September 7, 2010 | Beef stew

I go to Waitrose for my robust Italian olive oil, which at about £6.50 per litre is the best deal I can find. While there, I also pick up golden linseed which I dry-fry/toast in an open cast iron frying pan before adding to my home made muesli. Their big jars of artichoke hearts in olive oil – youngest loves them on home made pizzas and in sandwiches –  are good value as well. Mrs Dad like their dressed anchovy fillets as well. Their three-packs-for-a-tenner meat is quite a good deal; yesterday’s haul included a 4-pack of  1ft sausages and two packs of small topside steaks.

The steaks I put to immediate good use for a rich stew which fed eight – we have a full house at the moment including the au pair and oldest’s lovely boyfriend.   Continue reading Beef stew

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July 12, 2010 | Chicken Salad on Toast with Roasted Carrots

chicken mini

chicken mini

Here at Dad central, we focus many meals around bread. Sandwiches are a fabulously versatile concept. They can be expressions of utmost simplicity or exotic creations that stand up to serious scrutiny.

This recipe sits somewhere in the middle; but provides a delicious and rich tasting meat and two veg standard of sandwich making while also delivering some of the informality of sandwich snacking. Some sandwiches need a knife and fork – this may be one of them.

Spread some good blossom honey plus plenty of dark (sweet) soy sauce over the surface of either a whole organic chicken, or a couple of jointed pieces, having slashed the skin to allow the baste to seep into the flesh. Roast, basting from time to time, until glossy, crisp and cooked through.

When nearly cooked, scrub and slice several carrots into thinnish strips lengthways and put in the roasting dish around the chicken, coating them with the accumulated juices. Roast for another 20 mins or so, until the carrots are soft.

Meanwhile toast slices of substantial bread, such as sourdough or wholemeal. Butter if you like, or sprinkle over some olive oil, or leave bare. Pile on top some salad leaves – rocket is very good and not too hot for young tastebuds. Roughly carve off some chicken meat and well cooked skin and pile on top. Season to taste with salt and pepper, a spoon over carrot strips and juices; serve immediately.

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July 9, 2010 | Parmesan Carrots and Celery

carrots

carrots

Parmesan

Parmesan

celery

celery

Simple vegetable dishes with some strong flavour added – in this case Parmesan cheese make interesting teas or light suppers that children can enjoy, while taking the benefits of fresh veg. This dish is very simple and is delicious – two important criteria for most dads when staring at the fridge ans wondering what to do.

Adjust the quantities according to the appetites and numbers of hungry mouths due to be filled. Dice equal amounts of carrots and celery and stew until soft in vegetable (marigold stock powder is good) or chicken stock just to cover.

Drain and keep warm in a shallow ovenproof dish, retaining the stock. Melt a little butter in a pan, and add a little flour. Stir and whisk together until united.

Pour over the reserved stock and whisk until you have a glossy little sauce. Then stir in a tblpsn of freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Pour over the vegetables, top with more Parmesan and flash under a hot grill rapidly to brown.

Serve immediately. Or you can prepare it in advance, and bake for 20 minutes.

The fresh veg, rich stock and piquant Parmesan all help to introduce even unwilling palates to the grown up world of proper food flavours. The light browning at the end should add an attractive final colour as well.

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June 4, 2010 | Feed yourself and feed another

Extraordinary Ones

Extraordinary Ones

Dad’s voyage around London took in a visit to Pizza East, part of the Shoreditch House, which is itself a part of the Soho House international clubs empire. The occasion was an intriguing charity launch. Extraordinary Ones is a new campaign that encourages restaurateurs and diners to collaborate by giving 20p – yup, that little – per meal to the charity. The USP of this project is while you eat, you feed another.

That is calculated to be what it costs to feed a child – an average figure – among the many millions which go hungry every day. Every day three million meals are served in London. If all London’s cafes, restaurants, clubs, fastfood joints, chippies and pubs were to participate, and all their happy diners were willing participants, that would raise £600,000. Every day. Continue reading Feed yourself and feed another

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June 3, 2010 | Advocating the avocado

avocado

avocado

Avocados are a favourite of Dad’s family, not just for the creamy texture and velvety taste, but for the number of different ways of using them – even quite a lot of them – when they are plentiful and cheap. There is not much you can do with an under ripe avo, so be sure not to tackle them when they are completely unyielding to a little pressure fro the thumb. Over ripe avos, ie soft, but not unappetisingly brown, can be used to make dips, in particularly the great guacamole – the Mexican avocado salad. Once ripe, avos can be kept a couple of days in the fridge. Continue reading Advocating the avocado

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June 2, 2010 | Newfoundland comes to London

As I recall, “Newfy” jokes were made by sophisticated urban Canadians about the (allegedly) dimwitted inhabitants of Newfoundland. They filled the ecological niche occupied by the Irish in British humour in the days before racial humour was outlawed.

moose bar

moose bar

But the moose – well  the moose is a big bad mutha, the king of the deer and not only large and scary but also quite dim. Or at least dim-looking. They are the hit-and-run drivers, the white van man of the animal kingdom, knocking over innocent SUVs as they lumber across roads and tracks in what passes for their gallop. Continue reading Newfoundland comes to London

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May 24, 2010 | BBQ

BBQ

BBQ

Dad likes a barby - nothing unusual about that. A good size piece of kit makes the whole event much easier to manage than squeezing all the food onto something too small.  Here is mine – not posh or hi-spec, just a large pit and a lot of cooking space. The main advantage is that you can move the coals around with ease, maintaining one end cooking hot while you keep done food warm at the other end. Continue reading BBQ

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May 18, 2010 | Copper pans

On the subject of copper pans – see previous post about ratatouille – here is a photo of four pans of my mother’s that I have just had re-tinned for her. The pans are at least fifty years old and have not, as far as I know, been retinned before. They now look gorgeous and bright, and her wonderful carer will be able to cook her even more delicious food than she does now. Continue reading Copper pans

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May 18, 2010 | Ratatat-tatatouille

Ratatouille

Ratatouille

My tall French friend, who I first met up a ladder in Ladbroke Grove many years ago when he was painting a ceiling, and is now a proper art dealer in Paris, once complimented me on this ratatouille I cooked for him and his family. I love this dish, which clears out a whole fridge drawer full of Mediterranean veg in one fell – and delicious – swoop. Continue reading Ratatat-tatatouille

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May 10, 2010 | Aubergine Girl Uninterrupted

Uninterrupted

Uninterrupted

One of dad’s co-bloggers at Kennet Creative is Girl Uninterrupted. Mostly her posts are of marginal interest to Dads – lots of stuff about lovely ditzy girls and useless, heartless men – but this entry is very delightful (well they all are, really) – Aubergine Cake. If that’s not Dad, I don’t know what is.

If anyone has a go at this recipe, please post a comment. I am not sure I will have time to make it myself. But the idea… Could be good for the woman in your life.

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