Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Kids eat free?

I thought that I'd dip my toe into the pool of product testing after being approached by several brands to test their products. I hadn't taken up the offers as the blog posts had deadlines and this is something that I can't offer in any kind of concrete sense. This and the fact that I find product reviews, product placement on Mummy blogs incredibly off putting. I'd rather read whimsical tales of parenthood and mutterings than how smooth a Stokke pram handles. Where do we draw the line between spreading the word about products that free or not we love and want to shout about to just any old crap that comes free to your door?

So my first foray was a flop. I responded to an email from a baby food manufactures that we sometimes use when out of the house, on the run or simply if we're eating something to outlandish for Miss B's stomach and the result was a single pot of food for testing came through my door.

Miss B ate the pot and I hastily emailed the company to complain.

So this weeks eats:

I've previously posted about this weeks shopping kerfuffle but aside from this, this is what we are mostly eating.

Pappa al Pomodoro

  • olive oil, for frying
  • 3 cloves garlic, cut into slivers
  • 2 tsp chopped sage leaves
  • 6 plum tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 400 g canned chopped tomatoes
  • 4 slices stale ciabatta bread, cut into chunks
  • 800 ml vegetable or chicken stock
To serve
  • basil, torn
  • freshly grated parmesan
  • extra virgin olive oil

1. In a large saucepan, heat a very generous layer of olive oil over a medium heat. Add the garlic followed by the sage and and cook for 1-2 minutes until they give off a lovely smell and the garlic is golden.

2. Stir in the fresh tomatoes, then the tinned tomatoes and the bread. Stir well and season to taste.

3. Pour in the stock, heat through and simmer for 45 minutes or until reduced.

4. Taste for seasoning at the end. Serve at room temperature with the basil, parmesan and plenty of extra virgin olive oil. 

Sausages with Lentils and Salami

  • 2 onions
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 200 g salami, in one piece
  • 350 g sausages
  • 500 g crushed tomatoes, or tomato passata
  • 150 g green or brown lentils
  • 3 bay leaves

1. Peel the onions and cut each one in half from tip to root, then cut each half into four or five pieces. Warm the oil in a heavy-based casserole, add the onions and let them cook over a moderate heat until tender.

2. Meanwhile, peel the garlic, slice it thinly and add it to the onions. You'll need to stir them regularly.

3. Peel the thin skin from the salami and cut the inside into fat matchsticks. Add this to the softening onions and leave for a couple of minutes, during which time the salami will darken slightly.

4. Start cooking the sausages in a non-stick pan. You want them to colour on the outside; they will do most of their cooking once they are in the sauce.

5. Tip the crushed tomatoes into the onions, add the washed lentils and stir in 500ml water. Bring to the boil. Remove the sausages from their pan and tuck them into the casserole with the bay leaves.

6. Cover the pot with a lid and leave to simmer gently for about half an hour, until the lentils are tender. Stir the lentils and season with black pepper. You may find it needs little or no salt. 

Spicy Sausages with Bombay Potato Mash

For the mash
  • 900 g potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1-2 tsp Bombay potato spice mix, to taste
  • large handful spinach
  • 1 tbsp chopped coriander
For the sausages
  • 450 g spicy pork sausages
  • mango chutney, to serve
1. Place the potatoes into a medium saucepan, cover with water and boil for about 15 minutes until soft. Preheat the grill to medium.

2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a frying pan and soften the onion for 2-3 minutes. Add the Bombay spice mix and cook for 1-2 minutes to fry off the spices.

3. In the meantime, cook the sausages under the grill for 12-15 minutes, turning occasionally until cooked through.

4. Drain the potatoes and crush lightly with a masher. Stir through the spiced onions, spinach and coriander.

5. Serve the spicy sausages with the crushed Bombay potatoes, mango chutney and a crunchy salad of radishes, cucumber and coriander.        

Garganelli with Tomanto, Pancetta and Pecorino

  • 5 large tomatoes
  • 120 g pancetta
  • olive oil
  • splash of dry white wine
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • 350 g garganelli, penne or other short pasta tubes
  • 100 g pecorino cheese, freshly grated
  • black pepper
For the tomato sauce:
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 200 g canned chopped tomatoes
  • black pepper
1. First make the tomato sauce. Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft. Add the garlic and chopped tomatoes, and season to taste. Simmer, uncovered, for about 10 minutes until thickened.

2. Blanch the tomatoes in boiling water for 5 seconds and refresh them in cold. Remove the skin, slice into quarters and remove the seeds. Slice each quarter into strips the same length as the pasta shapes. Season with a little salt and set aside.

3. Slice the pancetta into little strips about 2 cm wide, again to match the length of the pasta.

4. Heat a little olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the pancetta and fry for a few minutes until browned and crisp.

5. Add a splash of white wine and cook over high heat to let the alcohol evaporate.

6. Add the tomato strips and cook for 3 minutes more.

7. Stir in 4 tablespoons of the tomato sauce. Add the rosemary and the bay leaf, and season with freshly ground black pepper. Simmer over medium heat to reduce the sauce further.

8. Cook the pasta in a large saucepan of boiling salted water until 'al dente', then drain. Add to the sauce, tossing until well mixed. Remove the rosemary and bay leaf.

9. Tip into a warmed serving dish. Sprinkle with the freshly grated pecorino and serve.        


  1. You got me super hungry! Will have to give the sausage and salami recipe a go for sure. Yum yum!

  2. Firstly I need time to read these yummy recepies properly and secondly I need time to cook them all...Not sure I am going to get to leave this computer today...
    (Hope all good with you. x)

  3. Firstly I need time to read these yummy recepies properly and secondly I need time to cook them all...Not sure I am going to get to leave this computer today...
    (Hope all good with you. x)

  4. Thanks guys. I've went a bit sausage daft this week and so don't want to post another five sausage recipes!

    Really enjoying your blogs :) xx


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