Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Winter chicken AK

This is a great recipe and is always a big hit. Its very easy and quick to do. The original Annabel recipe gives exact quantities but I have scribbled them down in my note book and adjust according to whats in the fridge. Its a great freezer dish.

Winter Chicken

Two large chicken breast or equivalent thigh etc meat.
Vegetable oil
2 leeks
1 red onion chopped finely
2 celery stalks chopped finely
500 chicken stock (I use baby stock cubes)

Coat chicken in flour and brown a little in oil.
In another pan saute leeks and onion for 5 min until soft.
Add stock, chicken and celery, and put into a pyrex dish and cook for about 1hr at 180C

serve with rice or mash

freezes well and can be moulied or blended for baby/toddler.

Red wine chicken casserole

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Sutlac/Rice pudding

1 lt milk
200g white rice
180g sugar
60g corn flour 
1 tsp vanilla extract

  1. Rinse the rice and boil in in 2 cups of water untill has evaporated
  2. Add the milk, sugar, and vanilla extract in to the sauce pan and stir over a low heat. Make sure you stay close by and keep stirring for 20 or so minutes until it starts boiling.
  3. Add corn flour mix with a little bit of water until the corn flour is smooth. Then, add  the corn flower to the sauce pan. Keep stirring for around five mintues untill rice mixture starts to thicken to a custard like consistency. If your rice mixture is too runny add more cornflour (mixed with water)and sir for 3/4 minutes.

Now its done! you can either pour your rice pudding into bowls and refrigerate or the Turkish way is too grill untill the top browns till its nearly black! Mine was the top right...

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Turkish style spinach soup with red lentils and bulgur

200g red lentils, rinsed
200g bulgur, small-grain, rinsed
1 red onion finely chopped
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, chopped
half tin of chopped tomatoes
1 tsp red pepper paste
1 tsp tomato puree
800ml of water (add more if needed as lentils and bulgar cook it may become very thick)
1 tsp cumin
3 tbsp dry mint
4 big handfuls fresh spinach, roughly chopped

  1. Saute the onion in olive oil until glossy looking. Add the garlic and cook for 2/3 mins over a medium heat. 
  2. Add the lentil, bulgur, chopped tomato, red pepper paste, tomato puree water, cumin, salt and pepper. Cook on a medium heat.
  3. cook for approx 20 minutes until lentils and bulgar are soft and cooked.
  4. When the lentils and bulgur are cooked, add fresh spinach and mint. Cook until spinach is wilted.


Hello to the lurkers!

Hello to all the people that stumble across this! I have added myself to the netmums blogger site so I guess you might be from there? Please say hi! tell me your blog address if you have one! Let me know if there are any recipes you are looking for. Also while your here tell me your favorite recipe? Mine is icli kofte, I've never attempted it... Maybe I should! Icli kofte are Turkish stuffed meatballs, so yummy!

Friday, 6 January 2012

Conversations with my nutty 4yr old

I have a little book with my rather untidy scribbles in. Mostly of random conversations I have had with my big boy. I just don't ever what to forget them. Here is a selection of them, hope they get a small smile :)

J: I not have a pet
Mummy: no you don't- poor you...
J:yeah, I like it pet...
M:When you are fifteen you can have one
J:counts on fingers, oh not long
M: no not long (phew only 11 years to wait)
J: pauses, its ok! I got a brother. S is my pet he eats stuff  and lick the floor!
M: lovely what else does a boy need?
J: more pets?

He feed his baby brother stuff he doesn't like, from his plate. Small boy is a dustbin. I do try to stop this! and yes he is fond of licking the floor. I guess if you spend a large part of the day prone face down, it one of the few things to do.

J: London is in England
M: yup
J:Istanabull (Istanbul) is where Baba lived
J: Turkey? Baba is Turkey
M:no, Baba is Turkish.
J:yes! good girl Mummy!
J: Paris? where is it?
M:its the capital of France
J: Whaaat??? paris lives in the radio?

Need to do more work on his geography, he got a globe for his birthday and he is amazed everytime he looks at it.

Chicken Wings and Couscous

I am never going to win awards for my photography... for a start I use my phone and I have a very demanding 17month old, so its a case of point and click! My pot and pans are old and look awful in the photos- sorry. They are clean, well used and well loved! Keeping to my stay local, spend less and cook in the mornings I dug around in the freezer and this is for dinner today! Big boy wants to make a pizza I have a nice 10 min pizza recipe not my favorite but he loves it and better than a frozen pizza. Well I say better I love pizza and if I were to cook a pizza for him I want to eat it too! Home made are nice but not the same! So today for dinner is chicken wings, couscous and corn on the cob! My friend gave me the recipe for the couscous. 

Chicken wings and Turkish style Couscous


I'm sorry I don't weigh the ingredients for this recipe. I live near a big Asian community so I am able to shop very cheaply for fab ingredients. For example 100g of baby spinach is £1.50 from the supermarket but from the shop near me I can by a small carrier bag full of spinach for £2.00. For this recipe you need turkel Nar Eksisi (Eksisi is the brand) which is pomegranate syrup and oncu (oncu is the brand) tatli biber. Tatli biber is a sweet pepper paste very much like tomato puree. These make the couscous taste divine!

Sweet and spicy Couscous

Olive oil (or veg)
red onion (or white red just looks nicer!)
1 tbs tomato puree
chilli flakes to taste
salt to taste
dry mint 3 heaped tablespoons 
3/4 tablespoons of nar syrup
juice of a whole fresh lemon 

once mixture is cooled add to the mix
handful of parsley
4/5 spring onions*optional if you used red onion you could use half a white onion
yellow pepper*chopped and cubed finely optional I don't always have peppers in.
3/4 fresh tomatoes chopped and cubed finely
1/2 cucumber chopped and cubed finely

this usually makes four servings, that can stay for 2/3 days in the fridge

  1. Add couscous to a glass bowl and add enough boiling water to cover about 1cm above the couscous.
  2. chop red onion finely, take your time to chop it. Fry lightly in a good slug of olive oil till glossy looking
  3. Over a medium heat add one table spoon of tomato puree and one tablespoon biber, mix and coat the onion.
  4. Add the amount of chilli flakes you like, I add a generous pinch.
  5. Small pinch of salt.
  6. Remove from heat and add the mint and nar syrup mix and make sure everything is coated.
  7. Add the juice from a whole lemon
  8. Allow to cool.
  9. Once mixture is cool add finely chopped parsley, spring onion, yellow pepper, tomato and cucumber.

great work lunch with leftovers. My son loves it stuffed in a hot pitta.

Quick and easy chicken wings
Chicken wings
tatli biber
Chinese five spice
talti biber
tomato puree

This is another of my throw it all together recipe, adjust the amount of wet ingredients to the amount of chicken wings you have. My husband gets chicken wings free from his butcher, so we always have lots in the freezer.

  1. Boil chicken wings for 10 mins.
  2. Pre-heat oven to 180c
  3. While chicken is cooking, make a mixture of warm runny honey, tatli biber, chinese five spice and tomato puree. Aim to make spreadable paste. If need be stand in a bowl of hot water to keep it runny. 
  4. Once chicken is cooked rinse with boiling water.
  5. Spread the paste over the chicken and bake untill brown and crispy.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

I am going to brave the mindfield that is toddler groups. For my spend less January I am staying local avoiding my local shopping center and my costa coffee habit.Spending more time at home to help little one's sleep and for me to cook cheaper meals. I braved the toddler group circuit when big one was little. I was fresher, had more sleep and had the back up of a great friend. Said friend has buggered off to the other side of the world leaving me without a sidekick. Lack of sidekick and lack of sleep as left me jaded and lazy! I go to a session at my local children's center on a Monday and going to brave a Friday group... Wish me luck? On the plus side little one can trash another space rather than my front room, also cups of tea made by others always taste better.
Staying at home for the next few weeks to try and sort boy child 2's sleep its shocking. Never had this prob with boy 1. Also money wise we are a bit tight, not from Christmas I might add! Stops me spending. So today is another lazy day today, bit of batch cooking this am.  Shepherds pie, boys never say no to hot shepherds pie. Want to do fish pie too, but out of milk again!

I couldn't cook before I had boy 1, too tight to spend 99p on a pouch of food, or 69p on a 190g jar. Pudding jars are 76p for 120g!! Tight arse me! By my calculations (approx) box of cereal (£2.00), 14 meals jars (£9.66), 7 pudding jars(£5.32)  and a packet of yogurts (£1.50) which totals £18.48 a week! not including snacks. So I guess by the time you've brought snacks that's £20 a week easy. Figured I have to cook for me and I couldn't feed him on jars forever! So armed with this info of spending £80 a month on baby food and the awful thought of all those glass jars (I do re-cycle by the way) off to WHS I went. That's how Annabel Karmel became my best friend. I love her I really do. She has taught me everything I know. I did babyled weaning and so skipped all the mush stuff she does and went straight the meals and if needed used a hand grinder on big pieces of food. Boy was a lazy chewer at times.Which I know is against the babyled weaning rules but hey I wanted him to eat!


Had to think outside of the box, if we were going out and I wasn't sure if I could heat his food or store it appropriately I would give him scambled eggs/omelette toast and rice pudding. Then I would take weetabix or readybrek and just get hot milk- sorted. He never cared what way round his meal times were.Banana in a banana box (thanks pound land!) sorted.

Nearly 4.5 years on and another baby later I am obsessed and love batch cooking. Takes the stress out of the evening for me!

Right I will meal plan roughly this year, for many reasons.
1. To help keep my weight down!
2. Money, I feel like I have been robbed every time I leave Sainsburys.
3. To stop all the little trips back and forth and all the extra crap in between.
4. Inspiration for new meal ideas.
 mmm must be more will add more

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Cinnamon rolls

400g brown flour (or white)
1/2 tsp salt
60g caster sugar
1tsp of yeast
1 egg
120ml of warm milk
120ml of warm water

50g butter (soft room temp)
35g brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
 20g raisins/sultanas/mixed dried fruit

Melted butter for brushing

makes around 16 rolls

  1. Put flour, salt and sugar in to a glass bowl and sprinkle yeast into the bowl.
  2. In a large bowl mix oil,egg,milk and water.
  3. Add wet ingredients  to the flour.
  4. Mix into a dough, kneed until smooth.
  5. Leave to rise in a clean bowl covered by a clean tea-towel. 
  6. Once dough has doubled in size (depends on how warm your kitchen is) knock in down.
  7. Split the dough into two pieces.
  8. Roll the dough out to a rectangle, spread soft butter and spread half the sugar cinnamon and raisins over the dough.
  9. Roll the dough as tight as you can into a swiss roll shape. Cut in to 2cm slices.
  10. Lay flat on grease proof paper and brush all over with butter.  Leave to rise for 30mins.
  11. preheat oven to 190c. 
  12. cook for approx 20mins.

Small boy prone on the floor is protesting at the fact I won't let him empty the cupboard or eat a red hot cinnamon roll!

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Perfect dinner for a cold wet windy day

in London!

This is my one of husbands favorite dinners. Its very easy and warming dinner. This dinner can be found all over Turkey in cafes and homes. I guess is the Shepherds pie of Turkey! Traditionally it should be cooked on the hob but I use the slowcooker for ease and the meat is lovely!

Etli Kuru Fasulye

400 g butter beans
300 lamb meat, chopped into small 1cmx1cm cubes
2 onions, chopped
2 tbsp oil
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 red pepper/green pepper, chopped
¼ tsp chili red pepper flakes (optional)
1 tbsp salt to taste
1 cup hot water

Wash beans, place them in a pot and cover with water approx 2cm above the beans. Leave them in water overnight or for at least 12 hours. Once 12 hours or longer! has passed keep the water and cook over a medium heat for approx 20 mins.

In another pot, saute the cubed lamb in oil till they are brown. Then add onions and saute for 2-3 minutes over medium heat. Stir in tomato paste, chilli and peppers. Add one cup of hot water and the remaining salt, and then simmer briefly for 10 mins.Put beans in slow cooker along with contents of the other pot. Keep an eye that the sauce doesn't become too runny. It should have a slightly thick soup consistency.

serve with rice (thanks rice cooker...)

Finally made a very nice home made mini loaf and rolls! Chuffed isn't the word. I have tried so many times and they have never worked. After googling and asking advice I ditched the tins and just did free form rolls and a loaf. I rarely use the American cup system but for this recipe I do.

1 1/2 cups of very hot water. I used boiled water that has cooled in the kettle for 5 mins.
1/2 teaspoons of honey (mild tasting)
1 1/2 teaspoons of yeast (I use hovis)
1 teaspoon of salt
1 tablespoon of oil (I used olive oil)
1 1/2 strong brown bread flour
plain white flour add as needed
1 egg
optional: seeds, sesame or nigella seeds

Put water into a pyrex bowl whisk in honey. Add yeast by sprinkling across the top/surface of the water. Cover with a clean tea towel. Leave for approx 5 mins.

Add one and a half a cups of brown bread flour, whisk it into the mixture

Add oil and salt

Add 1/2 plain white flour, mix

Add 1/2 brown flour

Add 1/2 white

mixture should become sticker and harder to mix

from now on add white flour in 1/2 measures until the dough cannot be mixed with your spoon and forms a ball. You should be able to pull the spoon out without the dough sticking to the spoon.

flour your work surface and put dough on the surface. Kneed the dough add flour if the dough is sticky, don't over flour.

In a clean bowl oil lightly and swirl dough in the bowl cover up for 40-50 mins

1st rise punch it down in the bowl, cover again and leave for 40-50 mins

take the dough and kneed again. split your dough into small rolls for your first batch I make 5/6 rolls and a little mini loaf. Take care folding the ends of your rolls under to make them smooth and tidy

Score your loafs to make it look nice. Then egg wash and add seads if desired.

Place on baking sheet on grease proof paper.

Oven should be around 180c and cook rolls for 35mins and mini loaf for 40/50 mins

Tap the bottom of the rolls/loaf and it should sound hollow. You can check bread is not like cakes you won't ruin it but checking!

I mastered this over Christmas and have made bread 9 time so far LOL

New year, new start!

Well I have blogged on and off for a while. Keep deleting and re-editing and deleting a bit more. This time I will just post random stuff, rants and things that interest me! For the record I can't spell and grammar was never my strong point.

About me, I'm 32 with two boys married for a while! Been very rocky and amazing at the same time. New baby was a shock,  said baby is 5 now... Work partime as a nurse while hubby works 90hrs running his own business. Hopefully this year will see a change in working hours.

This year I would like to learn more cooking skills and basic sewing skills! Could add stop biting my nails rah, rah, rah, but its never gonna happen.