I don't know about you, but I often find I get stuck in a cooking rut. Now this is not necessarily a bad thing - many of the things I make a lot at home are regular favourites to make because they tick one or more of the food themed boxes I have floating in my head as being important when feeding a family.
So, I have decided to write down what my mental culinary tick boxes are, and, to spend 2013 playing a game of a food based Top Trumps. Who's in?
Off the top of my head, these criteria are:
1. Popular with my girls and children in general, and therefore hopefully give me a whining free and speedy meal time. This can either be a main course that gets eaten without nagging, or a pudding that acts as a good incentive/bribe to hurry up and eat the main course (don't get me started on the slower than snail pace at which the middle girl eats);
2. Easy and simple recipes I can remember and don't tax my brain or time too much to make. This means more time left for sewing and crafty stuff, right? (Or housework, of course);
3. Are made up of things that I usually have in the cupboard (and can therefore be made without too much planning and needing to trawl to the supermarket with three tired and hungry children) that don't cost too much;
4. Vaguely healthy and therefore make me feel like I am being a good mother; and, most importantly,
5. Yummy for all (not just children) to eat.
Anything I have missed out? Feel free to join in with this experiment, by the way. I'd love to try out your food top trump recommendations, and will happily share and show them off on here.
My plan is to give each recipe a score out of ten for each of the above criteria, plus a bonus 5 points if the recipe happens to be brand new or allergy friendly.
I'm going to aim for one new thing a month, in the hope that by the end of 2013 I'll have a nice selection of workable new dishes and treats under my belt (if my belt still does up, by the end of all my sampling, that is).
I am going to start the ball rolling with the best flapjack you'll ever taste. A bold claim, but, I've eaten a lot of flapjack before stumbling upon this shining example of crunchy chewy perfection. So, I give you my sister in law Debbie's flapjack recipe. I think you'll agree it is only fair that I share it with you. If only to tempt people away from their new year diets and into a bit of buttery indulgence...
125 g butter
125 g brown sugar
5 tablespoons golden syrup (after trial and error guessing at this and resulting in very hit and miss success, I have worked out it should weigh about 250 g)
250 g oats
Melt the butter, sugar and syrup together in a pan. Stir in the oats, and tip into a lined tin (that is about the size of an A4 piece of paper). Bake for 20-25 minutes at 160 c.
- Popular with children - 9/10 - mine all love this, but I'm prepared to admit there might be children out there not so keen...
- Easy and simple - 10/10 - especially now I just weigh the syrup rather than messing about measuring out 5 tablespoons and guessing it.
- Ingredients - 10/10 - almost always have all those things in and none of it goes off. The ingredients come out at approximately £1.50 per batch of 18 little squares. Even when eating two at a time (who doesn't?), each treat only costs 17 pence.
- Vaguely healthy - a surprising 4/10, after finding this article to back up my already held belief that oats are good for you. Ignore the syrup, tell yourself the sugar is brown and therefore not as bad as white caster sugar, that pure animal fats are better than margarine, and, I reckon you can boost the score to an 8/10 if you eat a banana alongside your flapjack. I am not going to bother working out calories. This is about loving food, not zapping your enjoyment of it with cold hard facts. Oats are officially a super food.
- Yummy for all - 10/10
No bonus points for being new, but I am going to award 5 bonus points for the potential this recipe has for being allergy friendly - if you use gluten free oats you can serve it up to your gluten free friends without them having any compromise on the taste.
TOTAL: 48 points
|One of your five a day (when eaten with a banana, that is)|
And now to set my alarm ready for the gym in the morning...