On Sunday I had a chance of a lifetime to go on the itv programme Munchbox as a judge after they contacted my mum through the blog. She said I could do it and I did an audition. The programme will air in the next few weeks (probably on the 18th October). The filming started and I felt a bit nervous and tense. I don’t know why. The boys team and the girls’ team were cooking for us in a competition. They had to cook three meals each, so we had to taste six meals in total. The celebrity chef for our programme was Lisa Faulkner. The presenters were Joe and Layla who were very welcoming. I can’t tell you whether the boys or girls won! You’ll have to watch.
The best thing about the day was trying the meals. The worst thing was there was a two hour wait between rounds but it was worth it.
We know we’ve been a bit naughty. We should really have updated the blog. We’ve been busy having fun over the summer holidays and with life and school and everything that gets in the way. More foodie blogs from a family point of view will be coming your way soon though…
Our friends over at Kids’ Blog Club brought the Sunday Times’ campaign to improve school dinners to our attention. As a junior foodie, Luca will definitely be filling the survey in and giving his views. Generally the food at his school is great but his biggest bugbear is the portions are too small. Sometimes he comes home so ravenous that he ends up eating almost a whole meal. If it’s like that for a fairly skinny year 3, how is it for the year 6 kids?
We’re not sure why but popcorn seems to be really POPular at the moment and all sorts of posh popcorns are hitting the supermarkets.
We got hooked ourselves (Tyrrell’s sweet and salty was the cheeky one that we kept buying) but this stuff is expensive (not as expensive as the rip off cinema popcorn though) and with Luca’s greedy pants dad in the house a big bag lasts about three minutes.
So we’ve taken to making our own. It’s VERY easy and tastes even better, costs way less and you can choose what you put on it.
HOW TO MAKE HOMEMADE POPCORN:
Take 100 g popcorn kernels. Add one tablespoon of sunflower or vegetable oil to a large pan that has a lid. Heat it over a medium heat for a minute or two. Add the popcorn and, ahem, pop the lid on the pan. Continue heating it and give the pan a shake now and again.
Soon after you hear the first kernel pop, it’ll go poptastic in the pan with popping at a crazy rate before it finally calms down.
When the rate slows down a lot and it’s just occasionally, you’re pretty much finished. Turn the heat off and take the lid off (we find if you leave it on moisture gets onto the popcorn).
So that’s the actual popcorn sorted. You could sprinkle it with a little salt, or a little sugar. Or both.
Or grab a small saucepan, 60g of light brown sugar and 40g of butter. Melt it all over a low heat until it bubbles away for a few minutes. Pour over the popcorn (be very careful as it’ll be really hot). Wait for it to cool a bit for a couple of minutes but not too much.
Absolutely delicious when slightly warm and it’ll put any bagged popcorn to shame.
Spinach is one of the healthiest things you could eat! It’s bursting with green goodness. Now it’s not much to look at really – like a leaf but it tastes much better than we imagine the average leaf from a tree would! And definitely healthier: according to Wikipedia spinach has the following good stuff in it: vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, magnesium, manganese, folate, betaine, iron, vitamin B2, calcium, potassium, vitamin B6, folic acid, copper, protein, phosphorus, zinc, niacin, selenium and omega-3 fatty acids) it’s practically a multi-vitamin in a leaf!
You can eat spinach raw or cooked and you’ll find both baby spinach and normal spinach in the shops – the difference? Nope, baby spinach isn’t only for babies, it just means the leaves are smaller because they haven’t grown so much yet.
Spinach is sold in the vegetables section of the supermarket in quite large bags…you might well wonder how you’ll fit such a huge amount into your meal…which brings us to..
THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING SPINACH ACT!
There’s a funny thing that happens to spinach when you cook it. It’s a bit like magic really.
Your pan can end up looking full like this but don’t worry, the leaves do what’s called wilting – they shrivel up and go MUCH SMALLER (huh why have we gone bigger with our words there then!?)
Remember that you will gain another FAB FUN FOOD CLUB point for trying spinach (our fourth food!) Have you got your mum and dad to make you a reward chart for all this yet? If not, you could make one yourself!
What is it used for?
Sometimes spinach is served as a vegetable, pretty much on its own or maybe creamed (with cream added to it) with a main meal. Other times it’s used as an ingredient in all sorts of dishes. It’s very popular in Italian cooking, but also in Asian meals too.
OK ready to try it? Here are your ideas and recipes for food 4: spinach
OUR OWN HOMEMADE SPINACH AND BROCCOLI SOUP (serves three to four)
2 cloves garlic
a splodge of olive oil (about two tablespoons if you want to measure it)
500g of broccoli chopped into chunks/ florets
1.25 litres of veg stock (we use stock cubes)
A dash of cream or creme fraiche for each bowl at the end
Chop the onion into smallish pieces. Add to a large pan and fry over a medium heat for about five minutes until soft but not browned. Add the garlic and fry for another minute, then throw in the chopped up broccoli and pour in the stock. Simmer all this for about 10 minutes then add the spinach too (it’ll probably fill the pan!). Simmer for a further five to 10 minutes – you want the broccoli to be tender if you prod it with a fork. Then use a blender to smooth it down. We use a stick type blender in the pan as this saves on the washing up and potential spillages with transferring the soup from the pan to a proper blender jug!
Serve in warm bowls adding about a good splodge of cream or creme fraiche to each bowl – diners can stir this in to make their soup creamy.
RICEY SPINACH (AND MUSHROOM) RISOTTO
Risottos are brilliant for mid-week family dinners. Once your grown-ups get used to cooking them, they can start experimenting with what they ‘chuck’ in too. Spinach is a real winner here:
SUPERBLY SPINACHY (AND CHEESY) LASAGNA
Remember nothing ventured nothing gained is our motto at FFF. If you don’t like it, you won’t have lost anything.
Luca’s grandpa has the easiest recipe for pancakes in the world…we guarantee (well, almost) that it won’t fail you come Shrove Tuesday (Feb 12th this year).
What you’ll need for enough batter for about six pancakes:
– 1/2 pint of milk
– 1 large egg
– half a mug of flour
What to do:
Add a third of a pint of milk to a mixing jug (we usually use semi-skimmed – I’d avoid skimmed. Full fat would be okay too).
Chuck 1 large egg in too (well, breaking it carefully first – not literally just chucking it in)
Give it a whisk.
Then find a standard size tea or coffee mug. Fill it half full with plain flour.
Add that to the jug where the milk and egg is.
Whisk thoroughly. It should be the consistency of double cream. If it’s slightly too runny, add about a tablespoon of extra flour. Too runny pancake mixture will stick to the pan.
Leave the mixture to settle for maybe ten minutes IF you can wait that long (sometimes we can’t and need our pancakes NOW!)
We’d love to know what your favourite pancake topping is…ours are Nutella or Golden Syrup!