17 articles Tag cooking

Sweet Burritos (Camping Recipe) – #campfirecooking

When I was a kid, the vast majority of the holidays we went on were of the camping variety. The south of England is pretty packed with family-friendly places to camp and on years that we couldn’t afford a big holiday, we’d still get taken for the odd night camping here and there, which felt like such an adventure. Unless you’re camping on a  site with great facilities, campfire cooking can take some thought and preparation – it’s unlikely you’ll have refrigeration beyond a cool box (which doesn’t stay cold forever) so finding food which won’t perish without a fridge is essential.

Just recently, Simply Hike got in touch and asked me to create a campfire cooking recipe. Anyone who reads this blog will know that I’ve been eating a low carb diet for around six months now, but I thought this would be an excellent opportunity to try to make something sweet, decadent and TOTALLY off plane! Here’s my recipe for sweet burritos:

Sweet Burritos #campfirecooking

Sweet Burritos (Recipe) - #campfirecooking
 
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A sweet take on a burrito
Author:
Recipe type: Campfire Cooking
Ingredients
  • Flour tortillas (I used special ones with a foldable end)
  • Bananas
  • Mini marshmallows
  • A bag of giant chocolate buttons
  • Tin foil
  • Cast iron pan
Instructions
  1. Place your pan on your campfire or camping stove and allow it to get hot
  2. Tear off a strip of tin foil which is about the size of an A4 sheet of paper
  3. Place your torilla on the foil
  4. Peel a banana and place it in the middle of the tortilla
  5. Sprinkle mini marshamllows down one side of the banana
  6. Line your choloate buttons along the top of your banana
  7. Wrap your tortilla, remembering to fold the bottoms in first to create an enlosed pocket
  8. Wrap your tinfoil tightly around the burrito and place it in the hot cast iron pan
  9. Cook it for a minute at a time on each side, turning frequently
  10. You'll know it's cooked when you give the burrito a squeeze and it feels squishy inside!
  11. Eat around the campfire!

Sweet Burritos #campfirecooking

This is honestly the sweetest, most indulgent thing I’ve eaten in months and it was SO worth it! It’s the perfect dish to top off a whole day of camping and will definitely help you to drift off into a cosy slumber when you crawl into your tent at bedtime. And don’t worry about all of the calories, because you’re bound to burn it off with all of the walking/tent erecting/other activities you’ll do whilst on your camping trip! This recipe can also just as easily be made a home on the hob, so don’t feel like you have to wait to make it!

Do you have a favourite camping recipe? Do leave me a comment below as I’d love to hear all about it.

 

Waitrose Party Food – A Family Review

At this time of year, one of the things that I love to do is try new food and recipes and I can usually be found watching some Christmas-themed cookery show or another, such is my obsession. However, this year I’ve decided to dial back the stress and try to have a more chilled-out festive period, which is why I was particularly interested to try out the Waitrose Party Food range. One of the main appeals is that everything that needs to be cooked goes in at the same temperature, so although you have to get your timings right, you don’t have to wait for an oven to heat or cool between cooking sessions, which made life SO much easier when prepping it all. Here’s some of what we were sent:

Waitrose Party Food

  1. Waitrose Christmas 12 Bourbon BBQ Pork Waffles 230g (£6.00)
  2. Waitrose Christmas Cheese Toasties Selection 110g (£5.00)
  3. Mixed Mini Pie Selection – Chicken & Gravy 400g (£6.00)
  4. Mixed Mini Pie Selection – Beef & Stout 400g (£6.00)
  5. Waitrose 1 chipotle 4 chilli sausage rolls (£2.49)
  6. Waitrose Party pork crackling straws 130g (£4.00)

We were also sent Christmas olives with snowballs 320g (£5.00), Waitrose Chai Spiced Chocolate Nuts 220g (£4.99) and Waitrose Maple Caramelised Cashews 175g (£4.99) but they got devoured by my lot before I could take a picture! We have a bit of a family ritual of going to my MILs on a Saturday evening and either cooking or having a takeaway together, so I took the party food with me to get some varied opinions and basically everything went down really well!

The waffles were definitely a hit and the smoky, almost sweet barbeque sauce added a lovely flavour to the softness of the waffles. The cheese toasties were lovely little savoury morsels that I probably could have eaten about ten of, all by myself! My Sausage found the chipotle sausage rolls to be a tiny bit too piquant for her taste, but the rest of us loved them so just beware if you have chilli-wuss kids! The pork crackling straws were like an amazingly delicious alternative to a breadstick and went beautifully with the apple sauce, but BEWARE if you have any dental issues – they’re really hard and crunchy and only get harder and crunchier as they cool, so definitely not or anyone prone to breaking of teeth!

The only thing which was a little hit-and-miss were the mini pies – the beef and stout ones were really tasty, with a rich gravy and crisp pastry, but the chicken ones were less of a hit – not bad or unpleasant, just not really a flavour that any of us found massively appealing.

Largely, we were really impressed with the quality of Waitrose Party Food and the ease of cooking, and for a small family gathering it would be ideal as party nibbles, however I’m not sure that the individual prices would be ideal if you had more than around 10 people to feed. Having said that, people usually shop at Waitrose for the quality of their items, not in order to get a bargain, so maybe this is a moot point?

Everything was sent to us about three weeks ago, right when the family was in the middle of a nasty bout of gastroenteritis, and I was able to freeze everything which is also a huge bonus, meaning that it would be really easy to buy ahead of time and bring out for cooking closer to Christmas, and I’m actually planning to go and get us all a few bits for New Years Eve as they’re ideal for a casual evening at home with Jool’s Hootenanny and a few bottles of fizz!

Have you tried the Waitrose Party Food? What did you think? Leave me a comment below.

7 Day Slow Cooker Challenge – Beef and Guiness Stew

Beef and Guiness StewToday is the first day of my slow cooker challenge, and it was one of those awkward days where I had to be at an appointment in the mid afternoon. This meant that I needed to choose a dish for the day which could be put on around lunchtime and left for at least 6 hours, so I opted for the Beef and Guinness stew. It’s rubbish weather here (we’ve actually had the heating on today!) so coming home to something warm and tasty, bubbling away, was incredibly welcome.

If I’m honest, I don’t know the difference between a casserole and a stew, so this could be either, but I opted for a recipe without veg so that we could choose what to have with it – I’ve served it with red cabbage and mash, but you could choose anything you fancy (or have in the freezer).

Here’s the recipe:

Beef and Guiness Stew
 
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A tender, slow-cooked beef stew with Guiness and bacon.
Author:
Recipe type: Slow Cooker
Cuisine: Irish
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 900g diced beef
  • 150g streaky bacon
  • 1 onion
  • 3 tbs plain flour
  • Salt and pepper
  • Bouquet Garni
  • 500ml beef stock
  • 1 bottle of Guiness (or other stout)
  • Olive oil for cooking
Instructions
  1. Finely chop the onions and fry in a little oil until translucent
  2. Slice the bacon and add to the onions. Fry for 2-3 minutes
  3. Place the onions and bacon the the slow cooker
  4. In a bowl, season the flour with salt and pepper
  5. Toss the diced beef in the seasoned flour
  6. Fry the beef in a little oil in the same pan that you cooked the bacon and onions in until browned
  7. Once browned, add the beef to the slow cookers
  8. Add the stock, Guiness and bouquet garni to the slow cooker
  9. Cook on low for 6-8 hours
  10. Serve with potatoes and veg of your choice

Often I shy away from dishes which require any sort of prep or pre-cooking because I feel like slow cooking should basically just be “chuck it all in”, but I can honestly say that the extra effort was well worth it here. The beef was super tender because it had cooked for so long, but the flavour was incredible because of the initial browning in seasoned flour and the salty morsels of bacon added bursts of savoury flavour to the dish. The stock, herbs, ale and juices from the meat and onions combined to make the most delicious gravy…I had to resist the urge to dip bread in the remaining sauce in the pot!

I also think this dish would freeze really well, so I’d be tempted to make a double portion and freeze half next time I made it. All in all, I’m really pleased with today’s recipe and I’m really glad I kicked off with this as it was just perfect for today!

Don’t forget to blog about what’s in your slow cooker and link up with the linky below.

LINKY REMOVED

Mum’s the Word 7-Day Slow Cooker Challenge (linky)

So, as you’ll know if you’ve read this blog in the last 6 months, I’ve become a bit of a slow cooker addict. Husband bought me one just before Christmas (insisting it WASN’T a Christmas gift because he ISN’T a misogynist and wouldn’t buy me appliances as a Christmas gift, not that it matters because I LOVE my slow cooker and it’s one of the best gifts he’s ever given me!) and I’ve been on a bit of a culinary adventure ever since. It’s allowed me to be so much more organised, helps us to eat better and for less money and, most importantly, has encouraged me to think outside the box a little when it comes to our meals.

On a good week, I use the slow cooker three times, on a bad week not at all and just lately I feel like I’ve neglected it altogether so I wanted to kick-start my love for slow cooking with something big. I’ve decided to do a whole week of slow-cooker meals, using it to make dinner every single night for a week, trying something we’ve never had each day. I’ve done a meal plan and done a shop for all of the ingredients (I had a voucher for £18 off of a £60 shop at Sainsbury’s, so it’s worked out to be outrageously cheap!). The shopping didn’t arrive ’til 2pm and my Dad was here visiting with us, so I didn’t have time to get a meal on today, but I’ll be starting tomorrow and I plan to blog each meal with the recipe every single day, giving you an idea of how easy each meal was to prepare.

It got me thinking that, if I were to set this as a challenge to others who could also share their recipes each day in a special linky, then we’d end up with a HUGE repository of slow cooker recipes that everyone could enjoy – so who’s with me?! It’s simple. Make a plan for 7 days worth of slow cooker meals and blog along with me each day. You don’t HAVE to start tomorrow, you can start at any time you like, just make it a whole week of slow cooker dinners and come back here with your 7 links! And, because I’m slow-cooker mad, I’ve even made you a little badge for your posts, which you can grab below, and it will guide all of your readers over to the linky to enjoy all of the recipes.

I’d love it so much if you can get involved. I’ll be back tomorrow with the first of my slow cooker recipes, and I’m still trying to source some GOAT meat for one of them, a meat I’ve never cooked nor have the girls and I eaten before so this really is an exercise in pushing boundaries and testing our palates. Come back tomorrow to see what’s first!

Mum's the Word 7-Day Slow Cooker Challenge

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Slow Cooker Lava Cake

I have to say it: I am becoming a slow-cooker obsessive. Since Husband bought a Crock Potfor me about a month ago, I’ve cooked about a dozen meals in it, getting slightly more adventurous each time. Last night, I tried making dessert in it for the first time and I was so impressed with how easy it was and how well it turned out that I thought I’d share it with you. Behold, the LAVA CAKE!

slow cooker lava cake

What this picture is not showing you is that although it looks like a humble sponge cake, there is actually molten goodness inside (hence lava cake…), like a low-effort chocolate fondant, if you will. But, I cannot stress how easy this is to make.

Here’s what you’ll need:

1 package of chocolate sponge mix (we used Betty Crocker as it was all they had in the Co-Op at 4pm on a Saturday) plus the wet ingredients stated on the box (I think it’s eggs, oil and water)

1 package of Angel Delight (we used butterscotch and it worked SO well!) plus 300ml milk

Chocolate chips or chunks (I used a bag of milk and a bag of white chocolate chunks)

  • Grease your slow cooker with a little oil spray or butter
  • Mix up your cake batter and pour it into the slow cooker
  • Mix up your Angel Delight, leave to thicken for 5 minutes and then pour directly on top of your cake batter in the slow cooker
  • Sprinkle you chocolate chips evenly over the top of the mixtures
  • Cook on high for 1.5 to 2 hours
  • Serve with custard or ice cream and try not to make inappropriately lustful noises whilst eating.

It really is as simple as “chuck it all in and wait”, which is my favourite type of dessert. We got 6 massive portions out of ours, or 8 reasonable portions, and although it may not be the best looking dish once it’s served up, I’d be more than happy serving it to guests as it’s so damn tasty! I’m going to experiment with different flavours too; I’m thinking vanilla sponge and strawberry Angel Delight next time!

Have you made this before? What flavours did you use? Leave me a comment below!

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Mum’s the Word’s Mega Mince Pies

About 10 years ago, I went to a work Christmas get together where someone had put on a little spread of festive nibbles. One of the things that was on offer was mince pies (obviously!), but these mince pies were a little different. Instead of a fully enclosed pie, the top was nestled on a dollop of brandy butter and it made them taste incredible – like Christmas on steroids!! I decided that I’d try to recreate something similar and thought I’d share them with you here:

Mum's the Word's Mega Mince Pies
 
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Mince pies with added kick!
Author:
Recipe type: Christmas Baking
Cuisine: Dessert
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • One pack of chilled JusRoll shortcrust pastry
  • One jar of mincemeat
  • Small pot of brandy butter
  • Icing sugar to dust
  • (You'll also need a dimpled baking tray, a 2.5" pastry cutter and a star-shaped pastry cutter - we also placed a pastry holly leaf on the top of each star but these aren't absolutely essential if you don't have a holly leaf cutter)
Instructions
  1. (Before you start, take the JusRoll out of the fridge and leave for half an hour to reach room temperature)
  2. Cut out 12 cirlcles of JusRoll and place in your baking tray
  3. Place a moderate teaspoon of mincemeat in each pastry case
  4. Bake at 160c (fan oven) for 25 minutes
  5. Cut out 12 stars and place on a flat, non-stick baking tray
  6. Bake at 160c for around 15-18 minutes
  7. Allow everything to cool completely
  8. Place a dollop of brandy butter (about half a teaspoon) on top of each mince pie and top with a pastry star
  9. Dust with icing sugar before serving

mega mince pies
It’s a super simple recipe which the kids will probably love to help with and it takes a really short time to prep and cook, but the result is fantastic and takes your mince pies to the next level.

Merry Christmas!

Recipe – Special Spring Greens with Mediterranean Chicken and Rice (650cal)

special greensIt’s not often that I do anything special, in culinary terms. I mean, sure, I can cook and I do alright for Husband and the girls, but we often have quite samey food and my repertoire isn’t what you’d call massive or adventurous. However, last night, we had a dinner that was one of the tastiest things I’ve eaten on ages, a little bit different to what we usually eat and came in at just over 600 calories per plate for a really filling meal, which I think adds up to a massive win! It was also really warm and comforting and uses seasonal veg. Spring greens are PACKED with calcium, so this is a great recipe for anyone with dairy issues who struggle to get enough of this essential mineral. (Also, bear in mind that while my culinary skill may be improving, my food photography skills and presentation are NOT!). Believe me, it may not look much but it is so tasty and super healthy.

Mediterranean Chicken with Special Spring Greens and Rice

Recipe - Special Spring Greens with Mediterranean Chicken and Rice (650cal)
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Dinner
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Serves: 4 people
Ingredients
  • 4 Chicken Breasts
  • 4 cups white rice
  • 2 cans of chopped tomatoes with basil and onions
  • 200g thick-cut bacon, finely diced
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1 hot red chile, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard seeds
  • 500g spring greens - stems and inner ribs trimmed, leaves cut into ribbons
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 170° fan (190° electric/Gas Mark 5)
  2. Place the chicken breasts in an over-proof dish and season with salt and pepper
  3. Cover the chicken with the chopped tomatoes and basil and cover with a lid or tin foil
  4. Place in the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes
  5. Put your rice into a large saucepan and cover with cold water
  6. Put the rice on the hob and bring to the boil, then leave to cook for around 12 minutes.
  7. In a large frying pan or wok, fry the bacon or lardons until they start to turn golden
  8. Add the shallot, chilli and mustard seeds and fry for another 3 minutes, until softened
  9. Add the greens into the pan and turn to toss in the bacon and shallots - there will probably look like an enormous quantity of leaves, but keep turning using tongs or a spatula and your hand
  10. Keep the mixture over the heat until it's all wilted down and mixed in - this will probably take about 5 minutes
  11. Once it's all cooked down, add the white wine vinegar and stir through, just before serving.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 654 Fat: 17 Carbohydrates: 70 Sugar: 10 Sodium: 1,009 Protein: 52

Original spring greens recipe found here

Breville Halo+ – My Hero

When we moved house, back in March, one of the things which appealed to us was that the landlord was leaving the appliances in-situ, meaning we wouldn’t need to buy a cooker or dishwasher, and could sell our old washing machine and fridge freezer, giving us more money towards our move. Somewhat typically though, the dishwasher and cooker have both died since we moved in, leaving us with the expense of replacing them so soon after shelling out thousands to move. The dishwasher was easy to replace and we picked one up in a good deal from Appliances Online, but the cooker has been trickier to deal with.

The one which broke down (and when I say “broke down”, I mean condemned by the gas board and disconnected for leaking gas) is a 90cm range cooker which means we have to buy another 90cm range to fill the gap in the units. This means that it’s twice the price and when we leave, we’ll be stuck with an expensive cooker which probably won’t fit into another kitchen. The oven part still works, but the hob and grill are completely kaput and the thought of feeding two kids with no hob was a scary one.

In steps my hero; The Halo+ Health Fryer.

Breville Halo+ Health Fryer

Breville sent us one of these to review absolutely ages ago, and beyond using it to make chips and melt the cheese for cheese on toast, we hadn’t used it that much. However, since the hob died, I’ve used it to make the meat and sauce for lasagne, cook curries, stir-fries, grill steaks and chops, cook bacon, fajitas, even S’mores! The Halo+ is SO much more versatile than I gave it credit for and it’s stepped up and done the job of both a grill and a hob at a time when I would have been truly stuck without it.

One thing I love about cooking in the Halo is that, because it’s a sealed unit, when you cook things like chunks of chicken for Enchiladas, the chicken stays nice and moist. The direct heat from the element inside cooks things speedily and the fact that the inside rotates constantly, moving the food around means that everything cooks evenly and I never have to stand a stir things for ages.

The non-stick bowl inside the Halo+ means that I barely ever use oil when I’m cooking in it, other than the small amount needed for chips, so everything we’ve been making has been just that extra bit healthier, too.

At some point, we’re going to have to bite the bullet and buy ourselves a new cooker, which will be nice but the expense a little eye-watering, especially as we have Sausage’s birthday and the school holidays coming up, but in the meantime, our Breville Halo+ Health Fryer has done us proud. It is SO much more than a gadget for making chips and we would have been genuinely stuck without it, these past couple of months. If you’re thinking of buying one for yourself, please don’t hesitate. If you’re brave and experiment with new things, it can change the way you cook. Even when we do shell out for a new cooker, I’ll continue to use the Halo+ for lots of the things I use it for now. It’s my little kitchen hero!

Sponsored: Bake the Worlds’ Happiest Cake with Stork on World Baking Day

World Baking Day 2015World Baking Day falls on 17th May and the lovely people at Stork are encouraging people to bake themselves happy by creating the world’s happiest cake. You see, the concept behind it is that baking makes you happy, de-stresses you and adds to your overall feeling of well-being. Therefore, if you bake a cake with the best ingredients and serve it up to your favourite people then you’ll end up with the happiest cake in the world!

Stork are asking people to choose someone for whom to make a cake and to get baking on 17th May to spread the happiness and I thought I’d blog all about my baking journey to share with you guys.

The person I’ve chosen to bake for is my Mother in Law, who we’ll call MIL for the purposes of this post! My MIL is genuinely one of the nicest people in the world. When I hear my friends moan about their in laws, I’m never able to join in because there’s nothing I can moan about. She’s the sort of person who’d help anybody if they needed her, she’s always there with a cuppa and a packet of Penguins if we need a shoulder to cry on and the girls, Sausage and Burrito Baby, absolutely adore her. She’s a proper Nan, feeding them up on biscuits when they go to her house having us over for fish and chips on a Saturday so we can all spend time together.

MIL is also one of those people who rarely takes time for herself, so Husband and I like to spoil her when we can, be it taking her for meals or just having her over to us for dinner and a film. She’s one in a million and absolutely deserves to be baked for on this special day.

MIL is fairly simple in her tastes, going for classics rather than fancy new flavours, so we’ve decided to honour her with a Victoria sponge cake, which is her favourite, and we’ll make is special by using fresh whipped cream for the filling, as well as using Stork instead of butter.  Victoria sponge should be super light and fluffy and Stork is a great way for ensuring it’ll turn out perfectly.

I’ll be reporting back after World Baking Day to show you how we got on and what MIL thought of her cake, so keep your eyes peeled for that. In the meantime if you’d like to get involved, or encourage your own blog readers to take part, you can visit the following pages for more information:

Visit worldbakingday.com/uk for more details and select that special someone
to bake for.
Join the World Baking Day Community on Facebook
Follow the World Baking Day on Twitter, Instagram, Google +
Pin the World Baking Day on Pinterest
Check out Stork’s Website, Facebook and Twitter

Stork

Sponsored by Stork

Lion Eggs and Crumbs Food Baked Eggs Recipe

We’re a huge fan of eggs in the MTW house; we often making quick and easy meals on busy days with eggs as they’re a great source of protein and are super versatile. Sausage’s favourite is boiled eggs, which she’ll have with soldiers, while Husband and BB are partial to scrambled. My favourite way to eat eggs is as eggy bread, but with a grown up twist of having a couple of slices of black pudding on the side! Not to everybody’s taste, but super tasty to me!

Lion Eggs have teamed up with vlogging sisters Crumbs Food to come up with a brilliant recipe for baked eggs, and you can watch it right here:

All you need:
cherry tomatoes
red pepper
basil
olive oil
black pepper
parmesan
garlic
2 eggs

A handy tip is to cut the red pepper nice and small so that you’re kids will eat it! Eggs are one of the most nutritious foods money can buy and are a natural source of many nutrients including high quality protein, vitamins and minerals. They’re also super quick to prepare meals with!

“This is the kind of thing you can really rustle up quickly. Just takes a few minutes to prepare. So it’s perfect for those nights when your busy and on the go…They keep you fuller for longer. It’s one of those things you can eat at lunch and you don’t need to stack before dinner time” Crumbs Food

For further information and lots of exciting recipes head over to http://www.eggrecipes.co.uk – the spinach, feta and pine nut omelette also looks like a good one to try.