Fast family favourite. When nobody is in the mood to cook but the youngest member of the family still has boundless energy, this is the dream dinner as Will (age 3), helps make it. Yes it is that easy. He can now tell me the ingredients we need and can assemble them.
I love simple but delicious dishes which everyone can be involved in making. Will loves learning and in a foodie household it is no wonder – luckily he wants to cook and the best way to learn is to do.
¾ Packet of Gluten Free Pasta
I medium carton of double cream
Freshly ground salt and pepper
Packet of streaky bacon
Large bunch/Packet of asparagus
2 large handfuls of peas
Broccoli head – cut small
Large handful of fresh mint – chopped
Parmesan - grated
This is a deliciously light yet scrumptious quiche which makes a wonderful lunch or supper dish. It looks spectacular as it hits the table to be served and is always raved about.
I had never made a quiche until last year as I don’t like thick short crust pastry and that was my memory of quiche. With Richard being completely gluten intolerant it wouldn’t have been on my radar – but then I had a girlfriend coming for lunch and wanted to make something with delicious local, in-season ingredients.
Dash of extra virgin olive oil
5 sheets of filo pastry
8 rashers of lightly smoked streaky bacon – cut into small pieces
2 bunches of spring onions – sliced
2 types of cheese – mature cheddar and gruyere or parmesan and comte - grated
Medium carton of double cream
Punnet of baby tomatoes – cut in half
Freshly ground salt and pepper
When we were born there was one thing we did before any other. One act of movement that started our journey off, that started off our exploration into... well... everything. That one thing was our first breath.
Breathing is the first thing we did when we were born. Breathing is what makes us move; we associate it with our state of fitness (“I was out of breath”), our general health and well-being, our mood (“he is full of hot air”).
It seems almost patronising to write to you encouraging you to breathe or more specifically to breathe properly. I always get funny looks when I mention this to people initially – I realise it does sound odd as you have been breathing properly since you were born... or have you?
When we are born we are perfect, everything works as it should, and that includes breathing. To breathe properly we need to use our diaphragms. This is a muscle located under your ribs. The diaphragm is the main muscle used in respiration and is a vital core muscle. When used correctly the diaphragm will not only enable full inhalations of air into our lungs (allowing us to take in more oxygen), but it will also help us to fully protect our spine and enable proper core functionality ie the use of the entire core area as a cylinder to protect us through movement.
In the modern fast paced world in which we all reside, we have forgotten how to breathe. We live frantic lives - deadlines, traffic jams, homework, tests, mortgage payments – it doesn’t exactly equate to peace and tranquillity. We have become accessory/emergency breathers. What this means is that we are (from a breathing standpoint) always near a state of fight or flight.
We have started breathing up into our chests (I was told for years by rugby coaches that whenever I was tired to put my hands on my head and take deep breathes up into my chest – a contradiction if ever there was one – although the intention was right). We use the small muscles of our neck and shoulders as well as the sizeable muscles of our trapezius to enable us to breathe.
Have you ever suffered from a tight neck/upper back, regular headaches? These are all signs of incorrect breathing. It doesn’t stop there. Incorrect breathing can cause you to become more nervous and anxious. It can prevent full cognitive function and incorrectly breathing (and therefore contracting of our core stabilisers) can and will result in lower back pain.
The cure for many of these ailments is very often a trip top your doctor, physio, chiropractor at a cost of millions every year. Wouldn’t you agree that simply trying to correct how we breathe on a daily basis is something that is worth exploring and trying out?
Sit in the chair you’re in. Place one hand on your chest and one on your stomach. Breathe in through your nose and out through your nose with your tongue on the roof of your mouth. As you do this you should feel the hand on your stomach start to move outwards. This is because you are now contracting and using your diaphragm properly. This can also be done lying down but you might want to wait until you get home for that one – unless you are REALLY comfortable in your work environment.
For anyone participating in strenuous activity/sport – try and diaphragmatically as you are exercising. It will take some getting used to find the right speed for you – but improved oxygen uptake will allow more oxygenated blood to be pumped to your muscles. Proper breathing will allow your breathe to return to normal quicker once you stop. The faster you can return your breathe to normal, the faster you can go again which will equal improved performance.
Breathing is truly amazing – no one reading this could tell me how many times they do it in a day. It just happens, but somewhere along the line we stopped doing it properly. Breathe as we were designed to. You will feel more relaxed (this can happen very quickly) and you will be far more in control of how you move your own body and for how long.
Spend some time exploring this. It will change your life….
For us as a family with busy lives, this is one of my favourite recipes because everyone adores this dish. I know it will give us enough for two meals which is great. You will get nine generous to ten good helpings from this pie. Enjoy!
Tail of a salmon (or 4/5 pieces)
2 pieces of smoked undyed haddock
2 pieces of unsmoked haddock
1 packet of raw prawns
6 medium free range eggs
Handful of thyme sprigs
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp plain flour (it can be gluten free)
good handful of grated mature cheddar cheese
5/8 (depending on their size) Maris piper potatoes for mashing
1. Pop your oven on to 180 degrees and let it warm up.
2. Take a dish, I use a deep 20 x 30 cm dish which is perfect for these quantities.
3. Place in all the fish - make sure you remove any bones at this stage, place the thyme on top, grind on black pepper and pour over enough milk to cover all the fish. Now put it in the oven for 20 minutes.
4. While the fish is cooking, hard boil your eggs for ten minutes and peel your potatoes getting them ready, to boil, all set for mashing when cooked.
5. Remove the dish from the oven, carefully pour off the milk into a jug to be used to make your white sauce.
6. On top of the cooked fish you will now place your raw prawns and your halved hard boiled eggs.
7. Cook the white sauce. Place the flour and butter in a saucepan and beat together, remember to keep stirring. The mix when cooking is called a roux. Let the roux cook through, you'll see it turn white, then slowly add the set aside milk making the white sauce. Finally add a good handful of cheese. Taste it, if you want add more ground pepper. Always taste anything you are cooking to make sure you like it.
8. When ready, pour over the white sauce over all the ingredients and finally add your mashed potato on top. For me the best mashed potato is made by mashing the potatoes then beating in a knob of butter, splash of milk and freshly ground black pepper.
9. Back into the oven for half an hour and dinner is ready.