Monday, 30 May 2011

Roast chicken with leek

Oh, man. Is there anything (anything?) finer in this world than a chicken, roasted to crisp, golden, salty perfection? Amazingly enough, even the children seem to agree, so I’m taking it to the next level by introducing an accompaniment that makes the most of the marriage made in heaven that is chicken + leek + pasta. Wait a minute, that’s bigamy. Ha ha.

For this dish, a plump, farm-fresh, free-range chicken is roasted atop a mound of snowy white, aromatic leeks. When it’s done the bird is removed to reveal the cooked leeks (some tantalizingly crisp, some melting and soft) resting in a pool of intensely flavoured chicken juices. A heap of cooked wide papardelle pasta – I’m afraid I’m talking non-PC, refined white pasta that will absorb all those lovely juices – is mixed in. The ribbons of leek get lost and melt into the pasta, making the kind of slippery, flavourful mouthful that will have you picking at the dish until lo-o-o-ng after you’re full.

That’s the theory, anyway. But will the kids go for it? Here’s the recipe.

Friday, 20 May 2011

Cakes, cakes, cakes!

Ah, the half-termly PSA cake sale. The letter sent out too late, the last-minute change of setting, the clash with various clubs... But we all love a bit of cake, don't we? And at 30p each (four for £1), you can't argue. Especially when they're as amazing as this!

But all offerings - including, and, in fact, especially 'confectionery applied to breakfast cereal' as a friend of mine described her own contributions - are gleefully, and remarkably indiscriminatingly pounced upon by hungry children craving sugar. So we beg, implore and bully people to bake some cakes if they possibly have time (people start to back away in the playground when they see us coming), we bake, we ice, we eat several too many of the ersatz chocolate decorations we've bought, we breathe a sigh of relief when we see children other than our own heading to school cradling plastic boxes and biscuit tins.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

You say baby food, I say soup...

Soup. Not baby food. OK?

It's disheartening, isn't it, when you think back to all the lovely vegetables your small babies ate when they were first eating solid food. Lovely purees of sweet potato, butternut squash, spinach and potato. Delicious risotti, stews and casseroles... they couldn't gobble them fast enough. Fast forward to now: "I'm not eating THAT", "I think I'm going to be sick", "Is THAT what's for tea???"

All of which is, clearly, a ringing endorsement for a blog that claims to be about feeding kids well (I'll get me coat...)

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Sunshine, birthday cake, pageantry

Here's what's been up with me recently.

Hiking in the glorious, sunny Yorkshire Dales. Careful not to look at those white legs for too long, you'll go blind.

Fabulous Flapjack

The chair of the kids’ school’s Parent Staff Association is a lovely woman called Alison who – among other things – bakes cakes and treats for a good independent local coffee shop. To entice us to attend a meeting a couple of months ago she baked some of this amazing flapjack. Under its spell, we agreed to help organize a fundraiser. Seriously, it was just that good.  A buttery, sugary, fruity festival of fun (rather than a health food, which the presence of oats might otherwise lead you to suppose, or at least hope). I have adapted it slightly - the chocolate on top is mine, all mine! Feel free to experiment until you find a combination of fruit that you love – this is great for using up odds and ends!