Beetroot Houmous

Just looking at this beetroot Houmous makes me feel insanely happy. The colour is so vibrant, it’s hard not to break into a smile just looking at it. It also tastes as good it looks and is so easy to whiz up.

Ingredients:

Half a tin of cooked chick peas (plus half of the juice it’s in)

150g pre cooked beetroot

1tbsp Olive oil

1tbsp Tahini paste

Juice of half a lemon

2 cloves of garlic

Seasoning as required

Method:

Quite simply pop everything into the blender and pulse for a few seconds. Add a bit more lemon if required and season to taste.

Bon appetite!

Something For The Weekend – Banging Burgers

Looking for something quick and easy to knock up this evening? Look no further than these Pork & Egg burgers. It’s been a busy week here at Mums In Real and as a result, I resorted to trying a food delivery company called Gousto. I wasn’t convinced as I like to make everything from scratch when possible, but a friend convinced me of the benefits. I’ve been very impressed! My order arrived in a big box, all of the produce was super fresh and from an environmental perspective, there was very little plastic. Big plus from me already!

The meal still needs preparing from scratch, Gousto (others are available) provide you with almost all ingredients and a step by step recipe card on how to prepare and cook the food. It’s also really easy to replicate (if you already have the provisions to hand) so I can use these recipes in the future. Also, my children had a great time looking at the recipes and helping me pick out 4 days worth of dinner. It’s a thumbs up from them! It really is a great alternative for busy parents and whilst I can’t see myself ordering on a weekly basis, I certainly recommend it. Plus I received a really nice wooden spoon, which I wasn’t expecting!

Let’s get cooking!

Ingredients;

500g Pork mince

2tsp dried sage

2tsp dried oregano

30ml soy sauce

50g panko breadcrumbs

20g fried onions (I used shop bought but these are easy enough to make from fresh)

Mustard ketchup

Salt & pepper to season

Method;

Mix the mince, herbs, soy sauce and breadcrumbs together and season well. Separate the burger mixture into 4 generous patties and place on a baking tray. Refrigerate for until needed (place in the fridge for at least 10 minutes as this helps them hold together when cooking).

When ready, place a non stick frying pan onto a moderate heat and drizzle with oil. Pop in your burgers and cook on each side for 5-6 minutes. Once cooked, place into a plate and cover. Meanwhile, add a bit more oil to the frying pan and cook the eggs.

Whilst the eggs are cooking, lightly grill the burger buns. Now plate up! Spread some sauce of choice onto the buns (I used mustard ketchup), pop in the burger and place an egg on top. Sprinkle the fried onions over the top and enjoy!

Bon appetite!

Something For The Weekend: Beef & Guinness Stew

As the chilly air creeps in & the evenings become darker earlier, we are thinking of mouth watering stews to warm our tummies.

This gorgeous beef and Guineas stew does just that.

Let’s get started!!

Ingredients;

500g diced beef

1 large onion, thinly sliced

2 celery sticks, cubed

3 large carrots, cut diagonally

1/2 a bunch of fresh rosemary & thyme

500g swede, cubed

500g squash, skin on and cut into chunks

4 chestnut mushrooms, sliced

1 litre beef stock

1/2 x can of Guiness

Start off by preheating the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Place a large casserole pan onto a medium heat & add 1tbsp of oil. Add the onions to pan and allow to soften for a few minutes. Stir the carrots & celery into the pan, then add the rosemary & thyme.

Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes. Stir in the beef, swede and squash. After a few minutes, add the stock and Guinness, stirring gently.

Bring up to a be gentle simmer and cover with a wet scrunched up sheet of greaseproof paper and pop into the oven for an hour.

After an hour, remove the paper and cook the stew for another hour (ish) until the meat is tender.

Next up, it’s time to make the dumplings. Mix 2oz of suet and 4oz of self raising flour together with 4tbsp of cold water. Mix in well and form into a ball. Divide into 8 dumplings (or if you prefer big dumplings, divide into 4) and roll into balls.

Place the dumplings on top of the stew and cook in the oven for 20 minutes.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool before plating up. Serve with chunky bread and enjoy!

Hassle Free Chicken With Chilli, Lemon And Mint

Every now and again I really get stuck in a rut at meal times. As you probably know by now, I love flavour. This is something that my kids don’t always agree with me on! And who can blame them right? I don’t remember eating the type of food I try to cook for them. Our meals were always the same most week days. I always knew Tuesday would be Lasagne, Friday would be fish fingers and we’d almost always have a roast on a Sunday. Nothing wrong with that. Absolutely not. It’s just not me these days.

So anyway, here I was feeling a bit stuck. Dinner needed to be quick and tasty. My fridge was also looking a bit on the bare side. I therefore decided to get some inspiration from my recipe books, and I came across this little beauty. To make matters better, I had all of the ingredients to hand. That is always a bonus. Especially when you live in the back end of nowhere.

This recipe is lifted straight from Nigel Slaters classic guide to comfort food. It really did hit all the right notes and was so easy to make.

Ingredients:

400g Chicken fillets

1 medium sized red chilli, seeded and chopped

1tsp dried chilli powder

2 pinches of saffron

2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped

Handful of mint leaves (about 20)

4 tbsp olive oil

Juice of 1 lemon

Halves of lemons to serve

Method:

Cut the chicken into finger size strips and pop into a dish. Blitz the fresh and dried Chillies, the garlic, saffron, most of the mint , olive oil and most of the lemon juice for about seconds until you have a lumpy marinade.

Spoon the marinade over the chicken strips and set aside for half an hour or so.

Next up, heat a frying pan (or you can use the grill) and lightly oil it. Add the chicken to the pan and gently fry for 4-5 minutes on each side until they are golden brown in places (make sure the chilli doesn’t burn). Season the dish with some salt and the remaining mint and lemon juice.

I served this (as suggested by Nigel Slater) with some well buttered couscous, flecked with coriander and coriander. I also added a blob of Creme Fraiche on top, which I mixed some finely chopped mint leaves into.

Bon appetite lovely people! I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Salmon And Cod Laksa With Soba Noodles

Originating from maritime South East Asia, Laksa curry is a must for curry fans. It’s fragrant smells will drive you insane!

This is a really simple version that I put together on a week night. But just because it was quick (think 10 minutes) doesn’t mean it lacked in flavour! It packed the punches and hit all the right taste buds. I made up my own version of a Laksa paste, however they are readily available in the shops should this be your preference.

Ingredients for the Laksa paste;

4-6 small dried red chillies

1tsp ground coriander

1/2tsp paprika

1/2tsp cumin

1/2tsp turmeric

1 small onion, roughly chopped

1tsp lemongrass paste

3-4 cm piece of ginger, shredded

2 cloves of garlic

1tbsp sesame oil

Ingredients for the Curry;

500g Salmon & Cod fillets, skin off and cut into chunks

200g Coconut milk

1 1/2 pints of Vegetable stock

1tbsp olive pil

1 onion, finely sliced

200g green beans, trimmed and cut into quarters

225g shredded white cabbage

3 tbsp Laksa paste

Handful of frozen sweet corn

2 bundles of dried soba noodles

1 spring onion, sliced diagonally

1 lime, halved

Method for Laksa paste;

Pop everything into a mixer and blitz for a few seconds into a smooth (ish) paste.

Method for Laksa Curry;

Warm up a large saucepan and add the olive oil. Gently fry the onion and cabbage for about 10 minutes, until softened. Add the Laksa paste and cook for 2 minutes.

Next up, add the coconut milk, stock and green beans and season well. Bring up to the boil and then reduce the heat and leave to simmer for about 5 minutes.

Add the fish chunks and gently stir the mixture.

Leave to cook for about 4 – 5 or until the fish is opaque to their centre.

Meanwhile, bring a large pan of water to boil and add in the soba noodles.

Cook for 4 minutes and drain and return to the pan.

Once the fish is cooked, stir in the curry. Serve out into large bowls and garnish with sliced spring onions and halves of limes.

Squash And Vegetable Soup

It’s that time of year when everywhere you look, pumpkins and squashes adorned the shelves in shops.

If you’re looking for something to do with them other than carving out ghoulish faces or pumpkin pie, look no further!

This delicious soup is hands down the tastiest thing I make at this time of year, and to make matters even better, my kids eat it! Surely that’s worthy of a parent point?!

Ingredients (serves 4 with plenty for seconds);

1kg Squash or pumpkin

2 carrots, cubed

2 large potatoes, skin on cubed

2 small onions, sliced

2 cloves of Garlic (or more, depending on taste buds)

2 pints of Vegetable stock

Sprigs of Rosemary & Sage

Seasoning

3 slices of brown bread

1tbsp olive oil

Method;

Start off by quartering the squash and carefully cut off the skin. Cut into large chunks, deseed and chuck them into a large saucepan.

Next, add the remaining vegetables and crushed garlic. Remove the herb leaves from the stalks and roughly tear up and pop on top of the vegetables.

Cover the ingredients with 2 pints of vegetable stock and bring up to boil on a medium heat.

Reduce the heat to a simmer and leave to cook for about 35/40 minutes, stirring occasionally.

The next part is up to you and depends on your preference. You can eat the soup nice and Chunky as it is, or you can pulse it with a handheld blender for a few seconds. I chose the latter as my kids like their soups nice and smooth.

While the soup is cooling down, roughly chop up 3 slices of bread (crusts off) to make some croutons and place a large frying pan onto a low heat to warm up. Add a splash of olive oil and add the cubed bread.

Gently fry until the croutons are nice and crisp on each side, it should only take a couple of minutes.

Now serve up the soup and pop some crispy croutons on top.

Peruvian Inspired Sweet Potato And Chicken Soup

This earthy Peruvian inspired soup is my own interpretation of a Jamie Oliver recipe. I’m a bit of a maverick when it comes to following recipes, often straying heavily. However, the core herbs and spices are the same, I just adapted some of the vegetables with what I had to hand. I must say, this is a very tasty soup indeed!

Ingredients;

1 large red onion, diced

2 cloves of garlic, crushed and finely chopped

2 mixed colour peppers

3 potatoes

2 small sweet potatoes

1kg chicken thighs, skin off

Olive oil

1tsp ground cumin

1tsp coriander leaves

Pinch of ground cloves

1.5l of Vegetable stock

2 limes, halved

100g Couscous

1 bunch of fresh coriander

Method;

Prep all of the veg and once done, place a large casserole pan on a medium – high heat to warm up. Put the chicken and 1tbsp of olive oil in the pan and stir well. Brown off the chicken.

Next up, tip in the herbs and spices stirring regularly. Stir in all of the prepped veg and cook for 15 minutes. Pour in the stock and bring the mixture up to boiling point. Reduce the heat and leave to simmer for 30 minutes.

Put the limes in and pour in the couscous. Cook for a final 15 minutes until the couscous is cooked through. Remove from the heat. Season well and stir in the chopped fresh coriander.

Bon appetite!

Autumnal Pork & Vegetable Stew

This delicious stew is perfect for these cooler days and tastes like a hug in a bowl. It’s so easy and the kids love it, so a real winner in our house!

Ingredients (serves 4 with plenty left for seconds);

3 pork chops, fat off and removed from the bone (optional)

3 potatoes, skin left on & cubed

1 sweet potato, skin left on & cubed

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

2 carrots, cut into chunks

1 apple, cored and diced

6 cherry tomatoes, halved

Cup of frozen peas

Splash of balsamic vinegar

Handful of fresh Sage, crushed and chopped (keep a few leaves aside to garnish when you plate up)

1 vegetable stock cube

Sprinkling of gravy granules

Method;

Preheat the oven to gas mark 180°C, and place all of the ingredients (except for the stock cube, gravy powder and frozen peas) into a large casserole pot. Cover with water and bring to boil on a medium heat on the hob. Reduce the heat to a simmer and sprinkle in the vegetable stock cube, stir. Put the lid on and pop into the oven.

After an hour, remove the casserole pot from the oven and stir. Sprinkle a generous amount of gravy granules over the top, stir and put it back into the oven for 45 minutes, until the gravy is thick and the vegetables are tender. Stir in the frozen peas and pop back in the oven for a further 15 minutes.

Remove from the oven and leave to cool down until ready to eat. Garnish with some fresh sage leaves and serve with chunky bread.

Bon appetite!

Crust Topped Cod Fillets

If you are looking for a light and healthy yet tasty fish recipe, you’ve landed in the right place.

This delicious dish is unbelievably easy to prep and only takes 12 minutes to bake. Want to know more? Let’s go!

Ingredients:

2-3 Cod Fillets

2 slices of stale bread (crusts off)

2 cloves of garlic

Small handful of cornflakes (optional)

10 – 12 black pitted olives

2 sprigs of rosemary (off the stem)

1 tbsp Oregano

Salt & Pepper

1 egg white

Method:

Preheat the oven to 220•C (fan) and lay the fillets onto an oven proof tray. To make the crust, place the bread, cornflakes, garlic, 4 olives and herbs into a mixure and blitz. Season to your taste.

Next up, coat the top of the fillets with the egg white and crumble the crust on top. Spray lightly with cooking oil.

Sprinkle the remaining olives and some fresh herbs around the fillets and bake in the oven for 12 minutes.

Serve with side of choice – we had mash & peas!

Bon appetite!

Focaccia Stuffed With Pesto & Tomatoes

If you are looking for a food project this weekend, look no further as this is it. We’ve upped the ante by adding juicy cherry tomatoes and by slapping red pesto into a traditional Focaccia.

Ingredients:

500g Strong plain Flour

7g Sachet Yeast

1tsp Salt

3tbsp Red Pesto (see link https://mumsinreallifecouk.wordpress.com/2019/06/19/red-pesto-sauce/ for one of our recipes or shop bought is absolutely fine)

100ml Olive Oil & extra to drizzle (I used my herb & chilli infused olive oil https://mumsinreallifecouk.wordpress.com/2019/07/11/homemade-herb-chilli-infused-olive-oil/ for an extra twist)

5 Sprigs of fresh Rosemary, leaves picked

200g Cherry Tomatoes

Sea Salt flakes to garnish

300ml Lukewarm water

Method:

Pour 300ml into a jug and add the sachet of yeast, stir. Leave for a couple of minutes until it starts to froth.

In a large bowl, tip in the flour and add the salt. Pour in the yeast mixture and then add 75ml Olive oil. Use a knife to stir the mixture, until a rough dough forms.

Turn the dough out onto a clean surface and knead for about 10 minutes, until the dough is smooth. If necessary, sprinkle extra flour on the dough to prevent it sticking.

Place the dough into a well oiled bowl, cover and leave for 40 mins – 1hr to prove. Once the dough has doubled in size, tip it onto a clean, floured surface and knead for a couple of seconds to knock the air out of it.

Shape the dough into a rectangle and roll out to roughly 20 x 10inches. Mix together the red pesto and sprigs of rosemary and smear over one half of the dough.

Fold the other half of the dough over the filling and pinch together to seal it.

Now put the bread into a roasting tin (lined with baking paper) and cover with cling film. Place somewhere warm for an hour to prove further. Preheat the oven to 220C, fan 200C, Gas mark 7.

When the bread is ready for the oven, drizzle over 2tbls of Olive oil and rub it in gently. Gently press the Cherry tomatoes into the dough and use your fingers to gently dent the rest of the dough. Pop in some sprigs of Rosemary. Scatter over the sea salt flakes. Cover with cling film and leave to prove for a further 20 minutes.

Place the bread into the oven, bake for 15 minutes and then turn the oven down to 200C, fan 180C, Gas mark 6 and bake for 15 – 20 minutes until the bread has risen and looks golden. Remove from the oven and transfer onto a wire rack to cool.

Cut into slices or chunks and enjoy with your main of choice (we had steaks and a nice crispy salad!!

Bon appetite lovely people! X