WATCH: Fun Food Hacks for Vegans

Although I am not a vegan, I am a fan of eating plenty of fruit and vegetables in my diet and trying new things. I also make a couple of meals per week that are plant-based meals and am always on the lookout for new ideas. Today, I came across this interesting video of food hacks for vegans. I thought it may interest not only vegans but also people who enjoy vegetarian food and those who are trying to reduce the amount of meat they include in their diet. 

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RECIPE: Ham, Mushroom, Cheese and Leek Pie

 

ham pie 3

When I cook a ham joint, I make a joint large enough to last for two meals. I use the leftover ham in lots of different ways and this week, I created a new dish that I have mot made for my family before. It was a hit with everyone and my teenager even described it as restaurant quality. Therefore, it is a dish that I will make again and wanted to share on my blog. It is a ham, mushroom, cheese and leek pie. This might start a bit of a debate about what constitutes a pie; whether it should be completely encased in pastry or just have a pastry lid. Strictly speaking, I would argue that the former is true, but this recipe just has a pastry lid as it is quicker to make and I am a busy working mum. However, you can adapt this recipe by making more pastry and creating a pie that encompasses the filling with the pastry. Here is my simple recipe for how to make ham, mushroom, cheese, and leek pie.

Recipe for Shortcrust Pastry

  • 8 oz plain flour
  • 4 oz lard
  • 4 oz butter
  • Salt
  • 1 beaten egg for glaze

Recipe for Ham, Mushroom, Cheese, and Leek Pie Filling

  • Leftover ham- approximately three slices, shredded
  • 10 button mushrooms, quartered or sliced
  • I leek, finely sliced
  • 4 oz cheese, grated
  • 1 x 400g tin of condensed mushroom soup
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 2 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 oz butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Black pepper to season

How to Make Ham, Mushroom, Cheese, and Leek Pie

  1. Prepare the pastry using this recipe (see here) and then keep in the fridge until ready to roll.
  2. Preheat the over to 180/ gas mark 4.
  3. Add the butter and olive oil to a large pan and put over a medium heat.
  4. Add the sliced leeks and mushrooms to the pan and cook until softened.
  5. Add the condensed soup and milk and bring to the simmer.
  6. Add the shredded ham, parsley, cheese, and black pepper.
  7. Cook for a further five minutes.
  8. Transfer the mixture to a large oven dish.
  9. Roll out the pastry and then cover the dish.
  10. Use a pastry brush to glaze the pastry with the beaten egg.
  11. Transfer the pie to the oven for 15-20 minutes or until the pie is golden brown.
  12. Serve with your choice of potatoes and veg.

I served this with princess potatoes, broccoli and carrots.

 

 

 

 

The Things My Children Observe and Learn in the Kitchen

s in the kitchen

I love cooking with my children, even though it is something I have been criticized for in the past. In my opinion, cooking is also a great way of teaching your children a variety of new skills. Spending time with them in the kitchen is a great way for them to observe and learn and is also something that they enjoy!

The most obvious skill they learn is how to cook. It astounds me how many people reach adulthood without having learned to cook because nobody taught them when they were growing up. Not everyone is going to become a brilliant cook, but there are basic skills that everyone should learn so they can make themselves a simple, healthy, and nutritious meal.

There are many other skills that children can learn in the kitchen. For example, the whole process of cooking is quite scientific and reading instructions from an ingredient packet or recipe book is an easy way to get them reading without them noticing. There are some great opportunities to teach them math skills, too. Measuring, temperature, and counting all come into preparing food at some stage.

More important than any educational lesson I can teach my children in the kitchen is the value of spending time together as a family. Meal times are family times in my house and this goes from the meal preparation to dining together. It is the only time of the day when we are all in the same room and it is when we share the events of our days. 

boys at tea

 

Written in response to the prompt ‘observe’.

Are You An Elaborate Chef or a Simple Cook?

foodie frog

Everyone has their own style of cooking and there are several factors that contribute to this. I think one of the main factors is an individual’s thoughts on the process of cooking. Some people see it simply as a means to an end while others consider it as one of their hobbies as it is something they love so much. The former will generally just choose something that is easy to cook while the latter prefers to carefully select their ingredients, spend time using a variety of cooking techniques, and presenting plates of food in a visually appealing manner.

Life experiences can also impact on your style of cooking and the types of food you like to cook. If you cooked with your parents or grandparents as a child, then they are probably a major influence on how you cook today. Similarly, if you have traveled to various locations across the globe and sampled a variety of cuisine, then it is likely that you are more willing to experiment with different flavours in the kitchen to recreate the dishes you have experienced during your travels.

Lifestyle factors can also play an important role. For example, I have worked in the catering industry, grew up cooking, and have international influences, so I am fairly experienced in the kitchen and have the capacity to cook elaborate dishes. However, I am also a working mother of a large family and a house that still needs a lot of work. Therefore, I regularly make simple dishes just to feed everyone in the limited amount of time available.

Overall, I would say I am somewhere in between an elaborate chef and a simple cook, depending on the situation and my mood. I am interested to know, which best describes you?

Written in response to the Daily Prompt ‘Elaborate’ on The Daily Post.

RECIPE: Wholemeal Flatbreads

hummus

Flatbreads are an accompaniment many cuisines from around the world and are given a variety of names, such as tortillas and chapatis. If you make the soft variety, they are fantastic for wiping up dishes with sauce, such as curries. When made crisp and cut into pieces, they are ideal for serving with dips, such as guacamole, baba ganoush, or houmous. They are also budget-friendly and quick to make. Many people prefer to make the wholemeal varieties of flatbreads for the additional health benefits. Here is how to make flatbreads for six people.

Ingredients for Wholemeal Flatbreads

  • 7 oz/ 200g wholemeal flour
  • 3 1/2 fl oz/ 100 ml warm water
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2tbsp olive oil (plus additional oil for cooking)

How to Make Wholemeal Flatbreads

  1. Put the flour and salt into a bowl.
  2. Slowly add the water while stirring in with your hand to create a dough.
  3. Sprinkle some flour onto your work surface and put the dough on the flour.
  4. Add the olive oil to the dough and knead for five minutes.
  5. Divide the dough into six balls.
  6. Roll each dough ball into a round, flat shape.
  7. Heat a little oil in a small frying pan and spread around the pan using kitchen paper.
  8. Cook each flatbread for two minutes on each side until it puffs up a little and has some brown patches from contact with the pan.
  9. If you want soft flatbreads, you can now serve.
  10. For crisp flatbreads, brush each flatbread with a little oil before baking for five minutes in the oven.
  11. Cut into pieces and serve.

RECIPE: Flatbreads

middle-east-flat-bread-671234_960_720

Flatbreads are served as part of many cuisines from across the globe and are given a variety of names. While soft, they are fantastic for wiping up dishes with sauce, such as curries. When made crisp and cut into pieces, they are the perfect accompaniment to dips, such as guacamole, baba ganoush, or houmous. They are also budget-friendly and quick to make. Here is how to make flatbreads for six people. 

Ingredients for Flatbreads

  • 7 oz/ 200g plain flour
  • 3 1/2 fl oz/ 100 ml warm water
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2tbsp olive oil (plus additional oil for cooking)

How to Make Flatbreads

  1. Put the flour and salt into a bowl.
  2. Slowly add the water while stirring in with your hand to create a dough.
  3. Sprinkle some flour onto your work surface and put the dough on the flour.
  4. Add the olive oil to the dough and knead for five minutes.
  5. Divide the dough into six balls.
  6. Roll each dough ball into a round, flat shape.
  7. Heat a little oil in a small frying pan and spread around the pan using kitchen paper. 
  8. Cook each flatbread for two minutes on each side until it puffs up a little and has some brown patches from contact with the pan. 
  9. If you want soft flatbreads, you can now serve.
  10. For crisp flatbreads, brush each flatbread with a little oil before baking for five minutes in the oven. 
  11. Cut into pieces and serve. 

 

 

 

 

 

RECIPE: Traditional Apple Crumble

crumble mix

One of my go-to desserts is an apple crumble. If I need to make a pudding fast that is a crowd pleaser, then this is always my recipe of choice. I make it so often that I do not need to look at the recipe myself now as it is so easy to make. For crumble novices, here is how to make a traditional apple crumble. 

Crumble Mix Recipe

  • 8 oz/ 225 g plain flour
  • 4 oz/ 110 g butter
  • 2 oz/ 60 g caster sugar

Apple Filling Recipe

  • 1 lb / 450g apples
  • 2 oz/ 50 g unrefined brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • Pinch of cinnamon 

How to Make a Crumble Mix

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C/ 350 F/ gas mark 4. 
  2. Weigh out the flour and transfer to a mixing bowl.
  3. Weigh the butter and cut into cubes before adding to the flour.
  4. Rub the butter and flour between your fingers to create ‘crumbs’.
  5. Weigh the sugar and add to the mixing bowl.
  6. Continue to rub the mixture together.
  7. Peel core and chop the apples into small pieces.
  8. Put the apple pieces in a large bowl and sprinkle with the sugar, flour, and cinnamon. Stir so all the apple pieces are coated. 
  9. Transfer the fruit mix to an ovenproof dish.
  10. Cover the fruit with the crumble mix.
  11.  Put in the oven and cook for 40 minutes, or until the crumble mix is golden.