Millie’s Chilli

My  nine-year old daughter Millie has suddenly developed a passion for cooking. I would like to think that I was the inspiration behind it, but I think it is more than likely sprung from watching the television, particularly Junior Bake-Off and Junior Masterchef on CBBC.

Whatever the source of her inspiration, I support her new passion, even if it does mean, which so far it hasn’t that I have to eat some disastrous meals.

I also have promised to share some of her recipes, starting with her child-friendly version of chilli con carne which is something that any kid can make with a bit of guidance from an adult. It is based on my chilli con carne recipe, but she has taken out most of the heat to make more child friendly.

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Pork Chops and Apples cooked in Cider.

Pork chops are not what they used to be. Thanks to people trying to be healthy, farmers are now putting their piggies on a diet so they grow up to leaner. Good news if you are planning on buying one to put in one of those novelty pig races, but bad news if you are going to eat it. Sure the reduction of fat in the world’s little piggies means leaner, healthier pork, but sadly it also means they are not as tasty, because as unfortunate as it is, when it comes to pork, the flavour is in the fat.

Fear not though my friends, you can still get some flavour out of your pork by combining it with some  complementing flavours… And what goes better with pork than apples?

This lovely,simple, quick recipe for example takes a simple pork chop and injects it with some lovely apple sweetness, and because it is cooked in cider, it also keeps the meat moist (Domesticated Mum was particularly impressed). Serve it up with some mash, and some sweet carrots and you will have a dinner perfect for these frosty winter days.

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Low Fat Steak Fajita

Now that Christmas is over, and the period of over-indulgence is a distant memory many of us are looking for ways to shed the extra baggage picked up last month. This doesn’t have to mean that we settle for soup and salad for the rest of the winter though does it?

Of course not!

Take this low-fat Mexican style fajita recipe. It delivers all the taste of a traditional Mexican meal but cleverly cuts out a lot of the fat associated with Mexican dishes. And it is dead simple to make, and takes no time at all to prepare.

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Chicken Cacciatore… Mama Mia, it’s so easy!

The United Kingdom and other parts of Europe have been rocked by a horse meat scandal, which is bad news for us carnivores who love beef. For chicken farmers though, it is like an early Christmas present because sales of chicken have soared since the scandal broke. The bad news of course is too our taste buds, because let’s be honest, chicken can be so boring. If however, you spend a few minutes and add a few tasty ingredients you can make your chicken sing, and what a better way to turn your boring chicken breast into something tasty than this easy and cheap Chicken Cacciatore recipe.

  • Skill level: easy
  • Preparation time: 10 minutes
  • Cooking time: 45 minutes
  • Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp chopped rosemary leaves
  • 4 chicken breasts
  • small handful basil leaves

Preparation Method

  1. Fry the onions and garlic in the olive oil until softened. Add the tomatoes, rosemary and season to taste. Cook for 10-15 minutes until thickened.
  2. Heat the oven to 180°C/Gas 4. Top the chicken with chicken with the sauce, then bake for 20 minutes until cooked through. Serve scattered with basil leaves with some of your favourite seasonal vegetables or rice.

 

 

Cherry and Pistachio Stuffing

Growing up in Canada my mom always made a traditional stuffing that you shoved into the backside of your turkey, and for me it was the best part of Christmas dinner. Here in England though stuffing is a completely different creature all together, but no less delicious. This recipe is made in the traditional English style, but has a fruity modern twist that should delight even the most fussy eater in your house.

The best part of this recipe though is that you can make it now and freeze it. Just remember to take it out of the freezer a couple of days before so they have time to completely defrost.

  • Skill level: easy
  • Preparation time: 15 minutes
  • Cooking time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 red onion, finely diced. (see video)
  • 450g/1lb sausage meat (if you can’t find sausage meat, just pick your favourite sausage and remove them from their skins)
  • 175g/6oz fresh white breadcrumbs
  • zest 1 lemon
  • zest 1 orange
  • 100g/4oz shelled pistachios
  • 100g/4oz dried sour cherries (or dried cranberries)
  • 1 large egg
  • small bunch of parsley, chopped
  • drizzle of olive oil

Method

  1. Melt the butter in a small pan, add the onion and cook until soft, and then leave to cool.
  2. Roughly chop the pistachios (I used a food processor and then just pulsed them a few times).
  3. Mix the ingredients, except for the olive oil. The best way to do this is by hand. Once mixed roll the stuffing into 24 walnut sized balls and put on a baking tray. or in a freezer proof container if freezing.
  4. Drizzle the stuffing with olive oil and cook at 220°C/Gas 7 on the middle shelf of your oven for 20 minutes before moving to the top shelf for 10 additional minutes.

These stuffing balls can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, or put in the freezer for 2 months.