Egg fried rice


At music group today Bert had three tantrums, threw a plastic cuckoo clock at his best friend’s head and refused to apologise. When his dad asked him at dinner if ‘Tadpole Tunes was good’, Bert replied with a flat ‘no’.

When I was trying to convince him to leave the house at lunchtime, I said ‘you can jump off the back of the sofa and then we’ll leave. Deal?’ He laughed, said ‘No deal!’ in a high-pitched voice and dived, head first, off the sofa.

He did eat this, on condition that I spoon feed him. 

Winning at parenting; as Bert would say, ‘I nailed!’

Serves 4

Cooked rice, left to cool (works even better if cooked the day before) 

4 eggs beaten with 2 tablespoons of soy sauce and 1 of fish sauce 

Thumb (what else!) of ginger, grated

1/2 small white cabbage, finely sliced to ribbons

Handful of frozen edamame beans or peas

6 spring onions, finely sliced

Leftover chicken or pork, shredded, or some frozen prawns (or a combination of these)

4 tablespoons sunflower oil

50g salted peanuts, bashed into chunks

Heat half of the oil in a wok and cook the cabbage and ginger for about 5 minutes, till wilting, then add the cooked meat, onions and beans and cook for another three minutes. Remove to a bowl.

Get the rest of the oil smoking hot in the wok then add the rice, stirring quickly till it’s coated with oil. Add the egg mixture and stir rapidly till it’s completely coating the rice, then keep stirring and cook till it’s starting to brown and caramelise in places. Stir the rest back through and serve, sprinkling the peanuts on at the table.

From the National Trust Family Cookbook. 

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Auntie Tab’s chicken korma

That’s a pirate waist coat – I don’t dress him in gold epaulettes, much as it’s the closest sartorial match for his personality that there is.

I wrote the recipe down on here a couple of days ago when we ate it and Bert did demolish it – I realise that this blog implies that Bert eats a rainbow of veg every day, but in the interests of honesty I’ll admit that for dinner tonight he had a hot cross bun, a peanut cookie and a Kinder Surprise.

Serves 3

1 small onion

1/2 red pepper, puréed with the onion in a blender

1 1/2 dessert spoons korma paste

Dessert spoon butter

Splash vegetable oil

3 chicken breasts, diced

1/2 tin chopped tomatoes

1/2 sweet potato peeled (or half a large carrot) and chopped and puréed with the tomatoes

1 dessert spoon tomato purée

Teaspoon sea salt

2 tablespoons plain yoghurt

1 dessert spoon mango chutney

Melt the butter and oil in a saucepan, and add the onion and pepper purée and the tikka paste. Cook gently for fifteen minutes then add the chicken, tomato purée and tinned tomato/ sweet potato purée. Season, cover and cook for 15 minutes till the chicken’s tender. Then stir through the yogurt and mango chutney and serve.

(Auntie Tab chops the onion and pepper, frying the onions on their own with the salt, adding the pepper and then proceeding the same way. But pirates can object to pieces of sauce-soaked, soft, cooked veg so I puréed mine. I’ve also – since I first blogged the recipe – tweaked it again to add the sweet potatoes for a thicker sauce, extra sweetness and another veg towards our ten a day.)

Crispy baked chicken


So we have a new house guest. His name’s Peepo and no one but Bert can see him. He’s small and he wears green.

Yes, that’s right, he’s called Peepo.

Not scary enough for you? Peepo has a pet flying monkey who also lives with us.

I thought it was one of those weird things that comes and goes in a day and Bert didn’t mention him at all yesterday so I breathed a sigh of relief that Peepo had left the building. But today I reminded Bert that it’s his birthday party tomorrow. ‘Is Peepo coming?’ he replied. Warily I said, ‘when did you last see Peepo?’ Bert found that hilarious; ‘he’s here – here in your house!’

Peepo’s normally next to Bert and the flying monkey on the sofa. He has appalling taste in TV and Bert won’t tell me what they talk about.

I deleted all my photos to try to make my phone shut up about storage so here’s Bert pre (as far as we know) Peepo.

Serves 4-5 (I froze some uncooked – maybe Peepo will have them tomorrow)

2 dessert spoons plain yoghurt

50ml whole milk

3 chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces

50g panko breadcrumbs (or any fine breadcrumbs)

2 table spoons self raising flour

1 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon mustard powder

1 teaspoon dried oregano

2 teaspoons sea salt

Mix together the milk and yoghurt and marinate the chicken in it for at least two hours. Meanwhile combine the flour and breadcrumbs, heat a dry frying pan and dry-fry till golden. Combine with the rest of the dry ingredients.

Preheat the oven to gas mark 8 / 230 degrees. When you’re ready to cook, coat the chicken in the crumbs, and put the crumbed nuggets in the oven on a lined baking tray for 20 minutes, turning over half way through.

Tandoori chicken


Every day I’ve dropped Bert at nursery since a week or so before Christmas, he’s clung to me sobbing. Nursery’s solution: peel him off me, weeping, and ask him what he wants for breakfast. My solution: wait outside till I hear him stop crying then go home and worry. 

This morning he said he didn’t want to go to ‘school’ and started to sink miserably into the sofa and hide his face. We talked about why and found out it was saying goodbye he hated (don’t we all), so we came up with the solution of taking a different dinousaur in to show his mates every day. He skipped, smiling, into nursery with his robot dinosaur and didn’t look back.

What’s a blog for, if not to share the rare moments of smug parenting?

But now he’s eating this with his hands in front of the TV. Bert: do dinosaurs eat rice? Me: yes. Bert: do dinosaurs eat chicken? Me: yes, they do.

Serves 2-3

4 skinless chicken thigh fillets

150ml plain yoghurt (with low-fat yoghurt, this works for 5:2ers – 2 thighs and a small portion of rice is about 350 cals)

1 teaspoon each of: smoked paprika, cayenne, ground cumin, ground coriander, turmeric, ground ginger (or a tablespoon of tandoori spice mix) – this has a kick but isn’t hot; adjust the paprika and cayenne for less heat

Juice of half a lemon

Salt and pepper

Mix the marinade ingredients together, slash the chicken thighs, cover with marinade and leave to marinate for at least an hour, ideally overnight. Then preheat the oven to 200 or gas mark six and bake for around twenty minutes.

We had ours with brown rice and peas, and crunchy carrot and cucumber salad. If I’d been cooking for adults with less veg-suspicion, I’d have probably gone for sag aloo, coconut naan and cucumber raita.

Chicken skewers, veg fritters and potato croquettes

img_6474

A one tray in the oven meal, using leftovers, but you could use fresh veg. As I handed it to Bert he said, ‘mmm, Bert like – very nice. Thank you Mummy!’ What an angel. He didn’t eat the fritters but I knew that was pushing it since the veg were a. visible and b. not raw or frozen.

Eaten on the sofa under a duvet because I thought he was ill, but he ate all of his (except the fritters of course), stole some of mine then had 3 portions of strawberry yoghurt. I think I’ve been had.

The fritters recipe is based on a recipe in the fantastic Fast Days and Feast Days by Ellie Pear.

Served 2

For the fritters:

1 small carrot, grated

Mixed leftover veg – we had peas and savoy cabbage – chopped if not already in smallish pieces

1/2 block of haloumi (100g), grated

1 egg

2 dessert spoons plain flour

Salt

A few leaves of fresh mint, finely chopped

For the croquettes:

Leftover mash

1 egg, beaten

Flour to dust

Storecupboard golden breadcrumbs

For the chicken skewers:

1 chicken breast, cubed

2 teaspoons dried rosemary

dessert spoon olive oil

dessert spoon lemon juice

2 large cloves garlic, crushed

Combine all the ingredients for the fritters, form into four patties and put on a large baking tray.

Form the mash into little barrel shapes, dush in flour, roll in egg and then coat in breadcrumbs. Put them on the same baking tray and put the tray in the fridge for an hour or two.

Combine the chicken in a dish with the rest of the marinade ingredients and pop in the fridge for an hour or two. Preheat the oven to 200/ gas mark 7, then thread the marinated chicken onto skewers and put on the same baking tray as the veg.

Put everything in the oven for 20-25 minutes, turning everything once halfway through. Ketchup for dipping if you’re a small boy.

Sweet and sour chicken

chinese chickwn

We went to the zoo this morning, and on the way out Bert was counting on his fingers all the animals he’d seen. ‘One, tiger. Two, pinguin. Three, tiger. Five, tiger.’

Basically, we liked the tiger.

This is a zoo selfie because I forgot to take a picture of Bert eating the chicken.

Serves 3-4

For the sauce:

100ml Chinese rice vinegar

2 tablespoons honey

1 table spoon dark brown sugar

1 tin of pineapple and the juice

4 star anise

1 dessert spoon tamarind (optional)

4 small carrots, cut into batons

1 red pepper, chopped into bitesized pieces

For the chicken:

2-3 chicken breasts, cut into bitesized pieces

240g self raising flour

50g cornflour and more to dust

200ml tap water

200ml sparkling water

Sunflower oil to fry

Put the pineapple and its juice, the sugar and honey, the vinegar and the star anise (and the tamarind, if you have it) in a saucepan and simmer for 30 minutes. Add the veg for the last 10 or so minutes, depending on how crunchy you like it; a little more if you like it soft. Remove the star anise before serving.

Whisk together the two types of flour, the water and sparkling water to make the batter. Dust the chicken in cornflour and then coat it in batter. Fry it in sunflower oil in a deep pan at 180 degrees for about five minutes, till it puffs up and goes golden. Serve with rice.

Do not make the mistake of frying it in a deep fat fryer unless you fancy dancing around the kitchen, swearing as you try to dislodge the welded-on chicken from the metal basket.

Chicken herb salad

chick ray

So there’s not a toddler alive who doesn’t treat green leaves and herbs with the gravest suspicion, but I think of it as aversion therapy – if we put it on the table and treat it as normal, one day he might not see it as poison. Bert had the chicken plus some cucumber sticks. We all had bread and butter.

This is Bert tucking Ray up with a blanket, knitted monkey and dummy. So thoughtful!

Serves 2.5

2 chicken breasts

Drizzle of olive oil

Juice of half an orange

2 tablespoons of honey

2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar

Pinch of saffron

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

Bag of rocket

Small bunch of coriander, chopped

Small bunch of basil, leaves chopped

Small bunch of mint, leaves chopped

Brown the chicken in a very hot, oiled pan for 2 minutes on each side then put the (oven proof) pan in the oven for 10-15 minutes at 180 (grid rack on the bottom of the Aga roasting oven). It takes 10 minutes in our Aga but it’s always hotter than it should be.

Meanwhile, put the orange juice, honey, vinegar and saffron in a small pan and simmer until it gets syrupy – about 5-10 minutes. You can see it start to bubble fiercely like toffee, rather than gently like liquid. Take it off the heat and drop in the crushed garlic. When the chicken’s done, cut it into bite sized pieces and tip it into the pan, coating it in the syrupy sauce. At this point I took a few pieces out for Bert.

Then tip all the rest of the chicken onto a bed of rocket and chopped herbs, and toss.

We finished with chocolate buttons, the After Eights of the toddler world.