Saturday, January 13, 2007

Mums the Word

This week the results of a survey was published and it turns out that 'mothers spend three years of their lives making meals for their families'. Or, looking at it another way, churning out 45,990 meals in that time, which worked out spending around one hour a day in the kitchen. Dear oh dear. What is so wrong with that? Does it make us martyrs?
The article did say 'that all that time spent in the kitchen does at least ensure mothers are able to provide a healthy diet'. As it can take all of one hour to heat up the oven, then cook a bought ready-meal, I suppose that implies we could and should make better use of the time.

One surprising fact was that in many households, different meals were plated up each day for different appetites. Have to admit I often spend more time on my husband's supper and make an alternative for myself, but that is my choice. With picky families I'd feel inclined to serve an assortment in big bowls and let everyone help themselves.

Meanwhile, I'm going to carry on cooking and while I'm at it, make sure I enjoy myself. Just to give that us all some extra 'me time', here are recipes that take less than half-an-hour from start to finish.
Tuna Rice and All Things Nice: serves four
12 oz (350g) long grain rice
6 rashers streaky bacon, chopped
4 oz (100g) frozen peas, thawed
4 oz (100g) canned sweetcorn, drained
1 tblsp. each diced red and green peppers
200g can of tuna, flaked
2 tblsp soy sauce
Cook the rice, following packet directions. Drain and set aside. Meanwhile fry the bacon until crisp. Remove and set aside. Add a little oil to the pan and stir in the rice and peppers and cook/stir for 2 minutes. Add the peas and sweetcorn and cook/stir for a further 3 minutes. Finally add the tuna and soy sauce and heat through. Serve sprinkled with the bacon.

Lemon and Honey Chicken Escalopes: serves four
2 chicken breasts
juice and zest of 1 lemon
runny honey
dried breadcrumbs
Slice the chicken breasts in half lengthways, open out and divide each into two pieces. Place each piece between sheets of clingfilm and bash with a flat object (or your fist) to spread the chicken out to twice its size. Mix the lemon juice with a tblsp of honey and brush over each side of the chicken. Add the lemon zest to the breadcrumbs and dip the coated chicken into the crumbs. Fry in a little oil for 3-4 minutes on each side until cooked through. Serve with a mayonnaise dressing, new potatoes and peas, or with a mixed green salad.

Sardine Pate:
1 tin sardines (or pilchards) in tomato sauce
1 slice toasting bread
1/2 tsp horseradish sauce (optional)
lemon juice, if needed
Mash the fish in its sauce. Break up the bread and soak in water for a minute or two, then squeeze out as much water as you can. Add to the fish, then add the horseradish or, if too bland, some lemon juice. Mix well and put into a dish. Serve with hot toast.
Tip: For party presentation, pile the fish pate into empty halved lemon shells, removing a thin slice from the base of the shell to allow it to sit upright. Empty shells can be frozen to keep for a dish such as this.