Posted on Leave a comment

‘Ome Work…

Happy New Year!

All ready for school

Yup, I know it’s now February & the start of the new year seems the longest time ago…& that seems how long it was since I last did a blog….oh, actually, it has been that long.

So much time & so little to do, no wait, strike that & reverse it.

Time has been galloping on. I feel like we’ve already done a whole school year. Two & a half hours spent in a day helping our kids do their homework, & that’s not counting the times we’re breaking off from our stuff to help them with the things they should be able to do themselves.

CurlyE: ‘Mummyyyyy, I can’t read this word!’

Me: ‘Sound out the letters then add it all together’

silence

Me: ‘The letters aren’t out in the garden they are on the page…LOOK AT THE PAGE!!!’

 

Then there’s the extra wasted time spent throwing a laptop out of the window when the internet connection goes or the MyMaths (GRRRRRRRR!!!!) website overloads…OR the internet connection is fine & dandy (yes I know, a very rare occurrence but it does happen once a year) & we spend forever with one of our kids giving helpful advice on how to work stuff out, they get it all right, & it doesn’t save it….& we have the rest of our kids waiting to do their maths stuff…..

I remember coming home with a 5 a-day or 6 or 7 etc a-day maths book to work through. You got 5 (or however many) sums to work through each day. You filled in your book, the teacher marked it & Bob’s your uncle. The only thing you had to worry about was spilling a cup of tea on it or the dog eating it. I did try to encourage our elderly, cantankerous, Wire Haired Fox Terrier to eat my homework but he was more happy jumping up trees for squirrels.

 

Then we get the Dress-Up days. I have to admit I do love these. The kids have to go to school dressed up as something related to the Topic they’ve been doing that term….

MissT Pirate

 

Pirate day: MissT went as a pirate complete with parrot.

MissT as a Pirate

 

 

 

 

Mini-Beast day: Dj went as a Hover-Fly (Syrphus ribesit would be so pleased at it’s magnificent self made out of Weetabix boxes). Unfortunately the piccies have disappeared into cyber space! Shame, we were all particularly proud of that one.

MissT Jester

Castle Day mk1: MissT went as the ‘Piss-Artiste’ (that’s a court jester to you & I).

djs big lanceCastle day mk2: Dj went as a knight (he looked a little like something out of Monty Dj KnightPython & yes, we again have Weetabix to thank) complete with 8ft lance (which was quickly put “somewhere safe” by a teacher).

Funny-Bones day: CurlyE had a fab skeleton mask (It’s a blooming good job we like Weetabix!)

The next is a history day & MissT wants to go as something from Tudor times…. ‘Tis a pity they didn’t have Weetabix way back then because she could go as a box of them just to give my brain a rest.

 

I left school an age ago….yet I still have to participate in the thing I hated most.

HOMEWORK!… x4 NOW!

(& our Kids are sick of the site of Weetabix!)

 funny bones

 

Kit x

Posted on 2 Comments

Burger It!

veal burger

We love a good burger in our house.

We don’t have them very often so when we do it’s a real treat.

Our children have never been to a McDonalds, Burger King or any other junk food purveyor.

I can imagine that when they do (although I’d like to think they never will…) it will be a real eye opener for them. I can just see them going back to the counter with the sad little burger in hand… “What’s this? You call this a burger?”

 

I don’t know why more people don’t make their own? You can buy a kilo of mince meat for a lot less than it costs for a kilo of burgers. All you need to do is add a bit of seasoning, mix and form into a rough Pattie and throw on a grill, BBQ or frying pan.

Veal burger mix

However you can let your imagination run wild and flavour your meat with a vast array of ingredients.

And then you have your toppings, now this is where the fun starts!

You have to have cheese of some sort. I love a slice of Monterey Jack on a beef burger, but a medium cheddar is just as nice. If you want to ‘Posh’ it up I would go with some crumbly Stilton. One of my favourite burgers is a Mediterranean influenced lamb burger topped with a piece of grilled Halloumi and some ‘Ome made Tzatziki.

 veal & chorizo burger

I like a nice mustardy mayonnaise on my beef burgers along with a little salad leaf, slice of tomato and I’m sorry but gherkins are good too. I also think a beef burger needs a good squirt of tomato ketchup.

 

Lately we have been making veal burgers. I know that some people are a little put off by veal but the place that we get it from uses the male animals from the place that they get their milk supplies from. If the animals are not sold for meat then they would be slaughtered at birth anyway. So personally I haven’t got a problem with eating veal that’s a by-product of the dairy industry, and from some where that has high standards for animal welfare.

Mince veal has quite a delicate flavour and it makes a really nice burger that compliments other ‘add ons’.

Heres a recipe you might want to try but feel free to add your own ‘add ons’ as everyone has different tastes. The burgers could be made with any sort of meat though.

 

Ingredients

1.2Kg veal mince (or beef or lamb), Waitrose often have a deal on veal mince, hence the amount which would cost £10

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

A really good grind of black pepper

A couple teaspoons of mustard. Dijon or wholegrain works best

 

And that’s it, although you could add other things if you fancy. Get your hands in the bowl and give it a really good ‘squish’ to thoroughly mix the ingredients into the meat.

I then line a tray with greaseproof paper, form the meat into burgers, place on the tray and chill which lets the burgers firm up a little. If you’re finding you have more meat on your hands than tray a tip is to shape the burgers using slightly wet hands. You may notice on the photos that we made some little meat balls from the same mixture, these were used in the Kids’ pack-up for their school lunch (I never got pack-up as good as theirs!), they would be equally as good in a tomato sauce with some pasta for a quick lunch or supper.

Veal burgers and balls

 And that’s it your burgers are ready to go and be cooked using your preferred method.

Burgers & Chips cooking blog

So we had these little beauties topped with Chorizo, Monterey Jack cheese, an ‘Ome made tomato and habenero chilli salsa and some rocket and baby spinach leaves all sandwiched in a mini Ciabatta bun with a squirt of American style mustard spread on for good measure.veal chorizo & Monerey Jack burger

The salsa is really easy too if you want to have a go. Just dice some tomatoes, onions and chillies (which can be left out if you don’t want the heat). Add enough sugar to lightly coat the mixture, a little splash of vinegar and a good squirt or squeeze of lime juice. It now needs a good pinch of salt (I personally like a nice salty salsa)and a good grind of pepper. Again a salsa can easily be customized to your own liking. tomato salsa

We had these with some nice chunky baked chips and a little more salad leaf on the side.

Be prepared for juice dribbling down chins and arms, but then that’s all part of the enjoyment!

And don’t forget to tell you’re kids how much nicer and healthier Home-made burgers are compared to the high street, mass produced crap of fast food vendors!

MissT Veal Burger Blog

 

 

 

Posted on Leave a comment

‘Ome Cured Bacon

Who doesn’t like bacon? I’ve even heard of vegetarians succumb to the smell of bacon frying on a Saturday morning from the local greasy spoon.

ome cured bacon blog

One day I was thinking ‘well how hard can it be to make my own bacon’. So I got a piece of belly pork from the butchers, took the bones out and fat off then rubbed it with liberal amounts of salt and other seasonings, put it in a plastic container in the fridge and left it there for a week, pouring off the moisture and rubbing a little more salt into the meat every other day or so.

After a week I rinsed the piece of meat thoroughly under cold water, patted it dry and then sliced it as thinly as possible. The meat certainly had the texture of bacon. The colour though was slightly off putting and even after it was cooked it was a slightly pinkish-grey colour. However it tasted fantastic!

Of course in commercial curing they use a curing salt which contains, amongst other things, saltpeter or potassium nitrate although this compound has more recently been replaced with sodium nitrate (E252) and it’s this that gives the bacon the characteristic pink colour.

You can get curing salt quite easily, it’s available on line. I however thought ‘I’ll ask my butcher for some’. Sure enough, as I was buying a big hunk of belly pork from him, he was happy to oblige. I think any decent butcher would do the same, they may charge you for it but it would be better than buying a big batch and they will even tell you how much to use for the piece of meat you’re curing.

And that’s all you need, a piece of meat to cure and some curing salt.

I tend to use belly pork for my own bacon. Simply because it’s reasonably cheap and it’s great when used in cooking sauces such as Bolognaise (Pancetta is made using the same cut of pork)

I take the bones out of the piece of meat (these go in the freezer until we have enough for some nice sticky ribs), and then I rub my curing mixture into the meat. I stick a freezer bag over my hand. You really don’t want curing salt on your hands!

 'Ome cured bacon meal blog

I enhance my curing mixture with some spices and sugar. I’ll use some muscavado sugar for sweetness, a little allspice, a tiny pinch of chili powder and a little smoked paprika. You can use whatever you fancy though or just leave it plain.

And that’s it. Place in a non metallic container, cover and stick in the fridge. It should be ready after a couple days but I’ve left it up to a week before. It’s best to drain the excess water that comes out of the meat, however sometimes I’ve forgotten and it’s still turned out fine.

Once your meat is ready you need to rinse it and then dry it. I take the rind off the meat and roast it in one piece for the ultimate crackling! The Kids go mad for it! The meat can then be sliced, diced or left in big pieces to roast (if your doing this leave the rind on). We normally slice some and dice some and freeze it in small batches.

Believe me, your own home-cured bacon will taste amazing and will be a fraction of the cost of shop bought.

Of course the best way to enjoy it is to have a couple slices of cooked, crispy homemade bacon and a squirt of tomato ketchup sandwiched between two slices of home made bread and a nice cup of tea… Perfect!

bacon and egg sandwich blog