Posts Tagged ‘Tana Ramsay’

Saturday Mornings

It has fast become a Saturday tradition that while Mummy enjoys a lie in Daddy & Izzy head off to swimming lessons (Izzy’s not Daddy’s!) at the local leisure centre. Mummy then has a leisurely start to the day and unless plans dictate otherwise I can still be found in my dressing gown in the later part of the morning….however crucial to this process is the muffin baking which Izzy has now come to expect on her return from swimming – either baked, in the oven or ready to make together. It’s a nice tradition and I get to try out different muffin recipes each week. Its a win-win situation!

Last week was Apricot & Oatbran muffins courtesy of Tana Ramsay. Now I will provide the recipe but I don’t think it really works (sorry Tana!) but 250g butter in a muffin recipe? I should have listened to my instinct but I didn’t and I ended up with butter dripping through the muffin cases pooling in the muffin tin and under the cooling rack. I will try them again but will reduce butter to 150g and see what happens then.

Apricot & Oatbran Muffins (courtesy of Tana Ramsay – Family Kitchen)


100g dried apricots

1 unwaxed lemon, zested and juiced

100g plain flour

75g oatbran

1 tsp baking powder

250g (?!?!) butter / margarine

4 large free range eggs, beaten

1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional)

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Start by blitzing the apricots in the food processor with the lemon juice & zest. If you don’t have a food processor, simply cut the apricots as finely as you can and mix together with the lemon.

In another bowl mix together the flour, oatbran & baking powder.

Ideally with an electric mixer or, if not, an electric hand whisk, beat the butter & sugar together until white and fluffy. With the motor running, gradually add the beaten eggs.

Turn off the mixer and add half the flour, oatbran and baking powder mixture. Turn on the mixture to its lowest setting until the flour mixture is just mixed in. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl and add the remaining flour mixture and cinnamon. Mix gently until it is all incorporated.

Switch the mixer off again and add the mushed-up apricots and lemons.

Put the muffin cases into the tin, then spoon the mixture into 12 muffin cases. Bake for 20 minutes.

This week I turned to a perfect little book full of lovely Muffin goodness – ‘Muffin Magic’  and skimmed the pages for a recipe that matched up with the ingredients already in the cupboard – Pecans? – tick, Maple syrup? – tick, all the usual baking ingredients? – tick………………

Spiced Maple & Pecan Munchies (courtesy of Susannah Blake – Muffin Magic)


300g self raising flour

1 tsp baking powder

125g caster sugar

1/2 tsp mixed spice

75g pecan nuts, roughly chopped, plus extra for sprinkling

2 eggs, beaten

75ml milk

100ml yoghurt

4 Tbsp maple syrup

85g butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 190C. Grease or line a 12 hole muffin pan.

Combine the flour, baking powder, sugar & mixed spic and sift into a large bowl, then add the nuts.

In a separate bowl or jug, combine the eggs, milk, yoghurt and syrup, then stir in the butter. Pour into the dry ingredients and stir together until just mixed. Spoon big dollops of the mixture into the prepared muffin pan and sprinkle over a few more chopped pecan nuts.

Bake for about 20 minutes until risen and golden. Leave to cool in the pan for a few minutes, the transfer to a wire rack. While still warm, brush with more maple syrup.

Minnie Mouse in the House!

These turned out much better than last weekend’s effort although I did not bother with any topping. I also tried out my silicone muffin cases – hhmmm…I may be converted!!

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Just a quick entry as I have a bit of a back log – so many yummy recipes, so little time!

The leaves are changing and although it is a beautiful sight it is also a tad depressing. Each morning is a little darker than the last and another winter is stretching out before us – boooooo!! However one thing I do look forward to is the pumpkin harvest. Mum makes a great pumpkin soup and it is my all time favourite. Pumpkin is a popular food in NZ, especially as a roast dinner accompaniment but not so much here in the UK. Over the years I have tried to make pumpkin soup a few times but the pumpkins I managed to find were tasteless and bland 😦 That all changed last year when we went on a pumpkin seeking mission and discovered Crockford Bridge Farm and there we found the Crown Prince Pumpkin – now that is more like it! The perfect pumpkin soup pumpkin!

When we went to Hewitts last weekend for PYO I found a couple of Crown Prince’s in the farm shop and so this will be the first of many pumpkin entries!

Baked Pumpkin and Fresh Pea Risotto (courtesy of Tana Ramsay – Family Kitchen)


400g risotto rice

1 1/2 litres chicken stock

50g butter

500g pumpkin, peeled & chopped into cubes

12 slices pancetta, or unsmoked streaky bacon

Handful of fresh peas

250g grated parmesan

1 Tbsp flat parsley

Place the rice, stock, butter and pumpkin in an oven proof dish, cover tightly with either a lid or foil and bake for 30 mins at 200C.

Meanwhile, place the pancetta under the grill until crispy. Lay it onto some kitchen roll to absorb any excess oil.

Take out the risotto and remove the lid. Stir through, making sure to relieve any bits stuck on the bottom. There will be some liquid, but this will be absorbed.

Sprinkle in the fresh peas and stir through. They will cook in the stock very quickly (approx 3-4 mins).

Sprinkle over the parmesan, stir all through. This will now thicken.

Dish into bowls and lay pancetta over the top, either whole or broken into pieces. Sprinkle over the flat leaf parsley and serve.

Now James cooked this and so it is only appropriate that any additional comments come from him, here we go……

1. We used pancetta cubes and dry fried in frying pan and then rested on kitchen towel. Was then stirred through with the parmesan.

2. We used frozen peas so added slightly earlier.

3. We ended up adding about 15 – 20 mins to the cooking time as there was too much liquid left – we put this down to the heavy Le Creuset pan?

Bon Appetit! A great dish for all the family – Izzy loved it!



Most recipes are for between 4 and 6 people and there are only 2 1/2 of us most the time. Hence we often have a good amount of leftovers in the fridge. This works well for us as means that we can heat this up 2 nights later making a minimum effort dinner. Plus James will take anything in the fridge for his lunch.

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Veal Parmesan

OK so I know Veal is a bit of a controversial meat – even now only 1% of British households eat Veal. However if I am honest I have never cooked it and so never really understood the issue….well that was until Gordon Ramsay’s F Word and the plight of Janet Street Porter and her 2 calves. I think this was probably a turning point for British Veal. Apparently there has been an increase in the demand for Veal and it is now being stocked by many supermarket chains. The  British veal is pale pink, rather than white, in colour  – because of the higher welfare standards including fibre in their diet and natural light. Another factor in its increasing popularity is that it is a lean meat and I reckon after a while chicken gets boring!!

Tana Ramsay has a recipe for Veal Parmesan so we sent Granny off on a hunt around local butchers to find some veal and she came up trumps! Another plus of this dish is that we have an abundance of cherry tomatoes in the garden and so we were able to use these for the tomato sauce – gorgeous!!

Veal Parmesan (courtesy of Tana Ramsay – Real family food)


6 Veal steaks (about 1cm thick)

3 garlic cloves

3 eggs, beaten

12 Tbsp breadcrumbs

small bunch of parsley, finely chopped

50g parmesan cheese, grated

300g spaghetti

3 Tbsp olive oil

For the tomato sauce:-

2 Tbsp olive oil

2 small onions, finely chopped

1 clove garlic crushed

1 chilli, deseeded and finely chopped

2 packs vine cherry tomatoes, halved

2 Tbsp Worcester sauce

1 Tbsp soy sauce

salt & pepper

handful of fresh basil, roughly trnorn

Start with your steaks. Crush the garlic and rub it on both sides of each steak. Place the beaten eggs in a shallow bowl. in a separate bowl, mix the breadcrumbs with the parsley, seasoning and Parmesan. Dip each piece of steak in the egg mix and then into the breadcrumbs, ensuring each side is well coated. Lay the steaks on a large plate, cover with clingfilm and refrigerate for a couple of hours.

To make the sauce, heat your oil in a medium pan then add the onions, garlic and chilli. Let them soften then add the tomatoes. Stir together then leave the tomatoes to break down. Add the Worcester and soy sauces, a good grinding of black pepper and a pinch of salt and toss in the basil leaves. Let this sauce simmer gently for 20-25 minutes. Blitz the sauce in a liquidizer  if you like it smooth but you may prefer to leave it as it is (I blitzed!).

James' gorgeous tomatoes!

James' gorgeous tomatoes!

Put a pan of water on to boil. When the water is boiling, add the pasta, a pinch of salt and a dash of oil. Cook as directed on your packet.

Heat the grill to 240C. Drizzle a little olive oil over both sides of each steak. Place under the grill for 5-10 minutes each side until golden and slightly sizzling.

Serve 1 steak per plate with a portion of pasta and a generous serving of sauce. Sprinkle some more parsley over the top.

Now I think the photo does not do it justice – it was delicious!! and we will definitely be having it again. Only problem was the chilli was a bit much for Izzy so may have to tone this right down for the next wee while – ‘too spicy Mummy’.

Not the prettiest dish but super tasty!

Not the prettiest dish but super tasty!

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In my unbiased opinion James is The King of the Risotto! Time and time again James has served up perfect risotto’s – one of his first was on a camp stove (remember that Sals?) and was Smoked Salmon, Lemon & Thyme – delicious! Well since then he has made many more and each one is more scrumptious than the last!

This week James turned to Tana Ramsay and tried out the Asparagus & Prawn Risotto. I think to master risotto’s you need patience – something I don’t have great quantities of but James certainly does. I always end up adding big lugs of stock before the last one has been absorbed whereas James stands there patiently stirring and adding small amounts of stock bit by bit until it is a beautiful creamy consistency.

I think Risotto’s are so versatile and another great vehicle for getting vegetables into little ones that are perhaps not their favourites!!

Asparagus & Prawn Risotto (courtesy of Tana Ramsay – Real Family Food)


200g king prawns, precooked & shelled

1 litre chicken stock

100g unsalted butter

2 onions, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, crushed

250g fresh asparagus spears, cut to about 10cm long. Slice into 1cm pieces, but separate the tips of the asparagus from the slices of stalk.

225g arborio rice

200ml white wine

50g parmesan, grated

Take prawns out of the fridge to bring up to room temperature. Put the stock in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to a very low simmer.

Melt the butter in a large saute pan and add the onions and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes until the onions have softened but not coloured.

Add the sliced pieces of asparagus stalk (not the tips) and cook for about 1 minute before adding the rice. Stir until the grains star to soften.

Pour over the wine and increase the heat until the wine has all but disappeared.

Reduce the heat and begin adding the hot stock a ladle at a time. it is important that you let the rice absorb all the stock before adding any more. If you drench the rice with stock, the end result will be more like slops than risotto. Continue to add the stock gradually, stirring the bubbling pan at all times.

When you have added about 2 ladles of stock left, throw in the asparagus tips and the prawns. Stir well and add the remaining stock.

Finally stir in the grated Parmesan and serve immediately on warm plates with a little extra parmesan sprinkled on top.

The King himself!

The King himself!


Lately we have also been bypassing the OXO cubes and using fresh chicken stock. Sadly not homemade but I am a working Mum and not sure where I would find time to ensure I had a selection of homemade stocks at my finger tips! I have made up the odd batch but they have been few and far between! An additional problem is my lack of freezer space – just 2 drawers! I just cannot wait to have a deep freeze in the garage!!! Anyway I think I have gone off on a bit of a tangent – the point is that I think the fresh stock makes a big difference too.

James also had the opportunity to cook using our new saute pan. We love it!! (I know that’s sad!!) My Aunt & Uncle were over earlier this year and generously gave us a Debenhams voucher and we have spent months mulling over what to use it for and then deciding what brand – what did we do before Google when making such decisions?!? Final decision? Jamie Oliver’s Saute Pan (not just because I am a fan – I had a recommendation….my Mum….can’t get better than that!!)

Final thought for today, but also the most important. If you have seen the UK news today there has been an E Coli outbreak at Godstone Farm (which we love! Izzy celebrated her 1st birthday there) and there are 12 children hospitalised which includes 3 toddlers in suspected kidney failure. The whole situation makes me feel sick to my stomach and my thoughts and prayers are with all the children & their families who are dealing with this. Keep these children in your prayers. I almost took Izzy a couple of weeks ago – could so easily have been her. Godstone is such a wonderful place for a family day out – I really hope they recover too.

Izzy's birthday tractor ride at Godstone Farm - June 2008

Izzy's birthday tractor ride at Godstone Farm - June 2008

The birthday girl and her Daddy

The birthday girl and her Daddy

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This evening Izzy had yet another dinner date, this time with the gorgeous Joshua! Joshua and his Mum Patricia joined us for a quick dinner after nursery. Has to be pretty quick as if you miss that bed time slot on week day evenings there is hell to pay!

At the moment Izzy is not overly keen on her veges, especially green ones (the exception is broccoli and peas) so we need to be a little inventive at times so that we don’t just rotate the same vegetables. A great recipe for this (it’s also tasty, which is a plus) comes from Tana Ramsay in the form of Red pepper and Apple Meatballs with sweet and sour sauce. I thought I would double the recipe in order to freeze some and now I have meatballs to last the next decade – it is a recipe of generous proportions.

Izzy really enjoys this dinner – can’t go wrong with this recipe as she is such a carnivore (must be the Kiwi in her!).

Red pepper and apple meatballs with sweet and sour sauce (courtesy of Tana Ramsay – Family Kitchen)

The meatballs are best made the night before and left in the fridge till tea time. This helps them not to fall apart while cooking.


For the meatballs

450g lean lamb mince

450g lean pork mince

1 red pepper, deseeded and finely chopped

1 small onion, finely chopped

3 Cox’s apples, peeled and finely grated

1 Tbsp grated ginger

4 tsp chopped coriander

1 egg white


2 tsp olive oil

For the sauce

2 tsp olive oil

1 red onion, finely chopped

4 baby leeks, chopped

1 courgette, sliced

450g cherry tomatoes, halved

salt & pepper, to season

2 tsp brown sugar (to taste)

2 tsp malt vinegar (to taste)

6 fresh basil leaves, torn (oops, forgot this!)

Place the pork & lamb mince into a large mixing bowl, and break it up a little. Add the finely chopped red pepper and onion, and then the grated apples, ginger & coriander. Add the egg white and mix all together.

Shape the mixture into small ball, approx 2cm in diameter, and place on a tray lightly dusted with flour then place the tray in the fridge.

Meanwhile, in a medium frying pan heat up the olive oil and gently fry the onion until softened. Add the leeks and the courgettes and let them slightly colour, then add the halved tomatoes and let it all soften together. Check he seasoning, and add the the brown sugar and malt vinegar. Let the sauce simmer gently.

After approx 20 mins place the sauce into a liquidizer and whizz until smooth. Place back into the saucepan and leave aside.

Heat up 2 tsp of olive oil for the meatballs – best to use a deep fry pan (you may need 2). Get the tray of meatballs out of the fridge and when the oil is nice and hot , place the meatballs in oer a moderate heat, turning to ensure they are cooking evenly.


After about 10 mins ladle in the tomato sauce and allow this to heat thoroughly, until it is bubbling gently with the meatballs. Leave this to simmer for 15 mins.

Drain, and serve with rice. Garnish with basil.

Izzy and Joshua - so sweet!

Izzy and Joshua - so sweet!

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Izzy & Easton :-)

Izzy & Easton 🙂

Well, tonight I have been looking after Izzy and the gorgeous Easton! So its Saturday night and a little chilly for summer so something warm and comforting is in order. After flicking through Tana Ramsay’s ‘Family Kitchen’ I decided on Macaroni Cheese with tomato and crispy bacon. Not the most nutritious but hey it’s Saturday and nothing makes Izzy happier than cheese, meat & pasta!

We also found the last couple of peas from the garden and Izzy delighted in taking them out of the pods and eating them fresh!

Peas from Daddy's garden - yummy!

Peas from Daddy's garden - yummy!

Izzy started off helping me and then took to weighing everything on the scales! I only had to turn my back for a moment and she was sneaking cheese off the bench. She gave herself away when she stated with such enthusiasm ‘DELICIOUS!’

Only one slip up in the preparation and that was not turning the grill on full and so only grilling half at a time – annoying!

So, the verdict? Well I thought it was pretty tasty and it seemed to get the thumbs up from Izzy & Easton too. There was 1/2 teaspoon of Cayenne Pepper in the recipe but in the future I would probably halve that when making for young un’s. It had a nice kick but probably just slightly too much for Izzy who complained of a sore tongue – oops!. Easton was fine – must be his Jamaican blood!

The only other thing I would change is to add cooked diced bacon to the mixture rather than laying the streaky bacon on top – neither of the kids were fussed on this.

The cheeky cheese thief!

The cheeky cheese thief!

Macaroni cheese with tomato and crispy bacon (courtesy of Tana Ramsay ‘Family Kitchen’)


25g butter

25g flour

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

285ml whole milk

300g macaroni

400g tin chopped tomatoes, drained

250g grated medium cheddar

200g unsmoked streaky bacon, cut into strips

1. Preheat grill to hot.

2. Put  a pan of water onto boil.

3. Start making a basic white sauce. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan and add the flour. Stir it around and let it form a paste. As the paste starts to look as if it’s drying (but has not yet browned), add the cayenne pepper and stir for another minute. Gradually add the milk while beating with a small whisk all the time. Bring to the boil, stirring all the time, and allow to simmer for a couple of minutes. The sauce should easily coat the back of a wooden spoon.

4. When the pasta water has come to the boil add the macaroni and cook for about 2 minutes less than the instructions on the packet. Drain in a sieve and put to one side until needed,

5. When your white sauce has simmered for a couple of minutes, add the drained tomatoes. Remove the sauce from the heat and and put to one side for about a minute before adding 150g of the grated cheddar. Finally add the drained macaroni and mix together.

6. Pour the macaroni mixture into the ovenproof dish and cover with the pieces of bacon. Finally sprinkle over the remaining cheese.

7. Place under the grill for about 10 minutes until the bacon has turned crispy and slightly burnt at the edges.

8. Serve with a crisp green salad (I opted for green peas as I have not managed to convince Izzy on salad yet!)

Serves – 4 children


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