"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

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Celeriac soup with melting cheese (only a teeny bit)

Following a bout of flu (proper flu not a cold, which I've never had and never wish to have again), I've been left feeling completely drained and in need of food that is quick and wholesome. Also at the kickstart of the year, I am, (as posted earlier) looking to become super fit for the summer, so have been eating low carb, high protein and exercising hard. Soups have been playing a large role in this diet. I love soup. I enjoy making them and don't feel 'cheated' when eating them as so much 'healthy' food can often leave you feeling.
Celeriac like celery is one of those vegetables or flavours that many people aren't sure of. Like celery, when cooked, celeriac just has an incredible flavour that enhances others. Celeriac soup is a fantastic winter soup that will, I'm sure if you've never had it before, win even the most celery hating amongst you, over.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion
I potato
1 celeriac
chicken or vegetable stock (about 1 litre)
2 tablespoons low fat creme fraiche
handful of parsley
gruyere cheese
Chop the onion, potato and celeriac. Sweat gently in the oil with some seasoning in a large pan for about 10 minutes, with the lid on. Stir from time to time.
Add the stock and simmer gently with the lid on for about 10-15 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked through.
Add the parsley and creme fraiche and blitz with a stick blender until smooth. Check the seasoning. I find that this soup needs quite a lot of salt and pepper. Also if it looks too thick at this stage you can add a little water or milk.
Serve in big bowls with as much or as little grated gruyere on top. This will melt into stringy ooziness as you eat. Or if serving to guests, use espresso cups. Gorg.


Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Roast chicken in 45 mins

Roast chicken.


I love roast chicken. I love the smell, as its cooking. The sticky bits in the roasting tray that help to make incredible gravy. Its economical too. Even if you buy a top end chicken you can get a good few meals out of it. A chicken stock made from the bones will help ensure you get another meal out of it, and its smells so good as its bubbling away. At the end of the meal, I love pulling the flesh off the chicken, & nibbling the tasty bits for myself. The bones are put in a pot and along with a stick of celery (broken in half), a carrot broken in half), an onion (cut in half), a large sprig of parsley, 6 peppercorns and enough water to just cover everything.

Simmer very gently for 2- 3 hours, Strain. When cool, refrigerate or freeze.

Roast chicken in 45 mins

Sometimes, even during a busy week, (and quite often I do this on a Monday), I want roast chicken. Generally, its just time, that puts us off, but then I discovered you can actually roast a whole chicken in 45 mins. The reason the start of the week is good to do this means that you can use the stock that you can make with the bones and all the leftovers to make further meals during the week. Whether you buy cheap supermarket chickens or a lovely free range bird is down to you, your conscience and your budget. Regardless of these factors, this way of cooking a bird, produces a beautifully roasted chicken with juicy, delicious meat and a crisp skin. What more could you want!

1 whole chicken (spatchcocked)

6 unpeeled cloves of garlic

1 sprig of rosemary

1 lemon

Few glugs of olive oil

Freezer bag

Preheat the oven to 180°c.

As most people buy their chickens from the supermarket, it makes sense to expect that you can do this yourself. You can do this with a pair of sharp scissors. Turn the bird on its breast and cut down either side of the backbone. Remove it. Turn the bird back over and press down firmly on the breast bone to flatten it out. Easy! You can, however, ask your butcher to spatchcock your chicken for you.

If you have time, do this bit in the morning. If not don’t worry. Put the chicken, garlic and rosemary in the freezer bag. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze the juice into the bag. Throw the skin in too. Pour a good glug of olive oil into the bag and give everything a good squish around. Leave in the bag preferably for at least an hour on the kitchen side, or in the fridge until you are ready to cook. Preheat the oven to 180°. Empty the contents of the chicken bag into a roasting tray. Lay the chicken flat with the skin side uppermost. Season, and put in the oven for 45 mins.

Chicken Gravy

Remove from the oven after 45 mins and check that the chicken is cooked through, by inserting a knife where the thigh joint is. Then let the bird rest for 10 mins before carving. I serve this in the summer with salad and bread. In the winter with mash.

You can make a gravy with the pan juices. Put the pan on the heat. Add 1 tablespoon of flour. Stir to make a paste. Add a good splash of white wine or vermouth. Stir in to loosen the paste. Gradually add chicken stock . (I tend to use hot water from the kettle, and add a few drops of liquid chicken stock). Stir or whisk, to form a gravy to the thickness you like.

Leftover gravy must never be thrown away. It can be frozen. A little bit of proper chicken gravy has so many uses. One is to add it to the risotto recipe below. Cooking is more about instinct than recipes. If you think something needs it, then add it. Usually that works.


Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Mushrooms with stilton, spinach and walnuts (served by itself or as an accompaniment to steak)

Currently (along with the entire planet it seems), we are eating healthly and exercising more in a a bid to be a God and Goddess this summer. Apparently 'skinny' is out and 'warrior' is in, so there is hope at last! I passionately despise 'diets'. but do believe in changing eating habits. The one thing I know that works for me is lowering my carb intake. Based on this our dinner last night, inspired by Nigel Slater, was a mushroom based dish, accompanied by a beautifully rare piece of rump, which are 7 year old gatecrashed, the carnivore that he is!

6 large flat mushrooms
1 garlic clove chopped
pinch of thyme
knob of butter
handful of spinach
stilton cheese
walnut halves
(Optional to serve with or without meat)
slice of rump steak cur 1 inch thick
half a lemon
splash of marsala or red wine

Take your rump steak out and place on a plate to come to room temperature. Rub the steak both sides with a little olive oil. Season quite generously with coarsely ground black pepper and sea salt.
Using a large saute pan with a lid, heat the butter and when melted put in the mushrooms, stalk side up. Let them begin to cook and sprinkle over the chopped garlic and pinch of thyme. season and add a splash of water. Put the lid on and allow this to cook gently, spooning over the garlicky, herby liquid from time to time. As these are cooking, heat a frying pan until white hot. I like my steak rare, so I would give it 2 minutes per side, then allow to rest whilst having a squeeze of lemon over it.
Put a small amount of stilton in each mushroom (you only need a small amount for flavour), scatter over the spinach and walnuts and put the lid back on.
Whilst the cheese is melting and the spinach melts, deglaze the steak pan with a splash of marsala or wine, and pour over the resting meat.
Simply delish, and as long as you are scant with the butter, and stilton (walnuts are rich in alpha linolenic acid which has many nutritional and health benefits including anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties), then believe it or not, this is diet food!

Just one more thing; one of the things we need to be doing is eating food that keeps us satiated. This is low GI food, so therefore takes longer to convert to energy, so there is less chance of surplus unused energy which would become fat. Bonus.


Monday, 10 January 2011

“You Get What You Get, Don’t You Mummy”

Food. Home food. Food that we eat every day. With family, friends, kids friends. At tea time, lunch, evenings, weekdays, weekends. Can seem endless. Whether you are a keen cook, or a reheat from chilled queen, we all need inspiration at times. I (worryingly), love the challenge of producing meals every day. One day will normally affect what we have the next. Hopefully I can show you what I mean.
I wholeheartedly and emphatically believe in the title of this book...and so do my kids. They don’t always like it...but they don’t get a choice. I do however promise them, that the food they eat is always good. If I taste it and agree its not good, then I’ll agree with them & say “yes you’re right, it tastes horrid, don’t bother”. I will always check their food and never give them something that is horrid.
The idea is this book will give you ideas, not recipes. Things you can try and adapt to your own tastes.
Sausage and pea pasta
This is without doubt the kids favourite tea. Whenever the question “what’s for tea?” is uttered, this is without fail greeted with glee. Phew, and its easy, cheap, uses store cupboard ingredients, nutritious, and is delicious.
This feeds my 2 kids (5 & 7).
2-3 good quality butchers sausages
1 garlic clove (peeled & whole)
Olive oil
Paprika ¼ tsp (smoked preferably)
Dijon mustard ½ tsp
100g pasta
A handful of frozen peas
Crème fraiche/double cream/milk
Parmesan cheese (½ tbsp)
Normally I have sausages in the freezer in bags of 2 or 3. This way I can have tea done quickly.
Heat a tablespoon or so of olive oil in a large frying or sauté pan, and throw the whole garlic clove in. Cook the garlic gently in the oil until very lightly golden. Stop before it turns dark. We only want to flavour the oil, and don’t want a burnt acrid taste.
Next, make a slit in each of the sausage skins. Remove the sausage skin and pinch off small meatball pieces of sausage meat. You don’t need to be too accurate with this, so don’t worry. The idea is to brown these pieces. As long as you have good quality sausages they won’t break up, but try not to stir too often. Let the pieces brown, then turn.
When the pieces are browned, add about a quarter of a teaspoon of paprika and stir.
Next you need something to make a bit of a sauce, whether that is milk, crème fraiche or cream. This will also deglaze the pan and all the lovely sticky bits with the sausages will blend into the sauce. Add the mustard & frozen peas and let this bubble gently while you cook the pasta.
If in the meantime the sauce gets dry, add a little water or milk, to loosen the sauce. The water from the cooking pasta is good here.
Add a good grating of parmesan and taste for seasoning. Remove the garlic clove.
Drain the pasta and add to the sauce. A good tip here, learnt from Mr Oliver is to reserve a small amount of liquid whilst draining the pasta. This can be added to the pasta if required to loosen it slightly. Stir to combine everything. serve to hungry kids. Mine normally ask for seconds and thirds and often end up eating out of the pan!