17 Feb

Special Sauce

The 12 year old has always been, as her grandmother would describe her, “a great grubber”.  She is brilliant and will try most foods at least once, loves exotic flavours, tastes and my cooking.  In my naivety I assumed that the 3 year old would be the same.  How wrong was I!  We’ve been gifted with a child who up until recently would only eat finger food and as anybody who has a picky eater will tell you it’s exceedingly hard to introduce a varied diet.

It clicked with me early on that he loved to dip  his food into ketchup and would tolerate the tomato sauce on a pizza.  The thing about shop bought ketchup is that it can be full of sugars and not great for teeth.  So I messed around with different combinations of vegetables in this sauce until I hit on one that he would eat.  Nowadays he will devour any food that this sauce is smothered with and it’s become a gateway to getting him to try other foods.

I use a blender or “magimix” machine to chop up the vegetables because it saves time and it means I don’t have to blend the sauce at the end to hide the vegetables. But it’s perfectly fine to roughly chop the veg at the start and then blend the sauce when it is cooked.  This recipe makes enough for 3 large family meals so I make 1 pot a week, remove a 1/3 to eat straight away over homemade meatballs and freeze 2 trays of the rest for use during the week.  It’s the perfect carrier sauce for chilli con carne, pasta arrabiata, spaghetti bolognese or pizza once you add herbs and spices and you could even eat it as a soup.

The sauce will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months or in a sealed jar in the fridge for up to 3 days.
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15 Feb

Garlic Mash

Creamy, garlic, spuds, what’s not to love?

I live in an area that is well known for its spud growers.  We get a fresh bag every week from a local farmer. This is a heavenly combination of local potatoes, garlic & parsley from our garden, full fat Irish milk and golden Irish butter. This is not a calorie counting type of dish but it’s filling and easily prepared in advance. We have this at least once a week as part of our main meal.
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13 Feb

Simple Icing / Frosting

This simple icing / frosting recipe is the easiest I have in my home recipe book. It’s my “go-to” when I want a reliable, consistent flavour and result.  I use it for sponge sandwiches, covering cupcakes and on this occasion sandwiching 2 of my everyday cookies together.

My basic rule is twice as much icing sugar as butter. Use a small amount of milk if you find the mixture is too stiff.  Apart from that flavour it as you like.  This time around I’ve used vanilla but you could equally flavour it with mint, the fresh rind of a lemon or an orange with a small amount of juice, cocoa powder or whatever you want to. This icing mix keeps in the fridge for up to 3 days in a covered bowl or equally if you put it into a freezer bag it will keep for up to 1 month in advance of icing.
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13 Feb

Anytime Cookies

This is a great recipe for light, crisp cookies that I baked this week for St Valentine’s. The cookies without any decoration will keep for up to 7 days, if you don’t eat them all, in a dry sealed box in your cupboard.
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12 Feb

Messages in Toast

It’s a nice way to start the day. Messages in Toast.  It’s very simply done, all you need is cookie cutters and shop bought bread works best. Impress the cutters of your choice into the bread before toasting but don’t cut the whole way through. Then toast as normal, either in a toaster or under the grill.

Maybe try playing around with words, or pictures. Send a message to your picky eater such as “eat me” or an instruction to somebody to put “jam” on your toast. Enjoy!

12 Feb

The Wholesome Kitchen

There you go. A picture of my kitchen. It’s not very big is it?

Scrap that; it’s blooming tiny.

Believe it or not that is the size of the space I have to cook in. Some days I’m surprised that I manage to have the space to prep and cook. For anybody who is interested, no I don’t live in a bedsit. I actually live in a 4 bed home. Unfortunately while some of the other rooms are huge I’m left with a galley kitchen to work from.

What you don’t see is the lovely south facing bay window which is ideal for propagating seedlings and also doubles as a greenhouse for tomatoes and peppers. That’s to the far right hand side of the picture.

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