Category Archives: Easy Cooking

Breakfast Squares

I have been looking for an easy way to get my teenagers to have a healthy, filling, easy (for them and for me!) breakfast even when they are dashing out of the door after lying in bed for as long as possible!! This recipe in a recent Sainsbury’s magazine seemed to fit the bill so I have adapted it for my store cupboard and Stoneware collection.  Not only is it really tasty (so they aren’t bothered that it is healthy!) but it is also supremely easy to make – just throw everything in the food processor, whizz and bung it in the stoneware and into the oven.  Perfect!

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As always, I like to make the mistakes so you don’t have to.  The first time I made this everyone loved except me, the flavour is good but I wanted it to have more of a flapjack texture.  So the 2nd time I made it I tried it in a bigger piece of stoneware (medium bar pan) which made for a thinner mixture.  The result – disaster!!  Really dried out, bad textured pap.  DON’T DO IT!!!  Oh, and it still didn’t get anywhere near to the flapjack texture I wanted!!

Ingredients

250g pitted dates (original recipe: medjool dates)
2 ripe bananas, peeled and broken into 3 or 4 pieces
200g porridge oats
60g plain flour (original recipe: wholemeal)
30g desiccated coconut
120ml olive oil
2tbsp milk (original recipe: almond or soya milk)
3tbsp golden syrup (original recipe: maple syrup)
2tbsp mixed seeds, plus a pinch
1/2 tsp salt (original recipe: fine sea salt)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/ 160C Fan/ Gas Mark 4.  Original recipe recommend lining 20cm square tin with baking paper.  I recommend using a Small Baker (Blue and Square) if you have one, or a square baker.  I do sometimes line it just to make it easier to take it out later!
  2. Put all the ingredients in the food processor except for the seeds.  Whiz until rough but well combined.  Then add the seeds and give a final blitz.
  3. Spread into the baker and sprinkle over the extra seeds.
  4. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until firm to touch and slightly golden on top.  Leave in the tray for 5-8 minutes to cool.  Use the baking paper as handles, if used.  Cut into 16 squares and leave to cool.

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Filed under Cake, Easy Cooking, Family Cooking, Quick Cooking, Square Baker, Vegetarian

Potato Salad

IMG_3187Following on from the success of sharing my coleslaw I thought I would share the other side salad which is a mainstay of our summers and BBQs!  This potato salad is absolutely divine warm but also fabulous cold which means it can easily be made ahead of the day.  It is also ridiculously easy – ANYONE can make this and feel proud of their own homemade brilliance!

Now, as an ex-Pampered Chef consultant I use my Pampered Chef tools to make my life much easier but you can, obviously, manage without if you haven’t got a Micro Cooker!

Ingredients

Bag of Salad Potatoes – Charlotte or Jersey Royals are ideal.
Mayonnaise
Chives

Method

  1. Wash potatoes.
  2. Put bag of potatoes into Large Micro Cooker (I buy a 1kg bag), and put the lid on.  Cook in the Microwave on high for 10 minutes.  (If you don’t have a micro cooker, or even a microwave, then gently boil the potatoes on the hob until soft enough for a knife to be able to stab into them.IMG_3183
  3. Drain the potatoes and allow to cool.  If aiming to serve warm just cool until the potatoes stop steaming and are just warm.  If serving cold or later allow to cool completely.
  4. Chop the potatoes into smaller chunks.  How small you go is up to you.  IMG_3184
  5. Add large dollop of mayonnaise, be generous.IMG_3185
  6. Snip 2 or 3 ‘blades’ of chives into small pieces into the bowl.  IMG_3186
  7. Mix well. Enjoy!

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Filed under Batter Bowl, Easy Cooking, Eggs, Family Cooking, Other, Potatoes, Quick Cooking, Super Quick cooking!, Vegetarian

Coleslaw – Susie Style!

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Finally, summer has decided to reappear here in Sheffield and along with the summer comes the desire to eat salads.  A few years ago my good friend Anne Brand said to me “once you have made your own coleslaw you will never buy one from the shops again”.  At the time I thought she was mad as we love a good coleslaw but Oh My she is soooo right!!!  I have taken the recipe she suggested and merged it with a Nigella one and this is the result.  The recipe is blindingly simple but this year I have had so many people ask for the recipe I decided to share on here.

Ingredients – (to serve 4/5 with left overs)

White Cabbage – half
Carrot(s) –  one large one or a couple of smaller ones.
Onion – 1.  (I usually prefer red for the visual effect, spring onions are fine, even plain white onions are OK if it is all that you have)
Mayonnaise
Salad Cream
Sultanas (optional)

Method

You will notice that all the ingredient amounts are all a bit vague.  (I understand if this frustrates you – I would much prefer to have specific amounts but this recipe really does need you to decide what you prefer!

  1. Shred/ Slice the cabbage, best done using a big and sharp knife.  Cut the cabbage into quarters and then cut the core out from each quarter.  Finely slice.  f you don’t like long slices of cabbage then keep rotating the cabbage and slicing from different  angles.IMG_3189IMG_3190
  2. Use a vegetable peeler to “peel” and entire carrot or 2.  Keep turning the carrot in your hand to get even slices.  Again, if you don’t like long strands in your coleslaw peel the top half first and then turn it around and do the other end.IMG_3191
  3. If using an onion, top and tail, quarter and finely slice. If using spring onions you obviously don’t need to quarter them.  IMG_3192
  4. If adding sultanas add a handful.IMG_3193
  5. Mix well.  Personally, at this point I use my hands (quicker and easier!)IMG_3194
  6. Add a good splodge of mayo and a good splodge of salad cream – about the same size.  Do not be sparing, you will almost certainly need more than you think you do!
  7. Add a good teaspoon of mustard.IMG_3195
  8. Mix well until all strands of the vegetables are covered with the sauce.
  9. Taste. You are looking for creamy, moreish, slightly tangy taste.
  10. More than likely you will need to add more mayo/ and or salad cream.
  11. Repeat 9 & 10 until you are happy.
  12. Serve!

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Filed under Batter Bowl, Easy Cooking, Family Cooking, Other, Quick Cooking, Super Quick cooking!, Vegetarian

Carbonara Recipe – that works every time!

It has been such a long time since I added any recipes to my blog but there are still recipes which I still want to share.  I have favourite recipes which are on scraps of paper which are getting more and more ragged as I use them!  So, today I have finally got back here and am sharing with you all again.

FullSizeRenderPasta Carbonara is a recipe which my whole family loves so over the years I have tried many recipes with varying degrees of success.  Sometimes it would be flavourless, sometimes there wouldn’t be enough sauce, occasionally it was that glorious creamy sauce that coated each strand of spaghetti (our favourite form of pasta for carbonara).  Then one day my daughter had to make Carbonara at school for Food Technology at school and she brought home this recipe.  I would love to name check the parent who shared this with us but Meg has never managed to find out who it was.  Soooooo if you are reading this, live in Sheffield and had a daughter who went to Silverdale secondary school and you recognise this recipe please shout up.  In the meantime many many thanks for a brilliant recipe!!  For those purists out there – I know that this isn’t how you make a classic Carbonara BUT it works… EVERY time… and we all love it!

Ingredients

Pasta for 4/5 people (for us that means 500g spaghetti packet and I always use wholewheat pasta.  Its a really easy switch that taste no different but is so much healthier)
Olive Oil
Six slices of back bacon or 12 of streaky bacon (the better quality you can afford the better and if you can go all the way to pancetta then please do)
2 Cloves of Garlic
250ml Cream (the original recipe says double but I usually have single so use that, and our pots are 284ml so I use a whole one – who needs 34 ml of cream hanging about in the fridge?!)
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Dried Oregano
Dried Thyme
Parmesan Cheese Grated – good chunk at least 75g.
Frozen Peas/ Frozen Sweetcorn (optional)

Method

  1. First get a big pan of salted water on to boil (I use Nigella’s rule – enough salt to make it taste like the Mediterranean!).
  2. Whilst the water coming to the boil cut the bacon into small strips/ squares.
  3. Add your pasta to the boiling water and give it a quick stir with a fork to make sure it doesn’t all end up in one lump stuck together.
  4. Add some olive oil to a large sauté pan (I LOVE my non-stick Pampered Chef one for this so I only use a small amount of oil, maybe tsp).  Once the oil is warm add the bacon.
  5. Fry the bacon until it starts turning colour.  At this point add your garlic.  Sometimes I crush the garlic, sometimes I thinly slice it – depends on my mood and the tool I have nearest to hand!  Make sure the pan is not so hot that the garlic burns.  Season with plenty of pepper.  Do not add any salt – you will have enough from the bacon and cheese.
  6.  Once the bacon is cooked and nicely brown add a good pinch of both herbs.  Stir these in and cook for a minute or two, then add your cream.  Do not boil the cream just let it get up to a good simmer.
  7. By now the pasta should be cooked.  Drain the pasta – I like to leave just a little bit of the water with the spaghetti and toss it about at this point to help reduce clumping.
  8. Add the pasta to the sauce (my saute pan is big enough I add the pasta into that – if yours isn’t go the other way!), add plenty of grated cheese and mix well.  Sometimes I also add some frozen peas and/ or sweetcorn at this point.  This is just to increase the vegetable quota in the kids diet!  Taste to check whether you have enough cheese and enough seasoning.
  9. Serve.

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Filed under Easy Cooking, Family Cooking, Other

Jo Murphy’s Sweet and Sour Chicken

This is a slightly different version of a sweet and sour “Chuck & Bung”.  I really like the warmth from the chilli and using the pineapple juice makes this a really juicy family meal.  Try it – you will love it!

Ingredients

4 Skinless Chicken Breasts
2 Medium Onions
2 Peppers (any Colour)
225g can Water Chestnuts, Drained.
3 Cloves Garlic
1 Small piece of fresh Ginger
Freshly Ground Pepper
640g of Tinned pineapple in Juice
4 Tbsp Corn Flour
260ml water
4Tbsp Dark Soy Sauce
4Tbsp White Wine Vinegar
4Tbsp Soft Light Brown Sugar
4Tbsp Tomato Ketchup
1 Tsp Dried Chilli Flakes
Small Bag Basmati Rice

Method

  • Put oven on to 200C/ 180 fan/ Gas 6.
  • Chop the chicken into bite size pieces using Forged Cutlery Knife on the Cutting Board. Add to the Rectangular Baker.
  • Using a knife, peel the onions and cut into quarters. Finely chop using Food Chopper. Add to the Rectangular Baker.
  • Using a knife, cut the peppers into 3cm pieces. Add to the Rectangular Baker.
  • Open water chestnuts using Smooth Edge Can Opener and drain using Stainless Colander. Slice water chestnuts horizontally using the Knife. Add to the Rectangular Baker
  • Crush the garlic directly into the baker using the Garlic Press.
  • Grate the ginger directly into the baker using the Microplane Fine Grater
  • Add freshly ground pepper using Grinder.
  • Open Pineapple tin using Smooth Edge Can Opener. Drain the pineapple using Stainless Colander pouring juice into Easy Read Measuring Cup.
  • Using large Adjustable Measuring Spoon add 4 tbsp of corn flour to Classic Batter Bowl. Add 3 tbsp of pineapple juice and mix to a paste using Mini Mix ‘N Scraper.
  • Add the remaining juice to the Batter Bowl, and add the water using the same measuring cup
  • Using Mini Easy Read Measuring Cup and both Adjustable Measuring Spoons add all remaining ingredients (except for rice) into the Batter Bowl.
  • Add the sauce to the baker. Mix together using Small Mix ‘N Scraper.
  • Place in oven for 30 mins – until bubbling nicely.
  • Boil full Kettle. Using Large Easy Read Measuring Cup add 2 cups of rice and 4 cups of boiling water to Rice Cooker Plus. Place in Microwave for 15 mins or until all the water is absorbed.

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Filed under Chicken, Deep Covered Baker, Easy Cooking, Family Cooking, Food Chopper, Garlic, Ginger, Microplane Grater, Pineapple, Rectangular Baker, Rice, Rice Cooker, Stoneware

Upside Down Pecan Carrot Cake Pampered Chef Recipe

This is a new recipe which came with the ‘baby’ Rockcrok.  I have eaten it once before but not actually made it – until last night’s Pampered Chef party.  Well, I still didn’t actually make it – the guests did! – but I helped out here and there and saw just how easy it was.  The thing which impressed me the most was how easily it dropped out of the Rockcrok when I turned it out.  It just came straight out, absolutely no encouragement needed!!  Plus it tasted absolutely fab, not at all rubbery like some microwave cakes can be.  LOVED it!  Make it – you won’t regret it.

Upside Down Pecan Carrot Cake.  Beautiful!

Upside Down Pecan Carrot Cake. Beautiful!

Ingredients

50g Butter
175g dark soft brown sugar
2 tbsp water
100g pecan halves
200g trimmed and peeled carrots
150g self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground mixed spice
Finely grated zest of 1 orange
2 eggs
150ml sunflower oil

Method

  1. Add butter, 50g of the sugar and water to Rockcrok Casserole (1.9l).
  2. Put onto the hob on medium heat for 3-5mins or until sugar is dissolved and mixture begins to bubble, stirring
continuously using Small Mix ‘N Scraper. Remove from heat and cool for 2 minutes.
  3. Starting on the outside edge of the Casserole, carefully place about 85g of the pecans upside down, close together in a circular pattern, in brown sugar mixture. Set aside.
  4. Coarsely chop remaining pecans in Food Chopper. Set aside.
  5. Peel carrots using Vegetable Peeler and trim ends off using Paring Knife. Grate carrots using Adjustable Microplane Coarse Grater into a Classic Batter Bowl.
  6. Zest orange using Microplane Zester directly into Batter Bowl.
  7. Using Small Adjustable Measuring Spoon add baking powder, cinnamon, mixed spice to the Batter Bowl. Add remaining sugar, flour, and chopped pecans to the bowl and stir using Bamboo Spoon.
  8. In Small Batter Bowl, whisk eggs and oil together using Stainless Whisk. Pour egg mixture into the carrot mixture, mix until well combined using Small Mix N Scraper. Spoon mixture carefully into Rockcrok and level surface.
  9. Microwave, uncovered, on HIGH for 7-9 minutes or until a wooden cocktail stick/ cake tester comes out clean when inserted into the centre of the sponge. The top will look quite moist and side shrunken away slightly. Remove cake from microwave to Stackable Cooling Rack. Let it stand, covered for 5 minutes, if you can resist the smell. Carefully invert the cake onto a serving plate. Serve warm or cold.

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Filed under Batter Bowl, Cake, Easy Cooking, Eggs, Food Chopper, Microplane Grater, RockCrok

Mushroom Risotto – Oven Baked… no Stirring?!!

Here is the second of my 2 surprisingly fabulous recipes I’m sharing with you tonight!!  Pampered Chef Stoneware is amazing stuff which allows you to do many “chuck and bung” meals, where you literally chuck the ingredients in the Stoneware and Bung it all in the oven to cook.  Risotto is one of those recipes which just looks like you are doing magic rather than just cooking!  Honestly, this risotto takes about 6 minutes to prepare (tops) and then you bung it in the oven until its done.  No stirring, no hassle, no waiting by the hob for half an hour – just Chuck and Bung!!  Plus, it actually tastes really, really delicious?!!  (That I wasn’t expecting!!!)  Enjoy.

Oven Baked Mushroom Risotto - No Stirring!!

Oven Baked Mushroom Risotto – No Stirring!!

Ingredients 

1 box Arborio rice (500g)
1 box closed cup mushrooms
1 box chestnut mushrooms
1 onion
Veg stock cubes
Fresh parsley
2 cloves garlic
100g grated Parmesan
Med. Pot double cream or crème fraiche

Method

  1. Boil the kettle and put the oven on at 200c.
  2. Finely chop onion using Food Chopper and add to Rectangular Baker.
  3. Using Egg Slicer Plus and/ or Forged Cutlery Knife slice both boxes of mushrooms. Add to Rectangular Baker.
  4. Add box of rice to Baker.
  5. Using Easy Read measuring Cup measure 1 litre of boiling water. Add double the amount of stock cubes than is recommended on the box (stops it being too bland). Add to Rectangular Baker.
  6. Put the coriander in the 250ml Prep Bowl and chop using the Professional Shears. Add to Rectangular Baker.
  7. Crush garlic using Garlic Press and add to the baker (no need to peel the garlic first!). Then using Mix ‘N Scraper stir risotto. Put it in the oven for 30 minutes.
  8. Whilst cooking grate the parmesan using Microplane Adjustable Fine Grater.
  9. When the risotto is cooked remove from the oven. Add parmesan and Cream/ Crème Fraiche. Stir using Mix ‘N Scraper and leave for 5 minutes. Serve.

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Filed under Cream, Deep Covered Baker, Deep Dish Baker, Easy Cooking, Family Cooking, Food Chopper, Garlic Press, Microplane Grater, Mushrooms, Stoneware, Vegetarian