Chopping things up really, really small

Chopping things up really, really small

I have a prediction. I think the summer of 2015 will be the summer of ‘slaw. I used to get excited about sunshine, Summers of Love, holidays and the possibility of a sun tan. This year I’m excited about chopping things up really, really small. Why? It’s a good question. With a very simple answer. I have been given a Kenwood Food Processor.  Red knuckles (from using a handheld grater) are a thing of the past. If it can be sliced, grated, pulverised, mashed, kneaded, in it goes. I know the fact that I am *mumble cough mumble cough* years old, with two recipe books under my belt means I should have purchased a food processor years ago, but the truth is I have been relying on the trusty handheld all this time. Partly due to skintness (writing recipe books doesn’t pay what it should) and partly due to having nowhere to keep it. But since the kitchen renovations I have a cupboard in which the blades can sit, (the actual machine can go on the counter) so when those nice people at Kenwood offered me a Kenwood MultiPro I bit their hand off (in really small increments). And ever since everything has been ‘slawed, gratined, and julienned (ok, not julienned, I don’t think anyone does that in real life). The additional bonus of this processor is that not only does it slice, it weighs too. This means minimal washing up, which has got to be a good thing. The slaw below is of Asian origins. It turns its nose up at mayonnaise, and instead relies on the intense flavours...
Interviewing Deliciously Ella

Interviewing Deliciously Ella

I don’t know whether to ask for your congratulations or commiserations. Not only have I been asked to interview DeliciouslyElla for Britmums Live on Friday, but we’ve been asked to sell and sign books next to her book stand. I think we may be crushed in the stampede. If you didn’t know, DeliciouslyElla is a 23 year old with the fastest-selling debut cookbook evah. She is the gorgeous, glowing Queen of clean eating. She is not someone you want to stand next to at parties. Or book signings.  Despite these misgivings, I’m looking forward to it. I was sent her book, and despite feeling like clean eating is probably a step too far for me and my household, I’ve made several of her recipes and they’ve all been delicious. Above is the courgette and lentil salad – perfect for this time of year. I’ve also made her beetroot and classic hummus, but I’m holding fire on the sweet potato brownies, which sound amazing, but a friend has tried them and said they are probably lovely if you never eat sugar, but personally she’d rather have a Kitkat.  Have  you tried clean eating? If you’ve got any questions for Ella, just leave a comment below or tweet us @crumbsfood and we’ll ask them. And if you see us at Britmums, come on over and say hello!...
Ultimate Picnic Pie

Ultimate Picnic Pie

Children lend themselves to picnics. Food is always more fun when eaten outside, particularly if there is a blanket and a picnic hamper. Whilst the birds pick up the crumbs for you.  And although some of our most memorable picnics have been those we have cobbled together (although can a pot of hummus and some PopChips  strictly be called a picnic?) there is a lot to be said for organisation. Having a rug, a bottle opener, some wine to open, some mustard and knives and forks all makes eating outdoors a little more special. Even better if there are some chairs to sit on, our knees are not what they were. One of my finest parenting moments was on holiday in Devon when I whipped out a picnic hamper containing a nutritionally balanced meal (by which I mean there was fruit and salad) and this picnic pie. I know smugness is an unattractive trait, but I did smile condescendingly at those families around me with pots of hummus and PopChips, knowing how little actually separated us. Obviously my superiority was short lived, but we must take what we can, when we can. Anyway picnic pie is easy to make, easy to transport and even my kids seem to like it. Check out our video of it here. It is very forgiving, meaning you can put in what you fancy. This one is quite meaty, but you could layer roast butternut squash, red peppers with ricotta and spinach if you so desired. The only rule is to make sure everything is as dry as possible. As Mary Berry taught us,...
Posh picnic for grown ups

Posh picnic for grown ups

So, what happened? One minute we were harassed mothers trying to get food on the table for the kids. The next we are domestic goddesses, pulling together posh picnics for grown ups without breaking into a sweat. If that doesn’t sound impressive, listen to this menu: beetroot tarte tatin with goats cheese and thyme, cucumber salad, raspberry fizz, finished off with lemon and lavender posset. Yeah! I will let you know what happened. These recipes happened. They are PHENOMENALLY easy. The tarte tatin takes about 10 minutes to prep and relies on having one of those vacuum packets of cooked beetroot knocking around, plus some frozen puff pastry. Lemon posset is DELICIOUS and so easy! I had no idea! Basically cream and lemon juice. If you have some lavender in the garden, bung it in and ta da! Lemon and lavender posset. Plus a raspberry fizz to die for (with or without booze). If you discount the chilling of the posset (around three hours) I reckon you could prepare this little lot in under an hour (of childfree time, obv).  Anyway, without further ado I reveal four of the easiest, most impressive recipes EVAH! To see us make them with devastating ease, watch this. Posh Picnic for two Beetroot and Goat’s cheese tarte tatin Serves: 2 for a light lunch, 4 as an accompaniment Start to finish: 10 minutes prep and 30 mins in the oven 50g golden caster sugar 30g butter A splash of cider vinegar 1 tbsp honey Leaves from 5 thyme sprigs 4 fresh cooked beetroot, sliced into discs, not too thin 250g puff pastry, ready rolled!...
The easy way to make a homemade Easter egg.

The easy way to make a homemade Easter egg.

Making an Easter Egg has always been on my to do list, but despite the ubiquity of Easter Egg moulds I have always thought it a fiddle. Then, this year, during a shop around Sainsbury’s inspiration struck. On the shelf was a squegg – a squashed chocolate egg covered with hundreds and thousands and marshmallows. And – most importantly – it was displayed in the mould in which it was made meaning that I could re-use it to make my own. Now, I am obsessed with making them as they take no time at all and make such a thoughtful Easter gift as you can customise them. For example, I made my nephew a blue one (using Wiltons Candy Melts – watch the film here) decorated with spider man sprinkles whilst husband got a Green and Blacks orange chocolate one studded with golden raisins, pistachios and crushed honeycomb. They are simple enough for children to make with very little supervision too. My 6-year-old made one today as a present for her favourite teacher using Dairy Milk, honeycomb and chopped hazelnuts. The Sainsburys moulds are quite big and take around 400g of chocolate but you can buy smaller moulds on-line. It it a lovely way to spend half an hour so abandon that shop-bought Easter Egg with all that surplus packaging and go for a homemade squegg instead. I’m going to have mine with popcorn, sour cherries and marshmallows. Happy Easter! You will need enough chocolate to fill your mould – plain or milk work best, white chocolate doesn’t melt well, but if you want something sweet and with colour I urge you to try Candy Melts – they...
Fish with a pesto crust

Fish with a pesto crust

This fast family friendly fish dish has earned itself in a place in the McDonald hall of culinary fame. My children both love it and it takes about 60 seconds for a very quick person to prepare. OK – about 2m really, I was just showing off. It can be made from stuff most of us have in our cupboards or freezer. The fish is a frozen fillet (I used cod. I always have a bag of cod fillets in the freezer. It is such a great way to buy fish – good value, fresh and they last for ages) and then you literally smear over a tbs pesto, a small handful of Parmesan and a larger handful of breadcrumbs, which you have already mixed in a bowl. Then pop the fillet on a lined baking sheet in an oven that has been pre-heated to 200c and roast until cooked all the way through – about 20m. I started cooking this because, bar fishfingers and prawns, my youngest wasn’t keen on fish, until a viewer on our YouTube channel (where we made a very short film about it) recommended this so thank...