Monthly Archives: September 2015

Allow me to introduce….

….the joys of a slider burger for a 3 year old!

Anyone who has experienced the utter lows of a child who won’t always eat what and when you’d like, will understand the triumph when you find something that not only makes them happy every single time you cook it, but you know is homemade, has no added rubbish and can be paired with something to make you happy as a parent about the veg quota.

This pic shows the exact way my very particular child likes this meal presented to her.  Note the burger in the mini bun, the extra slider, and the silver spoon (mini heart shaped of course) with her own personal pot of ketchup.  I’m not saying I never deviate from this presentation of course, but to do so may be a risky operation….


Ingredients (makes approx 16 sliders, I freeze in batches of 2)

500g minced beef, I use min 15% fat here, a burger needs fat!

1 medium red onion

1 fat clove garlic

Olive oil

sprinkle mixed dried herbs

Salt & pepper


  1.  Finely chop onion and grate or finely chop garlic.    Heat a drizzle of oil in a pan and slowly cook the onion and garlic together with a pinch of salt until really soft but not too coloured, set aside and allow to cool.
  2. In a large bowl mix together the beef, cooled onion mix, seasoning and herbs, no need for egg, breadcrumbs or any of that stuff here.  Divide into equal (ish) sized balls, shape and flatten into little patties.  At this stage you can freeze them or cook.
  3. To cook the burgers, heat a little more oil (really just a touch as there’s plenty of fat in the mix) and fry the sliders gently for around 6 – 8 minutes, turning occasionally.
  4. Serve as you or your mini monster prefers.  For adults I would add every condiment under the sun – a few combo suggestions below.  These are great with drinks as a surprise nibble for friends expecting a bowl of crisps or peanuts.

Suggested toppings:

  • Traditional – cheese, gherkins, red onion, mustard and ketchup
  • Blue cheese and lightly fried mushrooms
  • Peanut butter and crispy bacon – yes really.  Don’t judge, just try it
  • Slice of chorizo and melted manchego cheese

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Filed under Child pleasing!

Good ‘ole Spag Bol my way!

In so many ways it feels odd to even post this as a recipe because it really is super easy.  And yet the results provide a meal of such complex flavour, depth of character and sheer comfort factor we’ve probably all – vegetarians aside – eaten, cooked and ordered this dish in restaurants across the world.

This is my favourite version.  I’ve been cooking spag bol my whole adult life and have veered across about 137 different recipes, some from books by proper actual chefs, some from family and friends, but mostly just my own tweaks from the previous try.  I kinda think I’ve nailed it for my own and my families tastes and also managed to adhere to Slimming World guidelines which makes me happy 🙂

Note: I tend to always do my sauce in a slow cooker now, mainly because I just damn well love that machine but also for time and effort saving – once the chopping is done you’re really free to crack on with whatever else your day has in store.  However, it would work just as well in a big pot on the cooker top too, just brown off all the veg in a splash of olive oil before adding the mince and doing the same, then chuck in all other ingredients and simmer for anything up to 4 hours.

Serves 4 very hungry adults (or in my home 2 adults, 1 child and 2 portions for the freezer)


1 large onion

1 large leek

2 stalks celery

2 carrots

3 fat cloves garlic (I’m in the camp of you can never have too much garlic, feel free to adjust to taste)

500g minced beef, I use 5% fat

1 – 2 beef stock cubes

1 tin chopped tomatoes

good squeeze tomato puree

Balsalmic vinegar

Dried oregano

Red wine

Worcestershire sauce

200g your choice of pasta (for my family, you use whatever quantity suits your situation)

Method (for slow cooker):

  1.    Chop all veg and throw in slow cooker.  I’m not a big fan of ‘hidden’ veg for kiddies but if necessary these ingredients can be prepped seriously finely so they kind of melt in a gorgeous sweet mush within the sauce and end up toddler friendly invisible.


2.    Add minced beef, stock, tomatoes, puree, oregano, a small glass of wine, good splash of balsamic and worcestershire sauce, season, give it a quick stir mainly to break the mince up a bit and bung lid on.

3.  Here’s the beauty of a slow cooker.  High heat for 2 hours then switch to low for 3 – 4 hours more, however long you’ve got really.  If I’m at home I generally can’t resist a quick stir occasionally but you could happily leave this alone altogether.


4.    Towards the end of cooking time or on the warming stage if using a slow cooker, cook pasta according to instructions, drain and put back into the pasta saucepan.  Add however much of the sauce you like and mix lightly.

5.    You can adorn delightedly with oodles of freshly grated parmesan and torn basil but to be honest there’s no need.  This is simplicity itself but utterly delicious.


Serves 4 very hungry people

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Filed under Healthier Recipes, Pasta....