Friday, July 27, 2012


I have just received a request for a blog post from my eldest baby who is off in Chicago on a J1 visa for the summer - learning to appreciate what a good time he has of things at home!!!!!!

He needs some familiar, easy, everyday type recipes - that use very little in the line of kitchen equipment (and dare I say skill - sorry son!!!).  I would appreciate any links for suitable recipes in the comment section - he'll be able to access them - thanks a million in advance.

Pasta dishes spring to mind - and I suppose the most basic of them all is a cheese sauce/mushroom sauce - here goes:

Cheese Sauce

You use equal amounts of butter and plain flour (say a tablespoon of each), melt the butter in a pan (medium heat) add the flour and stir until smooth (you need to do this for at least a minute to get rid of the raw flour taste).
Now (a whisk is good for this but a spoon will do) stirring all the time add milk - hard to give a quantity - just keep stirring it in until you have the right consistency - slightly thinner that you would think as the cheese will thicken it up again (don't worry you can always add more milk)
For anyone with a stocked kitchen, it is really nice to add some English mustard powder (1/2 tsp) and a few grates of nutmeg before adding the milk.
Add your cheese (plenty), grated or chopped up small, and there you have it.

Mac and cheese

Cheese Sauce
Bacon (optional)
Mushrooms (optional)
Broccoli (optional, and because you need your greens!!)

Cook your pasta of choice - I usually use penne.
Drain the pasta and add the cheese sauce to it.
Fry up some rashers of bacon/bacon bits.
Saute mushrooms.
Steam some broccoli (getting the healthy theme here???)
Add all together and place into an ovenproof dish.
Scatter a bit more cheese on top and put in the oven at a medium heat.
Check after about 15/20 minutes - if it's bubbling on top, it's done.

Mind your hands taking it out of the oven - don't burn yourself!!!

Mushroom Sauce

Instead of adding cheese to your (slightly thicker) white sauce, add your slow cooked mushroom - this is good on freshly cooked pasta (no faffing about with ovens!!!)

Fried Fish

Buy some nice flat white fish.
Heat up a frying pan - should be nice and hot before the fish goes in.
Put some flour on a plate and mix in some salt (1/4 tsp to about 2 tbsp flour)
Place the fish on the flour - both sides. Brush off any excess.
Put some oil in the pan (olive is good but don't stress, whatever is there)
Fry the fish - skin side down first, you want this crispy.
Turn down the heat to cook the other side - won't take long, depending on the thickness of the fillet.
You can of course cook some prawns to go with it - or wait for your Mammy to do that when you get home!!!

Our Usual Salmon

Very easy, and very good for you.
Get a darn/fillet of salmon (you could use trout, any pink fish)
Sprinkle some Cajun spice on top and then bake in the oven for about 10/15 minutes.

Fish Pie

Buy an assortment of fish - some smoked, and whatever else is cheap (better not to use oily fish here)
Poach in milk - place the fish in a saucepan and cover with milk, heat up gently until the fish is just slightly underdone.
Now take out the fish and place in an oven proof dish.
You can add some frozen peas at this stage (those greens again!!)
Make some white sauce, using the leftover milk.
Pour the sauce over the fish.
You can put mashed potatoes, breadcrumbs even some mashed up crisps on top.
Bake until bubbling.

I hope this is enough to get you going - and not too boring for everyone else!!!

I want to apologise for not being around for the past few months - the enormity of losing my sister just struck me with a hammer blow, and I needed all my energy to just do the day to day stuff ..... but I'm back!!!