Thursday, 31 May 2007

Little Foodies Russia, Cabin Fever & Chicken Kiev

It's official the world and it's weather is going bonkers and our household is well and truly suffering from Cabin Fever. It's not the best half term holiday. We are lurching from one mood to another without rhyme or reason. Poor H returns from work every day wondering what emotional garbage he's going to walk in to. If this weather doesn't break we're putting on wet weather gear and going for a hike across the fields. I need some fresh air. It's the end of May and we've had the heating on every day this week.... Moan, moan, moan. Do stop by for a moan....

That was this morning and at about 2pm the sun came out. It's been a brilliant afternoon, we even ventured to the park. We're still 'in' Russia and I made up this Chicken Kiev recipe based on various ones that I've seen over the years. Not sure it's authentic but it was tasty.

Chicken Kiev (Garlic butter stuffed chicken) Serves 4
4 chicken breasts with skin and part of the wing bone left on.
1 large handful of parsley (we used the curly variety)
Half a pack of butter, cold from fridge, chopped into pieces
8 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
Sprinkle of salt. if unsalted using butter
Half a pack of crackers (we didn't have any bread to make real breadcrumbs)

In a food processor add the crackers and blitz until they resemble fine breadcrumbs. Do this first and you can then make the garlic butter in the same pot without having to wash it out first. If you do it the other way round you'll need to wash it first.

Then make the garlic butter by adding the butter, crushed garlic and parsley (and salt if using unsalted butter) to the processor and blitz until the herbs are finely chopped and it's all come together into a smooth butter. Put this in the fridge while you prepare the chicken.

First take off the loose bit of chicken (can't remember what it's called but it's the perfect size and shape for goujons, which is what we did with them).
Insert a hole into the chicken breasts from the thin end, where the bone is still attached... This is difficult to explain, if you don't understand what I mean then much better to ask your butcher to do it for you.
Push the garlic butter into the hole, the butter starts sticking to your hands, you just have to keep at it. Next time I think I'd freeze the butter first.
When you've pushed plenty in you need to fold the chicken over... and secure it by wrapping string around it. I couldn't find any string so used a few cocktail sticks and hoped for the best.
I then poured the crackercrumbs into a large bowl and then rolled the chicken around in it until they were liberally coated.
With the smaller pieces of chicken I rubbed them all over with the garlic butter then rolled in the crackercrumbs. Placed them all in an ovenproof dish then pop in the oven for 50 minutes on 180C (will put other conversions on asap).

I actually used a whole pack of butter so there was far too much. I used it all up by boiling some potatoes and throwing the rest of the garlic butter over it then roasting in a really hot oven for 30 minutes. Delicious but the sort of fodder that could possibly bring on cardiac arrest.

Edit. Asha left a comment re: M&S kievs she used to get in the UK. My mum used to get those and I loved them. If I'm honest I think I'd buy my kievs ready made. If I was going homemade I'd just make chicken goujons using the crackercrumbs and serve with melted garlic and parsley butter on the side... Much easier and quicker to prepare.

Wednesday, 30 May 2007

Let them (and me) eat cake!

It's a rainy half term, what do you do but make cakes? What do you do but make mistake cakes. We made the usual 4,4,4,2 cake recipe and threw in a little cocoa powder. I had some ginger conserve that needed using up and somehow thought that if you put a little cake mix in the bottom of the cases, then a blob of conserve, then more cake mix that the conserve would stay in the middle... Errr, no, and that's why baking is a science.. I think I'll be thrown off the Daring Bakers before I've even begun... The conserve of course sank to the bottom making for a very sticky mess when you eat them. Tasty though, especially with the dark chocolate on the top and the obligatory rainy day sprinkles! We have precisely none left, so mistake or not they were good...

Monday, 28 May 2007

Kitchen Travels - Little Foodies Russia

Yippeee - it's half term and though I'd planned picnics and lots of gorgeous summery type food this week I'm really pleased we're doing Russia as it's rainy and cold and we need more warming foods! I also now know why Little chose Russia. Children are very impressed by size, which is why they think it's a compliment when they tell you (or more embarrassingly other people) what an enormous bottom/tummy you have. They can then look hurt and confused when you announce that you're taking all their toys away and they'll have to earn them back by saying nice things every day for the rest of their lives! Do I sound like I've ever been told my bottom is big by my beloved children? Actually, I could have told them that but being pear shaped I don't think it reflects my overall size.... Children eh? Must teach them what you can and can't say to ladies..

Anyway I digress, Russia was chosen because it's the biggest country in the world. We've learned a few words. I think they're a bit young to be learning about the full on political history of Russia so we'll now be sticking with facts and figures, and of course the food.

We had Poached Organic English Eggs on Russian (rye style) Bread for breakfast yesterday. Debate ensued but we finally agreed they have eggs in Russia and must surely poach them sometimes. The bread was not homemade it was Organic Rossisky from The Village Bakery Melmerby (not our village just the name of the company who makes it). Written on the bag it came in, it says 'Russian-inspired rye bread based on sourdough from historic Kostroma on the Volga river'. So I now have to find out where Kostroma is and the Volga river. Sometimes ignorance is bliss! The bread went down well with the eggs though they didn't like the taste of it on it's own. Their preferred way to eat it was toasted with butter and jam. That threw up requests for more.

The boys devoured the beef stoganoff. Thankfully we weren't too greedy and had left plenty for them. Can't wait for the rest of the week. I've been checking out all sorts of websites but the and seem to have most things we'll need. This week we'll be having - Borsch(t) - beetroot soup, Chicken Kiev, Syrniki (cottage cheese & semolina flour patties that you fry and have as a dessert). We might also make the little filled pastries which seem to have several different names. The one thing the boys will not be having are the pickled vegetables as neither of them seem to like vinegar - shame as H and I love them.

VEG PATCH NEWS - It's coming along great, though with all the warm weather and then lots of rain I think it's maybe doing too well. A little overcrowding might be going on. I dare not mention this again... though if you're reading this my love I think the carrots could definitely do with being thinned out....

Sunday, 27 May 2007

Kitchen Travels - Little Foodies Russia

As it's poured with rain for virtually the whole day, it was very easy to stay safely tucked up in our own little Imperial Russia all day. Role play to the ready, Husband took on the role of Ivan the Terrible (he did this remarkably well as he was a little like a bear with a sore head early on, but unlike Ivan has improved no end as the day has wore on). I was Catherine the Great and the boys have been various princes and Emperors. I'm trying to get the boys to believe something I believed as a child - that St Basil's Cathedral (Moscow) was made entirely from sugar candy.

Breakfast. Little loved the blinis, including the poor mans caviar. Small refused to even try them, a real shame as he does like smoked salmon. Still I wasn't going to force it. I did have every intention of making our own blinis but I must have known I wouldn't be up for the job. Thankfully I bought ready made ones yesterday, though I had a lie in and the children have been super well behaved there is no way I could have whipped up blinis or even bellinis this morning. Mind you, peach bellini for breakfast? maybe I could have made the effort. Is there an alcoholic screaming to get out? You can see the headlines. The new 'mothers little helper'!! But as we're doing Russia - vodka anybody?

The grandeur of Russia past is very exciting, thrilling even and makes for the most wonderful stories. Tsars, Tzars, Czars - the internet is a wonderful thing but when you start researching something you're given every mans view of the world and you have to choose which to be true.

Hubby and I ate beef stroganoff this evening, we ran out of time to have it with the boys. They can have it for lunch tomorrow. H was distraught to see I'd be using fillet steak, but after he tasted it he was more than happy. I can't believe I haven't made this before. It's so easy and so quick. All in, it was less than 20 minutes including preparation time.

Beef Stroganoff
2 large fillet steaks (sorry didn't weigh them) thinly sliced
1 medium size carton of button mushrooms thinly sliced
1 large onion finely chopped
1 teaspoon of dijon mustard
1 large cup of creme fraiche
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon of butter or olive oil
Lightly fry the onions in the butter or oil for 5 mins. Then add the sliced mushrooms, fry for 2 minutes then add the mustard and mix through. Add the beef then cook for 5 minutes. Add the creme fraiche and cook for further 2 minutes. Add salt and pepper. We served with egg noodles. Delicious, quick and easy. Definitely to be repeated!

I'm still looking for Russian desserts or cakes so any ideas would be greatly received.

Last but most definitely not least to my lovely husband, Happy Anniversary. Thank you for everything, especially the boys and for just being you. x

Saturday, 26 May 2007

Little Foodies Morocco

For our last day 'in' Morocco we used Claudia Roden's book Arabesque.

We made Birwat Bil Jban (Little Pies with Goats Cheese & Olives). These were a triumph. We may have over filled them and some of them split open but they tasted amazing. I would definitely make these again. They're also something which children can help to make with ease.

We also made Kefta Bil Hout (Fish Cakes). Again these were from the book Arabesque. They tasted nothing like little Thai fishcakes but were similar to make and just as yummy. We served them with grated cucumber and a good dollop of Rose Harissa. (I was addicted to this when pregnant both times and I could easily become addicted again!) The Little Foodies didn't have any harissa, though I could probably have mixed it with some yogurt to cool the intensity of it. These fish cakes were easy to make and really delicious. I'd definitely make them again. They'd also make great party food.

I asked the family which country we should go to next on our kitchen travels, expecting Italy, Spain or even China or America, so imagine my surprise when Little suggested Russia. I was a little gobsmacked and full of dread. "Russia, are you sure?" I thought I knew nothing about Russian food but after a little research it's not so scary after all. It's our wedding anniversary tomorrow so we'll be kicking off with Blinis, Smoked Salmon and Poor Mans Caviar. Quite a lovely thing to be having on your anniversary with your children too. I'd maybe have chosen this without Russia. Later in the day we'll be having Beef Stroganoff and possibly other things yet to be decided. Russia here we come...

Friday, 25 May 2007

Little Foodies Head Back to Morocco

We've had a few more Moroccan dishes this week. We've also been talking more about the country, famous places to visit, in particular Marrakech, the Atlas Mountains, the riad's (traditional homes with interior courtyards, gardens). All the beautiful things you can find in the Moroccan markets, among other things, lamps and rugs. We've been trying to show the boys lots of pictures so they can really visualise what it's like. I've also encouraged them to smell the dry spice mixes regularly so that it hits all of their senses.. I have a few little Moroccan style lamps and we've been putting candles in those. Not all of the food has been a big hit but they've tried everything which is great. Little was apparently very proud to tell everyone at school on Monday morning that we'd been learning about Morocco and tasting the food. I couldn't have wished for it to go any better really. We're also keeping a scrapbook of everything to do with our culinary travels. I'm very proud of my Little Foodies.

Some recipes follow. Will post pics of everything tomorrow as off to watch the children Maypole Dancing on the village green.

As promised my mother-in-laws recipe for lamb tagine. I've changed it a bit since it was given to me.
Lamb Tagine (that we ate on our first day of learning about Morocco) Serves at least 4
500-750g diced lamb (depending on how much meat you all like)
1 big onion finely chopped
1 teaspoon grated ginger
2 - 3 cloves or garlic, crushed or chopped
Spices (1/2 teaspoon each of ground cinnamon, cumin & turmeric)
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 tin chickpeas (or you could soak your own, I'm never organised enough to do this)
Handful of dried apricots chopped
400ml stock (lamb, chicken or veg)
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 tablespoon of runny honey (optional - I always add it though)

We don't have a tagine so I cook it in the big Le Creuset pan.
I usually mix the spices together and sprinkle it over the lamb before cooking.
First heat the oil and then gently fry the onion and garlic for 5 minutes.
Add the lamb (coated in the spices) and brown the meat (you may need to do this in batches)
Add tinned tomatoes, honey and stock and cook for one hour on a low heat either in the oven or on hob.
Taste the stock at this point and it may need a little more spice mix. If so add about 1/4 teaspoon each of the cinnamon, cumin and turmeric).
Add the chickpeas, dried apricots and honey, cook for one further hour.

I also love making this with lamb shanks but if I do that I make a paste with the spices and some honey and tomato paste and coat the shanks in it before browning.
Serve with plain cous cous. Follow details on the packet, as everyone has their own way of doing cous cous. I always add olive oil before adding stock.

Zaalouk (Mashed Aubergine & Tomato Salad)
from Claudia Roden's Arabesque (A more fancy baba ganoush, which is easier, with fewer ingredients. Baba ganoush isn't stricly from Morocco which is why I chose to go with the Zaalouk. I'd probably stick with baba ganoush next time.)

I also made up a fish dish. Simply rubbed rose harissa over the fish and baked in a really hot oven for 25 minutes. Served with salad. (The boys didn't have this, they'd long gone to bed).

We've also made sweet mint tea, which I have drunk in Egypt and the Middle East, I guess it's popular in a lot of countries. I'd have loved to serve them in little intricate Moroccan glasses but we don't have any. Small liked this, Little wasn't so sure. I LOVE IT!

Tomorrow is our last day in Morocco I want to make Kefta Bil Hout (fish cakes), Briwat Bil Jban (little pies with goats cheese), maybe a few other small things if we have the time.... We're in discussions as to which country it will be on Sunday. Need to make a decision quick as I'll have to go shopping tomorrow...

Tuesday, 22 May 2007

Seasonal Food - In the bag, the month of May

This is the Little Foodies entry for the new monthly seasonal food blogging event.. In the bag - for the month of May.

I have to say it hasn't been an easy one with Little declaring he's gone off asparagus and not finding it easy to get hold of sea trout. However our meal this evening included all three ingredients and was devoured by all. There is no way I was going to be beaten by Little saying he didn't like asparagus anymore. He ate it in the way I disguised it and then I told him what he'd eaten, right after he declared it was the best sauce he'd ever had... Yes, yes, yes!

Also Small embarrassed me while shopping today. As I picked up the Spring Onions, I said "Salad Onions". He shouted "Spring Onions". I said "Yes I know but people sometimes now call them Salad Onions because they're available all year". This is lost on him, but I told him anyway. He then grabbed the Spring Onions and shouted again and again, "SPRING ONIONS, SPRING ONIONS". "Would you like some olives from the deli counter my sweet, quiet child?" This always works and thankfully it did today... This also just goes to prove the point of having events like this as they were called spring onions for a reason!! Good point well made Small, just in future don't feel like you have to make the point so loudly or when you're with me.

In the bag is jointly organised by Julia at A Slice of Cherry Pie, (who is also hosting this month's event), Cherry at Cherry's English Kitchen and Scott at Real Epicurean and they will be taking it in turns to host. It's a great idea as it keeps it in mind that we should be eating seasonally.

Our meal...
Baked Sea Trout with Creamy Asparagus Sauce
served with Bashed Potatoes and Spring Onions

The Sea Trout we baked, pure and simple, no salt, no pepper, just left natural.

Bashed Potatoes with Spring Onions
Clean and cut up some new potatoes, boil them for 15 minutes or until soft.
In the meantime clean and cut up some spring onions and start to fry them in a little oil.
When the potatoes are ready, drain them and bash them with a rolling pin or something, then add them to the pan with the frying spring onions. Continue to cook until the potatoes start to get some colour.

The Creamy Asaparagus Sauce
One bunch of asparagus cleaned and blanched for 5 minutes with one peeled clove of garlic.
Take half of the asparagus and cut into pieces, add to a blender with the garlic and a little cream and blitz. Pour and scrape into a clean pan and then add the rest of a pot of cream. Cook on low heat while everything else is coming together.

When it's all ready, plate and serve.

Monday, 21 May 2007

Little Foodies, Procrastination & Cauliflower Cheese

I have become totally addicted to blogging. When I'm not reading other peoples, I'm cooking and taking photographs of food, or tapping away at the keyboard, or I'm scribbling thoughts on scraps of paper. I'm dreaming of food and I've gained weight in the last month. I've also been neglecting the children (a little). It's okay there's no need to call ChildLine - I've come up with a solution. I stay up later and later to make up for this. Also, if you know my children... Little and Small will not allow anyone to ignore them for long. Not in a horrible, spoilt brat way but they know whether to be outrageously funny or so interested in what you're doing you have to give up and be interested in what they want. So I spend my normal amount of time with the kids and then spend half the night surfing. Though admittedly if they're otherwise occupied during the day I do saunter guiltily over to the computer, sit down and before I know it some time has passed...

It might be a good idea if I got my head down and got on with plans for the business but what do I do, I start blogging and procrastination sets in again... It should be my middle name. Or I could just look at blogging as a way of easing myself back into working gently... or should that have read, gently ease myself back into working. Did someone mention cauliflower cheese at the beginning of this...

The Little Foodies love this, as do I. We served this with some really good gammon from our village butcher, which I put in the oven for the last 15 minutes of cooking time. Probably not the traditional, or best way to cook it, but it works and it's easy and the oven was on...

Cauliflower Cheese
1 medium cauliflower
1.5 oz (400g) butter
3 tablespoons of plain flour
300ml (half pint) milk
1 teaspoon English Mustard
1oz ( 25g) Y Fenni (grated)
2oz (50g) Gruyere (grated)
2oz (50g) Mozzarella (harder version that you would put on pizza)

** I never pre-cook the cauliflower as I like it to still have bite when served. **
First pre-heat oven to 200C, 400F, GasMark 4
Make a basic white sauce - Melt the butter in the pan, stir in the flour and cook gently for a minute. Then add the milk a little at a time, stirring continuously until all the milk is incorporated. Bring to the boil and then add the mustard, grated Y Fenni and Gruyere cheeses.
Wash the cauliflower, break apart into pieces and put in an ovenproof dish.
Cover with the cheese sauce
Slice the mozzarella and place on top randomly.
Cover with tinfoil and bake in the oven for approx 45 minutes to one hour. You could greatly reduce this if the cauliflower was pre-cooked.

Sunday, 20 May 2007

Kitchen Travels - Little Foodies Morocco

The boys are really excited about trying different foods and learning about other countries. I chose Morocco to start because we regularly eat tagine type food and I know the boys love it. Isn't that missing the point I hear some of you say? Maybe, but for our first go and to keep them keen I couldn't risk giving them food they might not like and then expect them to have an interest in learning about the country it comes from. So Morocco it was... Remember this is aimed at two fairly small children, so don't expect anything high brow. Also it's me writing, so definitely don't expect anything high brow!! I decided against finding out about children as you type that into google and some pretty unpleasant things come up... We'll just stick with learning about the food and the countries and if anybody has any interesting information or ideas then we'd love to hear them.

Before we'd even finished breakfast the boys had learned that Morocco's official language is Arabic. It's part of Africa but is the only African country not to be part of the African Union. It's just opposite Spain. We also learned some Arabic words (from a great website that had sound). We can now say, hello, goodbye, my name is..., please, thank you, yes and no in Arabic. Actually the website wasn't that great as it had loads of pop up adverts so I wont recommend it.

We made lamb tagine with apricots from an old recipe that my mother-in-law gave me (I'll post it soon). We served this with cous cous and a nice fresh undressed salad. The boys wanted theirs layered, a layer of cous cous, a layer of tagine and a layer of salad.

We also made almond pastries in honey syrup (Birwat Bi Loz) from Claudia Roden's book Arabesque. I've had this book since it came out but the only things I've ever made from it have been the almond pastries. Having read through it a lot yesterday I'm going to try a few more things this week.

As most people with families will agree - it's one big juggling act. So with balls in the air we've been to Morocco and back again as Little has gone off to a birthday party. We'll visit again, either later today but most cerainly during the week. For a start we have a fridge full of ingredients conducive to Moroccan cuisine, including rose harissa which I was addicted to while I was pregnant, both times. Today was really good fun. It's raised all sorts of questions even from Small who when looking at the map of the world asked where England was, for a child under 3 I thought that was quite good... He was missing the point as we were talking about Morocco but at least he was showing an interest... I'm encouraged.

Saturday, 19 May 2007

Little Foodies Culinary Journey Around the Globe

A family we know are going travelling with their children. I am so green, I possibly resemble a cucumber, or maybe a marrow. I would love to pack up and go travelling with the children and have expressed this wish several times (or more). Each time H reminds me about our responsibilities and to think of our future. (Possibly because he lived abroad throughout his childhood, he doesn't have that same yearning.) I do think about our responsibilities, I really do, it's probably those that make me want to do it even more. We'd learn so much from doing it. It could of course also bring about our own poverty, loss of fairly recent foot on the property ladder, and who knows what else, but how much richer our lives would be... Alas it isn't happening so I'd best stop sporadically bleating on about it...

Instead I've come up with a plan to enrich our lives on the vagaries of life and lands far (and near) away. We will be going on a journey, a culinary one and most of it will be in our own kitchen.

Every week for the next year we will try and eat different foods from around the world. At the same time, we will learn about the country, their language, where they sit on the globe, a bit about their culture and what life is like in particular for the children of that country.
We did start something similar a couple of years ago and then gave it up. However, I'm determined this time. I want my journey, plane or no plane. We're all agreed, we're doing it. We've even done a Thunderbirds style hand pact thing (you have to watch the new, not so cool, (though I enjoyed it) adventure film to understand this).

This might be totally lost on Small as he's not even three years old, however I'm hoping that if Little is enthusiastic and they're both trying all this different food then he'll be carried along with it and make them both even more adventurous with food. You never know, as a family we might learn many new things and not just about food.

Tomorrow (Sunday) is the start and we will begin with Morocco. Mainly because I feel like a nice lamb tagine and because I can make that decision.... Will report on how it goes.

Thank you for the e-mails and note. Sorry, I had comments not allowed checked on the posting bit, not sure why....

Friday, 18 May 2007

Chilli Con Carne (of sorts) for Little Foodies

& Hotted Up Later for Big Foodies (I like my chilli hot enough to make my mouth tingle.)

This is such a staple dish. Everyone I know has their own version. My husband has his version (which I love), I have my version which I think is pretty good, and almost everyone I know eats chilli, be it meat or vegetarian. It's particularly good when you or the children have been under the weather and it's pouring with rain outside. I make a big pan of this and before adding chillies I give it to the boys served with whatever rice we have (for a really healthy option brown rice is good) I was a bit scared to add plain chocolate for a long time, but I'm a definite convert and always put it in now. It also gives me major brownie points with the boys (who are better, thank you for kind comments and e-mails).

I add so many tomatoes because we like lots of sauce. It also means there is plenty to hive some off to store in the freezer for those days when cooking isn't an option.

500g coarse ground beef mince
4 medium size onions (finely chopped)
5 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
3 tins of tomatoes (good quality with thick juice)
1 tin red kidney beans
1 tin borlotti or cannelini beans (my children don't really like too many red kidney beans, because of this I sometimes put two tins of other types of beans).
1 tablespoon worcester sauce or more or less
1 teaspoon english mustard
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
2 squares of plain dark chocolate
1 tablespoon olive oil
Some fresh herbs roughy chopped (I used 2 sage leaves, few sprigs of thyme and marjoram)
(1 tablespoon crushed dried chillies or any type of chilli that you like to add later for big foodies)

On a low heat fry the onions and garlic in the olive oil for 5 minutes
Add mince and spices and brown for about 5 minutes
Add tomatoes, worcester sauce and mustard & mix through
Add beans, herbs and chocolate, give it a mix
Cook on a low heat for 30-45 mins (or you can do in the oven on a low heat for ages).

Serve to Little Foodies then when you're ready for yours add the chillies and heat through. I love it with chunks of crusty bread with loads of butter on which is how it was served to me as a child.

Wednesday, 16 May 2007

About yesterday...

Yesterday was a bit of a shock seeing all those entries for Barbara's A Taste of Yellow. I'm sorry for the outpouring of emotion. I'm fast learning that the food blogging community consists of some very lovely people. It swept me off my feet for a while last night as I began reading all the entries.

I did say I'd think of a joke for today... So a child friendly one that also happens to be yellow....
What's yellow and dangerous? Shark infested custard... I know, I know. It came out of a cracker last Christmas.
Another... "Knock, Knock." "Who's there?" "Boo!" "Boo who?" "Don't cry, it's only a joke."

Anyway today is another day. Boys are still unwell. We'll have roast chicken and vitamin packed, health boosting veggies and by tomorrow they will be well. We're also going to bake. I've wanted to make Freya' s bagels all week but the boys have been too unwell. Don't get me wrong I love to cook by myself or with others. It's just I don't want to make bread by myself as I'm a bit afraid of anything bread like, I normally fail miserably. Unless of course it's flat bread and I'm an expert at that, whether it was meant to be flat bread or not. I leave the bread making to H, who likes making it with the boys at the weekend. I'll show him Freya's post, I'm sure we'll have freshly baked bagels before the week is out.

A picture of one of the marzipan muffins we did for A Taste of Yellow as it reminds me of a beautiful day, and it's yellow, and yellow is beautiful. Marzipan Muffins - eat them, get fat, feel happy! I'll post pics of the baking we do today later on... (and there they are bottom right.)

Please check Barbara's blog for the final round up of A Taste of Yellow by clicking WinosandFoodies

We made homemade lemonade with brown sugar. I threw the used lemons, along with lots of garlic in with the chicken to roast and we've eaten well, including the spider if he indulged in the chives.. Click on the picture to see him properly.

Tuesday, 15 May 2007

A Taste of Yellow and for the people I love dearly

For those who are not interested in sentimentality or any wish to be brought down, please check out now. For those who know me. I don't have the filter bit in my brain that thinks about whether you should or shouldn't say something. If I think it I say it... It's just how I am...

I just clicked on my daily visit to Barbara's blog at Winos and Foodies and realised that she'd done her roundup for A Taste of Yellow from food bloggers around the globe. Check there for nearly 150 amazing posts on beautiful yellow food.

The tears started to trickle as I read Barbara's story, not least because there is a family connection to the place where she was when she found out she had cancer. By the time I got to the very last entry to see beautiful Susana and Lisa (I've mentioned her before and I'll mention her again) the tears were streaming. What's even more poignant is that their mom and papi want to go to that very same place, for personal reasons of their own. I've also visited there with my husband and my oldest boy when he was just a tiny tot.. (he's still a tiny tot really!)

For Lisa, beautiful, gentle Lisa. You are sorely missed. Free like a butterfly. Hugs to family and especially to Jenny, Lisa's daughter who is now a beautiful grown up girl!

For Susana (lovely, lovely Susana (who runs marathons to raise money for cancer research), because we mustn't forget the living. Be kind to yourself. Lisa would have wanted that. Be happy Sweetheart, you deserve it.

For my best friend who not that long ago was diagnosed with skin cancer - You always say that I cry at everything. Well that as maybe, but I LOVE YOU and thankfully you're okay. As a single mother of three young children, I promise that I will be there to check you! From your scalp to between your toes (actually if you could do the toes thing I'd appreciate it - you know how I am about feet ;) You are an amazing friend, a great mother, and doing it all on your own is so much harder. Always know that I am in awe of just how great you are! By the way did I tell you - I LOVE YOU!

The weird thing.. All of the people mentioned were/are really good at two of the most basic things that we all need - food and love. Simple ingredients really.

Children are precious. People are precious. Life is precious! We sometimes forget that and we need to give each other some slack sometimes because life is hard enough. Celebrate life because time knows no rules. I send big love and positive thoughts to everyone I know today, even to those I don't. Especially to those whose lives have been touched by cancer. To the lady up the road, to my good friend's mum, to Barbara, the list is almost non exhaustive, to everyone, but being a mummy, most of all I just want to say that for my boys - I love you, everything I do is for you, even the embarassing stuff (and Daddy too ofcourse). Always say the things that you want to say because someday it might be too late.

Sorry for all the sentimentality! Laughter is a great healer. I must think of a joke for tomorrow. Back to normal tomorrow eh?!

Edit: I almost forgot my manners. I'm sure along with many other people I would like to say a big Thank you once again to Barbara at WinosandFoodies for her huge effort and work in putting the A Taste of Yellow event together.

Monday, 14 May 2007

Octopus - Pulpo a la Gallega

Ask your fishmonger to clean and prepare the octopus (take the nasty bits out) as it's not exactly a pleasant job. Even if they do it for you, you should clean it again at home (if you have children, ask them to do it, especially if they're boys - they'll love it!)

You need a big pan three quarters full of boiling water.
Add one peeled onion, a few bay leaves, a few grinds of black pepper and 2 medium size peeled potatoes.
Scorch the octopus by holding it with tongs and dipping it in to the boiling water 3 or 4 times.
When you've done this immerse it in the water fully. Cover with a lid and leave to simmer for approx 45 mins to 1 hour. (It may need longer cooking time for a large octopus). You should be able to put a knife through easily, but without it being too soft.

When it's done take out and slice up as in picture, arrange on a plate and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with a little sweet smoked paprika (only a tiny amount if children eating it too as it's quite strong). If you can get over it being octopus (which lots of people I know can't) it's really delicious. Edit: I meant to say to slice the potato up too and arrange on the plate first.

Sunday, 13 May 2007

Seafood for Little Foodie Snuffles

The boys both have snuffles which might explain the painful behaviour exhibited these last few days. (As a mother it's your duty to look for excuses to explain away any tricky behaviour). A cheering tastebud assault was needed and when hubby agreed to drive to a nearby town and visit Morrisons on a Sunday (the nearest place we could get seafood today) it was greeted with a big smile. While he was out I watched The Wizard of Oz with the boys... My choice. The suggestion was met with disdain when I first suggested it. Little even asked if it was in colour because he knew I'd loved it as a little girl... Honestly - the cheek of it. Anyway we watched it and they thoroughly enjoyed it...

We were thinking... calamari and prawns in garlic oil with lovely fresh crusty bread to mop up the fragrant oily juices (Mmmmm, dreaming) but Morrisons didn't have good squid or prawns (Their reason #? a trained fishmonger in every store! Just not today. .) H chose some cartons of mixed seafood and a carton of prawns with shells on, he also got an octopus for good measure.

As we didn't have any paella rice I made Fideos (Also called Paella de fideos. Like paella but made with pasta instead of rice). It's good any day, but on a rainy day like today, it's super good.

Fideos (more than fed 2 adults & 2 children - the picture shows what was left after one serving each - we had 2 servings each.)
400g of fideos (like 1cm pieces of spaghetti, today we used tiny stars - estrellas)
400g mixed seafood (prawns, squid, mussels, etc)
50ml olive oil
1 medium onion finely chopped
1 red pepper (we used tinned red pepper as we always do-we prefer fresh peppers raw)
2 cloves garlic crushed
100g peas (fresh or frozen - Oops, I forgot these!)
2 very large tomatoes chopped into 1cm pieces or half a tin of chopped tomatoes
1 litres of chicken or fish stock
Small pinch of ground cumin
Small pinch of saffrom
Small pinch of paprika
Tiny handful of fresh thyme finely chopped
Pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper

Heat the oil and gently fry the onions and garlic for 5 minutes. (If using red pepper add this now too, if using cooked pepper then add at end of 5 mins).
To the litre of stock add the cumin, saffron, paprika and thyme.
Add the pasta to the pan, then the tomatoes and stock and stir well.
Cook on a medium heat for 5 minutes.
Add the seafood and cook for further 5 minutes.
Add salt and pepper if using and it's ready to serve.

Coconut for dessert from The Ivory Coast (oh the food miles - shudder!). That's what happened yesterday when father and sons went shopping... Dada, can we have this, oh and that?

The octopus and prawns are in the fridge!! Maybe later?

Friday, 11 May 2007

First Asparagus with Creamy Spring Onion Dip

This is the first asparagus we've had this year. Little has decided he doesn't like asparagus anymore. All the more for the rest of us, as we love them, including Small. Little also decided that he doesn't like the dip. Obviously in the mood for not liking stuff today. Little Foodies eh?

In a mini blender add 1 bunch of chopped spring onions (salad onions, scallions) keep a few pieces for garnishing, 3 tablespoons of mayonnaise and 3 tablespoons of plain greek yogurt, Squeeze juice of half a lemon and blitz until spring onion is very finely chopped. Add a little freshly ground black pepper. Transfer to a little bowl and garnish with a few pieces of chopped spring onion.

Just tried another version by frying the spring onions in a little olive oil first and that was loved by both boys. I thought it was delicious too, not as strong as with the uncooked spring onions.

Cook the asparagus in a little boiling water for 5 minutes. Serve with the spring onion dip.

Thursday, 10 May 2007

The Truth.... I was feeling lazy!

Added later at 20.15h. I was feeling totally shattered and lazy and in need of a big glass of red wine. All I ended up doing was getting the 2 big bowls and adding....
I tin of chopped tomatoes in each, 2 small chorizo chopped and sprinkled - 1 chorizo on each, tin of chopped green asparagus split between the two bowls, eggs put in as in previous post (but fewer of them), no peas as we'd run out. A handful of sliced jalapenos sprinkled on. Popped in oven at 200C as hungry and running late and cooked for 30 minutes as the tomato sauce and other ingredients were cold... IT WAS YUM and for so little hassle so worth it!

I spend hours planning and preparing meals for special occassions but for general day to day living I often don't even know what I'm going to cook until I'm actually doing it... I love it, it relaxes me. I like to be spontaneous.... but it does sometimes mean that we don't have the exact ingredients we need to make something and we have to adapt, be flexible.

Little Foodies Library Expansion & Rustic Baked Eggs

I happened on the books for cooks category at via SpittoonExtra and saw a good review for (I expect my husband wishes I hadn't. Burnt hole in credit card and all that...) It's an on-line second hand book shop, where you can buy/sell books). If you're in the browsing mood then I'd urge you to take a look.

It took me nearly 2 hours to trawl through the list of books available in the food,drink,cooking category, as they're in no particular order. However all books are £3.75 each plus variable p&p, though for most softbacks it's included (They come from various sources so there's no discount for bulk purchasing of hardbacks).
I came across books I'd never heard of, which was fun... I also ordered a book which I've been toying with for ages. Cooking Like Mummyji (always wanted other books more), it's been out for so long it's now available in paperback. So glad I didn't get it when it first came out, as getting it for £3.75 is just a joy! As of yesterday I've been receiving little packages through the post and I'm loving it.. Todays arrival: The MAN WHO ATE EVERYTHING by Jeffrey Steingarten... I shall start reading it tonight instead of staying up half the night surfing...

For dinner - I'll be making
Huevos a la Flamenca Rustic Style Baked Eggs - Serves 4
Tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion (finely chopped)
1 clove garlic (finely diced or crushed)
100g ham (diced) I quite like to use cooked lardons for this
100g chorizo (sliced or diced)
1 small tin of roasted red pepper (taken out of tin and diced)
100g peas (frozen or fresh)
2 tins of chopped tomatoes (if it's very liquidy, then drain a little of the juice off)
1/2 teaspoon of paprika
8 eggs
12 asparagus spears (if it's the season and you're feeling rich - optional)
4 artichoke hearts (fresh, jar or tinned - optional)

It will be the quick fuss free tinned tomatoes option this evening. If you're in the mood you can go the slow route and make the tomato sauce from scratch... Or you could go the even slower route and grow the tomatoes yourself first.. I make this in two medium size Spanish terracotta bowls. You can make it in individual ones or one big one (requires extra cooking time).

Turn oven to 180C, 350F or Gas Mark 4
First saute the onions and garlic in olive oil on a low heat for about 10 minutes. Add the chorizo and ham and cook for a further 3-4 mins. Add the tinned tomatoes and diced roasted red pepper, cook for 2 mins just to warm it through.
Sprinkle peas on the bottom of the pot/bowl you'll be baking in.
Add the tomato mix on top.
Tip: To add the eggs I find it easier to break the eggs into a ramekin or cup (one at a time) before adding.
With a spoon, carefully make a hole in the tomato sauce, then pour in the egg. Dot the eggs around the pot/bowls so that there is space between them.
If you're using artichokes cut them in half and arrange in between the eggs.
If using asparagus arrange so they are not going over top of eggs (I often use tinned, chopped)
Sprinkle with the paprika and bake in the oven for approx 15 minutes. Check the egg whites are cooked by testing with a cocktail stick or something. If the white isn't cooked, cook for a further few mins and test again.

We serve it with fresh crusty bread and a green salad sometimes. You could make this totally vegetarian by leaving the meat out and adding other veg. I love it with broad beans. I've also done it using left over lamb and that was pretty good.

Wednesday, 9 May 2007

Local Food - Norbury Blue

Norbury Blue is just one of the many delicious local foods available to us.

This is what the boys and I had for lunch today. Local Bread and Local Cheese, such a hardship.
Actually the only hardship was not having some local Denbies wine to go with it.

Norbury Blue - a delicate blue veined cheese made by Michaela at Norbury Park Farm in Mickleham, near Dorking. I met Michaela soon after she'd first started producing a few years ago. She was at a local farm shop promoting her new cheese. It has since gained a good reputation and rightly so, it's superb.

We also had some not quite so local cheese, though still from the UK. Y Fenni from Wales, it's a mature cheddar blended with whole grain mustard and ale. It's quite strong and I'm not sure the boys enjoyed it in its natural state (they've enjoyed it melted in sauce before).

Tuesday, 8 May 2007

Little Foodies Fight Over Food!

My boys just had their first physical fight. They are so good with each other and apart from the odd cross word we never have to worry about them getting along.

Small had done his usual and pinched what was left of the cucumber in the fridge.
He'd left it on a table so Little had picked it up and started to eat it.
First thing I know of this is...
Small: "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAArrrghhhhhhh, my cucumber"
Little: "Well, you weren't eating it."
Little: "Too late, I've eaten it. You left it on the table, I thought you didn't want it"
Boff, Crash, Small (2.5 years) pushes Little (5.5 years) who falls over.
Little: "You're ridiclious, absolutely ridicllllliiiiiiooouuusssss!"
(I don't want to correct him on how to say it properly).

Not quite a full on fight I suppose as Little didn't hit him back. All the same, over a cucumber? Over the Easter Eggs I could understand but not cucumber - my children are weird!

I think this weekend we should teach them how to have a proper fight with food. A real throwing of food sort of fight, get it out of their system. I'm thinking location: garden, I'm thinking gloopy custard and watered down jam, maybe some beans and cereal so it sticks to the wet stuff.... Oh I'm going to have so much fun....

Monday, 7 May 2007

7 Things about me & Little Foodies

Marie at Marie's muses has tagged me for 7 things about me (for my friends and family who are new to the blogging world, it's basically where you tell things about yourself, then ask others to do the same). Being new to blogging myself I have been a little overwhelmed at the fantastic recipes and writing from bloggers all over the world, and people are so nice too. Being rather English I was a little unsure of the whole etiquette thing so here goes (I feel like my son in the school playground - they play tag)...

Anyway for the 7 things about me. I'll try to keep it short.
  1. I used to live in a cowshed, a rather beautiful cowshed, but a cowshed all the same.
  2. I like to garden but as with most things I do, I have to be in the mood.
  3. I like photography but my husband is better at it so I tend to leave it to him.
  4. We have a wormery, which my children think of as additional pets (all 3000 of them).
  5. I'm messy. I used to be messy, then I was tidy and now I'm messy again!
  6. I used to have a proper suit and boot, board (bored) meetings type job.
  7. I don't like celery. I try to re-introduce it to myself in the same way you re-introduce foods to a baby/child when they don't like something. It doesn't work! It's disgusting!
The people I'm tagging.
Freya & Paul at Writing at the Kitchen Table Possibly my favourite blog. Huge respect for anyone who can cook a pigs head and write about it with such good grace and humour.
Kelly-Jane at Cooking The Books Lovely lady in Scotland who cooks great things from cookery books and could make anyone gain weight with her delicious writing.
The little foodies at Boys Can Cook Too These are my beloved boys, my two most favourite people in the world (along with their quite nice Daddy).
Tash at Vintage Pretty This lady writes about, among other things the future of our food and farmers.
Maggie at TOC Aromatherapy This lady I have a lot of time for. Firstly because she had the good will to carry me in her tummy for 9 months and because she just so happens to make the most fantastic organic aromatherapy products. I persuaded her to set up a blog recently too which she isn't writing on currently as she's at a big North East Festival. She will though.
Roz at Stay@ home Mummy & d bizness This lady is just starting out with a cake business. I stumbled across her blog as you do. You should check out her website - AMAZING cakes!

Saturday, 5 May 2007

Little Foodies Easy Take on Madhur's Easy Chickpea and Potato Curry

I totally understand the thinking that Indian cooking can be hard work but this really is easy and well worth it. I am a total tinker in the kitchen so it was hard having to write things down as I went. All I can say is I've made this with more of one thing and less of another, without fresh coriander, even without the onion, it still tasted great.

I have too many spices (nah, you can never have enough!). People also tend to give me spices. One of my husbands colleagues very kindly gave me a bag of spices last week (Thank you C), we don't even know what some of them are, should be fun giving them a try though. I should sort through my rather large collection and throw some away. Better still make some spice blends and give them as Happy Spring gifts.

If you'd like to have a little dry powder habit (that's legal) you can shop online at the following places.

Natco are suppliers of spices, condiments & almost everything you'd need to cook Indian food.
Click Natco to shop online.
Seasoned Pioneers sell a good range of seasonings and spices. All of their blends are made by hand, in house using traditional production techniques and genuine recipes .
Click Seasoned Pioneers to shop online.
Wing Yip stores are great fun to go and visit, again with almost everything you could possibly want to make Asian food. Bottles & Jars, Tins & Dry Goods, Fresh Foods, Frozen Foods, they even sell cooking equipment, crockery and cutlery. They don't have so much choice online but that's probably a good thing.
Click Wing Yip to shop online.

LittleFoodies Easy Take on Madhur's Easy Chickpea Curry
Gives 4-6 servings.
The inspiration is from Madhur Jaffrey's Ultimate Curry Bible pg187 Easy Chickpea Curry. It's so tasty and comforting and just what I needed one evening last weekend. It does have quite a kick which you could tone down by putting less chilli and cayenne in. To adjust it for the palates of LittleFoodies I add lots of plain yogurt to theirs and serve with plenty of rice.

650g peeled potatoes cut roughly into chunks (about 2cm)
3 small onions (about 250g before peeling) finely chopped
2 tins of chickpeas in water 410g (2 x 240g net drained weight) EDIT **
500ml of boiling water
2 tablespoons of olive oil
Handful of fresh coriander
4 large cloves garlic
4 smallish tomatoes (about 250g)
3 teaspoons ready chopped ginger in sunflower oil from a jar (I used Barts you can use fresh)
2 teaspoons of ready chopped chilli in vinegar from a jar (I used Watirose cooks ingredients, you could use fresh as Madhur suggests or dried I just had these to hand.)
4 bay leaves
one cinammon stick or a few pieces of cassia bark
5 cardamon pods (I put 10 in this time it was too many!!)
2 tablespoons ground coriander
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
pinch of salt
First prepare the spices, this feels like the daunting bit to me. I start by measuring all of the ground spices in to one container - that way I know what I'm working with. So...

In a bowl measure the ground coriander. ground cumin, ground turmeric, cayenne pepper and salt. Put to one side.
Chop the tomatoes.
In a blender add the chopped tomatoes, garlic, ginger, chillies, fresh coriander, the ground spices and 10 tablesoons of water. Blitz well until the tomatoes & garlic are in tiny pieces.
Heat the oil in a pan, then add the bay leaves, cardamon pods & cassia or cinammon.
After about 20 seconds add the onions and potatoes. Fry for about 5 minutes.
Add the paste from the blender and keep at high temperature for a minute or two stirring every10 seconds or so to avoid it sticking on the bottom.
Cover and turn the heat down to low and cook for about 5 minutes. Stir every minute or so.
Add the chickpeas and 500ml water. Give it a good stir to mix it all up.
Bring to the boil and then reduce heat, cover and cook on low heat for about 20 minutes.
Make sure potatoes are cooked and it's ready to eat. Yummy!

Thursday, 3 May 2007

A Taste of Yellow - Best Laid Plans....

and all that. There are those days when things don't go according to plan. Today was one of them... We'd agreed, only with ourselves, to make a certain menu for A Taste of Yellow, unable to get to the shops today we adapted the menu to suit what we had in the house. Thankfully we are well stocked for such days. On top of this, husband was going to be late home and Small fell asleep on the sofa. So Little and I cooked and then ate together in the sunshine. Not as planned, but beautiful all the same. The others just had theirs and enjoyed it just as much as we did.

A Taste of Yellow Menu from the Little Foodies Household

Toasty Stars and Roasty Sunshine Peppers
Serves 4-6 people
2 yellow peppers
4 cloves of garlic
a tablespoon of oil
4 slices of bread.

Turn oven to 200C.
Wash the yellow peppers. Cut one into quarters and chop the other into small pieces.
Rub oil over the 4 quarters of yellow pepper and the garlic
Arrange on a baking tray. Cook for approx 25 minutes at 200C, 400F, Gas Mark 6.
In the meantime, Toast some sliced bread - whatever you have. When it's toasted use a star shaped cutter and press out shapes from the toast.
When the pepper and garlic have cooked and cooled a little, squeeze the garlic out of the skin into a blender and add the roasted yellow pepper and the raw yellow pepper. Blitz to the consistency that you like. Then spoon a little onto each star toast. These got a very big thumbs up! I think the mixture of the raw pepper with the roasted pepper worked really well.

Yellow Pagetti Cream (Spaghetti with creamy saffron sauce & shredded roasted chicken)
Serves 4-6 people
500g pack of long spaghetti
Equivalent of 2 roasted chicken breasts, shredded (We used meat from chicken roasted yesterday)
2 cloves garlic crushed
Large pinch of saffron
50ml boiling hot water
1 pot of double cream
Tablespoon of oil
salt and pepper

Cook the spaghetti
In a small pot add the pinch of saffron and cover with boiling water
In a separate pan add the oil and fry the garlic and chicken for a couple of minutes
Add the cream and saffron with the water that it's in and cook on high for approx 5 minutes
Drain the spaghetti and add the creamy chicken sauce. Add salt and pepper if required. I thought it needed it. It was delicate and light - perfect for eating in the late afternoon sun.

Marzipan Muffins (makes 12 large muffins)
We adapted a plain muffin recipe from an old Aga recipe sheet that I had. (I must add we don't have an Aga, it would be lovely if we did, but we don't).

450g (16oz/1lb) plain flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
115g (4oz) caster sugar (we only had cinammon sugar which we made at Christmas)
300ml (1/2 pint) milk
2 large eggs (beaten)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
55g (2oz) melted butter
225g (8oz) marzipan (We used Mediterranean almond marzipan as it has a better flavour)

Turn the oven to 170C, 325F or Gas Mark 3.
Sift the flour, baking powder and sugar into a bowl and mix together.
Cut the marzipan into 12 equal pieces then roll each one into a ball.
Measure the milk, add the eggs, vanilla and melted butter, mix it all up with a fork.
Add the wet mix to the dry mix and stir it quite lightly. It will be gooey and lumpy. Avoid over mixing or it can give the muffin a tough texture when eating.
Spoon into muffin cases then pop a ball of marzipan on the top and push into the middle with your finger then gently push the muffin mix over to cover the hole where it's gone in.
Bake in the oven for 20-25mins. Leave to cool a little before trying!
These are not too sweet and the almond marzipan tastes lovely when you get to it. I think maybe next time I would chop the marzipan up and mix it in so that you have a chance of getting a piece with each mouthful.

Why all this yellow food? Barbara at Winos and Foodies (inspired name!) has thought of a great way for raising awareness for cancer and cancer survivors. It is being recognised as an official event in support of LiveStrong Day on 16th May. Check out Barbara's blog on the 16th May for a final round up from food bloggers around the world who took part.

Little Foodies don't believe in torturing dinosaurs!

I just read Joey's blog 80 Breakfasts with a great Moomin cake. Very cool and very cute!

It reminded me of one of the first birthday parties for children we ever hosted and how we may have unwittingly set our firstborn up for a lifetime of therapy. Unfortunately Little was into that big purple dinosaur Barney. Being a super lovely mummy willing to go to great lengths to please my children (without spoiling them of course) I went to our local cookshop and hired a Barney Cake Tin. My memory fails me as to which birthday party it was.

Anyway, with the cake tin ready to go I made a plain sponge cake mix of mammoth proportions. Buttered and floured the tin so it wouldn't stick. Made the first cake, which stuck to the tin and broke into small pieces. Not good! I made up some more, buttered and floured the inside of the stupid cake tin and thankfully second time round it worked. I let it cool. It was a baking hot August day and the icing was far too runny. I'd almost got the purple colour right (I know food colours aren't great but it's not every day and I had made other 'proper' cakes for everyone to eat). In the end I threw the lurid purple icing over the top of Barney and kept my fingers crossed that it looked okay. It really didn't so no matter how much finger crossing I did it was just a purple mess.

After we'd all eaten it was Happy Birthday time. I put in the candles and brought the cake out, everyone was singing. For a child that was known for always being happy, too much excitement sent him in the other direction. For the first 3 years the Happy Birthday song made him cry, as did too many presents. We'd have to open them over a few days or he was completely overwhelmed. And overwhelmed I think he was. Just as he began to admire his Barney Cake, he noticed the knife, which of course we needed to cut the silly cake as that's what you do with birthday cake right?

"You're going to kill Barney??" Sounding desperate. "You are NOT going to kill Barney!" and so ensued a whole lot more tears and most probably, a future involving therapy. For those that were there you'll remember it wasn't one of my finest creations and as for stupid Barney he wasn't loved quite as much after that, so maybe it was a good thing...

Wednesday, 2 May 2007

A Taste of Yellow - Little Foodies Menu

This could have been tricky but ended up being really great fun to discuss with the children. I said that we had to come up with a menu full of sunshine yellow food to celebrate life. I didn't see the point in going into the big C word with my children. At nearly 3 and nearly 6 years old I think I can spare them that. Life really is for living and while we can we should savour every moment.

We've done some tastebud testing and have come up with a full 3 course meal for A Taste of Yellow. Tomorrow we will cook....

Starter: Roasted Yellow Pepper Bruschetta
Main Course: Spaghetti with Saffron Cream Sauce and Scallops
Dessert: Marzipan Muffins

So a complete carb fest, but one we shall enjoy making and eating. We'll post pics and full recipe details tomorrow after we've cooked and tasted it.

Tuesday, 1 May 2007

A Taste of Yellow - Life is for Living!

This could be quite a sombre one so if you want the short version...

Please support - A Taste of Yellow being organised by Barbara at Winos and Foodies.

I e-mailed Susana last week. I've mentioned her before. You can check out her site by clicking on the link Running for Lisa in the side bar on the right. She's a big foodie. She runs marathons to raise money for cancer research. She's GREAT! I knew she'd want to do something for this and I was right she does.

All too many of us have a link with cancer in one way or another, often in more ways than one and for the sole reason that until a cure is found there isn't one - we should continue to raise awareness and raise money if we can.

Life is for living - hopefully with a little sunshine along the way.

Nice title Barbara - A Taste of Yellow. My sons favourite colour

For our recipe we'll probably make spaghetti with a saffron cream sauce and something else yellow with it. We'll post the recipe another day when we've made it and have a picture.

Little Foodies Baking Play Date

Little had a (girl) friend back to play today. I said they could bake. He made a Christmas Tree shaped one. I know it's not quite the season but we don't have that many shapes and his friend was using the heart shaped one that we seem to favour. For a start, the hearts the only silicone bakeware we have that actually does what it says it's supposed to.

Aswell as realising that old cake tins are just as good, if not better, I've come to the realisation for sure - I'm a pig disguised as a human! I should probably find this upsetting but I'm oddly comforted by it. I suspected it, but knew for sure when after Small's refusal of some, I finished off the last of the banana and honey tea loaf. I then had a huge dinner (potato and chickpea curry with A LOT of rice) only to come into the kitchen just now and start nibbling on the cake made earlier. This was a fair sized cake at 5pm this evening, the picture shows a quarter of what's left, though I'm not guilty of eating it all. It was supposed to be for tomorrow but Small came along and decided to take a big handful while it was being iced. This caused a major fit of tears. Thankfully Small had the good grace to apologise and they were soon friends again. I think it was Small's way of letting us know that he should have been included. 'Okay, we heard you loud and clear Mister!" I'll remember this for next time.

For the CAKE
We used the age old recipe that almost everyone I know, knows by heart. Though we threw in some cocoa powder for good measure (about a tablespoon).
4oz self raising flour, 4oz caster sugar, 4oz softened butter, 2 medium size eggs. I always have to turn the scales back to the imperial measurement to do this as I don't have a clue and can never be bothered to convert it to metric.
You know the rest. Cream the butter and sugar, Mix in eggs, then flour, scrape into tin, bake for about 20 minutes at 175C.

Lucky people who are just growing up with metric now and wont have to learn both!


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