Saturday, 18 February 2017

Kids In the Kitchen #3 - Cooking Chinese - Recipe

This beauty plopped through my letterbox this morning from Lee Kum Kee. Always a delight to receive a little freebie (hence the name, AnnieThing For Food!).

So what to make for lunch? Continuing with my effort to get kids cooking, and get my Kids In The Kitchen more, a really simple recipe card along with a quality packet of Oyster Sauce, and whatever I could find in the fridge, my 10-year-old and I rustled up Braised Chicken with Spring Onions in Oyster Sauce in less than half an hour for today's lunch.

She painstakingly cut up 2 two chicken breasts with a scissors, and placed it in a bowl with the Oyster Sauce, and a dash of sesame oil. While she was doing this, I put some spaghetti on, chopped up some spring onions and carrots into long thin strips. The onion chopping caused her to reach for a clothes peg to put on her nose, to stop the tears... all good fun.
Once everything was prepped, the sunflower oil was heated in my #SchoolOfWok wok, and the onions and carrots quickly sautéed. The marinated chicken was then added and stir-fried for about 2 minutes, then 2 tablespoons of water added in and fried for a couple minutes more until the chicken was cooked.
To serve, plonk the spaghetti/noodles/rice in a bowl, top with the cooked chicken and garnish with sliced spring onions. Eat with chopsticks.
'Let's have this for lunch every day, Mummy!'

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Kids in the Kitchen #2 - Junior Bake-Off

My daughter's friend hosted a Junior Bake-Off. Four teams each had to bake and design a cake. The results were truly astonishing - for children aged 7-11, with minimal help from adults...

As I couldn't be there for the day, I wrote out the recipe for a Victoria Sponge, and filled up a bag with all the equipment she would need. She chose her own coloured fondants, glitters, and decorations and I lent her my cake tool box. 

The adults who were there helped with weighing out, mixing, and obviously hot ovens, and clearing up. But they spent five hours, totally engrossed, and absolutely loving it.

An excellent idea for a party, methinks...

(Judging/winning using the discretion of a secret ballot;) )

Make-Up Cake (Victoria Sponge)

Unicorn Cake (Marble Cake)

Glitter Pinata Cake (Chocolate Cake)

Oreo Cupcakes
Well done to everyone involved, particularly the host in her very own Funktional Kitchen, and to those amazingly creative children - you are all winners!

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Valentine's Treats - Chocolate Covered Honeycomb - Recipe

As Valentine's Day approaches, much as I can't stand the clichés, I couldn't resist making something sweet and even quite cute to mark the day. I made these to bring around to a friend's house, for a multi-couples dinner, so we can all avoid following the hoards of enforced romantic nights out on Tuesday...
These are really easy to make, and taste almost like Crunchie bars. My first attempt was not so good - they tasted somewhat burnt, but the second time they worked beautifully.
Make sure you have everything to hand before you start, as once the mixture hits the right temperature, you need to move fast!
I recommend making them not too far in advance, and storing them in an airtight container in the fridge, so they don't shrivel up when you are ready to serve them...
Chocolate-dipped Honeycomb

Makes: 16-20 (depending on how you smash it up!)
Prep Time: 10-15 minutes (plus cooling time)
Decorating Time: 20 minutes (plus setting time)


150 g golden caster sugar
75 g golden syrup
2 level teaspoons bicarbonate of soda.

100 g milk/dark chocolate
80 g red candy melts
Heart-shaped sprinkles/confetti


To prepare, line a baking tin loosely with greaseproof paper. I used a 20 cm square one, but you can use a bigger one and get thinner shards.

Sieve the bicarbonate of soda into a small bowl so it's ready to chuck in when needed.

In a large saucepan (it needs to be large as the mixture will triple in size at least), slowly melt the sugar and golden syrup until the sugar has dissolved. You can stir it to prevent any crystallization. Bring it up to a boil and let it boil for about 2 minutes (no longer!) until it turns an amber colour, then take it off the heat.. If you have a sugar thermometer let it come up to 150 C then take it off the heat.

Off the heat, quickly add the sieved bicarbonate of soda and whisk it really fast. The mixture will rise up and create lots of air bubbles - whisk it well to absorb all the bicarb - you don't want it to taste soapy!

Immediately pour this mixture into your prepared tin and allow it to cool completely.

Once it's cooled, break it into pieces - you can try cutting it neatly but it's unlikely to work, it will just shatter into shards!

Naked Honeycomb

To decorate, melt the chocolate in a Bain-Marie, and dip each shard into the melted chocolate. Set aside on clean greaseproof paper to set.

Melt the candy melts, and add a little olive oil to make a smooth piping consistency. Make sure it's not too hot when you pipe, as it will melt the chocolate! Using a thin nozzle (or just the end of the piping bag snipped off) pipe heart shapes, fill them in, and allow to set. If you wish to stick on extra heart-shaped sprinkles at this point, or any other lovey-dovey stuff, go for it!

With any leftover candy melts, you can make little heart sweeties. Aw!!!

Monday, 30 January 2017

Meatballs with Tomato and Paprika Glaze - Recipe

Firstly, let me apologise for the rubbish photos. I was hungry. No way they are going on Instagram. Secondly, this recipe is blatantly lifted (with a few small adaptations) from Smitten Kitchen's gorgeous cookbook, one which I've had for quite a while, but somehow hadn't got around to using. What was I thinking? This is delicious! It takes a little bit of effort, but I didn't need to go shopping for any of the ingredients - once I spotted some minced beef in the fridge, I went rummaging for meatball recipes. Ms Pearlman came through for me with these beauties. A juicy meatball glazed with a smoky sweet tomato sauce. Delish. Scrum. Mmmm hmmm.

Tomato and Paprika Glazed Meatballs

Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time:  35-40mins 

Serves 4


For the glaze:

4 tsp sunflower oil
4 tbsp tomato purée
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tsp honey
2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 tsp horseradish sauce
Pinch of salt

For the meatballs:

chunk of baguette (~15cm)
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
Half a parsnip, finely chopped (here you can use any veg really)
600 g minced beef
1 tbsp tomato purée
1 tsp smoked paprika
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
120 ml milk
salt and pepper to taste


To make the glaze:

Combine all the ingredients for the glaze in a saucepan, and bring to a simmer, whisking constantly. Keep simmering and whisking for about 2 minutes then set aside.

To make the meatballs:

Heat the oven to 160 C.

Whizz up the baguette into fine breadcrumbs.

In a frying pan, sauté the onions, garlic and vegetables for about 15 minutes until very soft, seasoning as you go if you wish.

Add the breadcrumbs to a large bowl, mix in the cooked vegetables, and then the rest of the ingredients. Mix together well, then shape into 10-12 meatballs.

To cook:

Line a baking dish with tin foil, then place the meatballs so they are not touching. Spoon a teaspoon or so of the glaze on top of each one. Bake the meatballs for about 20-25 minutes until they are cooked though.

To serve:

Serve with mashed potatoes and drizzle with the juice from cooking. Don't bother taking any photos... just eat and enjoy. 


Friday, 27 January 2017

Chinese New Year Feast

 It's the Year of the Rooster. The Fire Rooster. So... chicken?
This is an amazing recipe from Chinese Unchopped, the first cookbook from Jeremy Pang of School of Wok. It's a rib recipe in the book, but I was fridge-raiding as usual, so I only had chicken, but it was still amazing. It's a mix of hoisin sauce, ketchup, soy sauce, rice vinegar and cola, and chicken... cooked on a low heat for about three hours, and then grilled (or barbecued, but have you seen the weather?) and sprinkled with spring onions. If you have store cupboard ingredients with a Chinese influence, then it's easy peasy to make. Check out Jeremy's book and I do believe there's another one in the pipeline. I, for one, cannot wait.
Served with some rice and a chilli-glazed cabbage dish (also in the book), this was surely a Chinese New Year feast, with very little effort, to kick off the Year of the Rooster.
 Gong Hei Fat Choi.

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Kids in the Kitchen - New Year Resolutions

Welcome to my first post of 2017. To all my avid readers (Hi Sara!) I hope this year will be as happy and prosperous as can be, despite (or perhaps because of) all the uncertainty and change that is happening, both globally and here in my little world.

So, who's made New Year's Resolutions? And more to the point, who is still keeping them, 22 days in?

This year, mine was less of a sacrifice, and more of a lifestyle change - and not just for me. I thought it was time to get my kids in the kitchen more. They have helped out with various cake decorating, and brownie making in the past (those bowls are licked clean each time), but now they are getting to an age where they can be slightly more independent, so they each have a cooking day. Saturday and Sunday, one of them will cook (with my help of course, they can't have all the fun!). They alternate the Sunday Roast, so every Saturday is a new dish for the family to eat together, cooked by a 10 or 11 year old. It's all simple stuff, nothing too taxing, but these are the skills they are going to need one day and I hope that by making it fun now, they'll have my love of food and be able to eat well, healthily and adventurously for the rest of their lives.

So far we've had Pasta Carbonara, Homemade Chicken Nuggets, Chicken and Bacon Roulades, Beef Kephtedes, and Chicken Shish... As well as several Roast Chickens!

It means we cook together, chat together and eat together more often as a family. Obviously I help with the hot oven and pans, but most of the peeling and chopping is done by them (slowly and carefully!). Some days it's planned down to the last carrot, other days it's just whatever we find in the fridge (hence the Roulades - nobody wanted to venture out to buy a chicken, so we used up chicken breasts and bacon). They are also more inclined to eat it, since they made it themselves... no complaints so far!

It's fun! Try it...

Beef Kephtedes
Chicken Shish
Next week - lasagne...

Saturday, 17 December 2016

Christmas Cake 2016

This year's Christmas cake is a very simple idea. A snowman's head. Lots of images online to inspire.
Recipe by my mum.
Merry Christmas one and all.