At home, my husband is the one who cooks. Pretty much since we met, he took on the role and we have enjoyed that routine ever since! The deal is, he cooks and I do the chatting and the cleaning over a nice glass of red wine.
When we had our first child we started writing a little family manual of all the things that could make our life easier without changing our lives as we knew them. One of our biggest discoveries was to cook once a month for half a day and prepare seven different dishes at the same time, which later on we would freeze and eat during the week so that nobody would need to cook. Needless to say, we haven’t looked back! While eating delicious homemade food we were able to focus on spending quality time with our children rather than worrying on what to prepare for the next lunch or dinner. We became a lot more efficient with our food shopping and it is now a very important time for the family.
A few months ago, I had a bit of a health scare and as part of my recovery I decided to eat a lot less of my biggest indulgence (red meat). Reducing the amount of red meat I was consuming (literally twice a day 7 days a week!) coupled with increasing the amount of vegetables in my diet has had not only an impact on my health but also my everyday life. I feel better, I’m lighter without dieting and my levels of energy are incredible. The best thing is that this has been a change my whole family have adopted which means I get to enjoy the same meals as the rest of my family!
My children have always cooked with their Daddy during the weekend and I think it is a wonderful way to have a good time and enjoy food, particularly when you prepare it yourself. We tried this very easy and quick recipe from Jamie Oliver and our children loved it… it is so easy to prepare.
Golden Chicken Skewers – Yellow pepper sauce & Black quinoa
150g regular, black or red quinoa
1 fresh yellow or green chilli
2 yellow peppers
4 spring onions
1 clove of garlic
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 x 120g skinless chicken breasts
4 springs of fresh thyme
1/2 a ripe avocado
2 springs of fresh coriander
Optional: natural yoghurt
Cook the quinoa according to the packet instructions, then drain. Deseed the chilli and peppers, quarter the peppers, and put both into a shallow 25cm pan on a medium heat. Trim the spring onions and add the whites to the pan (reserving the green tops). Peel, slice and add the garlic, along with the vinegar, 1 tablespoon of oil and a good splash of water. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes, or until soft and sweet, stirring occasionally. Decant the contents of the pan into a blender, blitz until smooth, then season to perfection.
You can cook your skewers in a hot non-stick frying pan, griddle pan or even under the grill at full whack. Slice the chicken lengthways into 2cm strips, and chop the greens of the spring onions into 2cm chunks. Checking that your skewers will fit inside your frying, griddle or grill pan, divide up the chicken and spring onions, weaving the chicken around the onions. Strip the thyme leaves over the skewers, lightly season, drizzle with 1 teaspoon of oil and rub all over, then cook for around 8 minutes, or until the chicken is golden, charred and cooked through. Meanwhile, peel and slice the avocado.
Pack half the quinoa into a small oil-rubbed bowl or cup, then turn out onto a plate and repeat. Divide the yellow pepper sauce, sliced avocado, coriander leaves and chicken skewers between your plates, then tuck in. This is delicious with a little dollop of yoghurt on the side too, if you like.