Thank you to everyone who entered another delicious round of Family Friendly Fridays on Fabulicious Food! As usual, scroll down to the bottom to find out the winner.
Round Up of March Entries
Thank you to everyone who entered another delicious round of Family Friendly Fridays on Fabulicious Food! As usual, scroll down to the bottom to find out the winner.
March is my favourite month of the year! Something to do with birthdays and lots of cake…
I’m really looking forward to a new round of Family Friendly Fridays on Fabulicious Food! – I’m enjoying exploring some new blogs and so far, there have been some wonderful recipes.
Congratulations to Jenny who won the February event.
A quick re-cap on the guidelines:
- Link up any post/recipe that fits in with a ‘family friendly’ theme by the last day of the month by adding the URL to the linky tool above (any problems please contact me)
- In your post, link to this page and feel free to use the badge (code on the sidebar to the right)
- By entering your link, you are giving me permission to add your photograph to the round-up. I will link back directly to your post when I include you.
- N.B Recipes do not have to be for kids, but they can be! You could also link up a Sunday lunch recipe for your folks, a super-easy supper for your friends, weekend cooking or family projects.
- You can link posts entered into other blog events or carnivals as long as it fits in with their rules
- The linky-up is open to anyone, anywhere.
- There will be a prize, the winner will be chosen randomly.
- If you are blogging about a recipe from a book or magazine, don’t copy and paste – please be aware of copyright.
Don’t forget, if you add the hashtag #FamilyFriendlyFridays I will re-tweet any that I see.
If you have any questions or problems, email me or leave me a comment in the comment box at the bottom of the post.
This month’s winner will receive a copy of Grow It, Cook It with Kids by Amanda Grant – just in time to start planting in April!
Another lovely month of family friendly recipes here. Thank you so much to everyone who linked up. There were a few favourites for me this month, bookmarked to make soon. Scroll down to see who won!
Here’s the February round up:
It seems that everyone has the baking bug at the moment. It might be something to do with lots of baking programmes on the television but for me, it’s the start of a new term and there have already been a couple of school events requiring the production of a home-baked goodie.
It’s always good to have a few fail-safe baking recipes to rely on. The night before a bake sale is not the time to be experimenting. You need a recipe you can trust and that isn’t going to depend on too many Mary Berry-standard skills.
Tana Ramsay is a mum, who I’m sure knows this feeling only too well. Her latest book is called ‘I Love to Bake’ and is published by the Octopus Publishing Group. Yes, she happens to be married to Gordon Ramsay, but I’m quite certain that he isn’t the one up until midnight icing cakes for school fêtes. I’m sure that Tana’s experience of combining motherhood with writing cookery books (this is her fourth book in her own name) and a TV career means that she’s well versed in testing and trying recipes that work and that are quick and easy to make (perhaps with a little help with the washing up along the way..)
So, what’s in Tana’s latest book? Well, I was pleasantly surprised to find that ‘baking’ includes a whole array of sweet and savoury family friendly dishes.
There are ten chapters in total –
Cakes & Cupcakes, Biscuits & Traybakes, Puddings, Chocolate, Sweet Pies & Tarts, Savoury Pies & Tarts, Meat Bakes, Fish & Vegetable Bakes, Bread and a final chapter on Easter, Hallowe’en and Christmas.
‘I Love to Bake’ is a bit of a baking ‘catch-all’ with recipes pitched a varying levels – some of them I’d say are very easily achievable, such as the Baked Tomatoes, Almond Jam Cookies (great to make wth kids) Blueberry Flapjacks (five ingredients to throw in a pan) and the Mackerel Fishcakes (using cooked mackerel fillets and left-over mash). Whereas some of the recipes are slightly more technical – such as the Sun-blushed Tomato & Pancetta Bread, Fish Lasagne (assembly and making a roux is required) or the Tapenade-coated Rack of Lamb with Mediterranean Canellini Beans (two separate recipes involved).
However, in general, they are certainly all achievable though my bread-making skills may need a little work before I reach the Bread chapter.
So far, some of the recipes that have made my family hit-list have included –
- Lamb & Lentil Casserole – the recipe calls for swede and carrots but I made this with autumnal butternut squash and lentils and it was yummy
- Sesame Coated Drumsticks – tahini, Chinese five-spice powder and runny honny make for a lovely tasty glaze
- Easy Quesadillas – we swapped the salami for Polish garlicky sausage, delicious
- Spiced Carrot & Raisin Cupcakes – a great after-school snack and they stayed very moist too for a good couple of days
My less successful baking adventures have included the Banana & Pineapple Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting. I’m not sure what happened, it definitely had something to do with my dodgy oven. Tana does say that the cake remains very moist so you have to keep an eye on the timings and watch when it shrinks away from the tin. I did, but the cake was still very soggy in the middle making it very difficult to slice it evenly into three slices. To make matters worse, when layered up with the frosting the whole cake slipped as I tried to get it into the tin – not my finest baking hour, but it won’t put me off making it again as it tasted really delicious!
Other sweet-treats on my ‘must-try’ list are Tana’s Orange and Poppy Seed Cake and her Orange Polenta Cake with Golden Syrup (I’ve made a similar Orange, Polenta and Amarretto cake before to a Nigella recipe but I love the idea of pouring golden syrup over the top reminiscent of the sponge and golden syrup of school dinners. I also love the look of Tana’s Home-Made Custard Creams and her Chocolate Truffle Hearts.
Most of all, I really like the seasonal slant to Tana’s book and I think there are many recipes where you could easily substitute seasonal fruit or vegetables depending on the time of year. For example, the Cherry, Almond and Buttermilk Muffins would be wonderful during British cherry season as fresh cherries are required, but I would probably try these with small cubes of soft pears during the autumn. Similarly, fresh cherries are required to make the Bakewell Tart with Homemade Cherry Jam, but for a twist I might give this a go using fresh, seasonal plum jam instead.
Tana’s Baked Cheesecake with Rhubarb Compote is a lovely way to use garden rhubarb (and I love the fact that she suggests putting a layer of crème fraîche over the top of the cheesecake once baked – handy to cover any cracks!) I also can’t wait to try Tana’s Salmon En Croûte with Minted Pea and Bean Purée (the peas and broad beans are both frozen and the pasty is shop-bough and ready-rolled – I like the thinking!)
There are photographs by Chris Terry accompanying almost all of the recipes, but not every single recipe and some of the recipes include extra photos of some of the steps (the Lemon Tart with Blackcurrants shows a couple of the stages) but that isn’t carried throughout the whole book.
The final chapter, Easter, Hallowe’en and Christmas, is a tiny bit disappointing. A basic hot-cross bun recipe covers Easter and there is just one recipe for basic cookies to cover Hallow’een, so there could have been a little more content in that chapter although the Christmas recipes, such as the Spiced Orange and Cranberry Mince Pies and Whole Baked Camembert sound good.
All in all, I have really enjoyed baking from this book so far. I might challenge myself to try one of Tana’s bread recipes and for a party next week I’m making Tana’s Lamb shanks with White Beans which sounds like something that can just bubble away for a few hours in the oven.
I am a little bit chocolate-caked-out after my daughter’s second birthday with more celebrations to come this weekend, but there is always room for a good chocolate cake and Tana’s Chocolate Fudge Cake claims to combine a ‘light sponge with a light filling’ so it might have to get made for the next school cake bake sale!
A little while ago, my friend Lisa from The Book Mums spotted a cookery book that she thought would be right up my street – and she was right. It’s the Usborne Children’s World Cookbook which is filled with recipes from 25 different countries. If you have a long summer holdiay ahead of you to fill with children this book would be a very handy addition to your activity list.
The Usborne Children’s World Cook Book is available through Usborne Children’s Books and is priced at £12.99. Check out Lisa at The Book Mums who will easily point you in the direction of a local consultant or will mail it out to you.
Thank you for my review copy. The book is written by Angela Wilkes and Sarah Khan with food photography by Howard Allman.
Hot off the press, the latest cookbook to hit my shelf is Nick Coffer’s ‘My Daddy Cooks’. Things are very exciting in the world of cookery books at the moment as more and more non-TV/non-celebrity cooks and food writers are making themselves heard. This is partly due to the growing popularity and phenomenon of Internet blogging, which is literally thrusting ‘up and coming’ foodies straight into the hands of publishers who seem to be keen on bringing the very best of such ‘new voices’ forward. It seems there is room for new talent and I believe there should be. Whilst they may not soar quite as quickly as books written by or endorsed by the ‘big guns’ of the food world overnight, I say, look out -there is some real talent emerging.
Enter Nick and Archie. I first met Nick when I was asked to appear as a guest on his BBC radio show (I have the very lovely English Mum to thank for our introduction.) Nick was in the process of writing his first cookery book (though he has always kept the show and his blog/book quite separate). It was clear to me that his love of food was all-encompassing and that his enthusiasm would propel him forward at great speed.
I am very pleased to report that there are no jacket potatoes that have been made to look like mice, nor are there any individually ramekinned shepherd’s pies, hidden vegetable sauces or gimmicky foods. Phew. I think there are quite enough of those type of books out there already.
Nick has come up with some very clever short-cuts to make food fun and easy to make (he calls it “giving it the My Daddy Cooks treatment”) and other than a few pots and pans and a set of scales, no fancy equipment is needed. A fair amount of recipes are cooked in the oven, though this is because it is often easier to stick something in an oven out of a toddler’s reach. Some of the recipes can be cooked on the stove, such as the recipes in the chapter called ‘Wok on the Wild Side,’ and there are even recipes for microwavable cakes for those moments when you only have enough time to “ping and ding”.
The notion of layering flour tortillas up with chilli shouldn’t work (I’m not a fan of sogginess) but my goodness, it does. The tortillas actually don’t go soggy, they stay remarkably intact and just end up being like chewable pasta – which the kids loved. Keen to re-create the yummy dish I had tasted at The Real Food Festival, I attempted the Mexican Lasagne on the afternoon of a toddler tea party in my garden. I had made the sauce a few hours before just to let the flavours develop and then my kids helped me ‘build’ the lasagna a bit later on. Four ‘under fives’ wolfed it down and asked for more. We re-heated the rest later in the evening and it was still as good, if not better, despite Nick saying in the book that it should be eaten straight away. Just to check it really was as good as I thought it was, I made it for the second time this week, re-naming it ‘The Mex’. I also tweeted Nick to ask him to dedicate a Facebook page entirely to this one recipe. Enough said about this one (my photos below).
My Daddy Cooks – published by Hodder & Staughton
Are blondies the new brownies? Well, I had never tried them before but they sounded good to me so I was keen to tweak and try out a recipe. Whenever I make chocolate brownies (whatever the recipe says) I always add a really over-ripe banana or two, as I find it makes them a little gooier (that really is a word). I also like adding some finely chopped nuts for texture so I did the same with these blondies. The recipe itself couldn’t be easier to make – you don’t need a mixer, food processor or even whisk. You just melt the butter and sugar together and mix all the other ingredients in with a spoon. You should end up with blondies that are crispy on the top but soft in the middle. My kids loved them warm with a good dollop of custard on top for pudding. Be prepared for your kitchen to smell divine…all your neighbours will come knocking. I couldn’t possibly comment on how they tasted – I really didn’t eat four squares in one go…
Banana Cinnamon Blondies
Adapted from a Williams-Sonoma recipe from their cookbook, Cookies.
US measurements converted.
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Line a 8 x 8 baking pan with baking paper (I use Lakeland parchment lined foil).
2. Melt butter and brown sugar in saucepan or in the microwave until the sugar has dissolved. Leave mixture to one side to cool down.
3. Sift the flour, salt and cinnamon together in a separate bowl.
4. Very lightly beat the egg and egg yolk together, add the vanilla, pour into the brown sugar mixture and stir. Add the mashed banana and chopped nuts and stir gently again.
5. Carefully mix in the dry ingredients. Pour batter into your lined tray. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes until the center is springy; do not over bake.
6. When the blondies have cooled slightly, run a knife around the edges to loosen. Let them cool, then cut into squares.
These can be kept in an airtight container for three days if you don’t eat the whole tray in one go!
These little chickens are really easy to prepare and make ahead if you are cooking for a crowd and would make a lovely alternative to roast lamb on Easter Sunday, especially if you don’t like lamb!
Roasted Poussins with Lemon Pepper, Garlic and Red Wine
Inspired by Dr Andrew Weil, The Healthy Kitchen
4 whole baby chickens/poussins
1. Put the baby chickens into a roasting tin or tray big enough to fit the chickens and some extra ingredients around the side.
2. To make the lemon pepper rub/marinade, put the zest of two lemons, the black pepper and a few springs of thyme into a bowl and bash together to make a paste. Rub this all over the little chickens with a sprinkle of salt.
3. Take the garlic, tomatoes and onion and stuff a bit into each cavity, tumble the rest around the chickens. You can leave this to sit now for an hour or two, covered in the fridge.
4. When you are ready to cook, preheat the oven to 190 degrees celcius. Pour the wine all over the chickens and cook for one hour and fifteen minutes, or until the juices run clear. Leave to rest, covered in foil, for fifteen minutes before serving.
It’s always handy to have a really quick and easy recipe for banana bread up your sleeve, for those times when you have friends popping in for tea or for when you have some really black and over-ripe bananas sitting in your fruit bowl. Here’s a lovely recipe given to me by an American friend, who uses sour cream to lighten the loaf. You could use creme fraiche as an alternative.
Quick & Easy Sour Cream Banana Bread
150 g margerine or butter (plus a bit extra for greasing)
100 g soft brown or caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
200g self raising flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 bananas (over-ripe, mashed)
115g sour cream
Last week I caught up on the phone with my sister over in Italy who (during an amazing conversation about Italian food) said that she had seen a really delicious looking sausage and courgette risotto that she didn’t eat, but immediately felt compelled to try herself at home. I did the same and the result was really good.
Sausage & Courgette Risotto
Recipe from my sister in Italy
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 stick celery, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
6 high-quality pork sausages (taken out of casing)
350g Arborio risotto rice
1 glass white wine
1.5 litres of chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
3 courgettes, cubed
A knob of butter
50 g grated parmesan cheese
1. Prepare all of the vegetables and remove the sausages from their casing.
2. Heat the olive oil in a heavy-based pan on a medium heat, add the onion, celery and carrot and cook for about 5 minutes until soft.
3. Add the sausage to the pan and break it up with a spoon so that it crumbles and starts to resemble mince. Again, cook for about 5 mintes until it takes on some colour.
3. Add the risotto rice to the pan and mix well so that all the rice is coated with the olive oil. Make sure the heat is not too high, so that the rice doesn’t stick to the pan.
4. Add the wine, stir well and allow it to bubble until it has evaporated.
5. One ladleful at a time, add the stock, stir a little and simmer until the rice absorbs most of the stock before adding in the next ladleful. (I keep a sperate pan of gently boiling stock next to the risotto pan so that the stock always goes in hot). You will start to see that you rice goes quite creamy. In total, you should keep adding your stock, simmering and stirring for around 10 minutes.
6. Towards the end of the cooking time, add the courgettes – these really don’t need any time at all and you are aiming for them to stay quite firm and crunchy. The rice also needs to stay quite firm – it should have a bite to it (I overcooked mine as the kids prefer it to be a bit sloppy!)
7. At the very end, stir in the knob of butter and add the parmesan cheese. I usualluy serve it with a pile of cheese on top too!
In total, the risotto takes around 15 minutes of cooking time – unless you have bought ‘risotto pronto’ or quick cook risotto which will take much less.