Five Family Dinners


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

Its that al fresco time of year again!

eat away, mama doesn't have to mop the garden

There’s only one thing to do when the child’s last hour of creche is spent in the sandpit and thats keep him outdoors until the bath is run.

Dominic’s grasp of cutlery has vastly improved.  And boy does he not want my help anymore.  So with our ‘spell’ (eh, 2 days so far) of good weather, I decided that we could take the mess outside.

I was alerted to a fantastic veggie blog recently by Donal Skehan on Twitter.  It’s called Veggies and Me written by an Australian woman living in Dublin.  The food photography is gorgeous, and I really like the perspective of a vegetarian Australian living here.  I plan to make Chargilled Veggies, Chickpea & Halloumi salad and After workout Breakfast eggs (except without the early morning workout) but this week I tackled the Eggplant Parmesan with Lentils.  As Megan points out, this is a little time consuming and might make a good weekend dish.  However,  I prepared and assembled it after pilates one night, while baking sweet potato wedges and a sneaky quorn escalope in the oven for that evening.   Then we popped it in the oven the following evening and had a couple of nights out of it.  I’m not sure of the authenticity of the name, as there’s not a bit of parmesan to be seen, but I’m sure you could sprinkle the veggie kind on there.  Lentils were a great touch I have to say – it really made the dish unrecognisable from the dense chewy comfort food version that husbag has dished up in his day.  We’ve argued long into the night about the idea of ‘too much mozzarella’ existing.  I think you can have too much, he doesn’t, but we can hash that out for ages.  Whether this recipe sticks to the brief or not (I’ve checked there’s a lorra lorra eggplant parmesan recipes out there, each one slightly different) it’s a fantastic family food.

Mulligatawny and rye bread, why that’s a mouthful!

can't say its name but i like it

From a quick perusal of the BBC food site, Mulligatawny is a fine veggie prospect and there’s lots of recipes out there for it.  However, we’re rather fond of our weekend morning cookery shows round these parts, and it was from Saturday Kitchen that Mark took this particular recipe.  Please ignore the 4 whole quail (!), and the garnishing onion rings.  Does anyone ever do garnishes if they’re cooking for people that live in the same house as them?  I mean, I’d stretch to a bit of chopped parsley or coriander, but life’s too short to deep fry a decorative onion ring.

The path to lunch almost got diverted, as I lifted the lids on the various pans to explore/commandeer activities and spotted some distinctly un-red lentils.   Hardened veggie that I am, and being in possession of a pair of eyes, I know my lentils/colours apart, and despite husbands cries to the contrary, there is certainly NOT a reddish tinge off the green lentils, and if you move the jar of green lentils slightly to the left in the cupboard, you’ll see a bag of bright orangey red lentils not really at all hidden behind it.  Perhaps they cast a hue across the green ones.

Anyway, unintentional ingredient substitutions and omissions aside, this was as dinner of a soup so it was. Atin’ & drinkin’ in it.  The curry powder gave it a lovely kick, softened slightly by a big spoon of natural yogurt stirred into Doms.  It was a good thick texture and excellent grub for spooning by oneself.

We ate it with a Lidl Artisan Rye loaf.  The words ‘Lidl’ & ‘Artisan’ should be an oxymoron, but their newish bakery sections (in some stores) are full of gorgeous treats, from pumpkin seed loafs to gouda rolls, to chocolate croissants.  I could see no loaves over €2, and no pastries over 69c.  They’re baked on the premises and everything we’ve tried so far has been really really good, and far less dependent on white breads compared to other higher end supermarkets (Superquinn I’m looking at you) bakeries.

69c pastries mean 2 each per adult unfortunately.


Not too spicy, plenty of spices

As I’ve mentioned a time or seven, Dominic isn’t so into his spicy food.  But luckily, cutting back on heat in cooking doesn’t mean cutting back on flavour, or lovely Indian cooking and this weeks top fud reinforces that.

My absolute go-to cook book is this one. Much as I love my BLW cookbook, there’s some recipes that I just prefer ‘my’ versions of – dhal is one of those.  This book is bruised and battered and so it should be, this tome has travelled.  It was bequeathed to me by Brian & Nataly in New Hampshire, who owned 2 copies because they had different covers and hadn’t realised.  In 2005 me & Mark and the rest of (one of) the band(s) he plays with were staying with them for a couple of nights while they were on tour.  (I mention it because of how it highlights the contrast of pre-baby days with now!).  It came back to Toronto & then formed a large chunk of my baggage allowance back to Ireland when we moved home.

Luckily, I haven’t had to transcribe this recipe, I’ve found it elsewhere so cheers to that lady!  I don’t do peeling & deseeding tomatoes where possible so I’ve just used a tin of tomatoes instead.  I also had no limes to hand so used lemons.  And I used the handy coriander-in-a-tube thingy too.  This is a store cupboard type dish for me, and made it after getting me & Dom in the door from Mammó’s house with a car full of stuff and no time to think or unpack before dinner was needed.  See below the cut for the recipe.

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