Monday, 5 March 2012

Easy midweek family meals

I believe in food cooked from scratch. I believe in good ingredients. Those two things bring me so much joy and so I really do believe in the cliché that food is one of life's greatest pleasures.

That said, I still get stumped on what to cook occasionally. I don't spend enough time planning meals, so I do a lot of 'open the fridge/freezer doors and stare blankly for a few minutes', trying to create meals in my head with what we also have in the garden and cupboard.

Often, the blank stare achieves nothing more than a bolognese.

Sometimes though, much like when you come up with an absolute corker in Scrabble, my eyes light up as I realise I have the makings of something very nice for dinner.

A little while ago, I had some free-range chicken mince in the freezer. I did my blank stare and then discovered bacon in the fridge (I always have bacon in the fridge now that I can buy free-range!). 

I made some patties using the chicken mince, lemon zest, softened shallots, and some parsley and thyme from the garden. 

I wrapped the patties in the 'streaky' bits of bacon (or just streaky bacon, if you're English!) and baked in a hottish oven for 20 mins or so.

Now, before you scroll to the bottom to find the recipe, wait. There isn't one. You see, I don't really like recipes. In fact, I don't actually believe in recipes very much. Not for this type of thing anyway.

I've written hundreds of recipes, and edited dozens of cookery books, and I find recipes just mostly get in the way. 

They get in the way of cooking. And they bore me.

If I say 1 tsp of thyme leaves, I'm implying that 2 tsp will make it all go horribly wrong. Which it won't. 

Obviously, I follow cake recipes and the like because there is an element of science involved. But the more cooking I do, and the older (and the more impatient I get), I want to add what I want. I just want a vague idea of what goes in, and I make up the rest. It's so much more relaxing that way. Rather than traipsing up and down the kitchen checking your recipe and freaking out when you realise you haven't got as much as the recipe dictates, you add a dash of this and a dash of that. 

That's how my mum cooks.

And maybe, MAYBE, that's a load of twaddle. It could just be I've seen so many recipes that I just don't want to type out precise tsp and grams. Either way, you're not going to get a recipe. (But you get very good pictures!)

Chicken and herb patties

And last night, I was stumped again. The fridge and cupboards are crying out to be filled. I flicked through a book, saw the word 'pancake' and fritters came to mind.

A bag of corn in the freezer. A red pepper (capsicum) and avocados need to be eaten, and there's spring onions in the garden.

I will give you a vague recipe here, but it's just a basic batter. Beat together 100g self-raising flour, 2 eggs and around 100ml milk. Season, then add whatever you fancy. In my case, chopped basil and some corn, along with diced red pepper and sliced spring onion, both of which I'd softened in olive oil beforehand. Then just gently cook spoonfuls of the batter in a pan with some oil.

Corn and red pepper fritters

I cut the fritters into fingers for the boys and they had them with some sliced avocado drizzled with a bit of lime.

There. Two really good meals that you can rustle up and have on the table in less than half an hour.

Would love to know if you make this.


  1. The fritters look great! I'm with you on the recipe thing, what I need is ideas! Incidentally, dinner tonight is 'Vanessa's Pasta', a dish I stole from you years ago. Yum.

  2. And can I post another comment here just so my new profile pic shows up? xx

  3. yum yum pigs bum! :) I think you'd be looking for more than a few minutes in my fridge more like an hour wishing something might magically appear. Inspiration as always V, loving your blog and ideas x

  4. Thank you for the non recipe for the fritters. I'm going to make them tomorrow morning for a picnic!

  5. I made the free range chicken mince and bacon meatballs tonight and we loved them! Thank you. x

  6. I love the look of those fritters...lots of quick, easy, kid-friendly ideas on mamacino if you ever get a chance to take a look x


Thank you for popping over. I'd love to hear from you. Even if it's just to say hello.

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.