Friday, 14 April 2017

Slow Cooker Lamb Ragu


Midweek Meal Winner

This Lamb Ragu is never argued about, never not-eaten - everyone loves it! 

I’ve been using lamb mince ever since we visited my parents-in-law. They made us a Bolognese dish with lamb and it was lovely - a lot tastier than beef in my opinion. I always buy free-range lamb mince.

The secret to this dish is to put it in the slow cooker/crock pot all day. The extra veg makes it so tasty!

I use a 6 litre Slow Cooker from Lakeland. You can double the recipe and make a really make a huge batch - perfect to freeze or use later in the week.

For more slow cooker recipes, take a look at the Mean Mother Cooker Slow Cooker Recipe page.

Slow Cooker Lamb Ragu



20 mins 5 hours

Serves 5

500g lamb mince
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 sticks of celery, diced
2 large carrots, grated
1 large courgette/zucchini, grated
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 cup of red lentils, washed and drained
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 tsp oregano
1 tsp thyme
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
2 cups of stock
salt and pepper

    1. Brown the lamb and remove from pan.

    2. Add the oil to the pan and fry the onions until translucent.

    3. Add the celery, carrots, courgette and garlic and cook for 5 minutes.

    4. Add all the remaining ingredients, including the browned lamb. Cook for two more minutes then transfer everything to the slow cooker.

    5. Cook on low for at least 5 hours. Serve with spaghetti or make into a yummy lasagne.

Recipe by Mrs Mean

Monday, 10 April 2017

Mary Berry's Hot Cross Buns


Good Friday with great Hot Cross Buns

It's that time of year again! The Easter bunny is getting ready to deliver all those delicious Easter eggs, and we've had our Easter bonnet parade at school (the hot glue gun has never seen so much action!). Now we are busy creating the Easter egg hunt strategy, and marzipan will be in full action in our beautiful Dark Chocolate Marzipan Easter Eggs - have we forgotten anything?

Good Friday!

More excuses for yummy baked goods!

I used to love hot cross buns until four years ago. I was about 9 weeks pregnant with my youngest and I could only eat hot cross buns. Now the smell reminds me of those nauseous weeks - so I'm not as fond as I used to be. But I'm not a quitter. So every year I try to get that love back and I know that a gorgeous batch of these homemade buns will do the job.

This year I'm relying on the queen of cakes - Mary Berry for her fool-proof Hot Cross Buns recipe. I know Mary Berry won't let me down!

Mary Berry's Hot Cross Buns



2 hours 50 mins 20 mins

Makes 12

500g/1lb 2oz strong white flour, plus extra for dusting
75g/2¾oz caster sugar
2 tsp mixed spice powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 lemon, finely grated zest only
10g/¼oz salt
10g/¼oz fast-action dried yeast
40g/1½oz butter
300ml/10fl oz milk
1 free-range egg, beaten
200g/7oz sultanas
50g/1¾oz finely chopped mixed peel
oil, for greasing

For the topping:
75g/2¾oz plain flour
2 tbsp golden syrup, for glazing

    1. Put the flour, sugar, spices and lemon zest into a large bowl and mix together. Then add the salt and yeast, placing them on opposite sides of the bowl.

    2. Melt the butter in a pan and warm the milk in a separate pan. Add the butter and half the tepid milk to the dry ingredients. Add the egg and use your hands to bring the mixture together, incorporating the flour from the edges of the bowl as you go. Gradually add the remaining milk, to form a soft pliable dough (you may not need all of the milk).

    3. Tip the dough out on to a lightly floured work surface. Knead by hand incorporating the sultanas and mixed peel into the dough. Lightly knead for 10 minutes until silky and elastic and forming a smooth ball. The kneading can also be done in a food mixer with a dough hook.

    4. Oil a bowl and place the dough in a bowl, cover with cling film and leave to rest in a warm place for about 1½ hours or until doubled in size.

    5. Turn the dough out on to a floured surface and divide into 12 balls. Line 1-2 baking trays with paper and place the balls on the tray, placing them fairly close together and flattening them slightly.

    6. Slip each baking tray into a large clean polythene bag, making sure the bag doesn’t touch the buns. Leave for 40-60 minutes until the buns have doubled in size.

    7. Preheat the oven to 220C/200C Fan/Gas 7.

    8. For the topping, add the flour to a bowl with 100ml/3½fl oz water. Mix together to make a paste and spoon into the icing bag.

    9. When the buns have risen remove the polythene bags and pipe a cross on each bun. Bake for 15-20 minutes until pale golden-brown, turning the baking trays round halfway through if necessary.

    10. Melt the golden syrup in a pan and while the buns are still warm, brush the buns with a little syrup to give a nice shine, before setting aside to cool on a wire rack.

Recipe by Mary Berry

It's Been A Long Time

Hello and welcome back to Mean Mother Cooker!

It feels like it's been a long time since I've shared any scrumptious recipes with you guys - and I'm so sorry!

We've been through some big changes in the last few years. We've had to deal with the loss of many family members - which made us decide to move back to my hometown of Sheffield after spending eight years in Nottingham.

We sold our beautiful house very quickly and I do miss my kitchen.


We moved to a rental property and I now have this kitchen:

You can see why I might be finding the adjustment a little tough! How I miss my beautiful kitchen...

But this isn't forever and we love being back in Sheffield.

The kids are loving their new school and have fitted in brilliantly. It's also great being close to extended family.

And I've only gone and set up a business with Mr Mean. It's all change!

Working pretty much full time has changed the way we eat. I don't have a dishwasher either in this rental house, so most free time is spent chained to the kitchen sink!

My problem is the same as ever - I won't buy convenience food, so I have to be super organised to get the kids properly fed with fresh and tasty food. Getting them to eat it is another matter!

We spent the start of the year trying to become Lean In 15 with Joe Wicks - The Body Coach. You can find most of my office lunch creations on Instagram. Here's a few of them:




So, let's get reacquainted and share more tasty recipes!

Holly xxx

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