Cauliflower macaroni cheese recipe

Cauliflower macaroni cheese recipe

Regular readers and viewers will know of my love with roast cauliflower. I ate it first on a food trend-spotting trip to Tel Aviv with M&S and it was the stand out dish in three days of stand out food. Now, I can’t believe I ever used to boil it. I mean, what was I thinking!? Anyhow, I once ate an entire roast cauliflower to myself and whilst I can’t claim to have been good company that night – due to some of the brassica’s well-documented side effects – it is now my go-to favourite vegetable. Luckily – unlike some fancier vegetables – you can buy it just about anywhere, so it is the ultimate solution to an empty cupboard and an uninspired mind. Of which I frequently have both. Now autumn is drawing nigh, I am less likely to put it in a salad with some walnuts and green leaves and more likely to put it in a macaroni cheese with ham, and fried leeks if I am minded.  I made this recipe using food from Costcutter’s Independent label. For many year’s Costcutter, who sponsored this post, was my local supermarket and I would scour its shelves for late night, after work inspiration. The Independent brand is also available at Kwiksave and Mace and, when I used it, seemed not only good quality but good value too. Costcutter partner with Lanchester wines who suggested drinking their Orario, Pinot Grigio Australian white, with this. It is only 11% alcohol which makes it the ideal mid-week drink at around a fiver a bottle it won’t break the bank either. Takes: 20m plus 30m...
Oaty biscuit recipe – perfect for packed lunches

Oaty biscuit recipe – perfect for packed lunches

PINCH, punch, the first of the month. It’s the 1st September and the girls go back to school next week so already I am full of good intentions about how this year is going to be different. There will be no lost shoes  – and definitely no lost tempers – in the morning and no frenzied searching for homework or last minute packed lunch making. Oh no. My new year resolutions start here. PINCH, punch, the first of the month. It’s the 1st September and the girls go back to school next week so already I am full of good intentions about how this year is going to be different. There will be no lost shoes  – and definitely no lost tempers – in the morning and no frenzied searching for homework or last minute packed lunch making. Oh no. My new year resolutions start here. So instead of watching Victoria on catch-up TV, last night was spent browsing lunch box ideas on Pinterest  and parenting blogs for tips about how to make the school run a pleasure, not a chore. I have already ordered two extra school ties and gym shirts (both items that inexplicably go walkabout at 8am) and copious, complicated Tupperware  boxes  to ensure the kids’ lunches stay fresh and vaguely food-shaped. After two terms of below average school dinners, where dishes some times ran out and was occasionally mouldy, we are back to packed lunches. Sigh. I have vlogged about taking the stress out of packed lunches before and the trick, for me, is menu planning. I am religious about it. For example, every Monday it is chicken goujons, Tuesday hummus, Wednesday a thermos full...
Rice crispy cakes – but not as you know them

Rice crispy cakes – but not as you know them

So, what are these little mouthfuls of deliciousness, you may ask. And, admittedly it is not immediately obvious from our typically random photo (we try!). But these are marshmallow rice crispy cakes. That’s right. Rice crispies modified with all the gooeyness of marshmallow, and little else. Unless you count the drizzle of plain chocolate which is added specifically to increase the anti-oxidants consumed by your children at parties. Because, as we all know, kids parties are all about eating healthily (ha!). We Why do we need to change a recipe that has served us so well, ever since our own childhood, you may ask? (That’s the second question you’ve asked in this blogpost so far, pipe down!) And the answer is; just because we can. The advantages to this recipe over the normal Golden Syrup scenario is that the marshmallow holds the rice crispies together really well so you can cut them into different shapes (essential). It also turns the cakes a pinky colour, which is always good. Plus there are large amounts of offcuts (the edges which you have cut from) which Claire shows you what to do with in the film we made about it here.  Plus it’s really easy. What more do you need?  Pimped up rice crispy cake Makes: 6-8 cakes Start to finish: 20 mins prep, 30 mins in fridge 45g butter 220g marshmallows 150g rice crispies 30g chocolate Line a 20x30cm tray bake tin. Put butter into a medium sized saucepan over a low heat. After a few seconds add the marshmallows. Gently heat the mix until the marshmallows have lost their shape and you are left...
Meals in 5 minutes – banana ice cream

Meals in 5 minutes – banana ice cream

When we started this blog (five years ago!) it was with one aim in mind. To discover fast recipes which were delicious, healthy and easy. If there is one recipe which typifies this remit it is this banana ice cream recipe. Is something with one ingredient a recipe? I’m not sure. What I do know is that it’s amazing. My kids love it. They actually think I am some kind of witch, able to create loveliness out of almost nothing. Intrigued? You should be. This is so nice you could serve it at a dinner party, maybe alongside a salted caramel brownie. I recommend watching the video (which is also an introduction to our new Five Minute Menu series) to see how easy it is. But for a description… One ingredient banana ice cream Serves: 2 2 bananas If like me you generally have a stash of half eaten bananas in the freezer, leftover from breakfast etc, you can just use them. To give your food processor (or blender) an easier ride, peel them and slice them into 1cm wide coins before freezing in a freezer bag. Freeze for an hour or more. Place in food processor and whizz until creamy. That’s it. Really. If you want to get fancy pants, add Nutella, cocoa powder or peanut butter. But really, it doesn’t need it. Because the magic of this recipe is that unlike most foods, banana gets more flavoursome, more banana-y once frozen. Serve in cone or dollop in a bowl. Either way your kids will love you a little bit...
Valentine’s day dinner for the whole family

Valentine’s day dinner for the whole family

Valentine’s Day doesn’t feature largely in my life in the romantic sense since I’ve properly become a grown-up – by which I mean I have a 10y0 (A 7yo old too – but saying that doesn’t make me feel quite so old!), a never-diminishing mortgage, bags under my eyes and hair sprouting in peculiar places (feeling romantic yet?). As a teenager, a bunch of roses and a fancy steak dinner was validation to all that my relationship was not just puppy love, but the real thing and I placed more importance on it than birthdays. Which were EXTREMELY important. These days it is more about the children (frankly what isn’t?) and every year we have some kind of heart-themed play date around the 14th, a family meal and the exchanging of cards. This year along with the pink marshmallow flower bouquet and red-iced heart shaped cookies, we will be sitting down to this Valentine Day feast. OK – it is not steak and chips and chocolate fondue, but it is family friendly (well bar the parsley) and romantic in a less-hit-you-over-the-head-with-a-bunch-of-garage-flowers way than many traditional Valentine Day meals. Chicken pieces poached in wine (the alcohol burns off so the children can eat it) and garlic and served with a big plate of Persian jeweled rice is to me the perfect romantic meal for four. Exotic, yet everyday and easy to prepare. Leaving you time to put Barry White on the record player, get the heart-shaped sequins out and get stuck in to some Valentine’s Day crafts.  Pomegranate seeds add not only colour and intrigue (jewel-like they glisten in the rice) but represent fertility...
Review: Riverford Organic Farms quick recipe box

Review: Riverford Organic Farms quick recipe box

Adverts for recipe boxes have been everywhere the past couple of years. They are like pizza delivery menus for the cash-rich, time-poor middle classes, tempting us through our inboxes to a more organized life and a better diet. You know the ones – they claim to take the stress out of cooking by supplying the recipe and all the ingredients –from the lamb chops and exactly the right amount of spinach to the ½ tsp of paprika and knob of butter needed to make the celeriac mash. Being a natural cynic, I have always sneered at both cost and concept despite the fact that like most working people I struggle knowing what to cook for the family day in/day out after a hard day’s slog. Instead when I get in late I have a rummage in the fridge before shutting it in despair and calling out for an expensive emergency mid-week takeaway instead. But I was offered a free recipe box by Riverford Organic Farm and as I am a huge fan of their cafe in south Devon (if you are ever near I urge you to go, but  book in advance or you won’t get a table!) I decided to give it a go. A brown box was delivered silently early one Wednesday morning as I was dashing out the house, so I just shoved it in the kitchen to examine later. When I got home, tired and frazzled and in need of wine not story time, instead of staring despondently in the fridge, I opened my box. It was divided into compartments for meals – one for each day – with cold stuff separate in a chiller...