Posts Tagged ‘Annabel Karmel’

One of the good things about having a Granny (either one!) visiting is the offer of dinner on the table when we get home. I love to cook but now and then it is such a treat to have one of our Mum’s cooking – especially as they live on the other side of the world. On the menu is Tuna Pasta Bake – a great way of getting all sorts of goodies into children!! The only problem I find with this type of recipe is it is a bit more butter & cheese than I like to use in a mid week meal. I particularly like the use of tomato soup in this though – gives it a creamy feel without the cream.

Tuna Pasta Bake (courtesy of Annabel Karmel – Family Cookbook Summer 2009)


150g fusilli

25g butter

1/2 onion, peeled & finely chopped

1 Tbsp cornflour

120ml water

400g tin tomato soup

Pinch of mixed herbs

1-2 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

200g tin tuna, drained & flaked

Salt & freshly ground black pepper

For the sauce:

1/2 onion peeled & finely chopped

25g butter

2 level Tbsp plain flour

300ml milk

50g baby spinach, chopped

85g Cheddar cheese, grated

Preheat the oven to 180C. Boil the pasta until al dente, then drain and refresh in cold water to stop it from overcooking.

Melt the butter in a saucepan and saute the onion until soft. Stir the cornflour into the water until dissolved, then add to the pan along with the tomato soup. Bring to the boil, add the herbs, then cook gently, stirring, for five minutes. Mix in the flaked tuna and heat through. Season to taste.

To make the sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan and saute the onion until transparent. Add the flour and stir well. Gradually pour in the milk and keep stirring until the sauce is thick and smooth. Add the chopped spinach and stir until wilted.

Mix the pasta with the tuna and tomato sauce, then pour into a greased serving dish. Finish with the spinach sauce and top with the grated cheddar cheese.

Bake for 25 minutes until golden.

Granny’s suggestion on this is that you only make one sauce and I can’t help but agree – seems a little fussy to be making two. I would also prefer for the spinach to the be mixed throughout the pasta bake rather than sitting on top. With the 2 sauces it does give a nice topping but for a mid week meal time is of the essence. Next time I will try it with one sauce so will need to experiment with modifications to the recipe above. Some sweetcorn mixed in could be yummy too.

Tasted scrummy and was a hit with Izzy too! Thanks Granny 🙂



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So another week is in full swing. I don’t know where the time is going lately – whooossshhhh another week gone!! I was a bit lazy last night and although I had every intention of getting to the supermarket I ended up sitting on the sofa and doing an online shop. I think online groceries is one of the greatest inventions ever!!! I justify the delivery charge by the savings I make by not browsing the aisles plus this way I do not have to walk up and own the same aisle 4 times looking for that one ingredient that has been hidden in some obscure place!!! So, 6.30 on the dot Mr Ocado was knocking on the door and it was time to cook dinner.

I came across this recipe a couple of weeks ago and have been meaning to try it. It turned out to be a great family meal – really tasty and Izzy devoured it. We found Izzy really enjoyed trying the chopsticks too – just adds that element of fun!

Vietnamese Chicken & Noodle Salad (courtesy of Annabel Karmel Family Cookbook Summer 2009)

Serves 2 (I doubled the dressing and didn’t bother measuring out the ingredients)


For the dressing

1 Tbsp sugar

1 1/2 tsp rice wine vinegar

1 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice

1 1/2 Tbsp soy sauce

For the salad

100g fine egg noodles, cooked

1 clove garlic, crushed

50g mangetout, finely sliced

1/2 carrot, cut into juliennes

1 cooked chicken breast

To make the dressing, combine the sugar, rice wine vinegar, lemon juice and soy sauce in a small bowl.

For the salad, mix together the cooked noodles, garlic, spring onions, mangetout, carrot and shredded chicken in a large bowl, then add the dressing and stir well and serve immediately.


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Not too much happening here tonight. I had an afternoon at the races (came out pretty even so all good!) and so James & Izzy had to fend for themselves – no problem there.

However I did decide to make up some very quick and super easy Apricot & White Chocolate cereal bars from an Annabel Karmel magazine. I am not a purist when it comes to children’s food. I don’t want to make anything forbidden but I do want to encourage moderation (need to lead by example I think so will have to work on that). Plus if Izzy is going to eat something that perhaps is not so healthy I prefer to know I have made it myself then I know exactly what’s in it even if it is a mountain of butter!!

These cereal bars can be whipped up in 10 mins flat and just popped in the fridge.

Here’s the recipe………

Apricot & White Chocolate Cereal Bars (Annabel Karmel)


150g rolled oats

50g rice krispies

50g dried apricots, chopped

50g pecans, chopped

100g unsalted butter

85g golden syrup

75g white chocolate, broken into pieces

pinch of salt

Combine the oats, rice krispies, chopped apricots and pecans in a mixing bowl. Put the butter, golden syrup, white chocolate and a pinch of salt in a large saucepan and heat gently, stirring occasionally until melted together. Stir the oat and rice krispie mixture into the melted chocolate mixture until well coated.


Press the mixture into a shallow 28 x 18cm tin lined with parchment baking paper, using a potato masher to level the surface. Place in the fridge to set. Cut into bars using a sharp knife and store in the fridge.


James has already taste tested and given them the thumbs up!

Was just talking to Meredith too and we were chatting about making ice blocks or ice creams for the kids and she suggested pineapple and coconut milk blended together and then frozen. I just happen to have some left over pineapple in the fridge and coconut milk in the cupboard so I am off to try it out!

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I am a big fan of Jamie Oliver, get past all the ‘pukka’ and the media image and you have someone who loves food and knows how to get us excited about producing healthy and delicious meals. I have all his cook books and refer to them all the time for family meals & dinner parties as well as breads, pasta and pizza dough.

Lately I have been regularly referring to ‘Jamie’s Ministry of Food’ as there are some great quick recipes which are perfect for mid week meals.  Tonight I made the ‘Spicy Moroccan Stewed Fish with Couscous’. It is the second time I have made it and seriously, it just could not be easier. I left out the chilli and just added a wee bit of mild chilli powder as I didn’t want to lose the taste but needed to keep the heat down for Izzy. It was a success for James & I and a semi success for Izzy – she ate quite a bit but without her usual gusto. The recipe says serves 2 but it was enough for James, Izzy and I and there is still a portion leftover.

The recipe is as follows:-

Spicy Moroccan Stewed Fish with Couscous (courtesy of Jamie Oliver ‘Ministry of Food’)


150g couscous

olive oil

2 lemons

sea salt & freshly ground black pepper

2 cloves of garlic

1 fresh red chilli

a bunch of basil

1 teaspoon of whole cumin seeds

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 x 150g white fish fillets, skin off and bones removed

200g king prawns, raw & peeled (I used ready cooked)

1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes

2 handfuls of fresh & frozen peas, broad beans or green beans (or use a mixture)

Put the couscous into a bowl and add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. Halve the lemons and squeeze in the juice from two of the halves. Add a pinch of salt & pepper. Pour in just enough boiling water to cover the couscous, then cover the bowl with a plate or clingfilm. Let the couscous soak up the water for 10 minutes.

Get a large saucepan on a medium heat. Peel & finely slice garlic. Finely slice your chilli. Pick the bail leaves off the stalks. Put the smaller ones to one side and roughly chop the larger ones. Add a couple of lugs of olive oil to the hot pan. Add the garlic, chilli, basil, cumin seeds and cinnamon. Give it all a stir and put the fish fillets on top. Scatter over the prawns. Add the tinned tomatoes and the peas and beans. Squeeze in the juice from the two remaining lemon halves. Put a lid on the pan. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down to a simmer and cook for about 8 minutes, or unti the fish is cooked through, and flakes easily. Taste, and season with salt & pepper.

By the time the fish is cooked, the couscous should have sucked up all the water and be ready to serve. Spoon the couscous into a large serving bowl and give it a stir with a fork to help it fluff up. Top with the fish, vegetables and juices from the pan, sprinkle with the reserved basil leaves and tuck in!

Couscous topped with.......

Couscous topped with.......

.....spicy Moroccan stewed fish.

.....spicy Moroccan stewed fish.

I have also put some jelly in the fridge to set for Izzy. I have done these a few times and most of the time they have been a success. Just once they refused to set. I didn’t have quite enough gelatine so reduced the liquid as well. It is so easy and has to better than jelly packets!

Home-Made Fruit Jelly (courtesy of Annabel Karmel, New Complete Baby and Toddler Meal Planner)


600ml cranberry & raspberry juice (or any other raspberry juice)

4 sheets of gelatine

2 Tbsp caster sugar

125g fresh raspberries

Place half of the juice in a small saucepan and heat until just at boiling point. Remove from the heat and stir in the gelatine and caster sugar until dissolved. If not completely dissolved, stir over a low heat but do not boil. Pour this into the remaining cold juice and then pour into a serving dish and stir in the raspberries. Refrigerate until set.


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