Five Family Dinners

lightbox

If you follow me on social media (and if not why not? No excuse now, buttons are on the right or underneath on mobile) you’ll know how often I meal plan. I mean, I post a picture of it each time I do, so I know it’s not that frequent – I guess that’s about every few months. Right now, I have some potatoes in the oven baking, and I’m trying to get some writing done before yer man gets in with the two Tasmanian Devils. We decided on baked potatoes about half an hour ago, while he was getting up from his desk to leave work and I was on the bus home. Plan-schman. That makes me an idiosyncratic parenting/food blogger really; to neither meal plan, nor batch cook. We’ll soldier on…

Here’s a selection of family dinners we’ve eaten recently, old favourites and new attempts. The one thing they have in common is I’ll make them again. We all ate them happily, including the fussier four year old. (Proof is below!) Continue reading

The Pool, The Stitches and The BB8 Cake

BB8 Star Wars

Like a harbinger of doom the by now six year old started asking questions in the car on the way to his party. Quite chirpily, he enquired “What happens if a mammy dies when a baby is in her tummy? Like, if her body stops working?” Now, there is no baby in mammy’s tummy and nothing quite so tragic befell us between our house and the swimming pool but we didn’t escape the day drama-free nonetheless.

I know what you’re thinking. Who would have a pool party for a six year old? Why would you do that to yourself? Luckily having read this cautionary tale I had checked the T’s & C’s: parents did not need to accompany the kids into the pool. That meant one hour of coffee drinking and viewing gallery sitting for us. Nice one. Continue reading

I Am Solo Parenting. Send Potato Gratin.

Potato Gratin.

Picture the scene:

It’s the school summer holidays. My husband is away for work. I am home with the children.

I am in the bathroom with a five year old yelling from the other side of the door “I heard you flush one minute ago! Where are you?”

I am refereeing possibly imaginary fights from the shower, trying to discern if actual injuries have occurred or if it’s hysterical laughter. I guess I can just wash my hair tomorrow instead. The kids won’t care.

I have stopped tidying away the toys in the living room at bedtime. I’ll be in bed about an hour after them.

I wonder, when I am having the exact opposite experience, do I really need to know how the staff in the hotel my husband is staying in keep asking him if he is okay, sir. And if they can do anything for him, sir.

I regret having pizza the night before he left, and chips with this cousins the next night. Now I have to feed them healthily for the rest of the week, and I keep no meals handy in the freezer because it is weeny and I need seventeen frozen bananas, ice cream, bread for toast and all that quorn.

The Reason I Can't Batch Cook
The Reason I Can’t Batch Cook

Continue reading

The Granola Bars To Rule Them All

...and in the bars

We had a go at making buns yesterday. There was a number of issues with this. It was all going okay mess wise until Ted got up from his nap. Then half the ingredients went on the countertop/floor/cat.

My husband was working from home and had made an omelette for his lunch, leaving no eggs. No problemo, I made a chia egg replacement. (1 tbsp milled chia, 3 tbsp water = stir and leave sit for 10-15 mins = 1 egg)

I had no regular flour so I used spelt. That doesn’t usually cause an issue for me either.

Then I realised that the milled chia seed I thought I had was in fact a mix: one third chia, one third linseed and one third hemp. So, still very good for you but maybe not suitable when what the recipe really truly was asking for was “2 eggs”.

Anyway, it put in half an hour with the kids on a rainy afternoon which is never to be sniffed at. Add another ten minutes of fighting over blueberries. The mixture was very light and fluffy and the bowl got licked and the slightly sticky buns eaten, but I don’t think I need waste your time with this particular recipe.

What I will share with you is an entirely foolproof no-bake granola bar recipe which is adaptable to infinity and allows you to fly by the seat of your pants in a way that baked goods don’t usually. I can’t believe I haven’t written about these before. I’ve only made them about sixty seven times. They’re fairly healthy and wholesome to boot.

Foolproof No-Bake Granola Bars

The only 5 ingredients you need

Continue reading

Baba Ganoush, Baba Ganoush Can You Do The Fandango?

What a start to the school holidays! Rain, rain and more rain. 

 I love aubergine and my favourite way to prep it is just brush with olive oil and put it under the grill. No salting it, no shallow frying it in batches, and no need to turn on the oven especially to roast it.IMG_6851

I chopped one big aubergine in 3 lengthways pieces and stuck it on. It took about 10 minutes on each side with the grill on a medium heat. At this point I had no idea if I was making some sort of pasta with aubergine and tomato sauce for dinner or what. But it was bucketing rain so I decided to bring the warmth, middle-eastern style. We enjoyed Baba Ganoush with Fennel, Carrot and Apple Coleslaw served with Quinoa. Catchy name eh?

Aubergine cooked, it was time to settle down with my boys while it bucketed rain outside and have a Star Wars: Empire Strikes Back viewing. That’s two hours of PEW-PEW PEW-PEW PEW-PEW, a few very mild double entendres, and a shocking paternity reveal. Y’know; in case you haven’t seen it.

I looked at about three baba ganoush recipes and decided they were all different enough for me to just chance my arm with the basic ingredients. Also, some of them involved draining the aubergine of water for ages and sure I’d no time for that with the movie-watching and creme-egg-eating.

I lashed all the below into the blender and crossed my fingers.

  • Flesh of 1 grilled aubergine
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 cup of Glenisk Natural Yogurt
  • 1/2 tablespoon tahini (you can leave this out, but I love the taste)
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 2 teaspoons of dried mint (I have fresh mint in the garden most of the year, but I’m reliant on the jars right now)

Baba Ganoush is just the fancy name for a smokey aubergine dip. I lacked the smoke (barbeque or naked flame) but it came out great; nicely smooth and flavoursome. Pomegranate seeds on top would really set it off visually and give a sweet crunch. (That would only happen if I managed to meal plan though.)

IMG_6854
Finished his dinner, then finished the Baba Ganoush.

I cooked us up some quinoa (1 cup uncooked fed four) in Marigold stock and set about making a carrot, fennel and apple coleslaw for the side. This is a super healthy coleslaw – it’s a simplified version of a Winter Veg one that Jamie Oliver does – the dressing uses yogurt rather than any mayonnaise. My mum always made lovely fresh coleslaw when I was growing up, but somehow horrible claggy deli counter versions seem to have become the standard offering.

When I’m in charge it’s not dinner unless there’s a load of toasted seeds or nuts involved so in went the toasted sunflower seeds in with grated apple and carrot and chopped fennel.

The dressing is just these four, all mixed quickly with a fork.

  • A good glug of olive oil
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 tablespoon of dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup of Glenisk Natural Yogurt

I gave the boys the apple and veg with some plain yogurt as the dijon is quite hot.

IMG_6853

You too can conjure up Arabian nights on a rainy spring evening in Dublin with a little help from Glenisk! But maybe add some gauzy veils rather than Penney’s pyjamas to really get the effect right.