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Will feed 4 adults or a family of 2 adults and 3 children.

1 Pork steak
2 Carrots
2 Celery Sticks
1 Courgette
3 Garlic cloves
500ml Chicken stock
1 Mug of White Basmati Rice

Spice mix

1 Tablespoon Raisins
1 Tablespoon Cashew nuts (raw not roasted)
1 Teaspoon flaked Almonds
1 Teaspoon Cumin
1 Teaspoon Coriander
1 Teaspoon Mixed Spices
1/4 Teaspoon Black Pepper
1/4 Teaspoon Cinnamon

1 Teaspoon Rapeseed oil

Set the oven to 200 degrees centigrade.

Chop the vegetables. Heat the chicken stock to a boiling roll add all the vegetables and the garlic. Cover with a lid and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes.

Place all the Spice mix in an oven proof dish and mix well. Smells good. Add the oil and mix. Place in the hot oven for 5 minutes.
Remove from the oven and mix in the rice. Add the vegetables from the stock, layer them on top of the rice. Then using the same cup or mug measure 1 and a half mugs of stock into the oven dish. Curl the pork steak onto the top of the dish. Season with salt and pepper and place in the oven for 30 minutes. Cover with tinfoil and bake for another 10 minutes.

The seasoning is tasty rather then spicy. The pork succulent.
Serve with green salad and cucumber slices.

Enjoy!

I started to make white soda bread pizza again last week and made an extra batch sans pizza topping into scones. I vary how I make the soda bread sometimes if son#3 excema is really bad I’ll make it with spelt and soya milk. Otherwise I’ll mix it as follows

WHITE SODA BREAD

1lb white flour
3/4 teaspoon bread soda
1/2 teaspoon of salt
360ml buttermilk (or more often I’ll use plain yogurt mixed with milk)

Set the cooker to 220 C.
Mix all the dry ingredients together. You can sieve it if you like but I don’t. Have a floured tray ready to go in the oven.
Make a well in the center of the dry ingredient and pour in the buttermilk. Mix until just brought together. Knee the dough three or four times only. The less handling the better. Flour the surface and tip the dough on to it. You can roll it flat and using cutters make scones*. Remember the size of the cut shape will influence the cooking time. The bread will make a hollow sound when tapped underneath when it is cooked. Cool on a wry rack. Be warned eating the bread hot from the oven with melted butter and homemade jam is delicious but can induce stomach cramps.

This is a great recipe to let children help with. They really enjoy getting the ingredients, weighing, mixing, getting the dough rolled out and using different cookie cutters to shape out scones. The more they play with it the tougher it becomes but in my experience they are so happy to eat their creations it won’t matter to them.

*I used to do that now I make into a long narrow loaf shape keeping it tall and narrow so I get two rows on the tray.Then using a good knife I cut the dough 3/4 of the way down to make smaller rolls. They cook together but are marked so are easy to break off and give nice open white bread sides with a nice soft crust on top and bottom.  These take about 12 minutes to cook in the oven. I usually turn them after 9 minutes. But you will start to smell them being cooked and filling the kitchen with the wonderful aroma of fresh bread.

I had forgotten how much the whole family love fresh white soda bread. It also solved some school lunch box dilemmas.

This is a great recipe for variations here are some I make:

Soda bread pizza. Before you mix the dry & wet ingredients have the following ready to go. Your choice of tomato sauce, grated cheese, oregano. You can use a passata about 250ml, add salt, pepper, 1tsp mixed herbs, large crushed clove of garlic and  mix well. Otherwise I recommend Bunalun, Tomato and Vegetable Sauce is excellent and tastes pretty much like my homemade tomato sauce. As a rule I don’t buy ready made pasta sauces as I find them too sweet or too oily. For the cheese my kids prefer cheddar but for grown up pizza soft goats cheese has featured. Make the soda bread, roll out flat, place on a floured tin tray. Using a spoon cover the base with tomato sauce. Sprinkle grated cheese over and finally some oregano. Put in the oven and set the timer for 7 minutes. Turn the pizza and set for another five minutes. When cooked the smell is delicious and it lifts off the tray easily. Remove to a rack. Slice, serve and enjoy.
This is a great recipe for children’s parties and teenage hangout sessions.

Herby bread scones. Add 1 teaspoon of a mixed herbs into the dry ingredients and mix well then continue as above. Would be excellent severed with soup or some nice hard cheese like an Ardsallagh.

Olive flat bread. Add 2 tablespoons of sliced black olives into the weighed wet ingredients and mix well. Add to the dry and continue as above. Roll this out flat to fill the tray and bake in one piece as a tear and share bread or cut into squares. Start to check after six minutes.

Cheats focaccia. Roll the white soda bread out flat about 2cm think. Impress your thumb print on it and put sprigs of fresh rosemary into each. Sprinkle with sea salt flakes. Drizzle olive oil over the dough. Pop into the oven. I love this with a bowl of spinach soup.

Out of a family of five what are the chances of everyone liking the thing that you make for dinner? I find myself in danger of only cooking a few dishes that everyone eats. Even when the narrow margin of ‘everyone eats this’ is observed the retort “I don’t like that any more” is enough to crush the cooks soul [mine] under the weight of the dishes pilled up and the extra effort that has been made to cook, make or bake dinner.

So what do I do? Son #3 seven years clearly announces “I don’t like lasagna” as I finish the layers and am about to put the dish in the oven! He has been off his food lately. I know there is a lump of bacon left in the fridge. I remember a great Nigella Lawson Pizza Rustica in ‘How to be a Domestic Goddess’ that I have made before and he has enjoyed. But will it be left on the plate?
Have you experienced this? How do you deal with the different foodie preferences in your house?

Son#1 who is now in fully fledged teenage mode started an interesting discussion a few weeks ago

what if we had to pay Mum for dinner?

We had some discussion on menus and what all three of them would like to see on their ‘pay Mum for dinner’.  Perhaps I need to raise that conversation again.

Well it is cold and sometimes you need something hot, tempting and tasty… and I think it is still too early for mulled wine.

You will need per serving:
Coffee
Cinnamon Stick (or if you can find cassia bark use that it provides a better flavour)
Whipped cream (optional)
Sprinkle of nutmeg

Make a pot of strong filtered coffee enough for as many cups [or mugs lets face it Coffee Rum Hot Mug does not sound right] add the cinnamon stick to the coffee as you are making it and leave it sit for 10 minutes. Press the coffee.
Get your mug add 1 tablespoon of rum and top up with coffee. Heat in a microwave at 80% for 1 minute. If you don’t have a microwave it works well heated in a pot. Add whipped cream. Sprinkle with nutmeg.

I like this without the cream the nutmeg is crucial though it melds the flavours together.
This is an nice option instead of Irish Whiskey or Hot Port.

This beetroot relish can be served to spice up a salad or a main meal. I like it served as a salad in it’s own right and it is rather good with pecans.

1 medium beetroot
1 small red onion
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
pinch of salt

Peel the beetroot I prefer to do this with a small sharp knife. Using a large toothed grater grate the beetroot. Or chop into small pieces.
Finely chop the onion.
Mix all the ingredients together and leave for at least twenty minutes to let the flavours mingle.
Serve as a side dish and allow people to help themselves  or pile on top of a green salad to add… well a kick.
You can add more cayenne pepper to suit your pallet.

This year I have discovered I like beetroot raw rather then vinegared or cooked. But I am the only one who likes it in our house.

Beetroot is said to have very positive effects on the blood and other health inducing properties.

I’m starting this blog with the intention to share delicious things to cook, make and bake. I hope you’ll enjoy it. I’ve contemplated this blog for good on a year and have resisted it.
But today I realise that it is a must and I need to sign up for conscious eating. I need to feel inspired. I need to motivate myself to have an authentic relationship with food.
The inspiration to blog exists in

  • sharing good healthy things to eat
  • takin’ responsibility for my askew eating patterns [yes i know what thats about]
  • feedin my children and husband healthy nutritious food without it costing a fortune in cash, food miles or time.
  • the balance between work, domestic bliss, exercise and fun time

I’m a good cook I can make food from left overs, bake cakes, bread although I am slightly challenged when it comes to yeast.  But I am not overly fond of it.
I read cookery books like novels, I like to tweak and alter recipes. I love good food and aspire to grow my own veg and have hens, possibly a pig but that could be pushing it as I often have an aversion to meat.

I’d love to set up a cookery book swap, publish a cookery book and themed recipe novel.

But right now I just wanna start this blog, reconnect with what my body needs to eat, get a healthy relationship with food and my BMI, get back into yoga and exercise.

All good yet here I am sitting on the sofa eating a packet of Go Tan Java’s which are spicy Indonesian Crackers drinking a bottle of Yellow Hammer Shiraz.

I have been using food as an unhealthy alternative to exercise, dealing with stress and well some other stuff…
While I love eating my excess weight does not feel good. I don’t exercise enough to keep my weight in check so I have piled on the pounds in this year. Its uncomfortable and needs to go in reverse. I am hoping conscious eating will help me tune into a healthier me.
I refuse to own a weighing scales but am terrified to get weighed and really face up to my BMI which would tell me I am morbidly obese.
So in an effort to get real… here it is the cookmakebake blog.