsp butter
4ml yeast (nearly a tsp)

* this can be water, yogurt, buttermilk, or a combination. I like to use all buttermilk or half yogurt, half water. If your machine doesn't have a resting phase before kneading then make sure you bring the ingredients up to room temperature.

** it is better to weigh fresh flour as it has a lot of air in it. This is about 2 1/2 cups.

Add the liquid and honey/maple syrup to the pan. Put the flours and polenta/oats on top. Put the salt and butter on the top of that, in opposite corners. Make a small indentation in the middle of the flour (not down to the liquid) and add the yeast.
Set the machine to a wholewheat cycle.

Saturday, 1 November 2008

Anadama bread

I found this recipe in a bread machine recipe book I got off the market a while ago. My bread machine has been languishing in the back of a cupboard for a while but I got it out to knead some dough for me a couple of weeks ago and I'm in love with it again!
I wouldn't normally make a bread with this much white flour in it but the story was so good I couldn't resist. It goes that a man in America came home to find his wife, Anna, had gone out. All that was left for his dinner was a few spoonfuls of cornmeal and some molasses so he mixed them with some flour to make a bread, all the time muttering "Anna, damn her"!
This makes a small loaf.

7 fl oz water
3 tbsp molasses
2.5 cups white bread flour
generous half cup wholemeal flour
1/3 cup fine cornmeal (polenta)
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp butter
1 tsp quick yeast

Put the water and molasses into the pan of your bread machine (unless you have one where the yeast has to go in first, in which case reverse the order the ingredients go in). Sprinkle over the flours and cornmeal. Place the salt and butter into opposite corners of the pan (not sure why but that is what the recipe says. Perhaps they fight....). Make a small indentation in the middle of the flour (not down to the liquid) and add the yeast.
Set the machine to a basic cycle, medium crust.

We all really liked this bread. It isn't one I'd make regularly because of the white flour, but it was a tasty change.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Treacle toffee

450g (1lb) unrefined brown sugar
225g (8oz) black treacle
110g (4oz) unsalted butter
2 tbsp water
1 tbsp vinegar

Melt butter in a pan along with water and vinegar. Add the sugar and treacle and allow to fully dissolve (this takes forever!). Cover and bring to a fast boil. Boil gently, stirring, until the mixture forms a hard ball when a little is dropped into a glass of water - takes about 10 minutes. Pour into a shallow, very well greased tin and allow to cool. When it has cooled a little then mark into squares with a knife. When totally cool it can then be broken up.

Watch your fillings!

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Beetroot soup

Yes, again with the soups. It is definitely getting colder here!

Couple of large beetroots
Onion, peeled and chopped
1-2 tbsp butter
Water
Salt
Creme fraiche

Peel and chop the beetroots. Add them and the onion to the butter and saute gently for about 15 minutes. Then add water - cover them and then about half as much again. Season and simmer until the beetroot is soft and cooked. Puree and serve with a dollop of creme fraiche.

I love this soup. It is very simple and tasty and a great colour - just don't wear white when you eat it! You can also use this soup as a test of your stomach acid - if you pee pink afterwards then you are not producing enough HCl. On the plus side pink pee is pretty cool!

Monday, 20 October 2008

Pease Pottage

Pease pottage hot, pease pottage cold, pease pottage in the pot, nine days old. Some like it hot, some like it cold, some like it in the pot nine days old....
The kids love pease pottage because they can make me say the rhyme three million times over the meal time. I love pease pottage because it is cheap, tasty and nutritious. Every one's a winner!
This is a soupier recipe. Some folk call a solid dish made from yellow split peas and spices and baked pease pottage. I call that pease pudding. Both are delicious!

My recipe is very vague. I don't think I have ever measured any of the ingredients but I will give a guess to the quantities (actually that is how most of my recipes go...)

A ham bone with a little meat left on it, or a small amount of bacon
250g or so of green split peas
Water or stock, enough to cover the peas and about the same again

Put the ingredients in a pan. Simmer until the peas are soft. If using a bone, remove from pan and strip off any remaining meat. Return meat to the pan and puree. Season to taste and serve.

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Potato-based pizza

The base of this is delicious as a side dish, or with just some cheese on top too. I make this with out the onion for fussy kids. You could also add grated cauliflower and cheese to the base, or egg to help bind it.

Makes a large pizza or several smaller ones

Couple of large-ish potatoes, peeled and grated
1 onion, grated
tomato puree (or pizza sauce of your choice)
pizza toppings and cheese

Squeeze some of the water out of the potato in a clean tea towel. Mix in the onion and season. Form the potato mixture into a pizza shape - taking care it isn't too thick or it won't cook through - on a greased baking tray. Cook at about 350oF for about 20 minutes. Then add the toppings as you would for any other pizza and return to the oven until the cheese is browned.

Leek and potato soup

I love soups so as soon as the weather goes colder I have them at least one meal a day.

1 onion
2 tbsp butter
2 medium/large potatoes, peeled and diced
2 leeks, cleaned and sliced
2 pts stock (I use chicken and add a little bit of cooked chicken to the soup too but vegetable stock is fine)
Salt and pepper to taste
Cream for serving (optional)

Saute the veggies in the butter gently for a few minutes. Then add the stock and simmer until they are all cooked through. Season to taste and puree before serving with a swirl of cream.

Friday, 17 October 2008

Curried squash soup

1 small squash, peeled and cut into 2" pieces
1-2 onions, peeled and quartered
1 tsp curry powder (or to taste)
1 pint stock (chicken or vegetable would be best)
salt and pepper to taste

Place the squash and onion on a greased baking tray and roast until the edges are just starting to blacken (gives a roasted flavour to the soup - you can skip this step if pressed for time and just simmer the soup until the veg is cooked). Place the veg and stock in a pan and simmer for 15 minutes. Put the curry powder in a dry frying pan and heat until it starts to turn a little darker and smells good. Add to the soup and season. Blend and serve - a swirl of yogurt is nice in this.

Chocolate (chickpea) cake

This is really yummy and very easy to make. So nice you would never guess it was made of chickpeas (not that I have anything against chickpeas - but in pudding?!). Only drawback is the amount of sugar - but for a treat it is not bad at all.

1 tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
3 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
4 tbsp cocoa powder
4 tbsp melted coconut oil

Put all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth (2-3 minutes). Pour into a greased cake tin and bake at 350oF for 25-30 minutes. Then try not to eat it all at once....

Don't forget to use gluten free baking powder if cooking for people who are sensitive.

Monday, 29 September 2008

Bread and butter casserole

This is my new favorite recipe! Versatile, delicious and all the kids eat it. What more can you ask!

4 slices bread of your choice (I use sourdough)
Butter
4 eggs
1 cup milk
2 oz cheese, grated
Toppings - eg cooked sausage, sauteed mushrooms, peppers, onions, sweetcorn, tuna, peas - whatever you have that needs eating!

Cut the bread up into squares of about 1". Place in a buttered oven proof dish. Add the topping of your choice. My current favorites are sausage, peppers and onions or tuna, onion and sweetcorn. Sprinkle over the cheese. Beat the eggs and milk together and season. Pour over the dish. Allow time to soak into the bread and then bake in a moderate oven for about 45 minutes.

Another variation I make on this dish when i don't have any toppings is to spread the bread with butter and Marmite before cutting it up, then just adding the cheese, eggs and milk.

Monday, 22 September 2008

Wholemeal crackers

I got this recipe from nourishing traditions but found the dough was waaay too wet. I added at least another cup of flour. But that could just be because my flour was fresh out of the mill and full of air! So I've put the original recipe here.

Makes about 5 dozen
2 1/2 cups freshly ground wheat, spelt or rye
1 cup yogurt
1 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
8 tbsp melted butter
white flour for rolling out

Mix the flour and yogurt together and leave to soak in a warm place overnight. Place the soaked flour, salt, sesame seeds, baking powder and 4 tbsps of the butter in a food processor and process. Roll out to about 1/8 of an inch thick and cut into shapes with a knife or cutter. Place onto a well butter baking tray and brush with the remaining melted butter. Cook in a dehydrator or oven at 150oF until dried through.
Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Wholemeal dumplings

I served these last night with a stew of beef mince, beans, tomatoes and anything that needed eating up in the fridge!

Makes 4 large ones
50g shredded suet
100g wholemeal flour (use sprouted flour if possible)
3-4 tbsp water
1 tsp mustard or a good pinch of herbs (optional)
Pinch of salt and pepper

Mix the flour and suet together and ensure there are no big lumps. Add the mustard or herbs if using and season. Add water to the mixture until it forms a thick paste. Make four balls.
These can be cooked on top of a soup or stew, or poached in boiling stock or water for about 15 minutes.

Khili hui khichri (Khichri which has bloomed)

I love the name of this dish! It is a drier side dish, great with a stew or something with a sauce. This is another recipe courtesy of the wonderful Madhur jaffrey.

Serves 6
2 oz (50g) yellow split peas, washed and drained
15 fl oz brown basmati or long grain rice
3 tbsp ghee or coconut oil
1/2 tsp whole cumin seeds
1/2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp salt (to taste)
4 tbsp chopped fresh coriander or parsley
1 pt (570ml) chicken stock (veg stock or water could be used)

Soak split peas in 3/4 pt water for 3 hours and then drain. Wash the rice thoroughly and drain. Soak in 2 pts water for 1 hour then drain.
Heat the ghee or oil over a medium flame. When hot add the cumin seeds and stir them for a few seconds. Put in the rice and peas and cook for a couple of minutes to coat the grains with the oil. Add the garam masala, salt and coriander. Cook for a minute more, stirring. Add the stock or water and bring it to the boil. Cover tightly (using kitchen foil to help if your lid doesn't fit well) and turn to the lowest heat. Cook for about 25 minutes before turning off the heat and leaving the dish to sit, covered (no peeking!) for another 10 minutes.
Gently fluff with a fork before serving.

Friday, 29 August 2008

Cottage pie #2

Today's cottage pie is topped with a carrot and swede mash. Again, for diet purposes. Although carrot and swede mash is very tasty - especially with butter and cream added.....

1 lb minced beef
onion, finely chopped
tin chopped tomatoes
a little cooking fat
A small swede, peeled and chopped
2 or 3 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
Butter and a splash of milk or cream
2 oz grated mature cheddar

Heat the fat and cook the onion until soft. Add the mince and brown. Stir in the tomatoes and simmer for a few minutes, until reduced. Add any other veggies that you have around, and herbs, garlic and seasoning to taste.
Boil or steam the carrot and swede until soft. I tend to cut the carrot up smaller than the swede (as it takes longer to cook) and do them together. Mash with a knob of butter and a little milk or cream.
Place the mince into an oven proof dish and top with the mash. Sprinkle over the cheese and bake for 20-30 minutes until the cheese is crispy and golden.

Thursday, 28 August 2008

Bean and cornbread casserole #2

I'm making a variation on this recipe today.

Serves 4
1 cup polenta
1 cup water (or lime water - see original recipe for details)
1 cup buttermilk or yogurt
3 eggs
1 tsp baking soda
Pinch salt
2 oz grated Parmesan
1 tbsp butter
1 onion, finely chopped
2-3 cups cooked beans (or tinned beans, drained and rinsed)
1 tin chopped tomatoes
3 rashers bacon, chopped (optional)
1 tsp treacle or molasses
1/2 tsp mustard powder
2 oz grated cheddar cheese

Mix the polenta with the water and buttermilk, cover and leave overnight in a warm place. Fry the onions in the butter (or other cooking fat) until soft. Add the bacon and cook. Mix the bacon and onions with tomatoes and stir in the molasses and mustard. You could also add some more veggies to the sauce - sweetcorn and broccoli are going in mine. Place the beans mixture into an ovenproof dish.
Separate the eggs and mix the yolks, baking soda, salt and Parmesan into the polenta. Beat the egg whites until they are stiff and then fold them in. Pour the cornbread batter over the beans. Sprinkle over the cheddar cheese and bake at 375oF for 45-60 minutes (until the bread is set).
Leave out the bacon and use a suitable cheese for vegetarians.

Creme fraiche

This is really easy to make. I make it myself because I can't buy organic creme fraiche and I also know that is it live and full of goodness.

Take 250g of double cream and put it in a jar. Add a tablespoonful or so of live cultured buttermilk (most supermarkets will have this). Stir through and leave in a warm spot for about 24 hours. There - creme fraiche! I just put mine into one of my kitchen cupboards the night before I want to use it and just like magic, the next evening it is set and ready.

A spoonful of creme fraiche is just the thing to finish off soups.

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Beef chili with cauliflower rice

The cauliflower rice is mostly because I have been eating too much rubbish lately and need to lose some weight. But it is also a great way of sneaking extra veg past the kids - if there is a sauce they tend not to realise it isn't rice. Or at least they don't moan about it - either way is good. ;)

Beef chili
1 lb minced beef
minced liver (optional but adds more nutrients - I added about 1/2 a cup)
1 or 2 tins chopped tomatoes
1 chopped onion (or spring onions if like me you've run out...)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tin red kidney beans, drained and rinsed (or equivalent of dried, soaked and cooked) - optional
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp oregano
1-2 tsp chili powder - to taste
Chopped peppers if you like them (kids hate them so I have mine separately, stir fried with Cajun seasoning)

Brown the mince and onions with a little cooking fat. Add the garlic for the last minute or so. Then add other ingredients, cover and simmer slowly for 1-2 hours.
This is sooo good served with grated cheese and/or yogurt. Or sour cream, but then everything is good with sour cream!

Cauliflower rice
Grate cauliflower (food processor is heaven sent here!). Then either steam it, or microwave in a covered dish with a tbsp of water for about 8 minutes. You can also freeze portions of the 'rice' and cook them from frozen - takes an extra minute or two. Season to taste and use in place of rice with curries etc.

Monday, 25 August 2008

Slow roasted duck with Bramley apple sauce

My Mum made this for us yesterday - delicious!

The duck was placed in a roasting pan on a trivet with half a lemon (use the other half for the apple sauce) in the cavity and covered with tin foil. She then roasted it in a low oven (gas mark 3 or 4) for about three hours, removing the foil for the last 20 minutes to crisp the skin. Mmmmm!

Bramley apple sauce

1 lb Bramley apples
1 oz unrefined sugar
4 tbsp water
juice of half a lemon
knob of butter

Peel and roughly chop the apples. Place in a pan with the lemon juice, water and sugar and stew (covered on a low heat) for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. You can then whisk or puree the sauce to the consistency you like, adding the butter to make it silkier and delicious.
If you have any left over this is great with pancakes or porridge the next day. Also (famously) goes well with pork.

Kedgeree

I love kedgeree! It is supposed to be a breakfast dish but generally speaking we eat it in the evening. I had it at least once a week when I was pregnant with my eldest and I think that at least some of his high intelligence can be put down to all that oily fish!

Serves 4
4 smoked mackerel fillets (can also use smoked haddock or any other smoked fish you have)
250g rice (I use brown basmati)
1 onion, finely chopped
knob of butter or olive oil for frying
2.5 tsp curry powder (use more or less to taste)
Frozen peas
4 hard boiled eggs
250g yogurt or creme fraiche

Place the fish into a large frying pan and just cover with water. Bring to a simmer and cook until the fish is heated through and flaky. Remove the fish to a plate and reserve the cooking water (it is a nice smokey fishy stock). Heat the oil or butter in the pan and fry the onion until translucent. Add the curry powder and rice and fry for another minute or so. Add some of the hot fish stock. Cook, covered, until the stock is absorbed. Add more and cook again. Repeat until the rice is done. Meanwhile remove the skin from the mackerel (make sure you keep as much of the brown flesh next to it as possible - that is where a lot of the omega 3s are) and flake the fish. Quarter the hard boiled eggs. Add the frozen peas and a little more stock (or water if you have run out). Simmer until the peas are done then taste it and season as needed. Turn off the heat and add the fish and creme fraiche/yogurt and stir through gently. Serve topped with hard boiled egg quarters.

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Meatballs

Breakfast
Kids: cheesy beans (baked beans out of a tin with grated cheese - not too healthy!)
Me: glass of kombucha tea (it finished fermenting and tastes great!)

Lunch
Steak burgers from my local butcher and salad.

Dinner
Sourdough pasta and meatballs.

Nothing new...

Monday 04th August

Breakfast
Kids: soaked oat porridge
Me: smoothie

Lunch
We ate out with family

Dinner
Left overs from last nights roast dinner reheated. Still yummy!

Sunday, 3 August 2008

Roast chicken

Breakfast
Smoothie

Lunch
Coconut chicken soup

Dinner
Roast chicken with mashed potatoes, carrots, cabbage and gravy.

I've been much less hungry today but I am still craving sugar like crazy. When will I ever learn!

Saturday, 2 August 2008

Liver smoothie

We are back from our lovely holiday now and have some serious diet repair work to do! I have put on 7 lbs and eaten loads of sugar, white grains and other rubbish that I will now be craving for weeks. Sigh. Still - it was a great break and we were lucky enough to have sun every day which on a UK holiday was quite frankly astounding. Kids got to swim in the sea for the first time which they all loved and we all got nicely browned.

Breakfast
Kids: toast and jam - I hadn't done any shopping for real food yet
Me: left over rice

Lunch
Kids are off with their Dad so probably fish fingers and chips...
I had a smoothie. I have started putting a little bit of raw liver into my smoothies sometimes. It is organic beef liver that has been frozen for two weeks (which apparently kills parasites - lovely thought isn't it!) and I have cut it into small pieces that I can either down like a pill or add into smoothies. I put quite a lot into mine today because it smelled so tasty (so I guess I must need something in it - raw liver doesn't usually appeal to me much) and I could slightly taste it (a very mild and not unpleasant flavour from 2 tbsp of liver in a big glass of smoothie). Usually I would only use about a tsp full of liver and there would be no taste. I also added kefir, fruit, coconut oil and a raw egg yolk.

Dinner
Coconut chicken soup, minus the rice.

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Bean and cornbread casserole

Breakfast
Kids: porridge with jam
Me: nothing (wasn't hungry after eating huge bowl of chili last night)

Lunch
Our favorite junk food - (white) french bread with hummus and taramasalata

Dinner
Bean and cornbread casserole
1 cup polenta (fine cornmeal)
1 cup water (or 1 cup lime water*)
1 cup yogurt, kefir, or buttermilk
3 eggs
1 tsp baking soda
pinch salt
1 tbsp butter
1 onion
1 cup cooked beans
500g sausage meat

If using lime water, then soak the polenta in the lime water for about 7 hours, then stir in the yogurt and leave in a warm spot for another 12 - 24 hours. If not, then soak the polenta in the water and yogurt mix for 12 - 24 hours.
Saute the onion in the butter. Mix half into the polenta mix and mix half with the beans. Butter a Pyrex or other oven proof dish. Spread the sausage meat over the bottom of the dish and then spread over the beans.
Separate the eggs and mix the yolks into the polenta, along with the salt and baking soda. Beat the whites until they are stiff and then fold them in. Pour the batter over the beans and sausage meat.
Bake at 375oF for 45-60 minutes. Serve with salsa and a salad.

This recipe is a definite work in progress! It was very nice, but next time I think I will add a tomato-y sauce to the beans and put some Parmesan into the corn batter. But it will be appearing on our table again soon. With more beans the sausagemeat could be left out (especially if there was a sauce on the beans) making this a vegetarian meal.

* Make lime water by putting about 1 inch of pickling lime into a 2 quart (about 1.9 litres) jar and filling it with filtered water. Shake well and cover and leave overnight. After the powder has settled, the clear liquid is lime water. Soaking in lime water frees up the nicotinamide (vit b3) in corn. If you use corn regularly as a staple this is important as pellagra (b3 deficiency) is very nasty. As it is an occasional food for us (and I don't have any pickling lime) I didn't bother with this step.

Monday, 21 July 2008

Bean chilli

Breakfast
Kids: cottage cheese and toast
Me: fruit smoothie

Lunch
We were out for lunch today

Dinner
Bean chili with quinoa and rice

Bean chili
I don't really have a recipe for this at all! The things that usually go in are tomatoes, beans (obviously), lentils, spices and oregano. Leeks are also very tasty in chili. I also regularly add some molasses or cocoa powder as well. I throw every thing in a pan, simmer and then add bit of what ever I have around until I'm happy.
When I am making beans I use a hot soak method, which I understand (from all-knowing Google) is the best method for reducing gassiness. The best method for removing phytates is apparently to soak at 140oF. But I am not messing about with a thermometer! I put my beans into a pan and cover them with plenty of water. I bring them to the boil and then turn off the heat. I leave them in the pan with the lid on to soak over night. When I want to cook them I drain and rinse them then put them back in the pan with fresh water. I boil them vigorously for about 10 minutes (this is especially important with kidney beans) then drain and rinse them again. Then I add either water or broth and cook them for a few hours until they are tender. There are a few steps to this method but it does make for digestible and tasty beans.

Rice and quinoa
1 cup long grain brown rice
2 cups stock (vegetable, chicken, beef - whichever you have)
1 cup quinoa

Soak the rice and quinoa (in separate bowls) overnight in water with a splash of vinegar. The rice doesn't matter too much - you can just use it as is but the quinoa does need soaking. Drain and rinse them both. Bring the stock to the boil in a pan that has a tight lid. Add the rice and turn the heat down as low as it will go. Cover it tightly - if the lids doesn't fit well then use some tin foil to help keep it sealed. Leave it covered and cooking on low for 25 minutes (if you didn't soak the rice give it an extra 5 minutes) . After that time take off the lid and add the quinoa. You may need to add a little more boiling stock or water if there is very little or no liquid left. Cover tightly again and continue to cook on very low for 10 minutes. After that time turn off the heat and leave the pan (sealed) to rest for 5 minutes. Then season to taste and enjoy!

Sunday, 20 July 2008

Sourdough pasta, beef stroganoff

Breakfast
Kids: Breakfast cake
Me: Fruity kefir smoothie

Lunch
Cheese on toast with baked beans and salad

Dinner
Beef stroganoff with sourdough pasta and broad beans. This was so tasty - really rich. It was very popular with the little ones too - the baby ate more than he has in weeks! This was my first go at making pasta. I've always been really intimidated by it - I had the idea that it was a difficult and involved process. In fact it was quite easy and not too labour intensive. The part that took the longest was the rolling and cutting but I got that done while the meat was cooking. My kids loved helping cut out the pasta shapes, which did add to the time to make them!

Sourdough pasta
3 cups wholemeal flour
1 cup sourdough starter
6 egg yolks
A pinch or two of salt

Mix together the ingredients and knead into a smooth and elastic dough that doesn't stick to your hands (takes about 10 minutes). Depending on how wet your starter is you may need a little more water or a little more flour. Leave overnight for the sourdough beasties to do their thing getting rid of anti nutrients. Roll out as thin as possible and cut into whichever pasta shapes you would like (or use a pasta machine if you have one and want neat and fancy pasta). Use lots of flour (I used white flour for this) when rolling out and cutting. This can either be cook straight away (it only takes a moment to cook when fresh so beware of over cooking) or you can spread it out on the counter to dry. It takes a few hours but then you can store it to cook later.
This recipe came from here. The sourdough makes the pasta very easily digestible and it isn't overly sour.

Beef stroganoff
1 lb beef strips (use steak or other tender cuts)
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 onion
250g mushrooms, sliced
1 cup beef stock
1 cup soured cream
1/2 cup red wine (optional but very tasty)
1 tsp paprika

Heat the butter and briefly brown the beef - not too much or it will get tough, just so it is coloured. Remove the beef to a clean plate and fry the onions until translucent. Add the mushrooms and fry for a couple more minutes. Add the beef, paprika, stock and red wine. Simmer until the beef is cooked and tender and the sauce is reduced. Stir through the cream before serving.
This goes well with just about anything - mashed potatoes, pasta, rice, crusty bread - anything to mop up that sauce.

Friday, 18 July 2008

Shahi korma

Breakfast
Kids: Breakfast cake (with strawberries and jam today - yum!)
Me: smoothie

Lunch
Left over farinata

Dinner
Shahi korma ('Royal' lamb) with parathas and steamed cabbage.

Shahi korma
(serves 4-6)
8 cloves garlic
1 inch ginger, peeled and chopped
2 oz blanched, slivered almonds (preferably soaked overnight in slightly salted water)
6 tbsp, plus 4 fl oz water
7 tbsp oil/fat of your choice (I used lard)
2 lb boned lamb, in 1 inch cubes
10 cardomom pods
6 cloves
1 inch cinnamon stick
2 onions, finely chopped
1 tsp ground corriander seeds
2 tsp ground cumin seeds
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 1/4 tsp salt
1/2 pt single cream (I used creme fraiche because it was all I had)
1/4 tsp garam masala

Blend the garlic, ginger, almonds and 6 tbsp water into a paste. Heat the oil/fat and brown the meat. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Put the cardomom, cloves and cinnamon stick into the hot fat and fry for a few seconds, until the cloves swell. Add the onions and fry until they start to brown. Turn down the heat a little and add the almond paste, corriander, cumin and cayenne. Fry for 3-4 minutes, stirring, until the mixture starts to brown a little also. Return the meat cubes to the pan, with any juices and add 4 fl oz water, salt and the cream. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer over a very low heat for about an hour, until the meat is tender. Stir frequently to prevent the sauce sticking and burning. Skim off any fat that collects at the top before stirring. When you are ready to serve, stir in the garam masala.

This dish can be made with stewing beef. Just add an extra 4 oz water and cook for another hour. It can also be made in a crock pot (increase the cooking time accordingly) or baked in a covered casserole dish at gas mark 4 (350oF, 180oC). Another gorgeous recipe from the wonderful Madhur Jaffrey.

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Mushroom Pullao

Breakfast
Kids: cottage cheese on toast
Me: smoothie

Lunch
Roasted vegetable farinata and salad

Dinner
Lentil dal and mushroom pullao

Mushroom pullao
(serves 3)
1 cup long grain rice
3 oz mushrooms
Small onion
2 tbsp coconut oil/ghee
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/2 tsp finely grated ginger
1/4 tsp garam masala
1 tsp salt
1/2 pt chicken stock (if using bought stock leave out salt) or water

Wash the rice and drain. Add a pint of water and a splash of vinegar and soak for at least half an hour. Drain for 20 minutes before cooking.
Slice the mushrooms into 3 mm thick slices. Thinly slice onion into half rings.
Heat the oil or ghee over a medium flame. Fry the onions and garlic for about 2 minutes, until the onion begins to brown at the edges. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring, for another couple of minutes. Add the rice, ginger, garam masala and salt (if using). Turn the heat low and saute the rice for 2 minutes (stirring very gently so as not to break up the rice grains). Pour in the stock/water and bring to the boil. Cover very tightly (use foil under the lid if you aren't sure how well fitting it is) and cook on the lowest heat, or in an oven at gas mark 3, for 25 minutes (a little longer for brown rice - say another 10 - 15 minutes). Turn off the heat and let it rest, covered for another 5 minutes or so before serving.
This is a recipe from an old Madhur Jaffrey cookbook. I adore it. Kids pick out all the good bits. Sigh.

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Tuna cobbler

No posts for a few days - we've all had a terrible tummy bug so food has really not been on my mind!

Breakfast
Kids: soaked oat porridge
Me: Fruit kefir smoothie


Lunch
Fried egg and chips. Still not quite back to healthy eating....


Dinner
Tuna cobbler with broad beans and peas

Tuna cobbler
Savoury scones - probably 2 per person depending on appetite
Tinned tuna
White sauce

Pour the white sauce over the (drained) tuna and top with the scones! This is a comfort food from my youth - my mum used to make it a lot.

White sauce
1 oz butter
1 oz plain flour
1 pt milk

Melt the butter in a sauce pan. Add the flour and stir until it is all combined. Cook for a moment or two over a gentle heat. Add the milk very slowly, a splash at a time, stirring it all in before adding the next splash. When all the milk is added, bring to the boil and simmer gently, stirring for a few more minutes so that the flour is cooked through.

Thursday, 10 July 2008

Pigeon pie #2

Breakfast
Kids: Soaked oat porridge
Me
:
.....chocolate brownie....

Lunch
Kids: Scrambled eggs and toast; fruity smoothie
Me: fruity smoothie - making up for breakfast!

Dinner
Pigeon pie - a bit simpler than the last one, with steamed veg.

Pigeon pie #2
2 onions - the sweeter the better, chopped or thinly sliced
1 oz butter
500g stewing steak, diced
8-10 pigeon breasts
Seasoned flour
1 cup chicken stock
8 oz flaky pastry

Cook the onions in the butter, very slowly for as long as possible. Ideally for about 2 hours, until they are coloured and sweet. Put into the pie dish. Coat the steak in the flour and brown in the pan the onions were in (you may need some more fat at this point). Place the browned cubes into the pie dish with the onions. Put the stock in the pan and stir about to get up any juices and left over flour and pour into pie dish. Next layer over the pigeon breasts. Top with the flaky pasty and bake slowly (about gas mark 4) for about 2 hours.



Chocolate brownies

These are way too tasty to make often! The batter is the best bit in my opinion, tho it is still heavenly when cooked. This might not seem very sweet to most people, but to us it is plenty sweet enough with just 1/2 cup of sugar. You will probably want to try it out with more the first time. If you don't like banana leave it out and increase the sugar - up to 1 1/2 cups if you have a sweet tooth.

3 eggs
1 mashed banana
1/2 - 1 cup
muscovado (or other unprocessed) sugar
3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1 tsp baking powder
170g melted butter

Preheat oven to gas mark 4. Line or grease a baking tin (I use an 8" cake tin for this). Mix together the eggs, banana and sugar. Add the flour, cocoa, baking powder and butter. Stir, but not too much - about 30 strokes should do it. If you like chopped nuts and/or chocolate chips in your brownie fold them in now. Pour into your tin and bake.

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Beetroot risotto

Breakfast
Kids: toast with peanut butter
Me: coconut chicken soup

Lunch
Pies from the market and salad from the garden. I was feeling idle!

Dinner

Beetroot risotto (aka 'pink rice'!)
14 oz raw beetroot, peeled and chopped into small chunks
1 onion, chopped
1 oz butter
14 oz Arborio rice
3 cloves garlic
2 pt stock, kept hot
2 fl oz vodka or dry sherry (I often leave this out as I don't have either)
Juice of half a lemon, plus a good pinch of zest (I use a bit more lemon juice if not adding vodka)
3 1/2 oz Parmesan, grated
1 tbsp parsley
4 tbsp Greek yogurt or creme fraiche (optional)

Melt the butter and fry the onion gently until transparent. Add the beetroot and continue to fry (stirring) for about 10 minutes. Add the rice and finely chopped garlic and fry for a moment or two more until the rice is starting to cook and go a little transparent at the edges. Start adding the hot stock, a ladle full at a time. Stir in each addition and wait for it to be absorbed before adding the next. Keep at this for about 20 minutes, until the rice is cooked and creamy and the beetroot is soft (it can have just a little bite left to it for texture). Add the vodka and lemon juice and half the cheese. Stir in and let the risotto sit with a lid on for a few minutes to rest.
You can use a little bit of left over stock or boiling water at this stage, if the risotto is not oozing and delicious. Serve it topped with the rest of the cheese, the parsley and the yogurt, if using.

This is a great dish - bright fuschia and really tasty. It comes from 'the Cranks bible'. Just right for brightening up a dull horrible day like today.

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Nothing new!

Breakfast
For the kids: soaked oat porridge
For me: coconut chicken soup

Lunch
Scrambled eggs and fried mushrooms on toast

Dinner

Um... not sure I really want to admit what we had for dinner! It wasn't good - frozen pizza and chocolate hobnobs! In my defence we ran out of time for cooking due to the baby throwing up all over my mums (cream) carpet and that was the nearest to food they had in my local shop.

Monday, 7 July 2008

Thai chicken salad,

Breakfast

For the kids: breakfast cookies: smoothie
For me: smoothie (and a breakfast cookie that broke so of course had to be tasted!)

I used 2 tbsp of sugar in the cookies this morning, and 1/4 cup of yogurt instead of milk and they were delicious. No not sweet enough complaints from dd and they all vanished extra quickly.


Lunch

Thai chicken salad
Left over cooked chicken
salad leaves
1-2 tbsp peanut butter
1/4 cup yogurt
1 tbsp sweet chili sauce
1 tbsp lime juice

Mix together the peanut butter, yogurt, chili sauce and lime juice in a pan. Warm through and pour over chicken and salad leaves.

Dinner

For the kids: the dinner they didn't touch last night (roast chicken, new potatoes, cabbage and gravy) - they were too tired after spending the weekend with their Dad
For me: coconut chicken soup

Sunday, 6 July 2008

Oat muffins

I adapted these from a recipe here. They were lovely - nice texture and quite light. Next time I will try adding some fruit for more flavour.

1 cup dry oatmeal
1/4 cup freshly ground wheat flour
1 cup yogurt, buttermilk, kefir, sour milk etc
1 egg
1/2 cup muscovado sugar
1/3 cup coconut oil
1 cup sprouted wheat flour
1/2 tsp each of baking soda and salt
1 tsp baking powder

Combine the oatmeal, fresh flour and buttermilk (or alternative). Leave in a warm spot overnight. Add the egg, sugar and oil and beat to mix well. Add the sprouted flour, soda, salt and baking powder. Mix, but not too much. The flour should only just be combined (a few streaks left is fine). Spoon into muffin cases and bake at 400oF for about 20 minutes (mine too a little longer) until a skewer comes out clean. Really good served hot with butter.

Friday, 4 July 2008

Salsa eggs, Roe cakes

Breakfast

For the kids: fruit smoothie; peanut butter on toast
For me: what was left of the fruit smoothie (darn kids!); apple

Lunch

Salsa eggs
Butter a small oven proof dish. Spread some salsa over the bottom then break in an egg or two. Sprinkle with grated cheese and bake until the eggs are done to your liking. I like to do mine until they eggs are still very runny and then stir it all up. The salsa cooks the eggs while it cools down to eating temperature. You can also do this in the microwave, but I don't think it is as nice.

Dinner

Roe cakes with steamed cabbage and asparagus

Roe cakes
3 or 4 medium potatoes (mashing ones are best but I used new with skins on today)
1/2 a cods roe (probably about 250g), cooked *
1/4 cup sprouted wheat flour
1/2 onion, finely chopped and softened in butter
1 egg
1 cup wholemeal breadcrumbs
fat for frying (I used lard)

Cook and mash the potatoes. Stir in the flour, onion and roe. Form into patties (might want to let it cool a bit first!), brush with egg and coat in breadcrumbs. Fry until brown and crispy.

*simmer the roe in the membrane in salted water with a splash of vinegar or lemon juice for about 15 minutes. Then remove the membrane and use.

These would have been really nice with tartar sauce had I got myself organised enough to make it! But I didn't so we had ketchup and sweet chilli sauce instead (I'm going to hide from the food police now....).


Thursday, 3 July 2008

Bean and bacon soup, toad in the hole

Breakfast

For the kids: peanut butter on toast; glass of raw goats milk
For me: another smoothie!

Lunch

Bean and bacon soup
2-3 rashers smokey bacon, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 tsp lard
2 carrots, finely chopped
1/4 cabbage, finely chopped
1 - 1 1/2 pts chicken stock
1 tin cannelini beans (or a cup or so of soaked and cooked beans if you are more organised than me!)

Fry the bacon and onion in the lard for a few minutes. Add the other ingredients and simmer until the veggies are soft.


Dinner




Toad in the hole, asparagus cooked with butter and coconut oil and steamed broad beans. Followed by Yorkshire pud spread with jam and fresh strawberries.


Toad in the hole
(serves 4)
Yorkshire pudding batter
4-8 sausages (depending on how hungry every one is - I used 5, two for me and one each for the little ones)
suet, beef dripping, lard, butter or coconut oil (anything you can heat really!)

Heat the oven to 400oF. Put a little fat into each Yorkshire pudding tin (or you can use a cake tin, or even a Pyrex dish but individual tins are nice). Prick the sausages and divide them between the tins. Put them in the oven and bake them for 10 minutes. Take them out and give the batter a quick whisk. Pour over half the batter and return them to the oven until they are risen and brown. I usually put the other half of the batter in the oven for afters as I serve dinner. You can add fruit or spices to the batter if you like, or just cook it as is and spread with jam.

Toad in the hole goes amazingly with onion gravy.

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Stir fried rice

Breakfast
For the kids: breakfast cake
For me: smoothie

Lunch
We had some wholewheat noodles cooked with tuna, veggies and some pre-made chop suey sauce. Not ideal but fast and tasty!

Dinner
I made some fried rice with egg, left over beef from Sundays roast, veggies and bean sprouts. No real recipe - I just throw it all in a pan with some soy sauce!

Monday, 30 June 2008

Sprouted wheat flour

This is very useful to have around for when I've forgotten to soak flour for something, or can't figure out a way to soak flour in a recipe. The sprouting reduces some of the anti-nutrient content and is very easy to do. The flour doesn't seem quite as soft as un-sprouted but it could be my imagination! The food comes out just fine any way.

All I do is soak some wheat grains over night in a bowl of water. The next morning I drain them into a sieve and leave that over the bowl. When I go past the bowl I give the grains and rinse and a little stir (as the grains on top dry out faster). By the end of the day they have started to sprout and the next day have tails 2 or 3 mm long. Then I dry the grains out. Ideally I would do this in a dehydrator but I don't have the DIY ability or a few hundred spare quid so I haven't got one! I use the bottom of my oven on the very lowest setting it will go, and turn it off over night (it stays quite warm with the door closed). I spread the grains out on baking trays (I line mine with tea towels because they are getting a bit rusty and horrible) and leave them until they are dried, stirring them every so often. It takes a couple of days to get them ready - when they crunch when you bite them rather than squashing they should be ready to grind.

Here is a horrible blurry picture of the grains just starting to sprout. I forgot to take another of them when they are done - I'll try and remember next time I do some.

Bean and cheese tacos, fried chicken livers

Breakfast:
For the kids: soaked oat porridge with maple syrup and cream
For me: left over soup

Lunch:
Bean and cheese tacos
I rolled some re-fried beans and grated cheese in sprouted wheat tortillas and fried them until crispy. Lovely!

Wheat Tortillas
Makes 32

4 cups fresh wholemeal flour (preferably made from sprouted wheat)
6 tbsp lard
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp sea salt
1 cup very hot water

Cut the lard into the flour, baking powder and salt (use a knife to cut the lard into small pieces while in the bowl so they get coated with flour). Then rub it into the flour with your fingers (like making pastry). Add the hot water all at once and stir it in. Knead the dough until it is smooth and stretchy (not sticky). Leave it to stand for 30-60 minutes. Then divide into 32 pieces, roll them into balls and then into thin tortillas. It helps to roll the tortillas between two pieces of greaseproof paper - you will get them much thinner and they won't stick.
Then heat up a dry cast iron frying pan. Cook each tortilla for about 10 seconds on one side before turning and cooking for about 30 seconds, or until little red spots appear on the other side. Cook the first side again for about 30 seconds.
Spare tortillas can be stored in the fridge or freezer until needed. If you have any spare of course....!

Dinner

Fried chicken livers and salad

Fried chicken livers
500g chicken livers
An egg, beaten
Some breadcrumbs (I cheated and used dried wholewheat breadcrumbs but if I'd been thinking ahead I could have made some)
Oil for frying (I used goose fat)

Trim any white, sinewy bits from the liver. Cut into pieces and dip them in the egg, then roll in the breadcrumbs to coat. Then fry gently in the oil until they are done to your liking (some people like them pink inside, some well done).

I am really horrible and serve these as chicken (liver) nuggets. My mother thinks this is akin to child abuse but if it gets liver into kids......!

Sunday, 29 June 2008

Yorkshire Puddings

Breakfast
For the kids: scrambled eggs; bread and marmalade
For me: same smoothie as yesterday, with a spoonful of coconut oil added

Lunch
Coconut chicken soup

Dinner

Roast beef, sweetcorn, cabbage, gravy and Yorkshire puddings

Soaked flour Yorkshire puddings
1 cup freshly ground wheat flour
1 cup buttermilk, yogurt, kefir or water with 2 tbsp lemon juice or vinegar added
4 eggs
Pinch salt
1/3 cup beef dripping or suet

Combine the flour with the soaking medium of your choice. Soak for 12 -24 hours. Then add the beaten eggs and salt and mix well. Put the fat into yorkshire pudding tins (you can also make mini ones in cupcake tins, or large ones in cake tins) and heat it in a hot oven until sizzling hot. Then pour in the batter (fill about 1/2 way) and bake until puffed and brown.
I usually make about half the batter like this, then make half after dinner as a pudding. Traditionally it is spread with jam. I made it today with 1/2 a cup of raspberries mixed into the batter with a pinch of muscovado sugar and served it with ice cream.

Saturday, 28 June 2008

Fruity kefir smoothie, buttermilk scones, onion gravy

Breakfast

For the baby: Eggs scrambled with butter and chicken stock
For me: fruity kefir smoothie

Fruity kefir smoothie

I thought I'd write this down as it was so tasty!

1/2 cup kefir (I used some that had aged 24 hours at room temp so it was sour and fizzy)
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 large banana
1/2 pack of raspberries (a good handful)
1 egg yolk

Blend! This was delicious - sweet and sour and refreshing. I think next time I'll add a spoonful of coconut oil to it though as it didn't quite keep me going until lunch - I was starting to get grouchy!


Lunch

Pies from the market and salad. These pies are great - made locally from natural ingredients and they are just delicious.

Dinner

Sausages, buttermilk scones, onion gravy, baby broad beans and cabbage. The first broad beans from the garden this year!

Buttermilk scones
(makes 6)
1 1/2 cups freshly ground whole wheat flour (use 1/3 white flour for a lighter scone)
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 tbsp melted butter or lard
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda

Mix the flour and buttermilk into a thick dough and leave to soak 12 - 24 hours in a warm place. Knead in the remaining ingredients (can use food processor if you can be bothered washing it up - I couldn't!) and roll out to 3/4 inch thickness on a well floured surface. Cut out scone shapes with a glass or cutter. Bake in a 350oF oven for about 20-40 minutes (I know - big time difference! The recipe says 40 minutes, but mine were done in 20 so start checking early).

This recipe is from Nourishing traditions (under biscuits - it's American). It gives a dense scone but it has loads of flavour - nutty and delicious. Great with onion gravy (what isn't?) and I would bet fab made with sugar and raisins and served with clotted cream and jam (so have to try that out!). These do work much better with some white flour in - otherwise they can be a bit bullet-like.


Onion Gravy
2-3 onions (sweet red ones are ideal)
50g butter
250 ml chicken or beef stock
1 tsp Dijon mustard (optional)
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce (optional)

Fry the onions in the butter, stirring regularly, until soft (about 20 mins). Turn the heat right down and leave to cook, uncovered, for 1-2 hours, until caramelised and delicious. Add the other ingredients and bring to a simmer. Check the seasoning and serve.
I could eat this with every meal - so tasty.

Friday, 27 June 2008

Savory bread and butter pudding, asparagus with bacon and eggs

Breakfast

For the kids: toast and peanut butter; glass of raw goats milk; banana
For me: a smoothie. Same recipe as yesterday, minus the spice and with some mint leaves (4 or 5). Yum!

Lunch

For me: left over mushroom soup
For the kids: savoury bread and butter pudding and salad

Savoury bread and butter pudding
Makes enough for three kids
4-5 slices wholemeal bread (crusts removed if you can be bothered!), buttered
2-3 oz cheese, grated
2 eggs
1-2 cups milk, cream or a mixture
1 or 2 rashers of bacon, finely chopped (optional)

Butter an oven proof dish. Place half the bread in the dish and sprinkle over half the cheese and bacon. Cover with the other half of the bread and then add the rest of the cheese and bacon. Beat the eggs then add the milk and mix. Pour over the bread and leave for a minute or two to soak in. Bake in a preheated oven for 20 minutes or so, until the custard has set and the cheese is golden on top.

This is also great if you spread the buttered bread with marmite (or other yeast extract) as well.

Dinner

Asparagus with bacon and eggs
The 'big' kids were having a sleepover at my mums tonight so I only had myself to cook for in the evening.
For the baby: left overs from lunch; yogurt
For me: Asparagus with bacon and eggs. I cooked some asparagus on a griddle with butter and coconut oil. On top of that I chopped some bacon, grated some Parmesan (raw and organic of course!) and put a poached egg. It tasted delicious. The poached egg didn't go so well though - I have got the learn the tricks of that! I have only recently started liking eggs done any way
but fried so I haven't had much practice. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!




Thursday, 26 June 2008

Chocolate smoothie, mushroom soup, orange baked mackrel, samphire grass

Breakfast
For the kids: Breakfast cake
For me: chocolate kefir smoothie

Chocolate smoothie
1 cup kefir
1 cup coconut milk
1-2 tbsp kefir grains (if you have spare ones around - I don't yet)
1 large ripe banana (or two small)
1/2 tsp each ground ginger and cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp cocoa powder

Blend and enjoy! Next time I am going to try adding mint leaves too. I bet orange would be tasty as well... I got the recipe from here.

Lunch

Cream of mushroom soup
Onion, chopped
1 tbsp coconut oil or butter (or a mix)
250g mushrooms, quartered
2 sticks of celery
2-3 cups stock
1/2 -1 cups milk or cream

Fry the onion in the oil until translucent. Add the celery and mushrooms and cook for a minute or two. Add the stock, cover and simmer until all the vegetables are soft. Blend using a stick blender until you get the consistency you like (I like it slightly chunky, kids like it perfectly smooth). Add the cream or milk and blend again.

Dinner

Orange baked mackerel with samphire grass and new potatoes.

Orange baked mackerel
4 mackerel, headed, gutted and cleaned
Juice and zest of 1 orange
2 oz butter, softened
Small onion, very finely chopped
Salt and pepper

Season fish. Mix the orange juice and zest with the butter. Add the onion and stir in. Divide the mixture between the mackerel and place inside the cavity. Wrap each fish in a tin foil parcel and pinch the edged closed to keep the juices in. Bake in a preheated over for about half an hour.

Samphire grass
Thoroughly wash the samphire and discard the roots. Blanch in a pan of boiling water for 3-4 minutes and serve tossed in olive oil and a little butter with lemon wedges.

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Coconut goat curry

Breakfast

For the kids: bread and butter with peanut butter, glass of raw goats milk, apple slices
For me: Smoothie - made with a little kefir, strawberries and coconut milk - not my best effort but I didn't have many ingredients left as it was shopping day.

Lunch

For the kids: packed lunch of cheese, grapes, shaped rice balls, little cup of spaghetti bolognaise, melon and yogurt (that sound way more complicated than what it actually was - left overs from the fridge and freezer!)
For me: I had two veg samosas and an onion bhaji from the market. Not very healthy but delicious and fast when I was exhausted after doing the weeks shopping!

Dinner

Quick coconut goat curry and rice

1 tbsp coconut oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
small piece of ginger, finely chopped
500g goat (or lamb) mince
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced
1 can of coconut milk
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 - 1 cup peas
1 tbsp curry powder

Fry the onion in the oil until it turns translucent. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for a minute more. Add the mince and break up with a spoon as it browns. Add the curry powder and fry for a minute. Then add the coconut milk, stock and sweet potato. Cook for 15 minutes or so, until the potato is soft. Then add the peas and cook for 3-4 minutes longer. Serve with rice cooked in chicken broth, parathas or other bread to soak up the lovely gravy.

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Kombucha tea

I got a kombucha SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture Of bacteria and Yeasts) and some kefir grains through the post today. Very excited to try them out. My kefir grains are already sitting in milk, hopefully doing their thing. And my sweet tea is cooling ready to put the SCOBY in.
These are the instructions I followed for kombucha

Bring 2 litres of filtered water to the boil and add 6 tbsp of organic white sugar per litre. Boil for a few minutes to dissolve the sugar and sterilise the mixture. Then add 1-2 teabags of organic black or green tea per litre. Black tea gives a nicer flavour and green tea adds more fizz so I use a combination of the two - usually 2 bags of black and 1 of green in 2 litres. Turn off the heat and cover and leave for 10-15 minutes. Fish out the tea bags and leave the sweet tea to cool to luke-warm. Put the tea into a large glass container with the SCOBY and a cup of finished kombucha tea. If you don't have any finished tea then you can use some apple cider vinegar (not raw - be sure it is pasteurised). Cover tightly with clean muslin and elastic (fruit flies love kombucha!) and leave in a warm dark place (like an airing cupboard) for 7-14 days (or up to twice as long if you are sugar sensitive). Don't disturb the tea while it is brewing and keep it away from smoke, dust, mold etc etc. When the tea is finished, remove the scoby (and the new one that will have grown with it) and put the tea into bottles. The scoby can then be used to start a new batch and the spare one given away for used to make even more tea! You can check to see if the tea is done by putting a straw into the kombucha, past the SCOBY, covering the end and removing a sample to taste. When you like the taste it's ready.
Breakfast

For the kids: soaked oat porridge with maple syrup, cream and butter; yogurt
For me: Fruit and yogurt smoothie

Lunch

For the kids: Boiled eggs and soldiers with fruit for afters
For me: A salad with bacon, eggs and mushrooms cooked in coconut oil on top

Dinner

Faggots and veg

Not the most politically correctly named dish! I bought this to try out last month and hadn't needed a ready made dinner yet. Well as we are all still recovering from the sugar-rush of Ps party this weekend I'm breaking it out tonight.
SO nice to read the label of a ready meal and see ingredients that I'd use! This is made from 30% pork, 30% bacon, 30% pork offal (liver, heart and lungs) and a little rice flour, onion powder and sage. And all organic too.
Well it was lovely! The kids all ate it happily and it was very filling. P complained a bit that it was too spicy (there was a taste of pepper but it only bothered her) but she still put it away. I will definitely be getting some more of this for the freezer - a tasty and good for us ready meal is always a bonus!

Saturday, 21 June 2008

Breakfast Cookies,

Breakfast

For me: Poached eggs on top of onions and mushrooms cooked in chicken broth
For the kids: Breakfast cookies

Breakfast cookies
Make about 8

2 cups rolled oats
1/4 cup milk
1 mashed ripe banana
2 eggs
1 tbsp yogurt
Sprinkle of mixed spice (or cinnamon and cardamom would be lovely)
1 tbsp maple syrup or muscovado sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
Pinch salt
1/8 cup coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup raisins

Mix together the batter and let it sit in the fridge overnight. Preheat the oven to 350oF/ gas mark 4. Drop the batter in cookie sized blobs on a greased baking tray and flatten slightly. Cook for 20-30 minutes, until browning at the edges.

The kids had two of these with a bowl of yogurt for dipping and a piece of fruit. The boys loved them, my little girl said they weren't sweet enough. Could have been because I forgot the salt....

Lunch

left over stew

Dinner

Roast lamb with roasted veg, stuffing and new potatoes.


Friday, 20 June 2008

Beef Stew and dumplings

Breakfast

For the kids: Scrambled eggs and bread
For me: Left over coconut chicken soup


Lunch

We tried out some sustainable wild fish tacos I got from Graig farms. They were quite nice - a bit overly salty and peppery. Don't think I'll be getting them again at that price but they were a quick and easy lunch with a big salad from the garden and fruity yogurt for pud.

Dinner

Beef stew and dumplings

500g stewing steak, diced
half a beef heart (about 500g), diced
1 cup red wine
2 cups beef stock
butter
chopped onion
seasoned flour

4 oz sprouted whole wheat flour
2 oz butter
water
A little salt - about 1/4 tsp

Put the red wine and stock in a large pan and simmer uncovered for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile fry the onion in the butter. When done add to the stock and wine. Toss the beef in the seasoned flour and brown in the butter. Add that and the heart to the stock. Top up with water so the meat is well covered. Put on the lid and simmer gently until the beef is tender - I usually cook it for several hours or all day in my crock pot.

To make the dumplings, rub the butter into the flour and salt. Slowly add a little water to form a soft dough. Split into 6 or 7 balls and put on the top of the stew. Replace the lid and cook for 30-35 minutes.

I serve this to the kids with a little creme fraiche or cream stirred into the sauce. And with lots of steamed cabbage!

I have also had success with adding a little chicken liver, sauteed in butter and finely chopped, to beef stew. It gave a rich flavour and snuck some more liver past the kids!