Crumbed Spinach Chicken Wraps with Roasted Root Chips

My lovely friend, Lady C came to see us for lunch today. Actually, she’s the Mum of Boy A’s good friend Boy L. And I’m Godmother to her daughter, Little Lady P, who Boy O already sits a little too closely to – for a two year old. Keeping up?

Well, Little Lady P is allergic to dairy so I always make sure lunch is a dairy free feast. Not as challenging as it sounds, because Boy O used to have a severe dairy allergy himself (and is now a yogurt-a-holic), so I’m used to cooking this way and I really enjoy having to think about food differently.

Keeping it simple, nutritious and pleasing for everyone I settled on chicken wraps. Or DIY Crumbed Spinach Chicken Wraps to be precise. With Roasted Root Chips.

1:05pm today = six very hungry bellies

1:22pm today = six empty plates (and a lot of mess)

You’ll need:

approx 400g free-range chicken mini fillets

a bowl of good quality breadcrumbs

2 cubes of frozen spinach (yes, I use it in everything) – defrosted

4 carrots, peeled and cut into ‘chips’

2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into ‘chips’

a glug of rapeseed oil

tortilla wraps and salad to serve

Preheat the oven to 180. Then start by par-boiling the carrots and sweet potato for a few minutes, until they are just beginning to soften. Be careful not to over cook them (or you’ll be serving the wraps with mash). Drain and gently dab dry with kitchen paper. Toss gently in oil and evenly space out on a flat baking tray (or two), allowing each ‘chip’ plenty of space around it. This is worth taking time over as it will mean they crisp up and won’t be soft and soggy. Pop them in the oven and set the timer for 10 minutes. Next, roll the chicken in the spinach to coat it then roll the spinach-covered-chicken in the breadcrumbs and place on a large baking sheet. As soon as the timer goes off pop the chicken in the oven and set the timer for another 15 minutes. They should be ready but check the chicken is cooked through and the chips crispy – if you’re using big chunks of chicken or large chips then they may need another 5-or so minutes.

Put the chicken and chips in bowls and pop them in the middle of the table along with some salad and a pile of tortilla wraps. Some grated or crumbled cheese would go well too. Let everyone dig in and make their own wraps. And mess. The Boys love making theirs. Especially the mess.

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Campervan Omelette Baguette

This week we’re in France. In an old VW campervan. All four of us. Very cool you’d think, and from the outside it is, but in reality it is very small and very, very cramped.
This may have not been my brightest idea – Daddy’s 40th birthday gift, to recreate holidays from his own childhood, but we are having a fabulous time and the boys are loving the adventure.
I’m avoiding cooking where possible and making the most of being cooked for, or eating out every day, which is a real treat for me. The boys however, are fussy as ever and mostly surviving on bread, cereal and chips. And of course peanut butter. Boy O is carrying his jar of peanut butter around with him. Everywhere. Boy A (who only likes cheese), has decided he doesn’t like French cheese.
Last night we were back late and had eaten a big lunch so I threw together a light supper – omelette baguette. We didn’t have much food in so it was somewhat cobbled together, but super-tasty and gobbled up by all of us.

Here’s the recipe in case you fancy trying this one at home:

1 VW campervan with limited head space for repeated hitting of head
4 eggs whisked with a little milk
6 slices of jambon (or other cured meat), roughly chopped
1 courgette, coarsely grated
A couple of handfuls of grated cheese (I used Ossau-Iraty, a local sheep’s cheese)
A large baguette, buttered if possible
Pepper to season
A splash of oil

Heat the oil in a large frying pan and throw in the jambon and courgette. Fry for a few minutes then add the egg mixture. Cook on a fairly high heat for a few minutes, until the base has begun to crisp. Add the cheese and season with pepper. Turn the heat down to low and when the omelette is almost cooked but the cheese still gooey, fold the omelette in half. Cook for another minute, flip and cook the other side for another minute then remove from the heat. Cut into four pieces, and stuff it into the buttered baguette. Gobble up.
Boy O did.

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NB/ Campervan optional

Ryvita Pudding

Pudding in our house is yogurt. Or fruit. Yogurt and fruit. Fruit and yogurt. Occasionally as a treat it will be homemade fruit and yogurt lollies. For special occasions we have ice cream. And fruit. I have been known to serve custard. With, of course, fruit. You get the idea.

So it’s rare that I offer something else. Unless I want to Fill Them Up. Today we had cheese, crackers and carrot sticks for lunch (I warned you yesterday I have nothing in the cupboards). Boy A ate the crackers, left the cheese (apparently it wasn’t the brand of cheddar he likes), and refused the carrots “because I only like them roasted“. Boy O ate the cheese, left the crackers and will not even look at carrots, so refused to have them on his plate and instead promptly moved them to the floor. At least I served up a fairly balanced meal, fulfilled my part – I can’t force them to eat it.

So for pudding I made a ‘pudding that isn’t really pudding’ (yes, I can still get away with this). I whipped out a pack of Ryvita fruit crunch crackers and generously spread some of our favourite 100% natural peanut butter on top, then piled on some sliced strawberries and guess what?

Gobbled up.image

Aromatic Beef Rice

I’ve been a bit quiet lately due to summer holiday madness and Boy O deciding he wants to ditch nappies. I had forgotten just how time consuming (not to mention grim) toilet training is, especially out and about, especially in the rain, so we’ve been been eating the contents of the freezer and anything else super-quick!

But yesterday, being a dismal Bank Holiday Monday, I thought some home-cooked comfort food was much needed.

I didn’t have much in the house so this is a bit of a basic paupers supper, but it is delicious and was enjoyed by all. Even Boy A the almost-vegetarian and Boy O who doesn’t like carrots. Or rice.

All you need is:
400g stewing steak
1 litre of beef stock
A couple of carrots and a parsnip thinly sliced (you can use any root veg)
1 red onion thinly sliced
3 cubes of frozen chopped spinach
A small bunch of fresh parsley, chopped
1tsp cinnamon
1/2tsp cumin
1tsp Bahrat spice mix
300g rice
A hearty glug of oil

First up, preheat the oven to 180•, then heat the oil in a heavy based casserole dish. When hot, pop in the beef and gently fry until it is nicely browned. Throw in the onions and spices, and cook for around 10 minutes, until the onions are soft.
Now pour in the stock and stir in the carrots, spinach and parsley. Mix well then turn up the heat.
Once boiling put a lid on and pop it in the oven for at least 1.5hrs, stirring occasionally until the meat is tender and falls apart.
Pour in the rice, give it a good stir then pop it back in the oven for 20-25 mins, until the rice is cooked. Check it regularly as you don’t want it to dry out – you may need to add more water if it begins to.
When the rice is cooked serve it with some hunks of crusty bread and butter. Oh, and don’t forget to season with salt and pepper for the grown-ups.

Tip/ We like this quite dry, but if you like more sauce use 2 litres of stock to begin with.

image#forestpotty #torrentialrain #grim