The Crazy Kitchen: October 2014

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Friday 31 October 2014

OXO Herbs & More Chicken Risotto

Jack really loves to help at the moment, whether it's with cleaning, tidying, washing the car or cooking he's aways ready to lend a helping hand, so we're making the most of it as I'm sure it won't last long.

OXO recently sent us a cooking kit, including some of their Herbs & More range, along with recipe cards, aprons and a magic wand (aka a wooden spoon) to enable us to cook up a family meal. We chose to make a chicken risotto using the Lemon & Thyme herbs & more, and Jack got to work with the help of the child friendly instructions on the recipe card.

OXO Kitchen Magician

As you can see from the video, Jack loved getting involved with the weighing of ingredients and a spot of stirring, as well as the best part - the eating of the finished dish.

He also enjoyed making handprints in the cheese whilst waiting for the risotto to be cooked.

cheese hands OXO Herbs & More Chicken Risotto

Chicken Risotto - serves 2

1 tsp olive oil
25g butter
1 onion, diced
1 large chicken breast, diced
140g risotto rice (we used basmati rice instead)
100ml white wine
1 Lemon & Thyme herbs & more
500ml chicken stock
50g grated parmesan
  • Heat the oil and butter in a pan
  • add the onion & fry for 2-3 minutes
  • Add the chicken and rice, and stir to coat with the oil & butter
  • Add the wine and Herbs & More
  • Allow to absorb the liquid
  • reduce the heat and gradually add the stock until it's all absorbed and the rice is cooked
  • serve with grated parmesan

OXO Herbs and More are little pots of flavour that can be added to dishes to liven them up - risotto, cottage pie, lasagne, casseroles, pasta dishes, as well as side dishes of vegetables and mash. Available in 5 flavours : lemon & thyme, roast garlic & parsley, rosemary & red wine, rosemary & thyme, tarragon & chive, they retail from £1.00 - £1.50 for a pack of 4 pots.

I'm working with BritMums and OXO on this project and have been compensated.
Recipe provided by OXO

Wednesday 29 October 2014

Sardines Two Ways

This is the final week of our 4 week oily fish challenge with Fish is The Dish. For this week I chose to cook with sardines, and bought tins of boneless sardines in tomato sauce. They're not quite the same as fresh sardines but they are very versatile and good for quick and easy meals.

I made the sardine rarebit for myself but it's definitely one that my husband will love, so I will have to put it on the menu for him soon. The pasta bake doesn't really have much fish in for 5 people but I didn't want to make it too fishy and put Sam off, as I wanted him to eat at least one of my fish dishes. The good news is that, despite smelling the fish, and then being able to taste it, he still ate it, AND he liked it!

I've actually quite enjoyed our challenge, and I will definitely be adding more fish to my shopping basket in the future.

Sardine Rarebit - serves 1

95g tin boneless sardines in tomato sauce
few dashes of Worcestershire sauce
handful of grated mature cheddar cheese
crusty bread slices or ciabatta

  • Mash the sardines with a fork
  • Mix in the worcestershire sauce and cheese (reserving a little for the top)
  • Spread over the bread or ciabatta
  • Place on a baking tray and bake in a preheated 180C oven for approx 15-20 mins - adding the remaining grated cheese for the last couple of minutes of cooking time

Sardine Rarebit

Mexican Sardine Pasta Bake - serves 5

olive oil
1 red onion, chopped
Knorr mexican Flavour Pot
95g tin boneless sardines in tomato sauce
1 red pepper, chopped
400g tin chopped tomatoes
can of baked beans
100g sweetcorn
300g dried pasta
200g half fat creme fraiche
150g mature cheddar cheese, grated

  • Heat the olive oil in a pan
  • Add the onion and fry for 3-4 minutes until softened
  • Add the mexican flavour pot, the sardines and pepper
  • Cook for a few minutes, adding a little water if necessary to prevent sticking
  • Add the tomatoes, beans and sweetcorn
  • Bring to the boil and simmer for 15-20 minutes
  • In the meantime, cook the pasta for 10 minutes in lots of boiling water
  • Drain the pasts and add to the sauce, mix well
  • Pour everything into a large baking dish
  • Top with the creme fraiche and then the grated cheese
  • Bake in a 200C oven for approx 20 minutes, until the cheese is bubbling

Mexican Sardine Pasta Bake

this post has been commissioned by Fish is The Dish

Monday 27 October 2014

Pumpkin & Pecan Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

According to a news article that I spotted earlier today, 18,000 tons of pumpkin and squash is thrown away every Halloween after they've been carved. 

Instead of adding to this waste, why not turn your pumpkin into soup, stews, risotto or this delicious five layer Pumpkin and Pecan cake. Much like a carrot cake, this pumpkin cake is really moist, and is a great way to get some veggies into the kids!

It's a simple cake to make and can be made in five 6" tins or two 8" tins.

Pumpkin Pecan Cake Pumpkin Pecan Cake Pumpkin Pecan Cake

Pumpkin Pecan Cake

Pumpkin & Pecan Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Friday 24 October 2014

Fast Family Fakeaway - Sweet & Sour Turkey Drummers

I cook the majority of our family meals from scratch and we rarely eat takeaways, but from time to time it's nice to have a night away from cooking, especially if I've been baking all day.  On these occasions the kids might have fishfingers or something equally as easy to throw in the oven.

This recipe is for one of those quick and easy meals for evenings when there isn't a lot of time between school runs and swimming or football, and it's just as quick to prepare as fishfingers, chips and beans, yet it's just as good as a Chinese takeaway. 

The main ingredient is Bernard Matthews Golden Turkey Drummers, which are made from turkey raised on British farms, and don't contain any artificial colours, flavours or preservatives.

 photo turkeydrummers_zps08730b7b.png

The Golden Drummers are just £2 for a 500g bag (approx 10 pieces), and available in Asda, Tesco, Sainsburys, Morrisons, Iceland and Farmfoods.

You can add pineapple to the dish along with the baby corn, but as my kids aren't that keen on pineapple I left it out. The dish takes just 20 minutes to cook, which is the length of time it takes to cook the drummers.

Sweet & Sour Turkey Drummers

Sweet & Sour Turkey Drummers - serves 4

1 packet Bernard Matthews Turkey Drummers
1 yellow pepper, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
baby corn, chopped
1 jar sweet & sour sauce
chopped pineapple (optional)
  • Place the turkey drummers on a baking tray and bake in a preheated 200C oven for 20 minutes
  • Whilst they're cooking prepare the sauce
  • Heat a little oil in a pan
  • Add the peppers and fry for a couple of minutes until starting to soften
  • Add the baby corn and fry for a little longer
  • Pour in the sauce and mix well, and heat through
  • Once the turkey is cooked cut each in half
  • Stir the turkey pieces into the sauce to coat fully
  • Serve with egg fried rice
Sweet & Sour Turkey Drummers Sweet & Sour Turkey Drummers Sweet & Sour Turkey Drummers Sweet & Sour Turkey Drummers

I'm working with BritMums and Bernard Matthews on this project and have been compensated for my time. Check out more quick and easy meals using frozen breaded turkey by following the hashtag #BootifulMeals

Thursday 23 October 2014

Eggless Honey, Lemon & Ginger Cake

A couple of weekends ago Jack took pleasure in showing us how to make omelettes. He didn't know that I already knew how to make them as that's something the husband likes to make, on one of the very few occasions that he cooks, but I played along. He had learnt how to make them in school that week and wanted to make sure that we all got to sample the results of his new found skill.

A photo posted by thecrazykitchen (@thecrazykitchen) on

The only problem with making omelettes for 5 people is that it uses a lot of eggs, all of the eggs in fact, which meant that I had to be a little creative when it came to making a cake for tea.

I found a recipe for eggless chocolate cake online and adapted it to make this honey, lemon and ginger cake. The cake makes use of preserved ginger that I'd made earlier in the week when I managed to over order fresh ginger on the online shop, but could be adapted with ground ginger instead.

Eggless Honey, Lemon & Ginger Cake

Honey, Lemon & Ginger Cake

100g butter
2 tbsp honey
300ml boiling water
325g self raising flour
100g caster sugar
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
grated zest of 1 lemon
2 tbsp preserved ginger, chopped

cream cheese topping
150g full fat cream cheese
1.5tbsp lemon juice (approx 1/2 a lemon)
2 tbsp honey
  • Place the butter & honey in a heatproof bowl
  • Add 300ml boiling water and stir until the butter has melted
  • In a separate bowl mix together the flour, sugar, bicarbonate of soda & lemon zest
  • Add the wet ingredients into the dry, along with the ginger, and mix until well combined
  • Pour the batter into a greased and lined 8" cake tin
  • Bake in a preheated 160C oven for approx 35 minutes, until cooked all the way through
  • Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack and cooling completely
  • Beat the frosting ingredients together until combined
  • Spread the topping over the cooled cake
This was a very popular cake with the family - very moist and full of flavour.

preserved ginger Eggless Honey, Lemon & Ginger Cake Eggless Honey, Lemon & Ginger Cake

Tuesday 21 October 2014

Double Chocolate Cheesecake Croquembouche

The Great British Bake Off has been over for a while now but the Great Bloggers Bake Off currently has a showstopper challenge running. I didn't have a lot of time to make an extravagant bake so decided to make some profiteroles as I've made them lots of times before and they don't take very long, and aren't as complicated as they may look. I've called this a Croquembouche due to the shape of it, but I believe that a traditional Croquembouche is 'bound with threads of caramel'. As I didn't have much time I wasn't going to start making caramel so decided to cover them in milk chocolate ganache. If I was making them for a dinner party I would've gone with a dark chocolate ganache and sprinkled it all with flaked almonds, but as it was for the kids I used a sweeter creamy Belgian milk chocolate, and left off the nuts.

It's quite a fiddly business filling all the small choux buns, and in hindsight I should have made them a little larger, but it meant that they fitted into the cone well.

Not bad for a Monday night tea hey?

Double Chocolate Cheesecake Croquembouche

140g Butter
300ml Water
200g Plain Flour
4 Eggs
  • Preheat the oven to 200C
  • Place the butter and water into a saucepan and heat gently until the butter has melted, bring to the boil.
  • Remove from heat and stir the flour quickly in and beat well until the mixture leaves the sides of the saucepan and forms a ball
  • Leave to cool slightly then gradually beat in the eggs
  • Leave to cool fully
  • Spoon into a piping bad with a plain nozzle and pipe balls onto a greased baking sheet, spaced well apart
  • Bake for 20 minutes until crisp & golden
  • Make a slit in the side of each, and pop back in the oven for 2-3 minutes
  • Remove from oven & cool on a wire rack 
You will now need to make a mould to form the Croquembouche - I used a non stick silicone baking sheet, rolled it into a cone and placed it into a glass to hold it

 photo cone_zps3637e948.jpg


200g milk chocolate, melted
200g cream cheese

150g milk chocolate
150g double cream
  • Prepare the filling by beating the melted chocolate with the cream cheese
  • Fill a piping bag with a pointed nozzle
  • Squeeze some filling into each profiterole & set aside
  • Add 50g of the chocolate and 50g double cream to a bowl
  • Heat in short bursts in the microwave until warmed
  • Beat together until smooth
  • Dip the base of each profiterole into the ganache and then into the mould
  • repeat with the remaining profiteroles until the mould is full, you have run out of profiteroles or your tower is as large as you want it
  • Place in the fridge until completely set and then remove from the mould/silicone sheet
  • Make the rest of the ganache by warming the cream and chocolate in short bursts in the microwave 
  • Beat together until smooth & pour over the tower
Double Chocolate Cheesecake Croquembouche Double Chocolate Cheesecake Croquembouche Double Chocolate Cheesecake Croquembouche


Salmon Two Ways

This is the third post for Fish is the Dish, with the first being Smoked Mackerel Two Ways, and the second being Trout Two ways.  This week it's the turn of the salmon, which is one fish I will buy if I had to buy any (other than a tin of tuna or some pre battered cod).

My favourite way to cook a fillet of salmon is to bake it with a crust on. This can be made with nuts, breadcrumbs and cheese, but I went for a crunchy coconut crust, spiced up with some chilli. The second version was a simple fried salmon fillet, served in a ciabatta with salad and a yogurt dressing. Both dishes were really quick and simple to cook - fast food doesn't have to be unhealthy.

Salmon with chilli & lemon coconut crust

Salmon with chilli & lemon coconut crust - serves 2

2 salmon fillets
4 tbsp shredded coconut
4 tbsp Mayonnaise
1 tsp chilli flakes
zest of 1 lemon
2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander

  • Lay the salmon fillets in a lightly oiled baking dish, skin side down
  • Mix the coconut, mayonnaise, chilli flakes, lemon zest and coriander together
  • Spread over the salmon fillets
  • Bake in a preheated 180C oven for 15 minutes
so simple but so tasty. I am converted and could eat this every day of the week!

Simple Salmon Ciabatta Burger

Simple Salmon Ciabatta Burger - serves 2

olive oil
2 salmon fillets
handful fresh parsley, chopped
2 spring onions, thinly sliced
4 tbsp Natural Greek Yogurt
salt & pepper
2 square Ciabattas
  • Heat a little olive oil in a pan
  • Lay the salmon in the pan, skin side down
  • Fry for 4-5 minutes 
  • Season the salmon with salt & pepper before turning it over & frying again for approx 4 minutes, until cooked through
  • Mix the the parsley with the onion & yogurt & season
  • Slice the ciabatta
  • Add some lettuce leaves to the bottom half of the ciabatta
  • Lay on the salmon and top with the yogurt & top half of ciabatta
Serve as it is for lunch, or with a side of fries for a main meal

this post has been commissioned by Fish is The Dish

Thursday 16 October 2014

Salted Caramel Chocolate Tarts with Pretzel Crust

If you didn't know already, this week is Chocolate Week, which of course means that it's ok to eat chocolate all week, so why not celebrate with this rich chocolate tart, which has a sweet and salty pretzel base, topped with salted caramel and an indulgent chocolate topping.

Salted Caramel Chocolate Tarts with Pretzel Crust

I made these when family came up for the day (including our giggly grandson), to follow a meal of chicken Korma, rice, naan bread and chutney. It was a lovely sweet end to the spicy meal, and the tarts went down well with chocolate ice cream - can you ever have too much chocolate?

playing trains

Quite honestly I could've eaten a bowl of ice cream with the pretzel base all over it, as it was just so good. I love that sweet and salty combination and the roasted pretzel base didn't disappoint.

Salted Caramel Chocolate Tarts with Pretzel Crust Salted Caramel Chocolate Tarts with Pretzel Crust

They were a little crumbly and could probably have done with being left a little longer in the fridge, but we couldn't wait a moment longer! You can find this recipe, along with more, on the Great british Chefs website.

This recipe was commissioned by Great British Chefs

Trout Two Ways

Last week I shared my smoked mackerel recipes for the start of our October challenge to eat more oily fish. The mackerel was a complete success and I have been converted. This week we have tried trout, which I felt a little daunted by as I would actually have to cook it, unlike the smoked mackerel.

I bought some ready prepared trout (minus the head and guts), and I simply stuffed them and baked them. It was so quick and easy, and tasted absolutely lovely and made me wonder why I have never eaten it before! The husband and two out of three children loved it too - surprise, surprise teenager Sam (who refused to eat the mackerel because of the smell) also refused to try the trout.

Trout with Cream Cheese & Basil - serves 2

2 prepared small trout
150g cream cheese
handful of basil, chopped
salt & pepper
  • Mix the cream cheese & basil together
  • Season with salt & pepper
  • Smear inside the trout
  • Wrap the trout tightly in foil
  • Place into an ovenproof dish & bake in a preheated 180C oven for 15-20 minutes
Trout with Cream Cheese & Basil

Trout with Red Pesto - serves 2

2 prepared small trout
4-6 tbsp Red pesto
  • Smear the pesto inside the trout
  • Wrap the trout tightly in foil
  • Place into an ovenproof dish & bake in a preheated 180C oven for 15-20 minutes
Trout with Red Pesto

You can find more trout recipes on Fish is The Dish here.

this post has been commissioned by Fish is The Dish

Monday 13 October 2014

Chocolate Mousse Pears

A very long time ago I had a speciality dessert that I would make for my parents on special occasions. Recently my mum came across this recipe, scribbled on a piece of paper amongst some old cookery books of mine. The guests were always impressed by the dessert, and to be honest I think I impressed myself that I managed to make something so nice looking, which is why I would make it over and over again.

The recipe has been changed slightly as I no longer stuff the pears with chopped nuts and glacé cherries, in a 1980's fashion, and instead poach them and leave the cores in.

Chocolate Mousse Pears Chocolate Mousse Pears Chocolate Mousse Pears Chocolate Mousse Pears

You can find the full recipe on the Great British Chefs website here.

This recipe was commissioned by Great British Chefs

Sunday 12 October 2014

Caramelised Onion & Goats Cheese Tarte Tatin

I have a confession to make. I have never made a tarte tatin before.

I've been kind of a little bit scared of making one, and now that I have, I realise that there was no need, as they really are quite simple - well this one was anyway. I haven't yet made a sweet version, but now I've popped my tarte tatin cherry I'm sure there will be many more to follow.

This one was a little bit sweet and a little bit salty, and, in the words of 12 year old Hanna who loved it, 'cheese and onion goes so well together'.

Caramelised Onion & Goats Cheese Tarte Tatin

Caramelised Onion Tarte Tatin
 - serves 4

4 medium onions
1 tbsp olive oil
1 knob of butter
1 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
1.5 tbps balsamic vinegar
1.5 tbsp Kikkoman soy sauce
1 tbsp sugar
500g ready made puff pastry
75g Goats cheese
  • Slice the onions into approx 1-1.5cm rings
  • Heat the olive oil and butter in a large oven proof frying pan
  • Preheat the oven to 180C
  • Lay the onions into the pan and cook over a medium heat for 10 minutes, until softened and lightly browned
  • Add the rosemary, balsamic, soy sauce and sugar to the pan
  • Cook until the sauce caramelises
  • Roll the puff pastry out to approx 5mm thick
  • Cut a circle of pastry the same size as your pan
  • Lay the pastry sheet over the onions
  • Bake in the preheated oven for approx 15 minutes until the pastry is browned and puffed up
  • Turn out onto a plate or board & scatter with crumbled goats cheese
Caramelised Onion & Goats Cheese Tarte Tatin Caramelised Onion & Goats Cheese Tarte Tatin Caramelised Onion & Goats Cheese Tarte Tatin

More vegetarian recipes :

Saturday 11 October 2014

Smoked Mackerel Two Ways

I've mentioned before on this blog about my lack of love for fish. I like a bit of chip shop fish but not much more than that, and for that reason the rest of the family don't eat it much either. I do love a challenge though, so when I was challenged to get the family eating more oily fish this month I was happy to give it a go. I promised myself that would also try eating it too, especially as I'm currently experiencing some joint problems and I'm hoping that the addition of some oily fish in my diet may help with this.

This week we have tried smoked mackerel two ways, first as a pate and second in wraps. The husband absolutely loved both, as did Hanna who has always liked her fish. Jack was willing to give it a try but couldn't quite make up his mind whether he liked it or not, and Sam (who used to love fish and seafood when he was a toddler) refused to try it and complained about the smell!

I surprised myself and loved it too, and will definitely be adding smoked mackerel to the shopping list again.

I adapted the recipes from the Fish is the Dish website here and here.

Smoked Mackerel & Chilli Pate - serves 2 as a lunch or 4 as a starter

100g smoked mackerel fillets
100g cream cheese
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 red chilli
  • Add all the ingredients to a food processor or blender and blend until smooth
  • Serve with crusty bread and green salad leaves
Smoked Mackerel & Chilli Pate

Smoked Mackerel Wraps - serves 2 

100g smoked mackerel fillets, shredded
1 spring onion, thinly sliced
strips of cucumber
2 tbsp natural yogurt
2 tortilla wraps
  • lay out the wraps and divide the mackerel between them
  • add the spring onion and cucumber on top, followed by the yogurt
  • Roll the wraps up and slice in half on a diagonal
Smoked Mackerel Wraps

this post has been commissioned by Fish is The Dish

Friday 10 October 2014

Beating the Breakfast Boredom & Making Veggies Fun

My three children are quite happy eating a bowl of cereal for breakfast most days, but on a Sunday they often like something a bit more exciting, as we have more time for a leisurely breakfast.

Pancakes are a big favourite, as are fried or scrambled eggs on toast. If you're stuck in a bit of a breakfast rut then check out my article on Flora about beating the breakfast boredom

name pancakes

mickey mouse egg in toast
fried egg in toast

fruit waffle skewers
waffles & fruit

I also have another article about making veggies fun. If you have a fussy eater it might help to get them interested in trying something new, and eating up their greens!

Here's Jack when he spent an hour at a friends allotment on one sunny Sunday morning.

at the allotment at the allotment at the allotment at the allotment cucumber caterpillar

 photo Flora_blogger_badge_zps93691ef5.png

These features were commissioned by Flora UK

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