Thursday, 18 May 2017

Mince casserole


Add this simple budget dish to your weekly meal plan – it'll be a hit with the kids.

Ingredients:
500g baby potatoes
50g butter
1 onion, chopped
1 tsp garlic
½ tsp dried oregano
1 large carrot, grated
2 leeks, trimmed, sliced and washed
500g lean beef mince
1 can chopped tomatoes
250ml beef stock
50g cheddar cheese, grated
Salt and pepper

Method:
1.
Add the baby potatoes to a pot of salted water and boil on the stove until tender – about 10 minutes.
2. In a saucepan melt the butter and lightly fry the onion, garlic and oregano. Add the grated carrot and leeks and sauté from about 10 minutes until translucent and golden brown.
3. Add the mince and lightly fry until all the pinkness in the meat has gone.
4. Add the can of chopped tomatoes and beef stock and simmer for about 10 minutes until the liquid has reduced slightly.
5. Transfer the mince to a casserole dish, add the cooked baby potatoes and sprinkle with cheese.
6. Bake in the oven at 180ºC for 15 minutes until golden brown.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Cauliflower and cheese fritters


Pop these tasty fritters into school lunchboxes or serve with a green salad and some sweet chilli sauce.

Ingredients:
1 cauliflower (about 350g)
100g plain flour
4 eggs beaten
100g feta cheese, roughly crumbled into small chunks
125g ball mozzarella, torn into small pieces
Zest of one lemon
Small bunch flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
Olive oil

Method:
1.
Boil a large saucepan of water. Quarter the cauliflower and cut away the central large stalk. Very roughly chop the cauliflower – you should end up with a mix of small florets and some finer bits. Once the water is boiling, add all the cauliflower, cover and cook for three minutes exactly. Immediately drain, then tip everything back into the saucepan and put back over a low heat, to dry out for a few mins.
2. Put the flour into a large bowl with plenty of seasoning and gradually whisk in the eggs to make a smooth batter. Stir in the cheeses, lemon zest and most of the parsley, then gently stir in all of the cauliflower.
3. Put your oven on low so you can keep the fritters warm while you cook in batches. Fry for three to five minutes until golden underneath and the batter just looks set on the top, then use a spatula to flip the fritters over and press down with the back to squash any big cauliflower bits and flatten the bottoms a bit. Cook again for three to five minutes until golden, then transfer to a parchment-lined tray and keep warm in the oven while you cook the rest.

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Home-made bread


Is there anything more delicious than fresh, warm bread (with butter and cheese)? We don't think so, even if it makes our jeans a little tighter!

Ingredients:

1.2kg bread flour
650ml lukewarm water
30g yeast
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp salt
Extra flour for dusting

Method:
1. Make a large well with the flour.  In the centre, pour in half of the water, followed by the yeast, sugar and salt.
2. Stir with a fork until the water, yeast, sugar and salt are all combined then slowly start bringing some of flour in with the fork. When the mixture is thick and porridge-like, add the rest of the water.
3. Repeat the process of bringing in the flour slowly until the mixture is thick enough so the water won’t run all over the place. Now is time to start working the dough with your hands.
4. Gently start working the dough into a ball and knead it until it becomes soft and smooth.
5. When you’ve finished kneading the dough, place it into an oiled bowl and cover with clingwrap or a damp tea towel. Allow to rise for about 45 minutes to an hour. Make sure the dough is left in a relatively warm place.
6. When the dough has risen, transfer it to the greased bread tin. Once again, allow to rise again for about 30 minutes. Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC.
7. Gently place your bread in the oven and bake for an about an hour.
8. You can check whether your bread is cooked by tapping the bottom, if it sounds hollow, the bread is cooked.
9. Allow your bread to cool on a wire-rack for at least 30 minutes.

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Teach your children about money


No matter your financial situation, your children learn their money management skills from you. They don’t usually learn from what you say, but rather from how you deal with your own finances and your attitude towards them and their money. As a parent you need to encourage good money management skills with your children. Here are some tips:

1. Be consistent. Pay their pocket money on the same day each month or week. This will teach them how to budget.
2. Be clear what their pocket money is for. They don't have to buy their own food, but they mustn’t ask for money to buy lunch at school when they know they can pack their own.
3. Let them choose how to spend their money. You might not agree with what they spend it on, but it's important to let them make their own choices – they'll quickly learn not to waste money!
4. Save, save and save some more. Open a savings account in their name and encourage them to save some of their pocket money each month.
5. Set an example. Children are very observant and learn by watching.
6. Allow for flexibility. Of course, don’t let them go over budget regularly, but if they do and they need money, let them do chores to earn it.
7. Give a little. Teach your children to give to charity and know that money isn’t just for personal use.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

The perfect baked potato


Delicious baked potatoes are the answer for an inexpensive meal that your family will love – simply add a topping of your choice and serve with a fresh salad or vegetables. Baking is the healthiest way to cook a potato and remember that the skin contains all the vitamins and minerals, so leave it on and eat it whenever possible.

What to do:

1. Scrub potatoes then pat dry.
2. Carefully cut away any spoilt parts and pierce skins with a sharp knife. This prevents potatoes from bursting.
For crisp skins: brush the potatoes with oil and sprinkle with salt.
For soft skins: wrap each potato in foil.
3. Bake at 200ºC for about one and a half hours, depending on size, until tender. Pierce with a sharp knife to test. They should feel soft right through.
4. Serve baked potatoes straight from the oven, split open and smothered with your favourite topping.

Spud topping ideas
End of the month:  Butter, salt and black pepper
Middle of the month: Sour cream and chives
Payday: Grated cheese and bacon bits

Or you can cook your potatoes on the braai... take yours to the next level with one of these toppings.

Avocado & tomato salsa:  Combine 1 chopped avocado with 2 chopped tomatoes and 1 tbsp chopped parsley.

Sour cream & sweet chilli sauce – Mix 200g sour cream, 2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce and 2 tbsp chopped coriander.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

3 tips for parents from teachers


We asked some teachers how parents can help their children at school.

1. Learning doesn't stop when the school bell rings. You can help the teacher do a better job by encouraging your child to show you something they're working on at school. It doesn't have to be a big deal; ask them to demonstrate how they do long division or to read their English essay out loud. Every time your child gets a chance to show off what he/she knows, it builds confidence.

2. Let your child make mistakes. Don't forget: they're learning. Teachers don't want perfect students, they want students who try hard. And it's okay for kids to get some problems wrong; it's important for teachers to see what students don't know, so they can go over the material again.

3. Stay involved – even when you don't know the material. You can provide moral support and be your child's cheerleader no matter how well (or poorly) they did in a certain subject. But teachers don't expect parents to be an expert on every subject. Just knowing a parent is paying attention can be very motivating for a student.

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Chicken and avo pasta salad


On a warm summer evening, this easy-to-prepare salad is fresh, tasty and full of colour.


Ingredients:

1 red pepper, deseeded and thickly sliced
1 red onion, thickly sliced
1 tbsp olive oil
300g penne pasta
4 skinless chicken breasts
2 tbsp each of thyme and oregano
Pinch dried chilli flakes
2 garlic cloves, crushed
150g pack cherry tomatoes, halved
1 avo

Method:
1. Heat oven to 220ºC. Mix the pepper and onion with one teaspoon oil and roast for 20 minutes.
2. Cook the pasta following pack instructions. Drain and set aside.
3.
Lightly fry the chicken breasts in olive oil and garlic and herbs until cooked through.
4.
Slice the chicken on a board; scrape into the pasta with any juices, plus the roasted onion and pepper and cherry tomatoes. Add spoon fills of avo and toss together and eat warm or cold.
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