This is a great quick, simple dinner idea that is super tasty and the whole family will love. We are all big Halloumi fans in our house so this quick dinner combination is a really winner. You can make it on its own for a small meal or lunch or combine it with a side salad or chips to make into a main meal.
Sweet Chilli Sauce
Pre-heat the oven to 180 C
Cut up the peppers into thin slices
Place on a oiled baking tray or dish (we use fry light to grease up the tray). If using a baking tray you will want to put foil down over the tray or a baking sheet to protect it..
Next cut up your Halloumi into slices around a cm thick and place on a second greased baking tray. Again I would advise using foil.
Put these in the oven for 15 – 20 mins making sure you turn the halloumi and peppers half way through.
Once they are ready take out the oven and leave to cool while you make your wrap.
Put the wrap in the microwave for 20 seconds (or however long it advises on the back of the packet of wraps) to warm it and make it easier to wrap.
Cover your wrap with a layer of sweet chili sauce then load it up with the halloumi and peppers.
Leave a little space at either end of the wrap and put the filling in the middle.
Once done fold up both the small ends then with them up start to roll the wrap together sideways.
Once you have wrapped it up completely up get a sharp knife and slice it in half.
You can also add chips or salad to this to make it more of a meal or if you have a bit more time add in some more roasted veg like red onions and courgettes.
A firm favourite in our house especially on cold winter days is my homemade potato and leek soup with crusty rolls. It is so delicious, filling and wholesome and full of vegetable goodness.
Below I share with you my recipe for my potato and leek soup that I make using my pressure cooker but you can adapt the recipe and use a slow cooker or make it in a pan over the hob. This recipe is to cover a family of 5 and usually lunch the next day for both of us.
1 large onion
a splash of cooking oil
500g – 600g Potatoes
2 large leeks
1 Vegetable stock cube
Hand blender needed
1. First dice the onions then brown them with a bit of oil. I do this in my pressure cooker using the salute button but if you don’t have one you can brown the onions in a pan over the hob.
2. Chop up the potatoes (we leave the skin on for flavour but you can remove if you want to) and leeks then add them to the cooking pot with the onions.
3. Boiling the kettle and pour out 800ml of water into a measuring jug and then mix in the stock cube and tablespoon of salt. Once mixed in pour over the other ingredients in the pot. I then grind in some pepper for flavour.
4. Then give everything a good stir and then put on to cook.
5. A slow cooker or pressure cooker will have built in timers or will say in the manual how long to cook things for but if using the hob once the water is at boiling turn it down to a simmer and cook until the vegetables are tender.
6. Once done use a hand blender to blend the ingredients together to make soup.
7. Serve up with a buttered crusty roll and enjoy.
Instead of a roast this year we kicked off new year’s day with a hearty homemade shepherds pie to feed the family. I love shepherds pies especially in the winter they are so warming and delicious and bring comfort on those cold winters day.
Shepherds pie is one of my favourite dishes and I have made countless of these for dinner over the years but it is through trial and error that I have come up with this recipe for my wholesome shepherds pie that is full of flavour. The best thing about Shepherds Pie is that it can be customised to taste. When we eat meat we had more meat and less vegetables but now we are vegetarian we have a small bit of Quorn mince but pack it full of vegetables. Below is my basic recipe for vegetarian shepherd’s pie that you can change the amounts to suit your tastes and also the size of your family.
1 Large Onion
100g Quorn mince
500g Chopped veg (beans, peas, carrots and broccoli) or frozen veg
100ml Red Wine
2 tbsp Gravy granules
400g Chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp Tomato puree
1 tsp Salt for sauce, 1 tbsp for the water
1 tsp Honey
1.Turn the oven on to 180 degrees C
2. Fill a pan full of cold water, add in some salt and a couple of sprigs of rosemary.
3. Peel and chop the potatoes and put them into the pan and on the hob to boil.
4. Dice up the onion and add into a frying pan with a bit of oil on a medium heat.
5. When the onions have started to brown add in the mince and continue to fry until the mince is cooked through. If using Quorn mince then fry until it is soft.
6. Pour in the red wine and then add the veg and chopped up rosemary and stir.
7. Add in the chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, salt and gravy granules and drizzle in the honey. Stir continuously until it is mixed in together.
8. Lower the heat on the frying pan to a simmer and keep stirring occasionally to stop it sticking to the pan.
9. After 10 mins of simmering add the shepherds pie sauce to the bottom of the oven dish and spread it around so that it is even.
10. Once the potatoes are cooked drain the water take out the rosemary springs, normally the leaves will have fallen of the sticks but if not just pull them off and add them to the potatoes and remove the sticks. I normally like to add more fresh rosemary to my potatoes at this point but it all depends how strong you want the flavour.
11. Add in the butter and milk and mash together until you get a good mash potato consistency.
12. Dollop the mash potato into the oven dish on top of the sauce then using a fork smooth the potato over until it is evenly spread out.
13. Sprinkle grated cheese evenly over the top of the mash then add the dish into the oven for 30 mins.
14. Once cooked dish up and serve with fresh vegetables and enjoy.
I was a bit apprehensive about making these healthy chocolate coconut bars as I thought they would be complicated to make and we would just end up with mushy coconut and chocolate everywhere.
I was shocked at just how easy and quick these are to make and best of all they are healthy. They were delicious! The coconut was so fluffy and with the chocolate on top they set my taste buds tingling.
Affiliated links above so you can order what you need easily.
I covered one of our big square dining plates in foil to make the chocolate coconut bars on but you can use a baking tray/dish if you don’t have a square plate. Once your tray is set up spoon the mixture on to it and level with a spatula.
Once the coconut base is ready, break up a bar of dark chocolate into a heat proof bowl and melt either in the microwave or over a bowl of hot water on the hob. Making sure you keep stirring the chocolate all the time through heating.
When the chocolate is completely melted and there are no lumps, drizzle it over the coconut base and then gently level out with the spatula until the base is totally covered.
The last step is to put the chocolate coconut bars into the fridge for 1 hour to set. After an hour take out and cut into sections and enjoy.
After watching a program on her tablet Lia came up with the idea that we had to have ‘Fruit Kebabs’ for pudding or ‘Fruit Kebobs’, as my girls call them.
So that morning I was sent off to work with a shopping list of fruits that she needed to make her kebabs for that evening.
My list consisted of bananas, strawberries, grapes and apples. It was the first time ever that the girls had asked for fruit for pudding rather than me telling them ‘No’ to sweets and cakes and saying that fruit is all they are allowed.
My girls are good at eating fruit and enjoy a wide variety but given the chance they would choose a cake or a chocolate bar over fruit any day. Well I think most of us would so I can’t blame them.
On my lunch break I had collected all the items that she had requested and bought them back ready for them to get stuck in. I had also added in there a secret ingredient, which was a bar of milk chocolate, well after all it is the school holidays so they deserve a treat every now and then.
I laid the fruit on the table and the girls set to work chopping the banana into slices, the strawberries into halves and the apples into chunks.
Once all prepared we grabbed our Kebab sticks and set to work filling them with the fruit trying to keep them in a set pattern, which was more for the look than the taste but got the girls using their minds to create patterns with their food.
The apples were a little hard to get on but with a bit of a gentle wiggle we managed to get them on. All the girls including Alexa at 5 years old was able to get the other fruits on all by themselves.
Once all the kebabs had been prepared I bought out my secret ingredient, the bowl of melted chocolate. The girls were happy enough with the fruit kebabs but when they saw the chocolate, their little faces lit up. The girls set about drizzling it over the fruit whilst spinning the kebab to get an even cover, even though I think the table cloth was covered more than the kebabs.
We really should have let the kebobs cool in the fridge so the chocolate could have set but instead we just couldn’t wait. We eat the Kebobs straight away and ended up with chocolate dripping down are faces, they still tasted great but we all did get a little messy.
I would recommend leaving them to set in the fridge if you are going to make them with chocolate.
This is a great activity for children as they can prepare and make them with very little adult help. It can help build motor skills and to further the learning you can get them thinking about patterns when layering the fruit. Not to mention it is a fun way to get your children to eat there fruit and the chocolate is optional. You can also vary the fruit so can make different Kebobs every time.
These would also be great for a BBQ and it will be something that the children can get on and prepare for you while you can get on with the million other things that need to be done before a BBQ.
Why not also take a look at some of my other recipes –
After searching through the fridge in the morning trying to think what we could have for dinner tonight without me having to bear a trip to the supermarket I came up with the idea of making our own pizza’s. I had some bread flour in the cupboard and loads of lovely vegetables from the green grocers that needed to be used up and my children love cooking and are always excited to help out in the kitchen so making a homemade pizza seemed like a win, win situation.
I did quickly make the dough before I picked the girls up from school as it needed time to proof before we could roll it. Once we got back from school and I told the girls what we were having for dinner and that they would be making it they were so excited. They have never got changed and washed their hands so fast.
Back at the table they were all poised and ready to begin. I divided the dough up and they carefully rolled out there piece into what resembled a pizza shape then placed it on a piece of tin foil. We then set out to make the toppings and the base sauce. The girls helped to chop all the vegetables and grate the cheese ready to put on the pizza.
I had decided that we were going to make our own sauce for the pizza base rather than just smear over some tomato puree like we have done in the past. I was really apprehensive about it as I have never made my own sauce before and was worried how it would turn out but it was delicious and I was so glad I took the time to make it.
I was worried how the pizza would taste but even if I do say so myself, it was the best pizza I have ever had. It was so good and full of flavour. There was not a single slice of pizza left, clean plates all round.
Making homemade pizza with children is definitely an active I would recommend and will be doing more often. Not only did it teach my girls basic cooking skills, but I got to make dinner whilst keeping the girls entertained and I love a bit of multi tasking.
375g strong bread flour
1 Tsp salt
7g dried active yeast
2 tablespoons olive oil
225ml warm water
5 – 6 large tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
A few basil leaves
1 tsp salt
Anything you like
Preheat oven to 180° fan assisted
Combine the flour, salt, sugar and yeast in a bowl. Then finely chop the rosemary into the mixture.
Mix in the oil and warm water until you have a dough you may need to add a bit more flour if too sticky.
Leave the dough to rest for a good few hours if possible so the dough can rise. Just before rolling it is best to put in the fridge for 30 minutes as it makes it easier to roll.
To make the sauce chop and quarter 5 – 6 large tomatoes, chop 2 cloves of garlic, and a bunch of basil finely chopped and add to a pan with a cup of water. Put a lid on the pan and simmer for around 10 minutes or until tomatoes have dissolved and started to mix into the water.
Add a tablespoon of tomato puree and a teaspoon of salt and cook for a further 3 minutes stirring continuously.
Get your dough and split into even portions we made 4 big pizza’s but you could make smaller size ones. Then roll out to a flat pizza base and place on tin foil. Pour a good heap of sauce into the middle and using the back of a spoon spread round your pizza and cover in cheese. Then add to your pizza any topping that you desire.
for 20 -25 minutes.
Why not also take a look at some of my other recipes –
Blackberry picking is one of our favourite past times. My children are normally the first to notice the ripened blackberries on the bushes and start asking when we can go blackberry picking.
We grab empty carrier bags or sandwich bags and head off in search of blackberry bushes. Living in Somerset we are lucky that there are lots of wild blackberry bushes around. Even if you live in the city I am sure you won’t have to look too far to find some blackberry bushes.
The children get so excited when they spot the nice ones and when the bags start to fill up they feel proud of how many they have picked. We have learnt from experience that the best blackberries are nearly always hidden so it is worth moving the leaves and brambles around to try and find the ones hiding out of sight. Be really careful to avoid the thorns I found the best way was to use my foot on the lower branches and gently move the brambles down to expose the blackberries behind.
You should always look for the blackberries that are completely black and look squishy. When you pick them they should come easily away from the stalk. If you have to struggle to pull them off then they are not quite ready and will taste a bit sour. The plumper the blackberry looks the sweeter it will be.
After a while when we have half filled a carrier bag we head off back home, so we could get stuck into our blackberries.
For us the best way to do this and to get to really enjoy all the hard work we put into picking them is by making a crumble. There is nothing better than a good old fashioned homemade crumble our favourite is blackberry and apple which goes down a treat with a little vanilla ice cream.
My children love to cook and help out in the kitchen whenever possible they can bake quite a few dishes now with minimal help from me so they took over making the crumble with me just keeping a watchful eye.
Once ready we all sat down and enjoyed the fruits of our labour and it was well worth it. Not only was it a delicious crumble but it was made all the greater by the fact that we had handpicked the blackberries and made the whole thing from scratch. I know from the picture it is not the best looking crumble as the blackberry juice bubbled over but we are no Mary Berry. It tasted amazing and that is what counts, hopefully with more days like these our crumble will turn out perfect with the practice.
A cup full of blackberries
One large Bramley cooking apple
tablespoon of cinnamon
2 tablespoons of honey
120g plain flour
60g of demerara sugar + extra for sprinkling on top
Put the oven on to 180c
Wash the blackberries and apple then place the blackberries into a saucepan
Cut the bramley apple into small pieces and put in the saucepan with the blackberries
Add in 2 tablespoons of honey and a tablespoon of cinnamon
Add the pan to the heat and stir constantly for 5 minutes until the blackberries have released some of their juices and the apples have softened