Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Favourite Family Foods

It's been a while since I shared any cooking here, so I thought I would! Sorry about the photos, somehow food photos always turn out awful for me. 

These are a firm favourite in this house, courgette fritters adapted from a recipe in the Hairy Bikers Mums Know Best. I first made these when Sausages was small, and they make a great baby-led-weaning food. I make a big batch, freeze them, and defrost a couple in the microwave when needed. They are so tasty! Grate a few courgettes and an onion, and drain in a colander over the sink. I put a saucer on top, and then the weights from my balance, to squeeze out the liquid. I try to reserve the liquid for stock. Fry the vegetables down with a clove of garlic until they are just cooked. Make a batter with 2 eggs, 100g plain flour, and a drop of milk for batter consistency. Add whatever flavourings you like from garam masala, chilli flakes, parsley, coriander and mint, and stir in 160g grated or crumbled cheese, and the courgettes. I cook mine on a flat pan that needs no oil, in spoonful dollops and on both sides, then cool and store in batches in the freezer, so I know I can pull out a good snack at a moment's notice. I hope you enjoy them! In the summer I always find people have extra courgettes hanging around, so these can be made very cheaply.

A note on cooking with flavours for small children: I find that my children love strong flavours, and will eat ANYTHING with garlic in. I do not subscribe to the idea of bland weaning foods. Breastmilk changes flavour all the time according to maternal diet, and lays a good foundation for a varied diet. Go easy on the chilli though!

This cake is a return to the Hummingbird Bakery cookbook, the nutty apple loaf, baked in the slow cooker. I didn't have any strawberry jam in, so I used home made plum jam. This was an absolutely wonderful cake, with a great texture for slicing. It would be perfect for picnics. I have found so many of the Hummingbird recipes too sweet, but this is more in the style of a German spiced apple cake, and it's just delicious! Highly recommended.

This parsnip and thyme bread from River Cottage (and inspired by Delia Smith's oatmeal and potato bread) was made in the slow cooker and was a brilliant weekend lunch. It's more like a soda bread, baked with self raising flour rather than yeast, and packed with yummy flavours. There is cheese inside the bread, so we ate it in rough slices, still hot from the cooker, and spread with a little butter. It'd be great for picnics, wrapped up to keep it warm, and with soup. Mix together a sweated onion, 175g self raising flour, thyme leaves, 50g grated cheese, 175g grated parsnip, one egg, 2-3 tbsp milk, and a good grating of pepper. Shape into a round and bake or slow cook until there is a golden crust, and tapping elicits a hollow sound. Don't forget that when baking in the slow cooker the crust will be on the bottom of the loaf. My boys loved this, and ate the whole loaf in one sitting.

Finally, I have recently discovered an entire online community dedicated to making fudge in slow cookers. I don't normally make "sweets," but I thought I'd give it a go, since they promised it was so easy. The basic recipe is one tin of condensed milk and 400g chocolate, pop in the slow cooker on high for an hour, stirring frequently, then pour into a tray and fridge overnight. The results are surprisingly professional! Although I won't be making it often: it's too sweet for us to have around, not really what I want us to be eating. It will be nice to give for gifts and special occasions. A word on condensed milk: please consider boycotting Nestle, for the reasons discussed in this post, and on this website. You have the power to effect change for those less fortunate than yourself. And you can do it while making fudge! Have you made any exciting flavours of fudge? I'd love to hear some suggestions!

I hope you like these recipes and have a go. I'd love to hear from any of you with other good, easy recipes for feeding the family on a budget!



  1. hello elizabeth,
    mmmh your food sounds and look very good!!!!!! I have a slowcooker too, but I've never used it.I think I should use it some day.Thanks for the inspiration.
    Havea nice restweek,

    1. Thank you Regina, you definitely should give it a go! It's great to be able to prepare food in advance and not to have to worry about timing!