It was going to be pasta for the kids tea, but then looking through Fay Ripley’s new cookbook for my last post, I suddenly thought “Hang on, I’ve got bread, I’ve got cheese, I’ve got pesto, let’s push the boat out,” so sort of following the recipe for Parker’s Cheese on Toast in Fay’s Family Food (I used less pesto, three teaspoons mixed into enough grated cheese for four slices of cheese on toast), I made mine and the kids’ tea and who’d have thought, cheese on toast with pesto is absolutely delicious.
Girl Lacer absolutely loves it and has requested the same combination tomorrow using ‘onion bread’, which is what she calls quesadilias, which thinking about it would work really well. Boy Lacer isn’t eating it but he’s having a not eating food moment, so Girl Lacer is tucking into his portion.
People may have noticed the lack of food related posts round here recently, I’ve completely lost my cooking mojo and I’m living on pasta with the kids having an only slightly more varied diet of pasta supplemented with products from Captain Birds Eye. I’m fed up of my minuscule kitchen and I’m fed up of not being able to cook at a time when I want to, you know, like when ‘civilised’ people eat, around 6 – 6.30pm. We have two evening meal slots in this house, 5pm for the kids and 8pm (or 9pm if I’ve been working) for the grown ups and 5pm is too early (if I eat then and I do sometimes, I’ll end up snacking for the rest of the night) and 8pm is too late, I’m too tired and all I want to do is collapse on the sofa and it’s the barest I can do to stick a pan of water on the stove, besides I’m fed up of cooking two separate meals. So this is where Fay Ripley (she of Cold Feet fame) comes in with her new book Fay’s Family Food, which promises (to quote) ‘Delicious recipes where one meal feeds everyone. Whatever age!’
The idea behind the book is that you take one dish, blend / mash it up for baby, feed it to the kids and then add extra seasonings for the grown ups. I had hoped this book may offer a solution for our two evening meal time household and although it turns out it doesn’t really do that (Ripley advocates sitting down and eating together as a family and short of putting the kids bedtime back, we can’t do that), there are lots of really delicious looking, doable dishes, with hints on how to prepare the dish for babies and present the dish to kids with humour (like for a spinach side dish the advice is to ‘hide it’ and for another dish involving watercross ‘don’t put too much watercress in, it might frighten them’).
This is the sort of book that for someone who doesn’t have too many cookbooks lining their shelves and just wanted a nice cookbook with family recipes in, this would be enough. There are no recipes with ingredients lists as long as your arms or ingredients that are expensive, difficult to find or you’ll only use once, so a big thumbs up.
Recipes I particularly like the look of include:
- Honey sweetened breakfast muffins (using spelt flour, which is listed as an option throughout the book)
- Parker’s cheese on toast (basically cheese on toast with pesto, why didn’t I think of that?)
- Steak and chips (but that’s because I’ve been craving steak and chips for ages)
- One pot lemon chicken with thyme rice (it’s got pancetta in it therefore it’s automatically good)
- Creamy chicken and ham pie (I’ve been fancying chicken and ham pie for ages but until now have not managed to find a nice looking recipe)
- Roast butternut squash soup
- Potato dauphinois
- Roast parmesan parsnips (Girl Lacer loves parmesan, could this recipe finally get her to eat parsnips?)
- Sexy garlic spinach (unbelievably or not, this does actually sound sexy)
- Sweet carrot and lentil soup (looks delicious)
- Roast garlic and lemon new potatoes
- Garlic bread (using the bit healthier olive oil)
- Baked spaghetti carbonara (oh my god has this woman been reading my mind, I’ve been looking for a good spaghetti carbonara recipe for ages to – I’m a bit paranoid about the cooking with raw egg traditional carbonara calls for)
- Quick chicken kiev (again, this woman has been reading my mind)
- Cheat’s tomato and pancetta risotto (now I actually make a mean ‘traditional’ tomato and pancetta risotto but something that means I can walk away and leave it flop on the sofa, result)
- Mega quick italian tomato sauce
- Warm chicken pesto salad
- The mother of all sandwiches
- Cheat’s jam tarts (I like how she writes ‘as I keep saying, it’s your pastry. You brought it’)
- Custard lollies (as good looking as they sound)
- Chocolate and pear upside down cake
- Lemon shortbreads
- Mini meringues with raspberry cream (again this woman has been reading my mind and it’s raspberries to, Girl Lacer can’t eat strawberries and I’m fed up of the automatic substitution)
- Grown up jammy dodgers (raspberry)
- Lemon drizzle cake
- Raspberry sweethearts (more raspberry (obviously), is there someone in her family that can’t eat strawberries either?)
- Killer cupcakes
- Quick chocolate torte
- Break-your-diet brownies (no nuts (yeah!) and she specifies Galaxy milk chocolate, it’s official, she has read my mind)
- ‘Good afternoon’ apple cake
- Apple and blackberry crumble
- I promise it’s easy pavlova
I haven’t brought a cookbook in ages but I believe I said last time, when I brought a cookbook by a well known celebrity chef, someone who I had all his books and his latest one was actually not that good, that I needed to go out and find some new chefs, people not desperately fishing round for recipes for their umpteenth cook book and reading Fay Ripley’s first cookbook, I was right, reading someone new is so much more refreshing.