"You Get What You Get Don't You Mummy?"

"You Get What You Get Don't You Mummy?"
"You Get What You Get Don't You Mummy?". Family food ideas for families who want to eat yummy food

Friday, 31 January 2014

Beef Cheek Stew

Beef cheeks. I've never cooked with them before, but understood that they were an outstanding ingredient-underused, cheap, full of flavour and meltingly gelatinous-& decided to give them a whirl. I've cooked them here slowly on a low heat with vegetables, wine and stock. They smell has been incredible all afternoon and the result is stunning. Meltingly tender, delicious beef. Try them if you haven't done so already. The kids said it was the best stew ever! I just didn't tell them what it was J


·    Method

  • 1. Trim the beef cheeks and remove as much sinew as possible. Cut each cheek in half. Season well with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a heavy-based pan and brown the cheeks on all sides. Remove and set aside.

    2. Add the vegetables, garlic, anchovies  and a little extra oil if necessary. Stir around until they turn golden. Add the thyme and peppercorns and mix everything together. When all the vegetables are golden, add the tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes.

    3. Pour in the red wine and stir, scraping up all the sticky bits from the bottom of the pan, then cook until the liquid is reduced and you have a sticky sauce - about 12-14 minutes.

    4. Put the beef cheeks back in the pan and cover with the chicken stock. Bring to the boil and cover with a circle of greaseproof paper.  Cook the beef in the oven at 150C/130C fan/gas 2 for about 3 hours or until tender.

    5. Once the cheeks are cooked add a splash
    of balsamic vinegar and Worcestershire sauce. Carve the cheeks into smaller portions if necessary.

This is lovely if served with dumplings (175g self raising flour, 75g suet, season , add ‘just’ enough water to form in to about 12 dumplings). Pop on top of stew for 30 mins at 200 degrees C.

Also good with mashed potato and lots of steamed greens.

Seriously, the best beef stew you will have ever had!


Thursday, 23 January 2014

'Fast' fish pie (210 cals per portion)

Fish pie (210 cals)


  • 300g Fish (a mixture of smoked and fresh - I used a mix of haddock, smoked haddock and salmon)
  • 1 medium onion
  • 4 tomatoes chopped
  • 40 ml skimmed milk
  • 300g cauliflower
  • 300g celeriac Root
  • 1 teaspoon cornflour
  • 1 tablespoon Low fat creme fraiche
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 20g strong cheddar grated (80)
    Directions (preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius)

Peel and cube the celeriac. Put in a pan of cold water with a little salt and bring to the boil. Simmer for 10 minutes before adding the cauliflower broken into florets. Cook for a further 10 minutes till the cauliflower is soft.
Drain the mixture and leave to dry a little with the lid off before mashing with a potato masher. Season with salt and pepper and leave to one side

Put the fish into a pan with the milk and bay leaf and heat the milk to simmering point. Cook for a minute or two, then cover and take off the heat and leave for 5-10 minutes or until the fish is just cooked through.

Remove the fish from the pan and leave to one side.

Soften the onion for about 5 minutes in a small pan with a drop of oil. Add a pinch of salt to help the onion release its juices and aid the cooking process then add in the tomatoes and cook gently for about 10 minutes.

Make up the fish pies as one large pie (serves 4) or 4 small ones by dividing up the fish mixture.  Add a layer of tomato mixture and then top with the mashed celeriac and cauliflower. Top with the cheddar cheese. Individual pies will take about 15 minutes from warm or 30-35 minutes from chilled. A large one will take 20 minutes from warm and about 40 minutes from chilled. You’ll know when they’re ready as the top will be nicely browned, it will bubble slightly and the smell of fish pie should be wafting through your kitchen.

This is lovely served with steamed green vegetables or not depending on your calorie allowance.


Tuesday, 21 January 2014

The Fast Diet

So I, along with what seems like the rest of the world are thinking 5:2. The benefits when researched, appear to outweigh any negative points so I thought it was definitely worth a whirl. In the past I have had success with losing weight following the Dukan diet, cutting carbs, eating copious amounts of protein but I thought the appeal of being strict for only 2 days a week was worth a gander.
So today, is my first fast day. I think I'll do my other in 2 days time. So with 500 calories to play with I woke up excitedly and had my usual dieting brekkie of low fat plain yoghurt  (150g) with a touch of sweetener and 1.5 tablespoons of oatbran. Washed down with a cup of tea mad with skimmed milk, that breakfast was 132 cals.
I've planned to skip lunch and next eat at dinner (following much advice). My kids love meatballs in tomato sauce so I though I would work around that idea so I could adapt it into a pasta meal for them. I have come up with the following for tonight's dinner. Its currently 2.08 pm and dinner cannot come too soon!

Huevos rancheros (eggs with a spicy tomato sauce)

SERVES 1 Calories per serving (276)

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove chopped
  • 1 red pepper, deseeded and sliced
  • ¼ tsp chilli flakes
  • ¼ tsp dried oregano
  • 1 x 200g tin chopped tomatoes or ½ a 400g tin
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 eggs
  • handful flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped

  1. Heat oil in a small frying pan and gently fry garlic, red pepper, oregano and chilli flakes for 5 minutes until softened. Add tomatoes, season, stir and turn down to its lowest heat for about 30 minutes. Check for seasoning and add the balsamic vinegar. Make two dips in the sauce and crack an egg into each. Continue cooking until whites have begun to set, then cover and cook until whites are set, but the yolks are still runny. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

If your calorie count allows it then try this…You can also make some meatballs which you first brown then cook through in the tomato sauce before adding the eggs 83g of steak mince, seasoned and shaped into balls (91 cals)


Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Fish soup-stew
Now is the time that many varieties of fish and shellfish are at their best. You can choose whatever you like here. Experiment with ingredients & try things you’ve not had or haven’t cooked before.

You can adapt this easy fish stew to suit your guests - use whatever seafood you want to put into the pot.


  • 1kg/4lb 8oz mixed fresh fish fillets and shellfish, such as red mullet, small sole, gurnard, monkfish, sea bass, cuttlefish, baby octopus, prawns, mussels, squid or scallops
  • 4 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • 1 onion, finely sliced
  • 1 garlic cloves, finely chopped, plus an extra clove for the toast
  • 1x400g/14oz tins of chopped tomatoes
  • 60ml/4fl oz red wine
  • chopped fresh chilli, to taste (1/2-1)
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped flatleaf parsley
  • ¼  tsp fennel seeds
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • good bread, slightly stale or toasted (to serve)

Preparation method

1.  If your fishmonger hasn’t already done so, clean and prepare your chosen fish and shellfish. Cut fish fillets into large chunks and seafood into manageable pieces.

2.  Put the oil, onion and garlic into a large pan and fry briefly.

3.  Add the tomatoes, wine, chilli, parsley and fennel seeds and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 15 minutes.

4.  Start to add large pieces of fish to the sauce first and those that will take the longest to cook such as monkfish, then add the more tender fish such as red mullet or sole and the shellfish, ending up with the mussels if using. Cook for five or so minutes, or until the fish is cooked and the mussels have opened. (Discard any mussels that haven't opened.)

5.  Rub the bread with garlic, drizzle with olive oil, and put each slice in the bottom of a deep soup bowl. Pour over the soup and serve.


Note: I like to pan fry some fish like seabass and serve on top of the stew. This gives a nice crispy skin and an interesting texture to the dish.


Monday, 21 January 2013


Flapjacks are a chewy biscuits made from oats. You can add other ingredients too, like, coconut, dried fruit, chocolate, nuts and seeds. Above all they are chewy and gooey and great to make.


  • 200g unsalted butter
  • 200g demerara sugar
  • 200g honey
  • 400g porridge oats
  • (Optional) 50g nuts, dried fruits desiccated coconut, seeds, chocolate…
  • You will also need a 20cm x 30cm (8in x 12in) cake tin, greased

Preparation method

1.   Put the butter, sugar and honey in a saucepan and heat, stirring occasionally, until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved. Add the oats (and nuts, fruit, coconut etc. if using), and mix well.

2.   Transfer the oat mixture to the prepared cake tin and spread to about 2cm (¾in) thick. Smooth the surface with the back of a spoon. Bake in a preheated oven at 180C/350F/Gas 4 for 15-20 minutes, until lightly golden around the edges, but still slightly soft in the middle. Let cool in the tin, then turn out and cut into squares.



Sunday, 20 January 2013

Burns Night Friday 25th January

Whether you are Scottish or not there is no reason why you can’t join in the festivities for Burns Night. A celebration, a tribute to the poetry of the legendary Robbie Burns, the haggis is the beast which is slain and eaten as part of the meal. If you’ve not tried it before, give it a go, you might be surprised. The taste is savoury, peppery and meaty. I suppose similar to the flavours of a sausage. Traditionally served with buttery neeps and creamy tatties, I like this with a whisky, pepper sauce. If you’re not inclined to make your own a very fine ready made alternative is The Sauce Queen’s ‘Peppered Private Reserve’, order online http://www.thesaucequeen.co.uk/shop/meat-sauces/  You will not be disappointed!

Of course you need a tipple to wash it down with. The number one choice of course is a fine single malt. For those of you who like earthy, peaty whiskys then Ardbeg is a delicious choice. An easier, softer flavour can be found with Aberlour. An oily, subtly orange flavour can be found here. There are many whiskys though, some far more expensive, so if you have a favourite, now is the time to crack it open.

The cooking of the haggis is another topic of interest. Some prefer boiling (low and slow) and others prefer to wrap in foil and roast in the oven. If boiling the guidelines are around 35-40 minutes per 450g/1lb. There are some varieties which can be microwaved. However you choose to cook your beastie, remember to be careful with the casing. This should not be broken until you are ready to serve and stab your beastie whilst addressing it correctly using the words of Robbie Burns. This, I am reliably informed should be done humorously and not seriously! However if I have offended anyone’s seriousness of the occasion, I apologise.

Your haggis CANNOT be hunted as often suggested but must be bought from a good butcher. Only a good butcher will ensure, like their sausages that it is made correctly, from quality ingredients and flavoured to perfection. Contact http://pimlotts.co.uk/ without delay!



Friday, 16 December 2011

Chicken and leek soup

We woke up today to a good covering of snow. With much excitement we all got ready for the school run, excitedly putting on snow boots, gloves, hats and coats and marched off into the white stuff. Brilliant fun.
I then proceeded with my morning tasks; butchers (sausages, bacon, an amzing single rib of beef), posting cards, plumbers merchants (don't ask...third trip this week, due to faulty heating system, ugh), and by the time I got back was pretty cold. A hearty soup would be required.
In my fridge was the leftovers from monday's roast chicken. A good stock made from it, and lots of meat. With other vegetables and a few herbs, the soup was made in no time, and was just the ticket. Perefct for a day like today.
1 onion cut in half and sliced thinly
1 large leek, washed and sliced
3 sticks of celery, sliced
3 carrots, cut into smallish chunks
1.5 litres of chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
leftover chicken
Sweat the onion in a little olive oil with salt and pepper until softened. Add the other vegetables and cook for a further 5 minutes. Add the stock and herbs and simmer for about 20 minutes with a lid on. Add the chicken and cook for a further 5 minutes. Check the seasoning and serve. This is a soup that 'warms your bones.'