Saturday, 7 September 2013
Sunday, 4 August 2013
Wednesday, 12 June 2013
Wednesday, 6 March 2013
Sometimes I think you know what your body needs when you're ill, so this is a rough guide for you. But be warned - if you are sick after eating anything on this list - it's not my fault! You still have an icky tummy! I'm not a medical professional or dietician or magician, just a Mean Mother!
The best advice is to eat bland foods. Leave caffeine and alcohol, fatty and spicy foods for those with a strong constitution. You are currently weak and fragile and want to avoid the bathroom.
1. TOAST, TOAST, TOAST
Okay, so dry toast is your friend when it comes to stomach bugs. You can digest toast easier than fresh bread, so start with one slice and take it slow. Now I'm not a huge fan of the dryness of dry toast and would prefer a bit of butter on it. Even better, a small spread of Marmite - but that might not be for everyone. If you haven't got any bread in the house, try some dry crackers instead.
If you've managed to keep down that yummy dry toast, you could try mashing some banana onto that dry piece of toast. You've then got a bit more flavour, not so much dryness and a whole dose of potassium! Good times! Which brings me onto....
You can't go wrong with a banana. Again, start slow, try mashing some if you can't manage a whole one. I felt a bit better this morning and had a sliced banana with bio yoghurt. A taste explosion after dry toast! Might add some honey to that combo tomorrow.
3. APPLE SAUCE
The Americans swear by the power of apple sauce, so I thought I try it out today. Of course I'm not going to buy a ready made sauce, so I sent Mr Mean off to the shops to buy some cooking apples. He came back with four huge Bramley apples. I peeled and sliced them into cold water with a whole squeezed lemon in there just to stop the apples from turning brown. Once I had prepared all the apples, they were drained and went into a large, heavy bottom pan with a big glass of the lemon water. I let them cook down and then added a teaspoon of vanilla extract and a tablespoon of honey. I also added a sprinkle of cinnamon and two tablespoons of caster sugar. I let the whole lot cook down until really soft. I had to add a bit more water along the way to keep the texture nice and loose and also added another squeeze of lemon juice.
This made a huge batch, but the kids will be having it with custard and yoghurt for their pudding tonight and I have already had some and it does feel really soothing to the tummy.
4. CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP
A clear broth is perfect for feeling better after a bout of illness. My favourite at the moment is Telma Chicken Noodle Soup Mix. It is super tasty and very quick and easy to make. Of course a freshly made chicken soup would be perfect, but you don't always feel up to it.
Plain boiled rice is great to sooth tummy aches. If you were making your own chicken soup, you could add the rice to it and have a super power soup!
I've heard mash is great for delicate tummies. I'm going to bake my spuds tonight and have it plain, everyone else can have a yummy filling and salad!
Water is the best drink when you've been poorly. If you are really dehydrated it's best to have electrolyte powder sachets to replace lost fluids and body salts. Sometimes it is difficult to get children to drink electrolyte drinks because they don't taste that great. I've found if you can't get the little ones to drink them, try flat lemonade. Take your sparkling lemonade and add a very small amount of sugar and give it a good stir.
I hope this has helped you on your road to recovery. I definitely feel better after the apple sauce! Good luck!
Saturday, 16 February 2013
120g icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon zest/orange zest
100g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons of Nutella
HOW TO MAKE
You will need Madeleine moulds for this recipe. I use a silicone mould, which saves a lot of time when it comes to greasing and flouring - because you don't have to.
Preheat oven to 190ºC. In a bowl, beat the eggs, vanilla and lemon zest (try lime zest for an alternative) with a hand held whisk until they are pale. Gradually add the icing sugar to the mix, still whisking, until the mixture is thick and forming ribbons.
Now gradually fold in the sifted flour and baking powder. When all the flour is incorporated, fold in the melted and cooled butter. Spoon the mixture into the moulds, being careful not to fill over ¾ full.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until the edges are lovely and golden. Leave to cool in the moulds for a couple of minutes, then turn out onto a cooling rack. Once slightly cool, pipe with Nutella. They are best eaten straight away. Enjoy!
Saturday, 26 January 2013
I saw him doing this recipe last week on Daybreak and just had to try it. I'm always looking for recipes to use up old bananas and this is a cracker! From now on, if there's a banana on the turn it will be transformed into this yummy pudding. The kids love it too. Mr Mean was a little harder to convince, as he thought Butterscotch sauce would be just butter with some scotch in it. He was sure he would hate it. But like I thought - he also loved it!
This hot pudding must be served with vanilla ice cream. The contrast between hot and cold is fabulous! Bill Granger: I salute your pudding and sunny smile!
125g plain flour
1 pinch of salt
120g caster sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1 banana, mashed
1 lightly beaten egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
85g butter, melted
For the butterscotch sauce:
140g brown sugar
4 tbsp golden syrup
250ml boiling water
HOW TO MAKE:
Per heat the oven to 180C.
Sift the flour, salt, sugar and baking powder into a bowl. Add the mashed banana, milk, butter, egg and vanilla and whisk until well combined.
Pour into a greased 2.5ml ovenproof dish.
Heat all the ingredients for the sauce in a pan until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is nearly boiling. Carefully pour this mixture over the pudding batter and bake for 30-40 minutes until it's firm to touch.
Serve hot with vanilla ice cream.
Friday, 18 January 2013
The Rangemaster Classic is second hand. I have replaced a few of the nobs and buttons, as well as the fascia panel (all the information had rubbed off) and a few handles. It's like new now and I love it. We really needed a bigger oven and Christmas dinner was a breeze to make. I also use both ovens quite often and bake two loaves of bread at the same time!
I adore my tall larder units. It's still a bit of a novelty not having to dig at the back of a cupboard to find a rogue tin of tuna. Everything is at hand and organised - I love it!
I'm a person who likes a big kitchen, so when we bought our new house, it was very important to create a large kitchen/dining/living area. I have a lot of kitchen stuff, in fact, that was the main volume of boxes we had in storage! And even though all the cupboards have items in them, they're not full to the brim! I just need a lovely Kitchenaid to complete the look!
We've only got one problem now - we never use any other room!
Wednesday, 5 December 2012
I'll keep you posted as things move along. I am so excited to be so close to having a proper oven again! I'm sure it will all be worth it.
Sunday, 5 August 2012
My first attempt at baking in the slow cooker was a bit of a disaster! I found the recipe on some American website, so had to convert cups to grams and made a total hash of it.
The recipe states add one teaspoon of salt - and that was the dominating flavour. Horrible! Even my son didn't like it - and he'll eat most things! I won't even bother with the recipe as I wouldn't want you to waste time making it - and you do waste a lot of time, because it took four hours to cook! Back to the drawing board!
Saturday, 4 August 2012
With those new beginnings come massive new challenges. We love our new house, it feels like home already and we've only been here a week. Our old house is a distant memory! And even though our new house needs a whole load of work and love - we don't mind because it is going to be fab! But until our dream is realised, meals are being cooked on either a camping stove, BBQ or slow cooker - a challenge indeed! Yep, that's right, I don't have a cooker or hob until we build an extension, knock down some walls and install a brand-spanking-new kitchen! I've got a feeling I'm going to be leaning on those builders very soon!
It's only been a week and I really miss using an oven. Mainly for baking. I love baking bread, so this is proving to be quite a challenge!
So I will be searching high and low for ways of feeding a family without the aid of an oven! I'm not really a fan of the microwave, so will only be using it at a very last resort. And eating out or ordering in isn't an option as every penny is going on the house. So the challenge is set - we can do it!
And just when one foot was on the road to recovery, I've managed to break a toe on my other foot!
|There's something missing....|
|At least the slow cooker made it!|
Saturday, 10 March 2012
This could well be my last post for Mean Mother Cooker. You see it all started on Tuesday (four days ago) when I had one of my troublesome bunions corrected. I'm now not allowed to walk for two whole weeks. I've got to have this foot elevated for 55 minutes out of every hour - so no cooking for me.
Mr Mean has taken over and to be honest, I might try this sitting on my bum more often. He's doing a pretty good job - and this comes from one mean critic. Nope, no complaints here, I've been catered for very well!
Mr Mean has cooked:
- pasta with proccuttio, lemon, olive oil, pine nuts and chilli;
- pasta with chorizo and mushrooms with creme fraiche;
- chicken taco soup;
- slow cooker beef stew with an excellent Yorkshire pudding;
- a very lovely duck and chips.
Why would I ever need to cook again?! And he's done all this whilst working from home, and looking after two children. Wow! He is knackered though! Well done Mr Mean! I salute you! And I'm a very lucky woman to have you!
Thursday, 1 March 2012
I love a good cup cake, so when I came across these little Earl Grey beauties in The Great British Bake-Off book - I just had to give them a go. Just the cake to have with a morning cuppa - perfect! They have a very subtle flavour and with the addition of the sharp lemon butter icing makes for a glorious combination. They keep very well too and were as equally, if not more delicious the following day.
My son helped me knock this batch together, so they are perfect for making and eating with kids.
For the cup cakes:
200ml semi-skimmed milk
2 Earl Grey tea bags
115g unsalted butter, softened
225g caster sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
250g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
For the icing:
75g unsalted butter, softened
grated zest & juice of two unwaxed lemons
375g icing sugar, sifted
1 x 12-hole muffin tray, lined with paper cases; a piping bag fitted with star tube
HOW TO MAKE:
Preheat oven to 180C. Heat the milk in a pan until it is steaming hot. Remove from heat, add the tea bags and leave to infuse for 2 minutes. Squeeze the bags gently, then remove them. Measure 150ml milk and leave to cool to room temperature.
In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar until creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well. Add in one-third of the flour to the creamed mixture and beat well. Pour in one-third of the milk and beat again. Repeat until all the flour and milk have been added.
Carefully spoon the mixture into the cup cases, dividing evenly so they are about two-thirds full. Bake for about 20 minutes. Remove for the oven and leave the cakes in the tray for about 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool.
To make the icing, beat the butter with 5 tablespoons of the lemon juice and half the icing sugar until smooth. Gradually add the remainder of the icing sugar, beating well until smooth and creamy. Taste and add a little more juice if needed. Pipe or spread swirls of the icing onto the cupcakes and decorate with the lemon zest.
Thursday, 2 February 2012
I bought these really cute mini loaf cases from Lakeland the other day, so I had to find the perfect recipe to match. I was thinking of some mini brioches or Panettones, but settled on this Date & Walnut Loaf. It's got dates and walnuts in it - so it's nearly health food in my book!
I adapted the recipe from good old Delia Smith's Book of Cakes. I've just had a look at my book and it is as old as me! Only thirty five years old! But I would say most of the recipes are still as reliable as they always were - you can always trust Delia for a good recipe. I sometimes just substitute some of the more old fashioned ingredients for something a little more contemporary.
Makes 10 mini loaves
225ml boiling water
175g dates, stoned and chopped
1 level teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 large egg
150g soft brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
75g ground almonds
75g walnuts, chopped
225g sponge flour (self raising)
1 teaspoon mixed spice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
half teaspoon fresh nutmeg
For the apricot glaze:
2 tablespoons apricot jam
1 tablespoon boiling water
For the icing:
150g icing sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons milk
Preheat oven to 180C
HOW TO MAKE:
In a small bowl pour the boiling water over the dates. Add the bicarb, then the butter and stir until the butter has melted. Leave to cool.
Meanwhile, beat the egg in a large bowl, add the sugar and beat well again. Then add the cooled date mixture and the rest of the cake ingredients and stir until combined.
Have your mini loaf cases ready on a baking sheet. I weighed 100g of cake mixture into each case. Place the loaves into the preheated oven just below the middle shelf. Bake for 30 minutes until the top is nicely browned and the centre feels springy. Transfer the loaves to a wire rack and leave to cool.
Prepare the apricot glaze. Paint a very thin layer onto the loaves with a pastry brush and leave to set for a few minutes.
Mix all the icing ingredients together and drizzle over each cake. Leave to set for an hour before devouring!
Tuesday, 31 January 2012
These burgers are really tasty with the addition of red kidney beans - it also makes the beef go further, which is always good for your budget! I find the children prefer these burgers to all-meat varieties.
300g beef mince
half tin of red kidney beans
1 red onion, finely chopped
beef stock cube
salt & pepper
HOW TO MAKE:
Fry the onion in a little butter until soft. Allow to cool. Take half the beans and whizz up in a food processor. Once the onion is cooled, place all the ingredients in a bowl and mix together with your hands. Shape into burgers and refrigerate for at least an hour.
Brown burgers on both sides and finish off cooking in a moderate oven for 10 minutes.
I serve my burgers in either a flat bread or bun with oven chips. Cut potatoes into chips and bake in the oven with a little olive oil and salt for 45 minutes.