Ok, here’s a bit of fun.
You can’t seem to get away from lists these days. Listmania! has taken over the whole world. Apparently 30% of the internet is taken up with lists. My top ten this and that.
So I thought “if you can’t beat em…”
The thing with this list is that anybody is free to add to it and join in… so PLEASE do!
I’ve started it off but I had to stop myself otherwise I would have exhausted the list. When somebody asks what my favourite food is I can go on and on and on!
So here it is!
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Last term at school I got roped into going into MissT’s class to talk about healthy food, where our food comes from and do a demonstration. So I cooked pizza from scratch and the children all made their own. It was great fun for the kids… and me! Although I think the cleaners are still finding bits of pizza dough in the carpet!
This term I got asked if I could give Dj’s class a simple recipe because they were working on following instructions. So the idea was that they would make something and then write down what went in it and how they did it.
I emailed the class teacher, Miss H, a recipe for Tobouleh as I though it was a simple recipe and it didn’t involve too much cooking… the thought of Dj and hot things just scares me!
The thing is, after they had made the Tabouleh at school I ended up with Kids and parents asking me for the recipe. So I thought I may as well put it on the blog because to be fair it is a great recipe. It’s healthy, a little goes a long way, it’s not time consuming and it’s great for Kids and adults pack-up.
Now this isn’t exactly how they made it at school. For one thing you use bulgar wheat in Tabouleh. At school they used couscous which is fine, it works well but I do recommend trying it with the cracked bulgar wheat. I prefer it so much more and it is a little more healthier.
Unfortunately I have no picture of the finished result. I will put one in at a later stage.
500g Cracked Bulgar wheat
5 tablespoons oil (olive, sunflower or rapeseed)
1 medium red onion finely diced
2 cloves of garlic chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon of dried mint
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder (or more or less to suit your taste)
1 teaspoon salt
Good grind of black pepper
1 red pepper diced
A handful of frozen peas
600ml of hot stock (vegetable or chicken)
Juice of 1 lemon or a tablespoon of fresh
Some chopped fresh herbage if you have any (coriander or parsley work well)
Gently heat the oil in a heavy bottomed saucepan and add the onion and garlic stir for a minute and then add the spices, dried mint and stir again. Add the red pepper, peas and seasoning to the pan and stir in. Now add the bulgar wheat and stir through to coat with the spices. Add the stock so that it is just above the level of the bulgar wheat. Cover the pan with a tight fitting lid or tinfoil and turn off the heat. After twenty minutes the bulgar wheat should have absorbed all the water and be ready. Before you serve it add the lemon juice and fresh herbs. It can be eaten straight away or left to cool and refrigerated to eat another time. It also freezes well if frozen in plastic containers.
So there you go! Easy. If the Kids of St T of C year 3 can follow it then you parents should have no problems!
Let me know how you get on!
So apparently Fusion Food is now a dirty word with those that are in the know… or care! It’s now called ‘Modern cooking’.
So ‘Modern Cooking’ consists of taking flavours from one country and mixing them with another. For instance Korean seems to be a modern trend at the moment along with American style BBQ flavours which means there are a lot of burgers being served with a side of Kimchi at the moment. And why not?
Apparently in China British/Spanish combinations are all the rage!
I personally love experimenting with different flavours and experimenting with spices and herbs so I don’t see it as a particularly bad thing, providing it’s done tastefully and not just for the sake of it. I mean there’s nothing wrong with some Chicken Tikka on top of a pizza if you have some to use up but cook it to go on a pizza especially… erm, NO!
The thing is though what makes using different influences in food ‘Modern’?
Surely cooks and chefs have been doing that for years,decades and even centuries?
Think about Christmas. A traditional English Christmas Pudding, Cake or Mince Pie just wouldn’t be the same without a touch of nutmeg and cinnamon. So 300 years ago were chefs and cooks going about saying they were into ‘Modern Cooking’ or ‘fusion food’? I don’t think so.
I think adding new flavours and techniques to classic dishes is great! It’s just the terminology and the way that food writers and chefs go on about it as if they’ve created the wheel!
Anybody is capable of experimenting with food. You might not always get a fantastic result but it’s all good fun and makes food a little more exiting.
Don’t think that it is only the place of Michelin starred chefs to tell you what x & y go with… have a go yourself, the general public have been doing it for years!
What are Your favourite fusion… sorry, modern cooking dishes?
Or have you tried some combinations that really didn’t work?
Let us know, we would love to read your triumphs and disasters!
So what’s been happening on the ‘Ome Made front?
The ‘Ome Made products have started to be seen on shelves in certain outlets and I did my first Food Fair, which was great fun and I had some fantastic feedback on the products. I also met some great fellow local producers and MissT & Dj ate nearly all of their samples! It’s a food fair Kids… not an all day buffet!
During the summer holidays we played host to a girl from Belarus as part of the CCLL Sheffield link. Unfortunately that is probably the last time we will be involved with that particular charity.
I went for a trip round the local park with the Kids and we came back with another chicken, as you do. The Kids decided to call it leia (as in princess leia off Star Wars!), madness!
And then it was the usual pottering about with the kids. Picking bilberries and blackberries. Eating pots of curry sauce with French Bread on the top of Blackamoor (you should try it!).
Then to cap the summer holidays off we went and got a puppy!
Yes I know, four children (8,7,6 ,5) five chickens, three ducks and two skinks why would we want to go and do that?
Erm… because that’s just how we roll. Conventional? NO WAY!
So yes we now have a puppy called, a-hem, Withnail (as in the film Withnail & I, if you haven’t seen it please do. It is fantastic!).
Withnail is adorable and so far has been very well behaved. After only a few weeks she feels like she’s been part of the family forever.
So what’s next?
Well, getting the ‘Ome Made Business well and truly established. Writing more Blogs and possibly some guest Blogs for another local business.
And that’s about it. Although I have a few ideas buzzing around my head…
I can’t see any other furry or feathered friends being added to the household in the near future! Ha! Famous last words!
Now if you’ll excuse me Whitnail & I are going for a walk…
We don’t do diets in our house. Or at least I didn’t think we did. Then I Googled ‘diets’ out of interest.
We have the 5:2 diet, Dukan diet, Paleo diet, Atkins diet, Alkaline diet, Cambridge diet, South Beach diet, Slimming World diet, Slim-Fast diet, LighterLife diet, WeightWatchers diet, Rosemary Conley diet and Jenny Craig diet and that’s just for starters
I then Googled ‘Eat what you want diet’. I was surprised to find page after page of differing ‘Eat What You Want Diets’!
Now I have nothing against diets. I’m sure for some people they are the right thing and possibly the only way they will lose weight.
However the people that seem to be on a never ending circle of diets do make me laugh. Because that’s the thing. They do one diet, lose some weight, start eating ‘normally’, put weight back on and then start another diet. And then there’s someone making a lot of money out of these people!
The funny thing is we eat what we want. No. Not the eat all what you want diet. We just eat what we want.
However, we hardly eat any processed food. We don’t eat ready meals… at all (even the microwave has been shut away in the loft!) and if we or the Kids want to have something to eat between meals it’s usually a piece of fruit, not a chocolate bar, bag of crisps or bag of sweets.
We saw a video that someone had posted on You tube. It was a talk by Michael Pollan. If you are interested in food and diet I recommend looking at some of the things he has written.
Michael Pollan Books
One of the things he says is “you can eat as much junk food as you want… as long as you make it yourself”
And it’s a really good train of thought. It’s easy to go and buy chips, pizza, burgers and southern fried chicken from the take-away, you could go every day. However to make these things at home requires time, effort, quite a bit of mess and subsequent cleaning up! Which is why we only have these things occasionally as a treat, even then chips are usually baked in the oven as opposed to deep-fried. Making them yourself also means you don’t get the hidden nasty ingredients in there.
The other thing that Michael Pollan mentions is the amount of sugar, salt, chemicals and hidden fats in processed foods and ready meals. Again something which we don’t really eat.
So it’s funny when you look at the different diets and see that the majority of them say to cut down on processed food and eat more fruit and vegetables.
Well that’s what we do and it’s also what Michael Pollan advocates (although I have given a very simplified version of his advice).
We enjoy food. We cook nearly everything we eat from scratch. We eat fruit. We eat vegetables.
We don’t eat ready meals and we don’t eat a lot of processed food.
We eat what we want… does that mean we’re on a diet? If we are we’ve been on it for over eight years and still enjoying it. Now that must be some diet!
Just please, please don’t give it a name… I would be mortified to Google diets again and find ‘The ‘Ome Made Diet’!
So, for 1 week only, Dj requested to have school dinners. He was mainly tempted by the change from the ‘normal’ menu to ‘International Food Week’.
A week of dishes from 5 different places in the world.
We asked him if he’d like to write a blog on his experience & he jumped at the chance.
Everything that follows (apart from the actual Menu bit) is word for word that Dj wrote….we just corrected the spellings & some punctuation to make it easier on the brain for you good people.
Croque Monster, avec Pomme Frites et Harico
Tart Tatin with Ice Cream
I liked the cheese & ham baguette but the bread wasn’t as good as Daddys’.
I didn’t like the chips or the beans because the chips were soggy & the beans are out of a tin, unlike daddys, he makes his own.
The pudding was nice & my friend went mental on it.
Chicken Stew with Rice & Peas
Sticky Ginger Bread
I liked the sticky bread but if my Daddy made it, it would be better, & I didn’t like the chicken stew & rice & peas because the peas weren’t in the rice & the chicken was soggy.
The pudding which was sticky bread was nice.
I don’t thinks that’s a Caribbean.
Portuguese Cheese Flan with Half Jacket, Coleslaw & Sweetcorn
Vanilla Biscoitos with Ice Cream
Today I had a cheese flan with half a jacket potato.
I liked none of it because the cheese was cold & yucky!
The jacket potato was yummy but it didn’t have any butter on. The sweetcorn was nice like any other persons.
The pudding was fab & my friend liked it & I loved it too!
& there wasn’t any coleslaw.
Chicken Curry with Boiled Rice
Ice Cream with Chocolate Sauce
Today I had curry & I liked the curry & I don’t mean the rice & today the chicken was better than Tuesdays because the chicken that was in the stew was soggy but todays one was better.
The pudding was really nice & it was ice cream with chocolate sauce.
Margarita Pizza with Potato Wedges & Sweetcorn
Iced Lemon Sponge
Today I had margarita pizza with soggy chips.
I liked the margarita pizza but Daddy’s ‘Ome Made pizza is 10 billion, trillion times better.
Todays pudding was sponge with grated lemon in & I liked it but Daddy’s ‘Ome Made lemon drizzle cake is better
That’s the end of my Blog.
Thank you for reading it.
Love Dj XXXXXX
After reading Dj’s blog we know that some of you lovely people will be thinking ‘Yeah, well your Kids are lucky (& probably spoilt) to get nice food at home all the time’, & yes, you’re right!
We do tell our Kids that they are VERY lucky to have a Daddy who can cook them fabulous dishes at home (sometimes Mummy does too!).
We also make our Kids realise that for other children this maybe the ONLY good plate of food that they get in a day. For some busy/working full time parents it’s easier & they know their child is getting a meal at school. For some parents it’s the affordable option & a lifeline for their children.
Could it be better though?
This is just Dj’s 7yr old view of what he thought was going to be a fabulous week of school lunches. He did a fab job of sitting down everyday after school & writing (most) of his thoughts on paper.
We can’t help feeling he was a tad disappointed with the meals….apart from the puddings!!!
Great work Dj!!! XXXXX
Here’s a traditional English dish given an ‘Ome Made twist, to be fair it was Kits idea. I was just going to do the plain English dish of lamb shoulder baked on top of layers of potato and onion, which in it’s own right is delicious. Add some spice, herbs and a curry sauce though and it takes the dish to a completely different level… This really was scrumptious! This is a fantastic dish to prepare the day before so that you can bang it in the oven the next day, forget about it and get on with all those things you need to catch up on, take the kids out or… go to the pub!
It really is simple. You will need a full or 1/2 shoulder of lamb. Some White potatoes, onions and garlic. I also used some dried mint, fresh coriander and some red chillies.
First of all slice some potatoes (skin on) thinly and some onions. These need to be layered in a deep buttered baking dish. I did about four layers adding seasoning as I went along. On the middle layer I put a heap of chopped fresh coriander, a couple of chopped red chillies and some dried mint. On the top layer I sprinkled some more mint and some black cumin seeds.
I then fried some mild curry masala in a little oil and added some chicken stock and let this cook for twenty minutes or so. Next prepare the lamb. With a sharp knife make a few slits in the meat and push in some pieces of garlic. Now rub the lamb all over with some Kashmiri Chilli powder and some ground cumin. Sit the lamb on top of the layered potatoes and onions and give it a good grind of black pepper and a good sprinkling of salt. Pour your curry sauce into the corners of the baking dish. You want enough so that it comes about 1/2 way up your potato and onion layer. Now cover the whole baking dish with a double layer of foil, creating a tight seal. When your ready to cook pre heat your oven to 200°c. Put the lamb in the oven and then turn the temperature down to 165°c Which means the lamb will be ready after about four hours (but should be fine up to six). If you want to cook it for longer (or your having a really long session in the pub!) then you can cook the lamb on 145°c. The lamb will then be ready after six hours but be even better after around eight hours. To finish the dish off, remove the baking dish from the oven. Carefully remove the lamb to a warmed plate or dish. The meat should be falling off the bone. The layered potatoes then need to go back in a hot oven to brown and start to crisp up. If the liquid is above the potatoes just spoon some off ’till you can see the top layer. Put the baking dish back in the oven for about twenty minutes.
To serve, pull apart the lamb, spoon out some potato into a dish and place the lamb on top, spoon a bit more of the curry sauce over. A nice dollop of natural yoghurt goes nicely with the dish but that’s all it really needs. A tasty, warming and comforting dish for a lovely lazy Sunday. Give it a go!
We love a good burger in our house.
We don’t have them very often so when we do it’s a real treat.
Our children have never been to a McDonalds, Burger King or any other junk food purveyor.
I can imagine that when they do (although I’d like to think they never will…) it will be a real eye opener for them. I can just see them going back to the counter with the sad little burger in hand… “What’s this? You call this a burger?”
I don’t know why more people don’t make their own? You can buy a kilo of mince meat for a lot less than it costs for a kilo of burgers. All you need to do is add a bit of seasoning, mix and form into a rough Pattie and throw on a grill, BBQ or frying pan.
However you can let your imagination run wild and flavour your meat with a vast array of ingredients.
And then you have your toppings, now this is where the fun starts!
You have to have cheese of some sort. I love a slice of Monterey Jack on a beef burger, but a medium cheddar is just as nice. If you want to ‘Posh’ it up I would go with some crumbly Stilton. One of my favourite burgers is a Mediterranean influenced lamb burger topped with a piece of grilled Halloumi and some ‘Ome made Tzatziki.
I like a nice mustardy mayonnaise on my beef burgers along with a little salad leaf, slice of tomato and I’m sorry but gherkins are good too. I also think a beef burger needs a good squirt of tomato ketchup.
Lately we have been making veal burgers. I know that some people are a little put off by veal but the place that we get it from uses the male animals from the place that they get their milk supplies from. If the animals are not sold for meat then they would be slaughtered at birth anyway. So personally I haven’t got a problem with eating veal that’s a by-product of the dairy industry, and from some where that has high standards for animal welfare.
Mince veal has quite a delicate flavour and it makes a really nice burger that compliments other ‘add ons’.
Heres a recipe you might want to try but feel free to add your own ‘add ons’ as everyone has different tastes. The burgers could be made with any sort of meat though.
1.2Kg veal mince (or beef or lamb), Waitrose often have a deal on veal mince, hence the amount which would cost £10
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
A really good grind of black pepper
A couple teaspoons of mustard. Dijon or wholegrain works best
And that’s it, although you could add other things if you fancy. Get your hands in the bowl and give it a really good ‘squish’ to thoroughly mix the ingredients into the meat.
I then line a tray with greaseproof paper, form the meat into burgers, place on the tray and chill which lets the burgers firm up a little. If you’re finding you have more meat on your hands than tray a tip is to shape the burgers using slightly wet hands. You may notice on the photos that we made some little meat balls from the same mixture, these were used in the Kids’ pack-up for their school lunch (I never got pack-up as good as theirs!), they would be equally as good in a tomato sauce with some pasta for a quick lunch or supper.
And that’s it your burgers are ready to go and be cooked using your preferred method.
So we had these little beauties topped with Chorizo, Monterey Jack cheese, an ‘Ome made tomato and habenero chilli salsa and some rocket and baby spinach leaves all sandwiched in a mini Ciabatta bun with a squirt of American style mustard spread on for good measure.
The salsa is really easy too if you want to have a go. Just dice some tomatoes, onions and chillies (which can be left out if you don’t want the heat). Add enough sugar to lightly coat the mixture, a little splash of vinegar and a good squirt or squeeze of lime juice. It now needs a good pinch of salt (I personally like a nice salty salsa)and a good grind of pepper. Again a salsa can easily be customized to your own liking.
We had these with some nice chunky baked chips and a little more salad leaf on the side.
Be prepared for juice dribbling down chins and arms, but then that’s all part of the enjoyment!
And don’t forget to tell you’re kids how much nicer and healthier Home-made burgers are compared to the high street, mass produced crap of fast food vendors!
Soup… We absolutely love it in our house. Not the tinned variety of course. It has to be ‘Ome-made! And it’s so easy to make. You take your favourite ingredients sweat them off in some butter add some stock, cook for a bit and then blitz. Not leek and potato soup though, that can’t be blitzed. That’s completely breaking the rules, that has to be… ‘lumpy’.
If you make your own stock it’s even better. Even if it’s chucking the bones from the leftover roast chicken in a pot and boiling for an hour, you will be left with a nice base for a soup. Of course if your one of those non-meat eating types you can make a stock from those manky left over carrots at the back of the fridge any veg trimmings and some onion. If you roast the veg for 20 minutes or so you’ll get more flavour and a deeper colour to your stock too.
So heres a recipe for a soup I made the other day along with a recipe for some cumin, ginger and garlic croutons. If you don’t have the croutons with this soup I suggest putting the spices used to flavour them in the soup. Although this recipe has chillies and spices in it it is no way spicy. If you prefer it spicier just up the amount of red chili in the recipe.
Sweet Potato & Red Chili Soup
1 medium onion roughly sliced
2 cloves of garlic roughly chopped
200g (a large baker) potato cubed
700g sweet potatoes (4 small or 3 medium)cubed
1 large carrot diced
1 teaspoon ground white pepper (or extra black if you haven’t)
1 teaspoon salt
1 heaped teaspoon mild curry massala (or curry powder)
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 litre of stock
2 medium sized red chillies deseeded and finely chopped
1 tablespoon chopped coriander
Ground black pepper and salt to taste
Melt the butter in a heavy bottomed pan. Gently fry the onion and garlic for about 10 minutes.
Add both types of potato and carrot to the pan along with the white pepper, salt, curry massala, allspice and thyme. Gently sweat all the veg off for a further 10 minutes stirring so the spices don’t stick and burn.
Add your stock which should just cover the vegetables. Bring to a simmer and cook for approximately forty minutes or until all the veg is cooked through and soft. Take off the heat and carefully blitz with a hand blender, blender or food processor.
Put back on the heat and add the remaining ingredients. The soup will be ready after 20 minutes.
Cumin Ginger & Garlic Croutons
8 slices white bread
2 teaspoon crushed garlic
2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon ground ginger
Salt and black pepper
Cut the bread into cubes and put in a shallow roasting/baking tin.
Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with the garlic, cumin and ginger. Give the croutons a good toss and then sprinkle a little more olive oil on them and toss them again.
Put in an oven preheated to 165°C on fan setting (185°C for conventional)the croutons will take 30 – 40 minutes but you need to regularly check on them and give them a shake or turn every 10 minutes or so.
Once the croutons are cooked they can be used straight away. Once the croutons are completely cool they can be put in a sealed container where they should be good for up to five days.
Happy soup making!
Well, the weather has turned chilly, there seems to be a pot of ‘Ome Made mulled wine permanently on the stove top & our Kids behaviour has gone mental which can only mean one thing. We’re on the last leg of the countdown to the second biggest celebration of the year. Yes the big day where we hear ‘Happy Birthday’ to Jesus sang at full belt by our Kids at 6.30am….
We finally came up with ideas on what to make for presents, so we’ve made……..now that would be telling! The Christmas cakes are done & mulling in lashings of brandy. The Christmas pudding (YEY! we don’t have to buy one this year!) is improving, snug in layers of greaseproof paper & tin foil. The mince-meat is jarred & ready to be used for umptious mince pies & because the Kids have been good, the Christmas faeries came & sprinkled their seasonal faerie dust & decorated our home.
We even came to an agreement on what to have for our festive dinner. Ok, so we were stood in the farm shop for around 1 hour umming & aahing whilst Mick the butcher fed us freshly cooked sausages, shouted ideas at us & served quite a few other customers. I bet Mick can’t wait for the day that we walk into his shop & know exactly what we want!
So rib of beef (I think….) is what we came to an agreement on. Piglets in blankets, Carpaccio, Christmas sausage & cranberry roll & Christmas glazed ham will all be gracing the table as well over the festive season. I’ve left the decision on vegetables to ‘Ome. No doubt there’ll be parsnips at some point…..I HATE PARSNIPS! & that is why ‘Ome will have got them & unfortunately our Kids love them so i’m outnumbered on this vegetable.
The fridge will be full of a variety of cheeses too. MissT loves Wenslydale & cranberry. Dj adores Camembert. CurlyE goes mad for any blue cheese (FREAK!) & Lil’mrM will try a bit of everything & decide which he likes best & then probably demand that we use it for ‘Macerwoni cheese!’.
I just hope we don’t end up with the yearly ‘Crackers-Cock-Up’. When ‘Ome is checking if there’s anything else I can think of we need I always say ‘don’t forget crackers’. Unfortunately, neither of us clarifies what we mean by crackers. So for the last few years we have nearly ended up pulling a Jacobs at the table or eating our cheeses with a BANG!
Wishing you all a
Merry Christmas & a Peaceful New Year