Tag Archives: Cheese

Leftover Cheese & Onion Bread

Cheese Bread

Now I know this isn’t exactly the most suitable recipe for any New Year dieters out there, but my excuse is I haven’t started mine yet. I’m still working my way from the excesses of choccies, biscuits, mince pies, christmas cakes, salami and cheese that are still lurking each and every which way I look. How could one possibly start any sort of diet and waste such bounty?. So today I decided to help myself along a little and throw all the cheese scrag ends into an oh so easy and oh soooooo naughty Cheese & Onion Loaf. Though I should hasten to add I still have a quarter of a Stilton and an equal amount of a mighty fine aged local Brebis (Sheeps Cheese). So I’m still a long LONG way of the D word. Thankfully. So my apologies now to any dieters out there, and I would seriously advice you not to make this, as just the one, ridiculously calorific, slice will not possibly be enough. You’ve been warned.

Master Jacques giving the Cheesy Bread his all!

Master Jacques giving the Cheesy Bread his all!

Finally it seems I have my baking mojo back. After endless freezer-filling pre-christmas baking sessions it’s been the last thing on my mind the last couple of weeks. But today’s a Wednesday and that’s a baking day in our house. The kids aren’t at school and I always try to bake something or other with them each week. Today it was just Jacques and I, as Big Sis was out with Mr F collecting wood. So we made a gloriously quick and simple yeastless and kneadless throw-it-all together Cheese & Onion Bread, that was all made in the time it took to put together a simple Pumpkin Soup. This cheese fest bread is the perfect accompaniment to hearty up a lunch time soup and particularly wonderful served piping hot out of the oven whilst the cheeses are still oozy. And you can literally use any cheese, or combination of cheeses, you happen to have in. I really did use up all our scrag ends, throwing in chunks of goats cheese, Manchego and Comte.

Leftover Cheese Bread

Leftover Cheese & Onion Bread

Makes one large loaf

a tablespoon of sunflower oil

a large red onion, finely sliced

450g of plain flour

a level tablespoon of baking powder

a teaspoon of English mustard powder

a large pinch of salt

a large pinch of black pepper

75g of butter, melted

375ml of milk

250g of leftover cheeses, roughly cut into chunks

Special Equipment: a large loaf tin lined with baking parchment

Preheat your oven to 200ºC.

Heat the sunflower oil in a saucepan and add the onions. Gently saute for 10 minutes until softened. Set aside.

Meanwhile sieve together the flour, baking powder and mustard powder and stir in the salt and pepper, ensuring everything is thoroughly combined.

Melt the butter and stir into the milk, then stir them both into the dry mixture. Finally mix in the cheesy chunks and onions and dollop into a large lined loaf tin.

Place in your oven for 35 to 40 minutes, until golden brown on the top, firm to touch and an inserted skewer comes out clean.

Serve warm with soup. Perfect. Perfectly naughty anyway.

If you like this, you might also like to try these other super-easy to bake with kids recipes:  Super-Fruity Banana Mini Muffins, Chocolate Pumpkin Cake, Cheese, Ham & Sweetcorn Muffins or Cheesy Biscuits

Cheese & Onion Loaf


Pumpkin, Cheese & Red Onion Muffins

I’m baking more and more with my littlies these days which is wonderful. At the ages of 2 and 4 they really enjoy getting involved at all stages. Every wednesday, as there’s no school on Wednesdays here in France, we bake at least one thing together, usually some sort of muffin, cake or biscuit. They love doing all the stirring, whisking, dolloping, sprinkling, decorating. Then obviously the scoffing.

We’ve made these muffins many a Wednesday baking session lately and I’ve only just realised they’ve yet to be blogged. So easy peasy to make, especially for little hands that like to do stirring, and pretty healthy to boot with all that deliciously sweet roasted pumpkin and red onion. I’m sure they must count as at least one of your five a day? If you or your kids are cheese fiends (like all of us!) then savoury muffins are the way to go, great for snacks, lunches and lunch boxes, picnics and even tea time treats. Fresh out of the oven is best, but they still hold their own cold.

Unusually for me I made large muffins this time round, I usually prefer to make smaller mini sized ones in fairy cake cases. It’s up to you. As for the cheese, I used about half Cheddar and half Parmesan in this batch but you could use all Cheddar or all Parmesan equally as successfully. You can happily substitute the pumpkin for butternut.

Cheesy Grins for Cheesy Muffins!

Pumpkin, Cheese & Red Onion Muffins

Makes 12 large muffins or 24 small mini-muffins

500g of pumpkin or butternut squash, skin and seeds removed

a large red onion

a tablespoon of sunflower oil

275g of plain flour

1 tablespoon of baking powder

½ a teaspoon of English mustard powder

salt & pepper

85g butter

2 free range medium sized eggs

200ml of milk

100g of grated Mature Cheddar or Parmesan or a mixture of the two

Special Equipment: Cake or Muffin Trays, Cake or Muffin Cases

Preheat your oven to 200ºC/Gas Mark 6.

Start with roasting off your pumpkin. Cut into large chunks and place on a baking sheet. Roast in the oven for 30 to 35 minutes until pretty soft and cooked through, turning once or twice during the cooking time. Once roasted place in a bowl and mash with a potato masher. Set aside cool a little. This part could always been done before when you happen to be using the oven for something else. Over the pumpkin season I tend to always have some pre-roasted pumpkin in the fridge to be used in cakes, muffins, pasta dishes or soups.

While the pumpkin’s roasting, finely slice the red onion. Heat the oil in a frying pan and gently fry the onion for 10 to 15 minutes until softened.

Sift the flour, baking powder and mustard powder into a large bowl. Stir in a pinch of salt and pepper.

Melt the butter and allow to cool a little. In a separate bowl whisk the eggs, then whisk or stir in the milk. Once the butter’s cooled a little whisk into the eggs and milk.

Attention littlies, lots of stirring action now required!. Throw the wet mixture into the dry and stir, stir, stir. Once combined chuck in the roasted and mashed pumpkin, red onion and ⅔ of the cheese.

Dollop the mixture into cake or muffin cases in cake or muffin trays. It’s about a dessertspoon of the raw mixture for a fairy cake sized mini-muffin or a heaped tablespoon for a large muffin. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the tops.

Bake in the oven for about 25 to 30 minutes for mini-muffins or 40 to 50 minutes for normal full sized. They’re ready when they’re golden on the top, firm to touch and an inserted cake skewer or fork comes out crumb free.

Remove from the trays and cool on a cooling rack. Particularly lovely eaten warm, and if you want to be exceptionally naughty, ahem, break in half and smear in butter.

You might also like:

Super-Fruity Banana Mini Muffins     

Pumpkin Carbonara

Chocolate Pumpkin Cake                          

Cheese, Ham & Sweetcorn Muffins


Back from our Holidays, and a Cheese, Courgette & Cherry Tomato Bread & Butter Pudding

Well we’re back from our jolidays in the UK, back home to a gloriously hot and sunny September here in France. It’s been a fab time away though and even the weather managed to hold out at it’s best for us. We primarily went for my Big Brother Si’s wedding to Meilee up in Peebles, Scotland (which admittedly was wet and a little on the cold side!) and a fab time was had by all. An amazing hotel (The Cringletie House) and totally stunning food.

Not the most pro or conventional of wedding photies but a fun one of all my family at my Big Bro Si’s wedding, that’s him on the left then my Mum, the bride Meilee, myself (in the flowery dress), Mr F at the back with Master Jacques, my Dad with Miss Frannie, Sis in Law Shelly, and my other brothers Ben and Julian

We also managed to catch up with lots of friends around England that we don’t get to see too often, and had a good few days of chill out time at my Mum and Dads in Herefordshire. Even Mr F came along for the trip, and he really doesn’t ‘do’ holidays or anything that involves leaving Chez Foti really. The doggies and  chickens were left in the good hands of my brother-in-law for the first week then our friend Debbie. A huge thank you to you both for housesitting and leaving us with an impeccably clean and tidy house and happy animals, and to Debbie for the lovely fishcakes and a greengage & blackberry crumble (picked from the garden) to come home to. We really should go away more often!

I hate to say it but the tomatoes are still rather prolific at Chez Foti. Several kilos each and every day. My Tomato Veg of the Month is very much continuing into September, and I’ll be doing a huge round-up at the end of the month…..so there’s still time to forward me your favourite tomatoey recipes to try out. And as for the courgettes/marrows, I thought they were on their way out before we left but clearly not:

Some of my post-holiday Veggie Haul!

Not only has Mr F been warned of our impending vegetarian status for the next few weeks, but I feel it’s only fair the kids do their bit too. My Cheese, Courgette & Cherry Tomato Bread & Butter Pudding happens to be one of their favourite veggie dinners, and one that they can be expecting to be eat on a pretty regular basis over the next few weeks!. The savory bread and butter pudding is actually an idea I’ve adapted from Annabel Karmel, and seems to be pretty pleasing to most littlies as well as grown up folk. Perfect for a quick to assemble mid-week family supper, or for just the kids.

Cheese, Courgette & Cherry Tomato Bread & Butter Pudding

Toddlers & Y oung Children, Bigger Kids, Family Dinners, Grown Ups

Enough for a family of four:

a tablespoon of butter

3 thick large slices of white or wholemeal bread

½ a small red onion

a small courgette

15 cherry tomatoes

90g of mature cheddar cheese, grated

3 eggs, free range

260ml of milk

a heaped teaspoon of dijon mustard

a pinch of black pepper

Pre-heat your oven to 180°C.

Start with buttering a small ovenproof dish. Then butter the slices of bread. Cut each of the slices into six to nine pieces.

Prepare the veggies. Finely slice the onion. Cut the courgette into four quarters lengthways, then finely slice. Quarter the cherry tomatoes.

Line the bottom of the buttered dish with half the bread pieces. Follow with a scattering of half the onion, half the courgette slices, half the tomatoes and half the grated cheese. Then repeat with the remainder of the ingredients but not the cheese.

Whisk together the eggs, milk, mustard and pepper. Pour evenly over the pudding. Top with the remaining cheese.

Place in the pre-heated oven for 30 to 40 minutes until puffed up and golden on the top.


Cheese, Ham & Sweetcorn Mini Muffins

Toddlers &  Young Children, Finger Foods, Grown Ups too!

We make cheesy muffins pretty often at Chez Foti as both my kids adore them (and so do I!), especially when they’re still warm out of the oven. They’ve each been known to eat five in one go!  As it was public holidays here last Thursday and Friday and no school we did a spot of baking together. Actually the holiday was only officially on the Thursday but being France employees, teachers included, like to take the Friday off too and make a long weekend of it. Most of May it seems is taken up by these long weekends.

Anyway back to the baking, Francesca who’s now three and a half loves to do all the stirring, whisking, muffin case choosing and placing in the tins, dolloping and sprinkling. It’s a messy business but well worth it, if your patience and tolerance levels will allow!. Kids always seem much more interested in eating anything they’ve had a helping hand in making. Though Jacques at just two was more than happy to do some scribbling, with the occasional cursory glance, on the other side of the table. He participated in the eating only, which needless to say he excelled himself at again. I’m sure it won’t be long before he wants to join in too as he’s a natural born foodie.

As well as a mid morning or tea time treat savoury muffins are a great alternative to all the sweet stuff at kids parties, and are good for breakfast, lunch or dinner. My monsters had these for their dinner with some baked beans on the side. They happened to be coming out of the oven unintentionally at their dinner time anyway and there was no way they’d eat less than three so dinner they were!.

I make small fairy cake size mini-muffins for my kids using ordinary cake cases, and this recipe makes about 24. If you’re  making ordinary muffin sizes you should make 12.

To make 24 small mini-muffins, or 12 ordinary sized: 

2 medium free range eggs

250ml of semi-skimmed or full fat milk

85g of butter, melted then allowed to cool

280g of plain flour

1 tablespoon of baking powder

a pinch of salt

a pinch of pepper

½ teaspoon of English mustard powder

140g of Cheddar cheese, grated

100g of ham, diced into roughly 1cm squares

100g of drained tinned sweetcorn (or defrosted frozen sweetcorn)

Pre-heat your oven to 200ºC/Gas Mark 6. Line muffin or cake tins with 12 or 24 cases depending on which size you opt to make.

Beat the eggs together, stir in the milk and the melted and cooled butter.

In a large bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, salt & pepper and mustard powder.  Make a well in the middle and pour in the egg, milk and butter mixture. Stir together gently.

Stir in ⅔ of the grated Cheddar, the diced ham and sweetcorn and stir well without over mixing.

Spoon the mixture into the cake or muffin cases. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the tops.

Place in the pre-heated oven for about 15 minutes until risen, firm to touch and a little golden on the tops.

Transfer to a cooling rack and allow to cool for a few minutes then dig in….as if you couldn’t resist! They’re at their best eaten fresh out of the oven.

How about trying these other recipes? Cheesy Biscuits, Choccie Brownies, a Trio of Dips,  Homemade Fish Fingers or Sunday Dinner Leftover Cakes

Little Miss F making the same muffins at Grandma’s a few weeks ago


Bejeweled Eggs!

8 months +, toddlers & young children

As part of my series of baby and toddler foods, in conjunction with Oogaa silicone feeding products, here’s a perfect recipe for introducing your baby to soft lumps in his or her food. Plain scrambled eggs were one of the first foods my two really loved and devoured, and as they grew accustomed to little lumps I started scrambling the eggs with an assortment of finely diced veggies and a little cheese and they probably loved my ‘bejeweled’ eggs even more than the plain scrambled. And it’s still a firm favourite today as a quick and easy no brainer supper served with little slices of wholemeal toast and butter on the side.

For very little ones dice the veggies as finely as you can, increasing the size as they get older and more accustomed to lumps and bumps. Stick to veggies that will soften well on cooking for the very wee ones, like mushrooms, peppers, tomatoes, courgette (or diced pre-cooked veggies like broccoli and carrots) etc. Slightly older babies and toddlers love it with sweetcorn and peas, as indeed I made mine with today, but these are slightly harder to break down and digest in tiny tums.

Eggs are a wonderful food for babies and young children, providing an important protein source and packed full of vitamins and minerals including vitamins A, various Bs, iron, calcium, phosphorus and potassium. Cheese is also an important source of calcium and protein.

Enough for one large portion, double if Mum wants to eat too!

5g of butter

a slice of onion, very finely diced (about a 1⁄16th of a small onion)

a fine slice of red pepper, very finely diced (about a 1⁄16th of a whole pepper)

10g of sweetcorn, fresh, canned or frozen (replace with finely diced courgette, mushroom, or pre-cooked carrot or broccoli if your baby is very little)

10g of fresh or frozen peas (replace with finely diced courgette, mushroom, or pre-cooked carrot or broccoli if your baby is very little)

a slice of tomato, very finely diced (about an 1/8th of a whole tomato)

a free range egg, beaten

a teeny weeny ultra fine grinding of black pepper

10g of a mild hard cheese (like cheddar), grated

Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Add the onion and pepper and cook for about 4 minutes until soft, stirring regularly. Stir in the peas, sweetcorn and tomato and cook for a further 2 minutes. If the pan becomes dry add a splash of water.

Stir in the beaten egg, very finely ground black pepper and grated cheese. Continue to stir until the egg is cooked through. Allow to cool for a few moments then serve.

Have you tried my other baby recipes? How about the ever so tasty Sweet Potato Daal for Babies & Toddlers, Baby Pasta & Purees, Chicken, Veggie & Egg Fried Rice or Kid’s Bolognese?


Lou’s Lasagne

Toddlers & Young Children, Grown Ups

Doesn’t everyone love lasagne? It’s certainly a favourite in the Foti household. This probably isn’t the most traditional of recipes as I make mine with oodles of oozy cheese sauce, and in so doing would probably be in a good deal of strife in Italy. Rather than just a bechamel I add strong cheddar or even a couple of tablespoons of grated Parmesan. If the truth be known I have a bit of a thing for cheese sauce. Top tip: try adding a teaspoon of english mustard to your cheese sauce, it really enhances the flavour.

I usually make separate lasagnes for the kids in my Oogaa bowls (being silicone they can amazingly be baked in the oven) and a larger one for the grown ups. The kids just love having their own dish. If you are baking individuals I would advise pre-cooking the dried lasagne for a few minutes before layering. You could obviously bake just the one large lasagne for the whole family, and no lasagne pre-cooking required.

Enough for a hungry family of four, with a few tasty leftovers:

For the cheese sauce:

50g of butter

40g of plain flour

500ml of full fat milk

a teaspoon of English mustard (optional)

80g of cheddar cheese, grated

pepper

½ quantity of bolognese sauce, either my Classic Bolognese or Kids Bolognese which works out at about 750g of made up bolognese

8 – 10 dried lasagne sheets

125g ball of Mozzarella, thinly sliced

a heaped tablespoon of grated Parmesan or Grana Padano

Pre-heat your oven to 180C.

Start with making your cheese sauce. Place the butter in a large saucepan and heat over a very gentle heat until melted. With the pan still on a little heat add the flour and stir quickly and vigorously with a wooden spoon or a balloon whisk until combined. Add a little milk and continue to stir or whisk vigorously, gradually add the milk in this way until you have incorporated it all. Don’t worry if you have a few lumps at this stage, they’ll eventually go. Continue to stir or whisk the sauce over a gentle heat until it is fully thickened and starting to simmer, this will take a few minutes. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the cheese, mustard (if using) and a pinch of ground pepper. You probably won’t need to add any salt as the cheese contains plenty.

Now you’re ready to construct. Choose your dishes and decide how many layers of pasta and sauces you need. If making small individual lasagnes for the kids I would suggest just two layers. If making in a deep dish then three. Either way start with a layer of bolognese on the base of your dish or dishes. Cover this with a single layer of lasagne, preferably pre-cooked for small individual dishes. Now pour on a generous layer of cheese sauce. Repeat this layering system once or twice more, finishing with the remainder of the cheese sauce on top.

Place the mozzarella slices evenly over the top or tops and sprinkle with the Parmesan.

Place in the pre-heated oven for 30 minutes for small individual lasagnes or 45 minutes for larger ones, until the cheese is bubbling and golden on the top. Check with a fork that the pasta is soft and cooked through (if not already pre-cooked).

Great served with a salad for grown up folk and a few steamed veggies for the wee ones.

Here’s some other favourite toddler and children recipes: Sunday Dinner Leftover Cakes, Kids Fish Pie, Chicken Fried Rice

And other pasta recipes: Pasta & Meatballs!, Roasted Veggie Lasagne, Sausage & Courgette Pasta Carbonara, Smoked Salmon & Broccoli Penne


Cheesy Biscuits for Half Term

It’s half term for number one child this week, actually this two weeks…they generously do two in France, the country of more school holidays than anywhere else in the world! So we’re on holiday in the warmer climes of England luxuriating in the wonders of a centrally heated Grandma and Grandpa house, escaping the snowy sub zero temperatures of Siberian SW France.

Yesterday we had a spot of mummy and daughter cheesy biscuit baking. Great fun. This is a really REALLY simple recipe and great to make with kids. I make them quite often with my daughter who’s three as she hasn’t got a particularly sweet tooth (except for chocolate) and likes her cheese so these always go down a storm. Especially when she gets to cut them out herself with animal shaped cutters. Believe me she ate six before I had time to get the camera out and get a snap! If you want to get your kids into baking, invest in some interesting shaped cutters (whatever they’re into!) and make some biscuits, I guarantee they’ll love it.

And these cheesy gems are pretty popular with grown up folk too. You could always add a pinch of hot paprika to the biscuit mix to jazz it up a little, and cut them into more traditional round shapes.

80g grated mature cheddar

50g butter

110g plain flour plus a little extra for rolling

½ tsp of english mustard powder

1 egg yolk

salt & pepper

Preheat the oven to 180℃.

Place the cheese, butter, flour and mustard powder in a food processor and whiz until you have a fine crumb.

Add a generous pinch of salt and pepper and the egg yolk and whiz again until a ball is formed in the processor. If a ball doesn’t form easily add a splash of cold water and whiz again. Remove from the processor.

If you have time cover with cling film and chill in the fridge for half an hour or so. If not, you can make them immediately but the dough is a little stickier.

Roll out the dough on a floured surface until it’s about 3 to 4mm thick. Cut the biscuits into your desired shapes. Re-roll any scraps until all the dough is used.

Place on a baking tray and bake in the preheated oven for 7 to 10 minutes until puffed up and a little golden. Keep checking them regularly as they can overcook very quickly.

Once cooked remove from the tray immediately and place on a cooling rack to cool for a minute or two before eating. They’re particularly lovely eaten a little warm fresh from the oven. Enjoy!

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A Tartiflette for your Valentine?

This French classic from the Alps has to be the ultimate in staying in cuddling up in front of the fire cold winter night comfort food. Coupled with a fine bottle of vin rouge, a simple well dressed green salad and plenty of crusty bread this would be my perfect Valentines supper, and I’d be lovingly making this for my husband tomorrow if he happened to be in the same country as me! But alas he’s beavering away at home in France fitting new floors and ceilings whilst I’m camping out with the nippers at my parents house in Herefordshire.

Not exactly the healthiest of recipes which is why I’ve left this little gem until February, but nevertheless a wonderful and special treat. Potatoes, lardons (or streaky bacon if you can’t source), meltingly soft onions, cream and oozy cheese and that’s it. Splurge on some top quality cheese here, it’s worth it. Reblochon is traditional but Tomme de Savoie, Compte or Gruyere work well too, or any combination of these. So so simple and divine beyond belief. I defy any bloke not to be chuffed with this super calorific little number!

Enough for a romantic gorging for two, possibly with a few tasty leftovers

olive oil

220g of lardons or streaky bacon, diced

2 average sized onions, finely sliced

500g cooked potatoes, sliced

120ml double cream

220g Reblochon, Tomme de Savoie, Compte or Gruyere cheese, sliced

salt & black pepper

Pre-heat the oven to 200°C/Gas Mark 6.

In a large and deep frying pan fry the lardons or streaky bacon in a little olive oil until slightly crisp. Add the sliced onion and fry for at least 15 minutes on a low heat until very very soft. Now stir in the cooked sliced potatoes and continue to sauté until everything is slightly browning. Season with plenty of freshly ground black pepper and a little salt (be cautious with the salt, you may not need any at all) and stir in well.

Place in an overproof dish and pour over the cream. Layer the cheese slices over the top and place in the oven. Bake until bubbling and slightly golden on top.

Eat immediately, as if you couldn’t resist! Lovely with a simple well dressed green leafy salad, plenty of crusty bread and a fine bottle of gutsy red wine.


Chorizo & Manchego Salad

A winter warmer of a salad today, and one for the grown up folk really, unless your kids happen to eat salad which mine very definitely don’t …..at least not yet anyway. Philipe and I often have a late night supper salad once the kids are in bed, but we’re not talking a couple of lettuce leaves and a spray of dressing here, we’re usually talking pretty substantial. More often than not there’s something sausage like, a little cheese, definitely croutons and sometimes potatoes. A salad for the boys really.

Today’s chorizo salad is simply lots of lovely salad leaves (fresh from the garden in our case), chopped parsley, sliced red onion, some strips of pepper (or a few preserved peppers from a jar), cubes of Spanish Manchego (or any other flavoursome sheep’s milk cheese, but even a good goats cheese works well), fried chorizo slices and last but certainly not least lots of crunchy croutons fried in the remainder of the chorizo juices and a little hot smoked paprika to boot. Smoked paprika is the main spice in chorizo and is used widely in Spain, it gives a great little smokey spice kick to many a casserole or stew or even a crouton in this case!. The salad’s then simply tossed together in a sherry vinegar and olive oil dressing. Inarguably this is my favourite of our ‘winter’ salads.

Enough for two hungry grown ups:

120g chorizo, cut in 3 to 4mm slices, skin removed

a little olive oil

a small interesting lettuce, or a bag of lovely leaves, washed and torn

1 heaped tbsp of chopped parsley

1/4 of a red onion, finely sliced

1/2 a red pepper, cut into thin strips OR a few preserved peppers from a jar (available in good supermarkets or delis), sliced into strips

100g manchego cheese or any other sheeps or goats cheese, cut into 1cm cubes

40g stale white bread, cut into 2cm cubes

a generous pinch of hot smoked paprika (optional)

1 tbsp of sherry vinegar

3 tbsps of good quality olive oil

salt & pepper

Start with frying off the chorizo slices in a frying pan, adding just a little olive oil. Fry for about five minutes until golden on both sides, turning frequently.

Meanwhile prepare the salad. Place the lettuce, chopped parsley, red onion slices, red pepper strips and cheese cubes in a large salad bowl.

Make your dressing by briskly whisking together a tbsp of sherry vinegar with 3 tbsps of olive oil, a little salt and a generous grinding of black pepper.

Once your chorizo is cooked remove from the frying pan with a slotted spoon and drain on some kitchen roll. Add another splash of olive oil to the frying pan along with a pinch of salt, a generous pinch of hot smoked paprika (if using) and another of black pepper and place back on the heat. When the oil’s hot add the bread cubes and immediately turn to coat all sides. Continue to cook a little on all sides until the croutons are golden and crunchy, turning very regularly so as they don’t burn. The whole process will only take 2 to 3 minutes. When cooked drain on some more kitchen paper.

Add the slightly cooled chorizo to the salad and about half of the dressing. Toss the salad well, ensuring everything’s evenly coated. Taste and add more dressing to suit. Scatter the croutons on top and serve immediately.

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Kids Fish Pie!


Today I baked fish pie in my gorgeous Oogaa bowls, much to the delight of my kids! Their favourite dinner IN their favourite bowls, Jacques was literally climbing on the table to get his fingers in the pies! Oogaa produce fabulous feeding products for babies and young children, in gorgeous designs and colours that are fun and so adorable. We now have the range of colours and Francesca frustratingly will only eat out of a bowl that matches her outfit of the day (as girls do!). Jacques loves their squidgability (I think I just made up a word here!) and loves to chew and play with them after his dinner, or put them on his head. He also has a rather unnerving tendency of flinging his bowl as far and fast as he can once he’s finished eating so Mummy’s very happy to have silicone non-noisy non-breakable dinnerware!. Mummy’s also happy that they’re so incredibly useful, they can be baked in the oven, put in the microwave to warm up food, put through the dishwasher and even used to store food in the freezer. And being silicone, so wonderfully safe! For more information on Oogaa have a look at their lovely website: www.oogaa.com.

Although named Kid’s Fish Pie, it’s most certainly not just for kids, and can be very much enjoyed by grown ups too! I baked my pies individually in Oogaa bowls today (as well as a separate dish for my husband and I), but you could also use a large and deep ovenproof dish for everyone.

Enough for 4 adults (or like us, for a family of 4, with portions left over for the kids to eat again the next day!)

400g of sustainable white fish fillets (or combination of salmon and white fish)

500ml of full fat milk

1 bay leaf

salt & pepper

50g butter

40g plain flour

80g Cheddar cheese, grated

½ tsp of English mustard (optional)

2 eggs, hard boiled

80g frozen peas, cooked

2 large handfuls of fresh spinach, washed and finely chopped, wilted

2 tbsps chopped fresh chives, finely chopped (optional)

3 tsps of lemon juice

For the Potato Topping:

700g potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks

40g butter

3 tbsp milk

salt & pepper

Preheat your oven to 180°C/Gas 4.

Place your fish in a saucepan and pour over the milk, a little seasoning (none or very little salt if you’re cooking for wee ones!) and the bay leaf. Slowly bring to the boil and allow to simmer for about 5 minutes until the fish is cooked.

Meanwhile cook the potatoes for the topping in a pan of boiling water. If you haven’t already done so you can hard boil your eggs in the same pan (they take 8 minutes in boiling water). When the potatoes are cooked drain out the water, pouring the water over the fresh spinach as this will be enough to wilt it ready for the pie. Mash the potatoes with the butter, milk and a little seasoning.

Drain the fish from the milk, retaining the milk for the sauce. Check the fish for bones, roughly break into pieces and set aside.

Now to make the cheese sauce. Place the butter in a large saucepan and heat over a very gentle heat until melted. With the pan still on a little heat add the flour and stir quickly and vigorously with a wooden spoon or a balloon whisk until combined. Add a little milk and continue to stir or whisk vigorously, continue to add the milk in this way until you have incorporated it all. Don’t worry if you have a few lumps at this stage, they’ll eventually go. Continue to stir or whisk the sauce constantly over a gentle heat until it is fully thickened and starting to simmer, this will take a few minutes. When simmering, take the pan off the heat and stir in the cheese and mustard (if using).

Now you can assemble your pie or pies. Place the fish pieces evenly in a large ovenproof dish or individual dishes or bowls. Roughly chop up the eggs and scatter on to the fish, along with the peas, spinach and chives (if using). Drizzle over a little lemon juice. Pour over the cheese sauce. Top with the mashed potato.

Bake in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes. For a crispy browned top place briefly under a hot grill.


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