Monday 6 May 2013

Definitely not Master Chef

Its May Bank Holiday and we have beautiful weather. Normally we would have the customary BBQ but this time because John is recovering from a terrible chest complaint I said 'NO' but I would put food out instead. 

We weren't prepared either, having done no specific shop for extra food, though my store cupboard and freezers are full. Its much more fun (and cost effective) to make something out of whatever there is than trawl the supermarket for impulse buys. The family were expected to arrive, grandchildren included and so I had a good sort through my food stash for bright ideas. 

store cupboard ingredients

The freezer gave up a bag and a half of cooked pork strips, a half full bag of frozen sliced mushrooms, and a half empty bag of mixed peppers. Out came the electric fry pan/slow cooker to become the focal point on the breakfast bar. I had a mega tray of Aldi's ready cooked egg fried rice languishing in the fridge with just two days to go before its use by date and was relieved to be able to add this to the pork and veggies when they were cooked. 

Jo cooking the pork

I heated some sunflower oil in the pan and added the frozen pork strips and let them sizzle away. Daughter Jo arrived just in time to take over stirring and I added the mushroom and peppers to the pork. They cooked some more and I sprinkled a tomato, pepper and chilli cupasoup mix over the whole concoction and let it cook some more again, while Jo continued to stir. The rice was added next with just a splash of hot water and then all the ingredients were folded together. The family loved it and tucked into garlic bread as well. 

ready for the oven

cooked lasagna

I had to make something gluten free for myself and daughter Barbara, so I decided upon a vegetarian lasagna. A tin of ratatouille, a jar of basic tomato and herb pasta sauce, 400grams of mushrooms in a sauce made from two mushroom cupasoup mixes and home made cheese sauce with some extra grated cheese for sprinkling, lots of pasta sheets and voila! I enjoyed it and I think Barbara did too and luckily there was some left for lunches through the week. Last week's chocolate cake was devoured in no time which means... I think I will have to bake some more.

Jasmine and Lily Jo

Mike, Jasmine and Natalie

After eating, grandchildren played and grown ups chatted the afternoon away. All in all, its been a very nice day. 

Thursday 2 May 2013

cake and cookies

The old mojo seems to have gone to sleep again. I really had to kick it hard to come up with some creativity this week. I was stuck between projects and didn't know where one finished off and the other began! So I was reluctant to start anything else. 

I hate waiting around...waiting for something to happen and yesterday was just that. Husband was waiting for the acute nurses to visit and check him out and I was getting bored. Thumbing through recipe books and looking at pretty pictures gave me the urge to bake. Chocolate and peanut butter squares sounded good and I had all the necessary ingredients, so quick as a flash, the decision was made and I started to bake.

Before too long the house was full of nurses and surprise family visitors all arriving at the same time. I had plenty of helpers and who said 'too many cooks spoil the broth'? In this case helping hands certainly enhanced my efforts at making chocolate and peanut butter squares and the kitchen became a hive of activity while husband John was in the sitting room being looked after by amazing NHS nurses. 

The cake mix was done and Joanne poured it out into a baking tray leaving enough in the bowl for a good finger licking session afterwards and Alex broke up chocolate buttons to sprinkle over the top. The finished cake was so good. Definitely one to make again and it will go into Nana's favourite recipes book.

That was yesterday and today I thought why not try a recipe using gluten free oats. I had bought the oats at a gluten free fair last weekend and hadn't baked with oats before. I searched for a recipe on-line and found one for thick and chewy oatmeal chocolate chip cookies at . Its a great site and I visit quite often. The only changes I made to the recipe was to use mixed fruit instead of chocolate and I have to admit to being puzzled as to what the american term Baking Soda was. I could choose between British baking powder and bicarbonate of soda but which one? I finally used baking powder and hoped it would work. I also used less sugar and slightly more egg. 

The recipe was very easy to make and though I must have made the cookies bigger than they should have been (I made 18 as opposed to the 24 stated in the recipe) they turned out well and I think just one would make quite a filling and healthy breakfast. They taste very yummy too, crisp on the outside and chewy inside. 

I wonder how long these will last when shared out with family. I'm off to watch Master Chef now.