Baby in one hand, wooden spoon in the other

Monthly Archives: November 2014

Coffee with a friend - what could be nicer?

Coffee with a friend while the babies play – what could be nicer?

It’s time to reveal another of The One-Handed Cook’s all-time favourite bits of kitchen kit. This week my hero gadget is the cafetiere.

I love coffee. I love coffee made at home in my cafetiere, and I love coffee in cafés. When my children were babies, it was such a treat to pack up their little tubs of food and bags of rice cakes and retreat to the warmth of a cosy café with another mum for a chat and a coffee THAT SOMEONE ELSE HAD MADE FOR ME. Such a joy. It almost made the lack of sleep worth it, just for that first sip of dark bitter liquid enlaced with creamy milk. Oh yes.

At home I always use a cafetiere for my coffee. It’s an absolute must-have for any tired parent in need of a coffee to keep them going at home, and has four key benefits:

  1. It’s cheap to buy (take note, Nespresso fans – you’ll soon get bored of forking out for those pod things).
  2. It makes decent coffee. Experiment with the amount of ground coffee you put in; you can make a really good cup. Trust me.
  3. You can make a cafetiere of coffee one-handed; simply just boil the kettle, add scoops of coffee (how many depends on what ungodly hour your little one clambered in to your bed in for a cuddling/wriggling/head-butting session), wait for a bit, and then push down the button, and pour into favourite cup.
  4. You can buy little cafetiere jackets to keep the coffee in your cafetiere hotter for longer – an essential purchase for all parents – you’ve made the coffee, but who knows when you are actually going to be able to drink it? When you do get to it, you want it to actually be hot! I got mine on Amazon, and it really works.
Cafetiere in its jacket with my favourite mug.

Cafetiere in its jacket with my favourite mug.

Enjoy your coffee this fine November morning. Even better, enjoy it with a friend 🙂

TOHC xx

 

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Let's raise a glass to having a well-stocked kitchen cupboard!

Let’s raise a glass to having a well-stocked kitchen cupboard!

If you could choose only 10 kitchen store-cupboard must-haves,
what would they be?

Lifestyle blog Tombola Times has set out to reveal the nation’s Top 10 Must-Have Store Cupboard Items and got in touch asking if I’d share my most essential items with them. Not an easy task – there are so many ‘must-have’ things in my cupboard, that choosing just 10 was tricky!

Having the right things at hand in the kitchen makes it easier to eat well, and means you can always rustle up a delicious meal, even if you are short of time or inspiration. So I accepted the challenge, and you’ll find my Top 10 kitchen cupboard essentials for busy mums and dads below…

TT have even set up a survey asking for your ultimate kitchen cupboard items, and they’ll be collecting all the answers and publishing the nation’s favourites next month. So do take part here https://www.tombola.co.uk/times/food-lovers-ultimate-store-cupboard/ and share your store cupboard essentials. Everyone who takes part in the survey has a chance of winning the nation’s Top 10 Store Cupboard items in the form of a lovely hamper. So get over there and make your selection! I am sure you have some products you swear by that are different to mine, for instance. (Pray, do tell…)

*drumroll*

Here are my Top 10 Hero Kitchen Cupboard essentials, complete with notes on each item. NB They are in no particular order; all are essential!

1. Free-range eggs

Versatile, cheap, nutritious – if you’ve got eggs and some salt & pepper, you’ve always got a quick and easy meal. Poached, scrambled, boiled, fried or used to make a quick carbonara sauce for pasta – eggs are the ultimate convenience food.

2. Arborio rice

Keep on hand for when you have leftover roast chicken or vegetables and make a delicious creamy risotto with stock and Parmesan grated in. Kids love it.

3. Tinned chopped tomatoes

A must for every cupboard – whether you’re whipping up a Bolognese, a casserole, or a simple pasta sauce, tinned tomatoes are packed with flavour. My favourite brand is Napolina.

4. Pasta

Where would we be without it? Many’s the time I’ve thought ‘what the heck are we going to have for dinner?’, spotted the pasta, eyed up the contents of the fridge, and created supper out of practically nothing. Best brand? De Cecco, without a doubt.

5. Tinned albacore tuna

We are fans of Sainsbury’s albacore tuna, which tastes about a hundred times nicer than bog-standard tuna. A great lean protein source, it has a lovely flavour, a good firm texture and is delicious in salads, pasta dishes or with mayo in sandwiches.

6. Soy sauce

I buy Kikkoman’s soy sauce; always have, always will. It’s fantastic in stir-fries, adds bite to salad dressings and makes a great marinade for chicken, fish or steaks.

7. Olive oil

I tend to use extra-virgin olive oil in dressings and to drizzle on food, and a lighter olive oil for cooking. High in monounsaturated fat it’s a healthier choice for the family.

8. Maple syrup

The best one I’ve discovered is Waitrose’s organic maple syrup – it tastes simply divine. Drizzle maple syrup one-handed on to pancakes at the weekend, add to cakes and muffins when baking, or pour onto plain yogurt and dot with fresh berries. Yum.

9. Peanut butter

My favourite is Whole Earth’s Crunchy Peanut Butter as it contains just peanuts, oil and salt. It’s brilliant on its own on toast or rice cakes, with bananas and maple syrup on pancakes, or added to stir-fries for a satay-style kick.

10. Garlic

I don’t think I could cook without fresh garlic; along with salt, pepper, and my array of herbs and spices, it’s what gives my savoury dishes depth and flavour. Love it.

Of course, if I could pick 11, red wine would definitely be on there! 😉 What do you think of my list? Would yours be different? Take part in the survey here and share your store cupboard essentials.

Happy cooking, folks!

TOHCx

 

This is a commissioned post.


Smoky Bangers and Beans

Smoky Bangers and Beans

I recently had a great session on food styling for blog photography with a food stylist. We had a great session making these Smoky Baked Beans and Bangers, and I really enjoyed using my Playmobil ghosts to make them feel a bit autumnal and spooky. This would be a nice dish for a Bonfire Night gathering.

I love the dish styled in the gorgeous red enamel saucepan. This was picked up in a charity shop! I have to confess, much as I love a browse in a secondhand store, kitchenware is not something I would have thought of looking for, so that inspired me straight away.

Smokin'!

Smokin’!

This is an easy dish to make and perfect for autumnal evenings now the nights are drawing in. Healthy cannellini beans are full of fibre and the dish contains no added sugar, unlike tinned baked beans. Grating the onion, carrot and garlic is a ‘grate’ (sorry) quick tip and means less chopping, obvs.

Smoky Baked Beans

You will need:

1 tbsp olive oil

1 small onion, grated

1 carrot, grated

1 garlic clove, grated

1 tsp mixed herbs

Pinch smoked paprika

400g can chopped tomatoes

1 can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

Cooked mini sausages, and mini pitta breads to serve with the beans.

What to do:

  1. Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan. Add the onion and carrot and cook for 3 minutes until starting to soften.
  2. Add the garlic, herbs and paprika and continue to cook for a couple of minutes.
  3. Add the tomatoes and beans, bring to the boil and let them bubble for 5 minutes or until thickened.
  4. Season with salt and pepper before serving with mini sausage pittas.

Happy Bonfire Night, and be safe.

TOHC x



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