Saturday, 28 April 2012

Any Excuse For Cake

Amazing son number one left the house on Friday morning smelling rather fragrant. It seemed he decided to liberally douse himself in the gorgeous husband's aftershave. I do feel for anyone he had to sit next to on the bus or in the classroom. Whilst I love the smell of this particular fragrance there is a limit as to how much is acceptable when wearing it, and the amazing son number one has yet to understand this. Oh the joys of teenagers.

Following on from this, I intercepted amazing son number two trying to take money to school. In his shoes. The unusual gait gave it away. I think it is a good job I discovered this before we left the house to walk the mile to school. Blisters or holes in his socks would have been inevitable and rather unfortunate. I think he has also gone to school with Diprobase (remember this stuff?) in his hair. Don't ask me why. A good hair wash is definitely needed when he gets home.

To help cope with the SHENANIGANS I made cake. Obviously so that I could eat cake. But it was also to practise making a layer cake before a friend comes to make one with me on Sunday. Believe it or not I have never previously made a layer cake. Shocking I know. The cake is now no more. I didn't eat it all I hasten to add. I'm not telling how much I did eat, but it wasn't quite all of it. I might have to make more cake soon.

I followed Delia's all-in-one recipe which was pretty straightforward, especially using my KitchenAid. However, the frosting I made up as I went along. It was amazing, but I now have only a vague notion how to recreate it. I'm certain it involved various amounts of butter, dark chocolate, golden syrup, condensed milk, icing sugar and cocoa. I'm sure any quantities of those ingredients melted and mixed together will taste pretty delicious though.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Fill 'Em Up - Cheesy Tuna Pasta Bake

I've had a request for more recipes on here from a food-loving friend. Now, I love cooking and baking but I don't love writing down my 'in my head' recipes. I do link to the ones I use from recipes books that are published online by the author (you see, I'm both lazy and respecting of copyright), but I find remembering and writing out ingredients and methods quite difficult. I think it is because when I cook I often don't weigh or measure or time, I just do it. So trying to tell someone else what I used and what I did so that they can possibly recreate it leaves me feeling responsible for their next meal in case it all goes horribly wrong as they try to recreate my kitchen bumblings.

Fill 'Em Up is how it goes in our house - they are boys and they need feeding. Boy Food Friday is a weekly indulgence that can't be repeated every day due to budget, time and waistline constraints. Fill 'Em Up is what we eat on a school night, a work night, a no-time-to-cook night and it's usually simple and fuss free. So, this is what we had for tea/dinner/supper last night.....Cheesy Tuna Pasta Bake.

Personally I'm not sure I can think of anything worse than cheese and tuna combined. I'm not always very keen on tinned tuna. Call it one of my idiosyncrasies if you like. Sometimes I will eat it and other times I won't. It's probably another foible from boarding school. I do love cheese though. But the thought of cheese with tuna. No thank you. But I know the amazing sons love it, so I whipped this up either side of piano and trumpet lessons for tea. There's leftovers for tonight too - that I do like. And despite my doubts it was actually very tasty and the gorgeous husband enjoyed it too. It's not fine dining, it's not haute cuisine, but it is filling and cheap and simple to make.

What You Will Need:
  • butter
  • plain flour
  • milk
  • cheese - lots, grated or cut up into small chunks
  • tinned tuna
  • pasta shapes
  • sweetcorn
  • tortilla crisps - crushed
What You Do:
  1. Make a basic cheese sauce by melting the butter in a large sauce pan over a low heat.
  2. Add the flour to make a thick paste.
  3. Then slowly add the milk, whisking and stirring all the time until all the milk is added and it just starts to gently bubble.
  4. Stir in the cheese until it is melted and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Stir in the sweetcorn and the tinned tuna. Just add as much as you like.
  6. Cook and drain your pasta and rinse in cold water.
  7. Add your pasta to your cheesy sauce and put into an ovenproof dish.
  8. Sprinkle with the crushed tortilla crisps and a bit of cheese.
  9. Put in to the oven at about 180C (fan) for about 30 minutes or until bubbling.
  10. Serve to hungry boys and listen to the silence as they tuck in. 

Friday, 20 April 2012

Pie and Peas

Well, it's Boy Food Friday in our house yet again. I decided to try another recipe from Dan Lepard's book Short & Sweet, and it didn't disappoint. Particularly the crispy pastry lid - no sogginess at our table thank you.

I made the chicken pie albeit with a few changes based on what I had in the fridge/cupboards/freezer. And served it with mushy peas. If Boy Food Friday is all about keeping the males in my house fed and happy, I think I succeeded!

I earned my pie and peas with a 10k (ok, 7 miles) run at lunchtime, including 3 trips up and down the infamous Park Steps to get my heart rate up. It's good to get back to my running, but I'm mostly pleased that I found the Steps and found my way home. Remembering new running routes is not a strength. This running poster sums up my day really rather well.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Ricky Toad

The gorgeous husband recently bought me Dan Lepard's amazing baking book Short & Sweet. I'm not sure why I have waited so long to start using it but today I made 2 recipes - one savoury and one sweet. The amazing sons had a taste of the Blue Cheese and Oatmeal Biscuits and gave them their seal of approval.

 They have yet to know about the Rocky Road Rock Cakes I then whipped up. I might not tell and keep them all for me. Thanks to the predictive text on my iPhone Rocky Road is known as Ricky Toad in our house. This is a new take on an old favourite for me, and I LIKE IT! Now, to share or not to share?

Sunday, 15 April 2012

You've Got To Be Impressed!

Amazing son number 2 has quite brilliantly outdone himself again in the SHENANIGANS department. Upon discovering a £5 note in his school bag I interrogated quizzed him about where it had come from. You probably need to understand that his piggy bank is (I think!) hidden away after he raided it and spent £10 on chocolate after sneaking up to the cafe at our gym when he was meant to be swimming.

So, it seems the £5 was actually the change from a £20 note. Apparently he took his old felt tips to school and sold them to another child for £20. TWENTY POUNDS FOR OLD FELT TIPS!!! This boy has a huge future in the business world.

Not so cleverly he then spent £15 of his newly found wealth on sweets when allowed to walk home from school by himself one day. However, I am very proud of the fact that he shared these sweets with his friends - he is a very generous child, much like the gorgeous husband.

He was also recently heard to mutter (after passing a shop buying gold) "cash for gold, I wonder if we have any gold at home". I'll be hiding wearing all my jewellery from now on then. Good job he is utterly charming and has a smile that makes your heart melt!

Monday, 2 April 2012

Crunchy Carrot Salad

This is a new favourite in our family. Instead of coleslaw I make this and it is so much nicer. Plus it has chillies in it which is ALWAYS a good thing. It never lasts very long so I always make a huge bowl. Although I think that just encourages us to eat more instead of having lots left over. Here's how to make it.

What You Need:
  • lots of grated carrots
  • some spring onions finely sliced
  • sunflower seeds
  • pumpkin seeds
  • raisins or sultanas or whatever dried fruit you fancy
  • fresh coriander finely chopped
  • several chillies finely sliced
  • lime juice
  • olive oil
  • honey

What You Do:

1. Mix the carrots, spring onions, seeds, dried fruit, coriander and chillies in a large bowl. I leave the chilli seeds in, makes mealtimes a little more exciting - you never know who will be the first to bite a chilli seed.

2. In another container whisk together the lime juice, olive oil and honey according to taste. We like lots of lime juice, nice and zingy.

3. Pour over the dressing and mix well. Taste (just one spoonful mind) and add more of whichever ingredient you fancy.

4. Try not to eat all in one sitting - this will keep well for a few days in the fridge. I think it tastes better on day 2. I can't tell you if it is even better still on day 3, we've never had any left by then.