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Ham and Pea Risotto – baked in the oven to have more time to play!

Here is a guest post from the lovely mummykins.  She writes about all things baby and toddler as she experiences day to day life with her little girl.  Oh, and she also happens to be one of my best friends!

Here is a delicious recipe for small people and us bigger people:

Risotto is a lovely comforting food.  It’s great for older babies and toddlers too – babies tend to pick up whole handfuls and stuff it into their mouths, and its thick texture is good for toddlers learning to feed themselves with a spoon.  However it can be tricky to cook using the traditional method of adding a ladleful of stock at a time and continuously stirring when you have little ones underfoot.  Here is an alternative way to cook risotto in the oven.  This is a baby friendly recipe so it doesn’t include any salt or white wine, though of course you can add these if you wish.

Serves 3 adults.

Ingredients

  • olive oil
  • 25g butter, preferably unsalted
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 250g risotto rice
  • 6 slices good quality ham, chopped
  • 250g frozen peas, defrosted
  • 1 litre vegetable stock
  • parmesan cheese, grated

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4.
  2. Heat the olive oil and butter over a medium heat in a large ovenproof dish until the butter is melted.
  3. Gently fry the onion for a few minutes until softened.
  4. Stir in the risotto rice until it is coated with the oil and butter.  It should go slightly translucent.
  5. Pour in all the stock and give it a good stir, then bring to the boil.  Cover and put into the oven.
  6. After 10 minutes, add the ham and peas and stir well.  Recover the dish and put it back in the oven for a further 10 minutes.
  7. Add the parmesan cheese and season if desired, giving it one final thorough stir.  Allow to rest for a couple of minutes so the cheese melts.
And here it is:

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Weight Watchers Chicken Noodle Soup – with added zing

Sorry for my absence lately, I’m not even sure what I’ve been doing to be honest.  Just a busy bee – and doing fair bit of cooking of course!

I thought I’d share a healthy yet very tasty fail-safe meal.  My daughter hasn’t been keen on noodles up until now, but she seems to like them all of a sudden which is great news for this recipe

Here is the recipe:

http://www.weightwatchers.co.uk/food/rcp/index.aspx?recipeid=71741

I add 1 red chilli, a thumb sized piece of ginger and 2 chopped garlic cloves for extra ‘zing’ and it really makes it taste very fresh.  My husband loves this dish and I’m always in the good books when I’ve made this for him 🙂

Here it is cooking away:

Image

I hope you try it out and enjoy it!!

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“Happy Birthday to me, lots of cakes for me”

As I wrote in a previous post, I was a bit concerned about cake over-load this birthday as I’ve been baking cakes for all my close friends and family for every occasion in 2012.  I thought they might all repay the favour at once!!  Luckily 4 lovely friends/family members bought or baked for me 🙂  This was still quite a lot to get through, but we managed of course and they were delicious.  Here they are half way through:

There’s a Victoria sponge my mother-in-law and daughter made, carrot cake and cherry/date squares two of my friends made and a Forever Friends cake my best friend bought.

As I am sure is the case in most places of work, if it’s your birthday you are expected to provide cakes for your work colleagues.  Our team at work has grown significantly in the last couple of years, so I was looking at a total of 20 people to bake for!  I did a poll on favourite flavours and they came up with lemon and chocolate as the main two.

So I went for chocolate cup cakes, lemon drizzle cake and chocolate chip cookies to cater for all tastes.  Here is a picture of my desk today:

My manager claimed she was floating on a ‘chocolate cloud’ after eating the cupcakes.  They are crazily rich and chocolatey!  They’re the same recipe as in my previous post https://leannecookingforthefamily.wordpress.com/2012/03/01/party-cupcake-time/  from the Hummingbird recipe.  These are such a fail safe recipe, everyone loves them.

The lemon drizzle cake is from Mary Berry’s baking bible – you can’t go wrong with good old Mary’s recipes!  Half the cake was gone by the end of the day – some people had 2 slices 🙂

Crunchy Top Lemon Drizzle Cake

100g/4oz softened butter

175g/6oz caster sugar

175g/6oz self raising flour

1 tsp baking powder

2 large eggs

4 tbsp milk

finely grated rind of 1 lemon

For the topping:

juice of 1 lemon

100g/4oz caster or granulated sugar

1) Pre-heat oven to 180C/Fan 160C/Gas 4.  Grease an 18cm (7inch) deep round cake tin then line base with greaseproof paper.

2) Measure all ingredients into large bowl and beat for 2 mins until smooth.  Place mixture into the tin and level the surface.

3) Bake for 35-40 mins or until the cake has shrunk slightly from the sides of the tin and springs back when lightly pressed.

4) For the topping, measure the lemon juice and sugar into a bowl and stir until blended.  When the cake comes out of the oven, spike the cake all over with cocktail sticks (this is my own adaptation to ensure the drizzle soaks into the cake) then spread the lemon paste over the top of the cake while the cake is still hot.

I doubled this recipe and put plain butter icing in the middle.

I’ll save the cookie recipe for another time 🙂

I wonder how much cake will be left tomorrow at the end of my working week (yes I only work 2 days a week – but I am a mum the rest of the week!).

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Mother’s Day Cupcakes

As I continue my 2012 mission of baking cakes for all my close family and friend’s birthdays, baby showers, special events, etc. I mustn’t forget my lovely mum and lovely mum-in-law for Mother’s Day tomorrow.

I seem to be making a lot of cupcakes lately, I just love decorating them and practising my piping skills!  So I’ve made two very different types of cupcake to cater for each mum’s taste.

As we were seeing my husband’s mum today, I made her cupcakes first.  I used a Mary Berry recipe, but adapted it to put chocolate chips in the cake mix and used dairy free spread instead of butter and soya milk.

Ingredients:

100g softened butter

150g self raising flour

150g caster sugar

3 tablespoons milk

2 large eggs

half tsp vanilla extract

2 handfuls of milk chocolate chips

For the icing:

100g softened butter

200g sifted icing sugar

25g cocoa powder

chocolate chips/other swirls etc to decorate

1) Pre-heat oven to 180°C.  Put muffin cases into a 12 hole muffin tin.

2) Measure all cupcake ingredients into large bowl and beat until blended and smooth.  Spoon evenly between paper cases.

3) Bake in pre-heated oven for 20-25 mins.  Make sure completely cold before icing.

4) For butter icing, beat together all ingredients for thick, creamy icing.  Pipe or smooth over cupcakes and add decorations.

Here are my finished articles!

The chocolate chips made the cake really indulgent with all the chocolate butter icing too – just what my mother-in-law loves!

I used the free cake stand you get with this lovely new magazine – I wish I could afford to subscribe to receive this each week but will just stick to buying it once a month or so!

The next cakes I made today are ready for my mum tomorrow.  They are apple crumble cupcakes.  I saw this recipe on a friend’s blog and thought they looked delicious.  My mum loves apple crumble so I thought these would be perfect.

You can find a brilliant step by step guide of how to make this on my friend’s blog here which I found really clear and easy to follow.  I used non-dairy butter and milk, and had to add a bit more flour to the crumble topping due to the slightly wetter consistency of sunflower spread.

Here they are:

They’re so delicious with the fruity texture inside and the crumble topping.

It’s a bit unfair that I won’t be getting cakes made for me on Mother’s Day (unless my 22 month old daughter suddenly becomes a baking prodigy!) but I’ve already eaten one of each kind I made – just to check they tasted ok, so that will have to do!

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