10 minute recipes

Mothering Sunday

When I made this video on how to celebrate Mother’s Day, I truly, truly planned to ask my mum over for afternoon tea, so we could celebrate in style – mother and grandmother with my children, her grandchildren as we did last year. But – whoopsadaisy – I got my dates muddled and asked my friend Nancy over for lunch instead. Nancy is a mum too (her youngest was born 6 months ago, her elder two are identical in age to my girls) so we will be celebrating our collective brilliance – whilst ignoring that of our own mothers – over Sunday lunch. So, if you’re reading this Mum, apologies, but I think Claire has plans for you next Sunday instead! In an ideal world, this is my Mother’s Day celebration of choice. I am big fan of afternoon tea and this one is very child-friendly meaning that your sprogs should be able to prepare it with only minimum supervision. Afternoon tea is much better than breakfast in bed, which let’s face it is never as fun as it sounds. Something to do with the crumbs, I believe.  PS The gorgeous photo of my little girl on the front was taken two Mother’s Days ago. How time flies....

Golden carrot fritter recipe

Golden Carrot Fritter You know those carrots in the fridge? The ones you’re not quite sure what to do with? Fritter them. Turn them into a mass of golden deliciousness. Crispy, tasty balls of yum. It’s so easy, takes minutes, and surely that much carrot has got to be good for you? They are great for a quick lunch at home, as part of a more elaborate mezze-style dinner, or cold in a lunch box with some hummus to dip. This recipe is taken from our cookbook which is out NOW and we also made a little film about them. I know we spoil you! Serves: 4 Start to finish: 10 minutes prep and about 10 minutes frying 4 carrots – about 500g 150g Feta 1.5 tsp ground cumin 3 eggs 100g plain flour Small bunch of spring onions – about 6, finely chopped Vegetable oil To serve: Flat bread or flour tortilla Hummus Harissa – optional, and more for grown ups Put the finely chopped spring onions in a medium sized bowl. Grate the carrots into the same bowl. Add the eggs, plain flour, cumin and stir until well mixed. Crumble and stir in the feta. Season. Heat the oil in a large saucepan. You want enough oil to cover the base of the saucepan. Once it is hot, use a spoon to put the mix in. Each spoonful is a fritter. Once the batter is in the oil push it down and leave the fritter for a minute or two, until it has gone golden. Then using a spatula turn the fritter, push down into the oil again...

Guacamole and make overs

So, notice anything different? *Blushes and sits on hands*. We’ve had a make over!
We loved our old blog but felt it was time to get something a bit smarter, a bit slicker, a bit more professional-looking. To match the professionalism and smartness which is such a big part of our online persona [ha ha, ouch].

Potato bread

 I haven’t reached this ripe old age of *mumblecoughmumble* without learning a thing or two. Nothing useful, mind, just random facts which never ever come to the fore when I need them. I may know the capital of Uruguay, but it’s very rare I can flourish it in a conversation because a) it doesn’t come up much, b) if ever it does, I get so over-excited I am temporarily rendered speechless. But one thing I do know, and this always, always comes in useful, is “You must always make too much mashed potato”. It might not sound like much, and after *mumble cough mumble* years on this earth, I should probably have aimed a bit higher in my pursuit of knowledge. But hey, you can’t be a student of epistemology on an empty stomach. So, back to the mash. There’s so much you can do with it, bubble and squeak is the obvious. I sometimes stick it in fresh chicken stock with the left-over roast chicken and veg, whizz it up with a blender and it’s a yummy soup. My other favourite is potato bread. My granny used to make this, and I have fond memories of wolfing it down with tomato ketchup as a kid. Now I make it with yesterday’s mash and serve it alongside bacon, cabbage, grated cheese, or just on it’s own with butter. Sometimes I pep it up a bit with a spring onion or two, or a little bit of smoked paprika, but more often than not I make them plain. Kids love them, so do adults and they take minutes to make. I’ve written...

Soda bread

I bake my own bread. I am that woman at school pick-up with a beatific smile on my lips, a faraway look in my eyes, and a picturesque dab of flour on my cheek. Normally I cycle to school (my bike has a basket), but sometimes I just skip. My children look ruddy and healthy, with shiny eyes, healthy appetites and no encrusted snot anywhere. You hate me, don’t you? I don’t blame you. But what about when I tell you that the bread I bake is soda bread and it’s a piece of p*ss to make? Mix some flour and milk in a bowl, shove it in the oven and ta da! 45 minutes later you have a delicious, rustic-looking loaf. There’s no yeast. No complicated waiting around. Just a bit of mixing and a bit of baking. So simple even I can make it. And so can you. And then you too can be the Zen parent in the playground. Wear florals, I think that works best. Or if you’re a bloke, a tank top. I don’t know why, I think maybe it’s got something a bit Hovis about it. Soda Bread Start to finish: 10 minutes plus 45 minutes in the oven Serves: umm, it’s a medium-sized loaf so will probably last a family of 4 a couple of days. 500g plain flour 2 cups of buttermilk. What? You haven’t got buttermilk? L-o-s-e-r. Only joking, neither have I, so this is what I do instead. Add two tablespoons of lemon juice to two cups of milk (semi or whole, whatever you have) and let it stand...

Alone in the kitchen, botched cakes, cheesy leeks and other things

Everyone else in the house is tucked up in bed and I am sat in a partially-lit kitchen listening to bluesy music and enjoying the peace of having the downstairs to myself. It is such a rare occasion, that I am tempted not to go to bed. Ever. But to savour this moment free of the reverberations and demands of other people, for as long as I can. My children are three and nearly six and I have recently become conscious that we are a proper family now, with all its idiosyncrasies, instead of two bigger people looking after two smaller people, which on reflection was less complicated, I suppose. Much though I long for silence and solitude, the odd thing about being a mum, for me, is that when I get it, the enjoyment is fleeting. In the still of the house, I feel bereft almost and like I want to wake everyone up and check they’re ok. But then if they did actually get out of bed, the spell would be broken. Is it part and parcel of being a mum that you never feel you are quite in the right place? Tonight’s blog was supposed to be about the triumph of my eldest’s birthday cake. It is her party on Saturday and she asked for one of those hideous Barbie cakes, where the doll’s torso emerges from a Victoria Sponge skirt. They are completely revolting and, perhaps I am projecting, but they remind me of naff loo roll holders from the 1980s. Found at the homes of people who had those floral china signs on the...

Cherry clafoutis

My husband was cycling home from work last week when a woman opened her car door without looking. A fraction of a second later he was flying through the air, landing with an awkward thud on the road. After a breathless phone call from him, I picked the two children up from the dining table, where they were eating tea, thrust them in their car seats and drove to meet him at the kerb. I got there just seconds after the ambulance arrived, and had a few moments to see him before it whisked him away with a suspected broken shin. I drove home with a shoeless two-year-old (there hadn’t been time to get him properly dressed) and a subdued four year old, finished giving them their tea, asked a neighbour to babysit, and drove to A&E for a quick whisk through the system. After an hour we were told it wasn’t broken, just badly bruised and he needed to keep it up with an ice pack (preferably frozen peas). We drove home (via the fish and chip shop) and spent the evening counting our blessings, thinking of what might have been (it’s a busy road but fortunately he wasn’t hit by any oncoming cars) and marvelling at the restorative powers of fish, chips and slightly flat cava. But we didn’t have any frozen peas. Instead I had some 480g packs of frozen dark sweet cherries from Sainsburys, which are on offer at the moment, three for a fiver. A very good deal, I’m sure you’ll agree. And it meant I didn’t flinch when I realised that this was all...

Ferran Adria’s crisp omelette

I was flicking through the Saturday papers last weekend and saw a piece plugging Ferran Adria’s new recipe book aimed at families, The Family Meal: Home Cooking with Ferran Adria. Ho ho, I thought. What’s the chef from the world’s most experimental restaurant, El Bulli, famed for his use of blow torches and dry ice, going to know about cooking family meals? Then I read through the recipes and had to concede that maybe the Michelin-starred chef knew a thing or two about cooking, even the low-key, churn it out variety that most mothers do day in, day out. So, I decided to give it a try. I made his spaghetti bolognese last night, which used simple ingredients and relied on a long cooking time to get such a delicious rich flavour. I’ve put the recipe below. But where’s the whizz-bang in that? So I decided to also make the crisp omelette. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never hankered after a crisp omelette. And even as I was making it I was wondering exactly why I was bothering – except to blog about it. But with only three things in the ingredients list it had a certain allure. And actually it was very nice. I’m not entirely sure what the crisps added to the omelette party – they just became a slightly chewy filling, but the instructions on how to make the spanish tortilla-style omelette were so good that I made my first ever perfect tortilla, all gooey on the inside and set on the outside. Now I’ve got that sussed I could put anything inside the...

Herby sardines on toast

This is a recipe I never thought would see the light of day. But with a last blast of summer sunshine predicted, here it is. It’s a meal with a powerful pack of flavours, with lemon, coriander and sardines, plus anchovies, onion and garlic. If you don’t like any of those, or don’t have them to hand, just omit them, there’s enough going on for them not to be missed. Other than the herbs, I generally have all the other ingredients in my cupboard/fridge, so it’s quite a good one for Friday night. Quick to knock up, really healthy, but delicious enough to warrant at least one (very) large glass of white (see Knackered Mother’s recommendation below). For some insane reason I’ve included in the proportion size enough for two children. If your children will eat sardines, well done. For the rest of us, this makes a delicious if rather large supper (it’s because the tin sizes are that bit too big), but I’m relaxed (lazy) enough to have it for lunch again the next day. Herby bean with sardines, on toast Serves: 2 adults and 2 children – 2 slices of toast for each adult, 1 for each child Start to finish: 10 minutes 1 x 400g tin haricot beans 1 tin of sardines in oil Bunch of coriander Bunch of parsley Juice of half a lemon Zest of a whole lemon Several big gulps of virgin olive oil 4 anchovies (optional) Black pepper to taste Quarter of a large red onion, finely chopped Quarter of a garlic clove, finely chopped The rest of the garlic clove to rub...

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Crumbs Screen Shot "The Crumbs Family Cook book has arrived and brings with it quick, unpretentious recipes and a relaxed, guilt-free message" - The Times

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