RECIPE: Loaded Potato Skins with Soured Cream and Chive Dip

skins 1

Pre-recipe warning, this one is not good for the waistline. However, it is absolutely delicious! This is the sort of comfort food that you can serve at any time of the year and as either a starter or a main meal, depending on the size of the portion. Here is an easy recipe for loaded potato skins that makes 24 skins. 

Ingredients for Loaded Potato Skins

  • 6 large white potatoes
  • 250g hard cheese, such as Cheddar, grated
  • 6 rashers of bacon
  • To serve- soured cream and chives

How to Make Loaded Potato Skins

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/ gas mark 4.
  2. Wash and dry the potatoes and put on a baking tray.
  3. Put the tray in the oven and cook for approximately 45 minutes or until the skins are beginning to brown and the potatoes feel soft when you squeeze them (using an oven glove). 
  4. 10 minutes before the potatoes are cooked, add the rashers of bacon to another baking tray and put in the oven so they are cooked and ready to remove at the same time as the potatoes.Turn off the oven.
  5. Leave the potatoes on the side to cool and break your bacon into small pieces. 
  6. When the potatoes are cooled, cut in half.
  7. Scoop out most of the soft potato flesh to leave hollow skins with just a thin layer of potato. (See tip for ways to use the leftover potato).
  8. Turn on your deep fat fryer and set to around 180C.
  9. While this is heating, cut the potatoes lengthways so that each potato skin is a quarter of a potato. 
  10. Fry the potato skins in batches for five minutes until browned and crispy and then transfer onto the baking tray. 
  11. Sprinkle over the cheese and pieces of bacon.
  12. Turn on the grill and place the loaded potato skins under for long enough to melt the cheese.
  13. Serve the skins with a dollop of soured cream sprinkled with chopped chives. 

TIPS

Don’t waste the potato filling! There are plenty of things you can do with it. Since cooking the loaded potato skins yesterday, I have made crunchy tuna fishcakes for tea tonight. You can also mash it up to serve with meat or as a topping for a fish pie or cottage pie. 

 

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RECIPE: Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Lemon and Garlic Butter

caulif 1

Over the past couple of months, I have heard several celebrity chefs raving about whole roasted cauliflowers on various television series. As my family loves cauliflower, it is something I have been meaning to try for a while. I did a bit of recipe research on the Internet and then developed my own idea for a recipe last night. This is now tried and tested and was a big hit with my clan. It also smells amazing while it is cooking. Here is a simple recipe for a whole roasted cauliflower with lemon and garlic butter.

Ingredients for Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Lemon and Garlic Butter

  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 50g butter
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

How to Make Whole Roasted Lemon and Garlic Butter

  1. Preheat oven to 180C/gas mark 4.
  2. Remove the leaves and the base of the stalk from the cauliflower and sit in an ovenproof dish.
  3. Put the butter in a dish and melt in the microwave on a medium setting for one minute.
  4. Add the crushed garlic, lemon zest, and lemon juice to the butter.
  5. Drizzle the mixture over the top of the cauliflower.
  6. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  7. Cover the ovenproof dish in kitchen foil and put in the oven for 30 minutes.
  8. Take the dish out of the oven and remove the kitchen foil.
  9. Using oven gloves, tip the dish slightly so the butter pools in the lower section of the dish.
  10. Use a spoon to scoop up the juices and drizzle over the top of the cauliflower. 
  11. Return to the oven without the foil for a further 15 minutes or until the top of the cauliflower is beginning to brown.
  12. Serve either whole on a plate for people to help themselves or broken into florets and added to their plates. 
  13. Drizzle over any remaining lemon and garlic butter.

 

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’.

10 Great Dips and Accompaniments to Try This Summer

tom dip

 

As the warmer months are approaching, you will probably want some lighter meals to enjoy and may even consider eating outdoors as a family or inviting guests around to your home. If so, dips and accompaniments are ideal for serving along with crudites, homemade flatbreads, breadsticks, and snacks. Here are ten great dips and accompaniments to try this summer. 

  1. Bean Dip
  2. Spicy Tomato Dip
  3. Baba Ganoush
  4. Salsa
  5. Mango Salsa
  6. Raita
  7. Guacamole
  8. Blue Cheese Dip
  9. Humous
  10. Funky red cabbage slaw

RECIPE: Easy Bean Dip

bean dip

This easy bean dip is a tasty but low-fat option to serve on a buffet or as a snack. It is surprisingly quick and simple to make and the result is delicious considering the lack of effort required to make this dip. Here is an easy recipe for bean dip. 

Ingredients for Bean Dip

  • 1 x 400g tin of chickpeas
  • 1 x 400g tin of cannellini beans. 
  • 4 heaped tablespoons plain yoghurt
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp ground cumin

How to Make Bean Dip

  1. Put half the beans and chickpeas into a food processor with the yoghurt, lemon juice, cumin, and garlic.
  2. Blitz into a smooth paste. 
  3. Add the remaining beans and chickpeas along with the lemon zest.
  4. Blitz only quickly to get a chunky bean dip. 
  5. Serve with crudites, flatbreads, or other dipping ingredients. 

 

 

 

10 Easy Soup Recipes to Try This Year

 

Recently, I have added quite a few soup recipes to the blog. There are a few reasons why I love cooking soup so often. These are:

  • Cheap to make
  • Easy to cook
  • Lots of variations
  • Great for using up leftovers
  • A good way of getting children to eat veg
  • Healthy and nutritious
  • Cook in advance and freeze

I have decided to post links to all ten of my recent soup posts so that they are easy to find on my blog and you can try whichever one takes your fancy. Here are my ten favourite soups from the blog so far.

Celery and Apple Soup

Vegetable Soup

Spinach and Potato Soup

Tomato, Courgette and Bell Pepper Soup

Mushroom Soup

Pea and Ham

Curried Parsnip Soup

Carrot and Coriander Soup

Leek and Potato Soup

Bloody Mary Tomato Soup

 

 

 

RECIPE: Bloody Mary Tomato Soup

tomato soup 2

One of the most popular varieties of soup is tomato and there are many variations on this classic. Some which offer levels of spice and other variations that are rich and creamy. A bloody Mary tomato soup is an interesting twist on the traditional soup as it includes the flavors of the alcoholic drink the Bloody Mary. This soup is delicious served either hot or cold, so it is perfect no matter what the time of year. Here is an easy recipe for Bloody Mary tomato soup. 

Ingredients for Bloody Mary Tomato Soup

  • 1 kg ripe tomatoes, halved
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2 sticks of celery, chopped
  • 1 miniature vodka
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 250 ml vegetable stock
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and black pepper

How to Make Bloody Mary Tomato Soup

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C.
  2. Put the halved tomatoes on a baking tray. Season with salt and black pepper, drizzle over 2 tbsp of olive and cook in the oven for 20 minutes, turning once halfway through cooking.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the other tbsp of olive oil in a large pan on the hob. 
  4. Add the celery, onion, and garlic to the pan. Cook for 10 minutes until softened. 
  5. Remove the tomatoes from the oven and put in a food processor with the onion, garlic, and celery. 
  6. Add a little of the stock and blitz. 
  7. Repeat, adding a little more of the stock at a time until you have used all the vegetable stock.
  8. Transfer back to the pan and add the Worcestershire sauce, vodka, and lemon juice. 
  9. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  10. Cook for ten minutes and serve immediately if eating hot.
  11. If serving cold or saving for later, allow the soup to cool before transferring to a container and storing in the refrigerator.