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.


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


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!)

Steak burgers from my local butcher and salad.

Sourdough pasta and meatballs.

Nothing new...

Monday 04th August

Kids: soaked oat porridge
Me: smoothie

We ate out with family

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

Sunday, 3 August 2008

Roast chicken


Coconut chicken soup

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.

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

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.

Coconut chicken soup, minus the rice.