Tuesday, 1 July 2014

SPEEDY SPICY MEATBALLS




This is another quick and simple recipe to throw together for supper when you don't have much time. It's packed with flavour thanks to a tube of ready to use Harissa Paste from Sainsbury's and it's also a great way of making a packet of your favourite sausages a bit more interesting and go a lot further.

Start with your meatballs.  Remove the skins from a packet of sausages and cut each sausage into 3.  Roll the meat in the palm of your hand and form them into balls.  Place them onto a baking tray lined with parchment (much easier to remove and less washing up time) Now bake in the oven for 25 minutes at 180C.






For the sauce, cook 1 Onion chopped in a 1 tbsp of Oil along with 2 large teaspoons of Harissa (you can adjust this to your own taste and add more if you like. Then add 1 Pepper chopped into chunks.  I used a 4 mini peppers, 2 red and 2 orange for the colour. Cook until soft and starting to brown. Add 1 Garlic Clove crushed and cook for a further 2 minutes. I now add 1 Courgette peeled and grated (this gets a bit of extra veg into the children without them knowing) Cook everything till it all becomes soft and the courgette starts to mush.    Finish by adding in 1 Tin of Tomatoes and 1 tbsp of Tomato Puree.  If the sauce is too thick pour in half a tin of water or if you have some wine handy you could use that instead.  Leave it to cook for 20 minutes so the flavours can develop and check for seasoning.

Once the meatballs are cooked and brown, add them into the sauce and cook for another 5 minutes.


 We had it with rice but it's also great with pasta or flat breads



Tuesday, 24 June 2014

SIMPLE THAI SEAFOOD CURRY


Cheating is something that I do a lot during the week when it comes to cooking family meals.  I'd love to have the time to cook everything from scratch but that's just not practical when you work full time.  I don't mean cheating in a ping it in the microwave sort of way, I mean using ready made or prepped ingredients that are going to aid in a speedy dinner.

One of my favourite things to have in are these herb and spice paste tubes from Sainsbury's that you keep in the fridge ready to give a flavour boost to your dish.  I'm always buying fresh herbs for things, using half then scraping them from the bottom of the salad box.  These tubes last for a month in the fridge once you've opened them.  I always have the chilli and ginger tubes in but for this recipe I've tried the Thai Herb Paste.

Everything I used in this recipe were things I either had in the fridge of store cupboard and it took less than half an hour to put it all together - didn't someone write a book about recipes like that!   My other convenient ingredients were a tin of coconut milk and a bag of frozen mixed seafood that you cook straight from the freezer.  You can freeze the remaining coconut milk for next time.

Getting the veg ready was probably the most time consuming. I served mine with a stir fry of pak choi, spring onions, red and orange peppers and carrot but there's no reason not to buy one of those ready prepped stir fry packs.



Mixed Seafood Thai Curry

(Serves 2)

1 tbsp Oil
1 tsp Sesame Oil
200g Frozen Mixed Seefood
2 tbsp Thai Herb Paste
1/2 Tin Coconut Milk
1 tsp Fish Sauce


Put your rice on to cook whilst you make everything else.  In a pan or wok heat the oils then add the seafood and herb paste, keep string till the prawns turn pink then add the coconut milk and fish sauce.  leave on a very low heat to keep warm while you cook the veg.

Heat a pan or wok with 1/2 tbsp oil and 1 tsp sesame oil.  When it starts to smoke add your stir fry veg.  This takes just a couple of minutes to cook and they should be slightly charred and still a little crisp.


Serve everything with a scatter of fresh coriander.

We ate this with a Vino Verde, also from Sainsbury's which went superbly with seafood.  It had a light fresh summery taste that calmed the heat from the curry perfectly.  I'm no expert on wine, but those who are have given it 3 awards recently
. It's also a winner on price at just £4.75



Tuesday, 17 June 2014

FREE CAKES FOR KIDS



I'm sure you would agree that every child deserves a birthday cake and I have recently been working with a UK charity called Free Cakes For Kids who are a great group of volunteers that donate a birthday cake for children whose families would usually find it difficult to provide one.
Children are referred by local groups and organisations with details of the child's gender, age and interests and a volunteer from their local community makes the cake.


There are Free Cakes For Kids groups all over the country which you could get involved in.  You are under no obligation and can bake as little or as much as you like and don't worry about your decorating skills not being up to parr, a child receiving a birthday cake will love it.  There are other ways to help too, perhaps delivering a cake or promoting your local group.  Or do you know a group that could work with FCFK.

It such a lovely cause to be part of and brings so much happiness.