I read a blog about a very large family in the US. I daren’t tell you who they are. I can’t link to it in case the blogger loses her temper and contacts me. I know for a fact she does that kind of thing. She’s THAT fearless. I bet she approaches teenagers in the park and asks them to stop smoking and swearing too. I am utterly fascinated by her. She has over 10 children, cooks from scratch every day and always seems so patient in her blog posts. The perfect Mum. Much like the one in Topsy & Tim.
Don’t even get me started about Topsy and Tim’s Mum. If you haven’t seen this programme check Cbeebies out. T & Ts Mum is perfect. She never shouts, hugs her children when they break her vase, plays fun games like dens when the rest of the house is going to rack and ruin, plus she always smiles at her husband when he arrives home rather than asking where he’s been or why he’s late or if he picked up a bottle of wine on the way home because it really has been one of those days. And she’s thin. Oh and she never checks Facebook on her phone when the kids are about. I hate her.
Anyway, this other Mum, the blogger one. It can’t be true can it? Her patience and general Zen like state. No one is that nice. Imagine 10 kids! Imagine the amount of abandoned socks, the volume of plastic plates that never properly dry in the dishwasher and thus make double the work and have to be dried AGAIN on the rack. Imagine the amount of times she has said ‘do not lick your brother’s arm’ or similar. She must be on the gin every night. Either that or she’s a liar. Maybe the blog is an alternative reality for her. A fictitious diary of the mother she wants to be. Oh I do hope so. She makes me feel inadequate.
Anyway, here’s a really lovely quiche recipe. It’s not that hard, but if it’s a bottle of wine day then maybe buy the pastry.
Lots more recipes like this in my book, Recipes from a Normal Mum, out now… on Amazon, with The Book People, at Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Waitrose (where it’s book of the month) and many smaller outlets.
200g uncooked salmon, cut into cubes (approx weight)
5 – 6 asparagus spears
75g Gruyère or other hard cheese
Lots of freshly ground black pepper
To make the pastry using a stand mixer, use the flat beater to make the flour and butter into breadcrumbs at a low speed. Add black pepper and then on speed 1 add icy cold water until the pastry JUST comes together. Or to make the pastry by hand, rub the fat in to the flour, add pepper and then add icy cold water until the pastry just comes together using a blunt knife to full together. Pat into a flat circle shape, wrap the pastry in clingfilm and refrigerate for an hour.
Line a 23cm quiche tin with a loose bottom with the pastry, rolling to about 3mm thick, using a little extra flour for rolling. Trim the edges (roll a rolling pin over the top for a quick way to do this) and chill or freeze if possible for another 30 minutes. Then pop greaseproof paper into the shell, fill with baking beans or uncooked rice and bake in a preheated 200C/Gas 6 oven for 20 minutes. Then remove the beans and paper and bake for another 10 minutes until the bottom of the pastry shell is fully cooked. Remove from the oven.
Place the salmon onto the pastry shell then take the asparagus and break off at the bottom of the stems – you’re aiming to let the asparagus naturally break at the point where the asparagus stops being delicious and crisp and starts being woody. Chuck the woody bits away and keep the crisp asparagus stems with the feathery tops. Whisk together the eggs and cream, pour over the salmon then place the asparagus over the top. Lastly grate the cheese over the top and bake for about 20 minutes until golden brown and well set. Leave to cool on a wire rack or serve warm.
I am a barbecue snob. I’m not happy or indeed impressed by a few burgers and a sausage or two. Add to that a pack of pre bought coleslaw and whilst it’s a little better, I’m still a bit disappointed. Maybe I’m in the minority, but for me barbecues are made by the sides. The salads, the salsas, the dips, the cocktails, the relishes and the breads. Oh and the beer, the cold beer adorned with wedges of lime. I do love sausages, kebabs and burgers (especially burgers when stuffed with blue cheese) but they’re nothing without their pals.
And the key to a good barbecue side dish? Make it ahead. Don’t stress out on the day trying to be superwoman or man in the kitchen. Have it all pre-prepped and then you can don a hat, an apron, brandish those tongs and stay by the fire. Beer in hand.
Makes enough for 4 as a main or 8 or more as a side
1 x small head of cauliflower, cut into 3 – 4cm florets
3 tbsp groundnut/vegetable oil
2 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp black pepper
1 tsp salt
200g bulgar wheat
20g fresh coriander
Turn the oven onto 200C/gas mark 6. Mix the cauliflower, oil, cumin, pepper and salt together in a large roasting tray. Roast for 20 minutes until the cauliflower has started to colour and a knife easily passes through the stalks. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
Meanwhile boil the bulgar wheat according to the packet instructions then drain and mix with the cauliflower in the roasting tin. Leave to cool or serve warm with chopped fresh coriander.
I’m a mum of 3 boys, a cookbook writer and also a finalist on the 2011 Great British Bake Off.
I’ve decided to record the recipes I use, partly to save them somewhere and partly in case someone else might like to use them...
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