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Ideal Home Show – Kids’ Recipes

After a fun day doing cookery demos at the London Ideal Home Show 2011, I thought I would post the recipes I did. They all went really well – with minimal hiccups (okay so the Ham and Sweetcorn Pancakes were a little too ‘golden’ but still tasted great!). The theme was ‘yummy Mummy’ so for anyone cooking for the kids and family, you’ll love these. In addition to the recipes below, I also did Italian Baked Meatballs


These are great for a ‘food on the move’ snack when you’re in the car or out and about, as they shouldn’t crumble into a million pieces. The kids (and you) will love the juicy raisins and zesty orange flavour and you can feel happy knowing that they are tucking into a treat that isn’t totally unhealthy. This is also a brilliant recipe for the children to get involved in making.

makes 20 muffins

200g wholemeal self-raising flour (or 100g white and 100g wholemeal self-raising flour)
2 tsp baking powder
100g soft brown sugar
finely grated zest of 1 large orange
125g raisins
3 tbsp sunflower oil
2 large eggs
250ml natural yoghurt
1-2 tbsp demerara sugar
Preheat the oven to 190ºC/fan 170ºC/gas 5.

Place 20 fairy cake cases in a patty tin.

Stir together the flour, baking powder, soft brown sugar, orange zest and raisins. Add the oil, eggs and yoghurt and mix until just combined. Try not to over mix otherwise the muffins won’t rise as well when cooking. Spoon into the cake cases and scatter demerara sugar over each one.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the muffins have risen and are golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool slightly before eating warm, or to eat later, leave the muffins until cool and store in an airtight container for a couple of days. You can also freeze the muffins, and defrost at room temperature before eating.


This soup is a really simple and very quick recipe that’s ideal  for when you’re short of supplies but still want to serve a healthy homemade meal to the family. To accompany the soup the children will love the pancakes, especially if they help make them.

serves 2 adults and about 8 children’s portions

for the soup:

2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
800ml chicken or vegetable stock
500g frozen peas
100g cream cheese or mascarpone
handful of basil leaves (optional)

for the pancakes:

200g plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3 eggs, beaten
100ml milk
300g tin of sweetcorn, drained
2-3 slices of ham, finely chopped
4 spring onions, chopped
olive oil

To make the soup, heat the olive oil in a saucepan and sauté the onion for about 5 minutes until it’s softened but not coloured. Add the stock, increase the heat and as soon as it is boiling, stir in the peas. Return to the boil and cook for 3 minutes. Stir in the cream cheese or mascarpone and season with a little salt and pepper if you wish. Stir in the basil leaves, if using.

Blitz the soup in a food processor, blender or using a hand blender until smooth.

To make the pancakes, beat together the flour, baking powder, eggs and milk until you have a smooth batter. Stir in the sweetcorn, ham, spring onion, and some seasoning.

Heat a little olive oil in a non-stick frying pan or pancake pan. Drop 2 tablespoons of batter per pancake into the pan and cook as many as will fit comfortably, for a couple of minutes until bubbles rise to the surface and the bases are golden. Carefully turn over and cook for a further 2 minutes, again until the bases are golden.

Keep warm while you continue with the remaining batter, adding more oil to the pan as you go.

Serve the pancakes with the warm soup either in bowls or mugs.

Salmon Tikka Skewers


I thought I would make something nice and light for dinner this evening as I’ve a couple of girl friends over for a few drinks and catch up. This recipe is ideal to serve as it’s simple enough to prepare while we are having a gossip, perfect for my friend who’s on a health kick.

serves 4


600-800g  thick salmon fillets, skinned
2 heaped tbsp tandoori curry paste
250ml  low-fat natural yoghurt
1 bunch of mint
1 bunch coriander
1tbsp olive oil
Juice of ½ lemon
½ cucumber
1 ripe mango
1 red onion, finely sliced
4 chapatis, warmed to serve

Cut the salmon into cubes and mix with the curry paste and 2tbsp of the yoghurt. If you have time, marinade for 30 minutes.

For the dressing, put the rest of the yoghurt in a small bowl. Finely chop half the mint and half the coriander, keeping the rest of the herbs for the salad. Mix into the yoghurt with 1tbsp olive oil and the lemon juice. Season and set aside.

For the salad, cut the cucumber in half lengthways and thinly slice each half on an angle. Peel the mango and cut the flesh into strips. Mix with the onion and remaining mint and coriander leaves.

Heat a griddle or frying pan to a high heat and brush with a little olive oil. Thread the salmon cubes onto skewers and cook for about 1½ minutes on each side, until cooked through.

Place a warmed chapatti on each plate and top each with the salmon skewers, dressing and salad


Extremely Simple Beef and Ale Casserole

I can’t bear this cold weather again. I keep thinking we are heading for some warmer day’s but yet again – today is a chilly one. I have just raided the freezer and seen I have some stewing beef needing to be used, so tonight we will be having my failsafe casserole for dinner. It’s from my In the Mood for Food book, under the Comfort food chapter – and that’s exactly what it is. A hug in the form of a casserole.


The best thing about this casserole is that there is virtually nothing to do. Fry a few onions, add the rest of the casserole ingredients and let it cook while you get on with your jobs, or simply do absolutely nothing! The only bit of effort required is to throw together the fluffy dumplings. Tuck into the casserole either just as it is or with some buttery cabbage or curly kale.

takes 2 hours to cook

in the mood for a drink? a pale ale is ideal

serves four

for the casserole
2 tablespoons sunflower or vegetable oil
2 large onions, thickly sliced
750g braising steak, cut into 2–3cm cubes
3 tablespoons plain flour
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 sticks of celery, sliced
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 tablespoons demerara sugar
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons tomato purée
500ml ale

for the dumplings

75g self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting
75g fresh white breadcrumbs
75g butter, cubed
1 tbsp hot horseradish sauce
2 teaspoons thyme leaves
1 egg, lightly beaten
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 160ºC/fan 140ºC/gas 2–3.

Heat the oil in a large casserole and add the onion. Cook until they are starting to colour.

Toss the beef in the flour and season well with salt and pepper. This can either be done in a bowl or, to make the job really easy, toss together in a large freezer bag. Add to the casserole with all of the remaining casserole ingredients. Stir to mix everything together, and then bring to the boil. Cover with a lid and place in the oven for 11/2 hours.

When the casserole is close to the end of the cooking time, you can make the dumplings. Place the flour, breadcrumbs and butter in a food processor and blitz to a crumb consistency. Add the horseradish, thyme, egg and seasoning. Briefly blitz until the mixture forms a fairly moist dough. Using floured hands, shape the dough into eight balls.

After 11/2 hours, remove the casserole from the oven and sit the dumplings on top of the meat. Sprinkle their tops with a few flakes of salt and return the casserole to the oven for a further 30 minutes, without the lid this time.

Serve the casserole just as it is or with some lovely buttery cabbage or curly kale.


You don’t have to make the dumplings to go with the casserole, mash or baked potatoes are a great accompaniment. Alternatively, if you want to transform the casserole into a pie, bake for 11/2 hours, transfer to a pie dish and top with ready-rolled puff or shortcrust pastry. Brush with a little milk or egg yolk and bake at 200ºC/fan 180ºC/gas 6 for 25 to 30 minutes until golden.

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