Food

Recipes I try and love and that above all are easy and not time consuming – great for family meals.

Macaroni cheese recipe

Growing up in our house focused heavily around meal times and when mum replied to the daily, ‘What’s for tea, mum?’ with ‘Macaroni Cheese’ I’m sure the whole street could hear the cheers that went up. It was the 80’s and pasta was already a family favourite, I can remember sitting at the table in the kitchen waiting for mum to finish grilling the top to a crispy cheesy for us and wishing she would hurry up.

Once on the table I would happily squirt some tomato ketchup on top because that’s what we did back then. If any Italians are reading this I can feel your shock and only after spending years in your country and learning how you cook and eat can I see now the error of my ways, however, it was so good!

Funnily enough when I lived in Italy no one had heard of Macaroni Cheese, they had Pasta ai Quattro Formaggi which everyone agreed was most likely where our Macaroni Cheese came from. A quick check on Wikipedia has it that Macaroni Cheese is an English dish made of short pasta and a cheese sauce.

I wanted to make it for the girls and see if they had the same reaction to me all those years ago. They did. The success of macaroni cheese continues!

If you are introducing no meat nights into the family diet then this one is very popular and will fill them up. It’s a very simple recipe that requires baking in the oven and of course, it can be pimped in so many ways. You could add fried bacon lardons, or a mixture of vegetables cut up small.

I served it up in it’s 1980’s glory but I did not offer the squirt of ketchup on top even if dad and I did have a good sprinkling of freshly ground black pepper though ;)

Macaroni Cheese | a family favourite revisited
 
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A quick and easy pasta to make that is perfect for lunches or evening meals.
Author:
Recipe type: pasta
Cuisine: British
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 300g macaroni
  • 25g butter
  • 25g plain flour
  • 600 full fat milk
  • 1 tbsp English mustard (optional)
  • 225g Cheddar cheese grated
Instructions
  1. Heat the oven to 200C Gas mark 6
  2. Cook the pasta in boiling salted water.
  3. Melt 25g of the butter in a pan and add the flour, stir for 1 minute. Gradually add the milk whisk gently to remove any lumps that may form.
  4. Cook over a medium heat stirring continuously until thickened, season with salt and pepper. Stir in the mustard if using and two thirds of the grated Cheddar cheese, mix well together.
  5. Add the pasta and combine well, pour into a baking dish and scatter the remaining cheese on top.
  6. Bake for about 30 minutes until golden
  7. Spice it up with chopped chilli peppers added to the mix.
  8. Mix up the cheeses and go for a quattro (4) formaggi (cheese)
Please also see my Macaroni cheese with bacon and chives recipe

macaroni cheese recipe

roast lamb

Easter is here! Hot Cross buns, chocolate eggs and of course Easter roast lamb.

We’ve only been home a couple of days from school and work but we’ve had so much fun! Our first day started with a cooked breakfast, that was then walked off down at the beach and now we are waiting for our lamb to roast but this is no ordinary lamb as it’s a one pot meal. The vegetables are roasting in the same pan so once the meat is ready we are ready to sit and eat. Which is just as well as a day in the fresh air has made us all ravenous.

Pudding of course can be hot cross buns and our latest Cadbury Creme Egg ice cream, yum!

As the days are getting longer and the temperatures warmer we love getting outside and spending our time walking, scooting or playing on the beach, however food still plays a huge role in our family time and a roast dinner cannot be beaten.

This recipe here, sent through by New Zealand lamb cooks alongside the vegetables and makes it’s own sauce, it is the perfect one pot meal that once prepared you put in the oven and pull out once cooked to serve.

Easter Roast Lamb recipe - one pot meal
 
A typical Easter Roast lamb recipe using New Zealand lamb
Author:
Recipe type: Lunch
Cuisine: British
Ingredients
  • a half shoulder or half leg of New Zealand Lamb
  • 450g potatoes, roughly chopped
  • 250g chantenay carrots
  • 350g squash, peeled, seeds removed and cut into chunks
  • 2 red onions, peeled and cut into wedges
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic bulb , cloves separated but still in their skin
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds
  • a few sprigs of rosemary
  • 150ml white wine
  • 1 tbsp warm water
  • foil
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 200C, 400F Gas 6
  2. Blanch the potatoes for 5 minutes
  3. Place the lamb in a roasting tin, scatter around the carrots, squash, potatoes and red onions. Drizzle over the olive oil and season well.
  4. Add a small glass of wine and a splash of water.
  5. Place the roasting tin in the oven for 10 minutes and then turn the oven down to 180C.
  6. After another 30 minutes add the garlic and rosemary sprigs to the pan, scatter the fennel seeds and lemon over the lamb.
  7. Continue roasting until the vegetables are soft and beginning to caramelise and the lamb is cooked to your liking. For medium allow 20 - 30 minutes more.
  8. If the pan is looking dry add a splash more of wine or water, once out of the oven, cover with foil and rest for 15 minutes before carving.
Roast lamb and not just for Easter!

Have a wonderful break and here’s to the Spring!

Cadbury creme egg ice cream

Hello and welcome back to the ice cream takeover here at Mari’s World.

Having kicked off with the wonderfully popular rose, pistachio and mixed berry ice cream for Mother’s Day we’ve been putting our heads together to come up with an equally appealing Easter suggestion. A Cadbury Creme Egg ice cream!

We had the most delicious ice cream yet this weekend when we had a go at making this scrumptious Easter inspired gelato. We decided that Cadbury’s Creme Eggs are possibly our favourite Easter treat and so that was our starting point.

We found a great base using egg yolks this time and they also give a wonderful light yellow colour to the cream mixture too. We found some chocolate caramel shavings that we added in as well because, why not? Our Easter ice cream was to be about indulgence. The spring has almost made it and we are stepping in to the fun season with a skip in our step and a song in our heart.

There is a bit of preparation for this ice cream which then has to cool down to room temperature or even better fridge temperature to make life easy for your ice cream maker so do bear that in mind when it comes to allowing time.

We served it up to our guests at the weekend and everyone agreed it was delicious so let’s not waste any more time and get writing the recipe.

Cadbury Creme Egg ice cream

Mari’s World catch up

Just a quick catch up on the Mari’s World household, we have had a recent Parent’s Evening and Mr Harris mentioned that both twins are doing very well indeed, exceeding in their literacy and reaching expected levels in maths. He said one of the twins is showing great potential with her writing using words that are unexpected for year 3 and in the right context too but she needed to put more effort into her handwriting which, in all fairness was very scruffy. So, we’ve been practising that and also I signed them both up to Mathletics as they are both ‘afraid’ of maths and will cry ‘I can’t do that! rather than have a go.

Dad is itching to get his caravan out of hibernation and dreams of taking us all off somewhere very soon. We heard our favourite local camping park down in Thanet has been bought by new people who have decided that dogs can come too, this is great news as we had to stop going once Baxter joined our family.

Talking of Baxter, he’s had a haircut and is looking very dapper indeed after an initial bodge job which broke my heart. I shan’t be returning there again! Fortunately a lovely local lady came to the rescue, a trained dog groomer she has trimmed him up to perfection. He is a very smart boy now and also looks as if he’s lost a few pounds too! Shame that method won’t work for me.

I seem to be on a constant steady gain since the beginning of the year which is quite depressing. I’m putting it down to age as next month I turn 50 (eek!) but more about that in another email as I am trying not to think about it. I’m still loving my new job and have clocked up 5 months now!

Things to look forward to include: My birthday at the end of April, a trip to Sorrento in Italy to watch our friends getting married and an All Inclusive holiday to Lanzarote over May half term, dad’s excited about the buffet whereas I can’t wait to see Lanzarote.

Enjoy this delicious Cadbury Creme Egg Ice cream.

5.0 from 3 reviews
Cadbury's Creme Egg ice cream
 
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It's here, the best ice cream in the world. Our Easter special is Cadbury Creme Egg ice cream and it is so good you'll need to make some more.
Author:
Recipe type: ice cream
Cuisine: British
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 250 ml milk
  • 125g sugar
  • 500 ml double cream
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 12 mini Cadbury Creme Eggs chopped
  • 100g chocolate caramel shavings (used for cake decorations)
  • a handful of Cadbury Mini Eggs for garnish
Instructions
  1. Warm the milk, sugar, half of the cream and salt in a saucepan. Add the vanilla extract and then take off the heat allowing it to come back down to room temperature.
  2. In a small bowl beat the egg yolks, add a dash of the room temperature milk mixture and whisk. Add the rest of the milk mixture and return to the saucepan.
  3. Stir the milk mixture over a medium heat until thickened. Add the remaining double cream and stir well. Place in the fridge to cool down.
  4. Once cooled pour into the ice cream maker and start to churn. When the time is signalled for add ins, pop in your chopped Cadbury Creme Eggs and the chocolate shavings.
  5. Once completed, transfer to a tub and place in the freezer until time to serve.
  6. If you are freezing by hand, place the custard in the fridge to cool then in the freezer and every 30 - 45 minutes bring the mixture out and whisk it. When almost frozen add the chopped mini eggs and stir.
  7. Garnish with shopped Cadbury Creme Eggs and Cadbury mini eggs plus a few shavings.
 

rose pistacchio and mixed berry ice cream

When we were sent the fabulous Sage Smart Scoop I decided to come up with an ice cream for every event throughout the year, for Mother’s Day I have concocted a Rose, pistachio and mixed berry ice cream.

sage appliances

For Mother’s Day I wanted to choose a delicate taste and use feminine colours, pink of course, is as girly as you can get and it appealed to ladies of all ages around my table this weekend.

Rooh Afza syrup

One of my ingredients is rose water, it is used a lot in Indian cuisine so that’s where I started my research and came across this product called Rooh Afza. A syrup used to make drinks and add to desserts, it also adds that lovely shot of pink. I found edible rose petals which look so pretty on top of the serving but I didn’t use them in the ice cream. What I did add to the mix was a handful of mixed berries!

The last ingredient to mention is pistachio, I bought a bag of them, shelled them, crushed them and added some to the ice cream mix and kept some back to sprinkle across the top.

rose pistacchio and mixed berry ice cream

Rose, pistachio and mixed berry ice cream

5.0 from 3 reviews
Rose, pistachio and mixed berry ice cream | Mother's Day
 
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A rose, pistachio and mixed berry ice cream which has a wonderful pink colour and a delicate taste that has been likened to Turkish delight.
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: British - Asian influence
Serves: 1 litre
Ingredients
  • 150g frozen mixed berries
  • 180g sugar
  • 100g crushed pistachios + extra for decor
  • 200 ml heavy whipping cream
  • 200ml double cream
  • 70ml Rooh Afza bottled rose flavored syrup
  • 2 tsp rose water
  • Sprinkle fresh organic rose petals and crushed nuts to decorate.
Instructions
  1. Combine the frozen mixed berries and the sugar in a bowl and leave in the fridge to chill
  2. Simmer the cream, the berry mixture, the sugar and the coarsely crushed nuts for about 12 minutes. Once completed, place in the fridge to chill, this can take at least half a day.
  3. When ready to make the ice cream, add the cream mixture to the ice cream maker, add the Rooh Afza and rose water, set to churn to the hardness desired.
  4. Once done, turn into the serving dish and freeze for at least 6-8 hours.
  5. Take out of the freezer 30 minutes before serving and sprinkle the top with edible rose petals and crushed pistachio nuts.
  6. Serve with dry biscuits and mixed berries.
rose, pistachio and mixed berry ice cream

My Sage Smart Scoop observations so far

The first thing to tell you is, it is a heavy piece of equipment and one that will need to find its place and stay there as you won’t want to be lugging this bad boy about too much. It comes with a message to say that it must always be kept upright and this is to do with the internal mechanisms. Therefore, I have found a spot that is not in the way where the Smart Scoop can sit on the side and is close to a plug for when I want to use it.

It is very simple to use and has different settings for sorbets, frozen yoghurts and ice cream with different degrees of hardness.

The container that holds the ingredients and acts as a mixer is easy to get in and out, it is also simple to clean in hot soapy water, there is a plastic see through lid that sits on top which has an opening if you wish to add an ingredient for the last churning cycle.

Our first ice cream was an Orio cookie vanilla mixture, taken out of the book that accompanies the machine, it was easy to use and gave us all the confidence we needed to move on to more exciting tastes.

Next up is our Easter Egg flavour – watch this space!

beef and guinness stew pressure cooker recipe

This post is going to be a Beef and Guinness stew pressure cooker recipe but before I move on to that I feel the need to catch up! Where have I been? What have I been doing?

Well, I love my not-so-new-anymore job, I feel as if I have settled into the role and got to know my colleagues who are all really lovely. I am so lucky to be working with such a kind bunch of gals and guys. They are all incredibly inspirational and I love being amongst them in their group and working together for a main goal.

School life has been very busy, we’ve had Stone Age dress up days, Zoo lab days, School Valentine’s disco and many other appointments that all required some of my time to get something prepared. We managed but now we have had a last minute surprise for World Book Day on Thursday so I’m going to have to come up with something for that too now.

Another big decision I took was to drop the girls swimming lesson on Mondays. We attend Brownies on Tuesday, Dance on Wednesday and Performing Arts on a Saturday morning so I felt the swimming could go and we could grab back our Monday evenings for a chilled at home evening.

Half term came and went and the twins enjoyed their first ever Brownie pack holiday. It was themed Charlie and the Chocolate Factory which as you can imagine was perfect, Brown Owl and Barn Owl had gone to a lot of trouble organising a lot of really fun activities for them, in fact, the girls returned home incredibly happy but exhausted, it’s taken a week to get back to normal! Whilst they were away the husband and I spent a cheeky overnight in Canterbury which was lovely. That’s another post in the wings waiting to be completed!

sage smart scoop

We have been the lucky recipients of a Sage Smart Scoop recently! The most amazing ice cream maker in the world and whilst we have been trying a recipe or two out of the manual to make sure we have the hang of it I have already come up with a fabulous idea (I hope) for Mother’s Day, I’m just waiting on a couple of special ingredients to arrive – watch this space! I’m warning you there might be a bit of an ice cream takeover going on in Mari’s World this year.

Talking of Sage appliances, today I am posting one of my favourite recipes that I use in the Fast Slow Pro pressure cooker, a Beef and Guinness stew with lots of carrots, I also made a Colcannon mash to serve with it and it went down a treat. With St Patrick’s Day coming at us fast, this recipe is simple and delicious too. I do hope you enjoy it.

beef and guinness stew pressure cooker recipe

Beef and Guinness stew

5.0 from 6 reviews
Beef and Guinness stew with carrots - pressure cooker recipe
 
A simple but delicious beef stew made in a pressure cooker, ready on the table in 1 hour and 20 minutes
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Irish
Ingredients
  • olive oil
  • 1 kg stewing beef cut into large chunks
  • 1 onion diced
  • 10 carrots cut into large pieces
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 can of Guinness - or other stout
  • 1 beef stock cube
  • salt and pepper
  • pinch sugar
  • 3 bay leaves
  • parsley
  • Colcannon
  • 3 large potatoes peeled and cut into quarters
  • Butter
  • Milk
  • 300g spring greens - chopped and boiled
  • salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Heat the oil in the pressure cooker and brown the meat on all sides then remove to a plate with any juices.
  2. Add another drop of oil to the pressure cooker and fry off the onions and carrots until soft and golden.
  3. Add the flour to the onions and stir well
  4. Return the meat and any juices to the pan and pour over the Guinness. Crumble the stock cube in and add the remaining seasonings.
  5. Close the lid, bring up to high pressure and cook for 30 minutes. release the pressure slowly.
  6. Colcannon
  7. Boil the potatoes in salted water until soft. In a separate pan boil the spring greens until soft.
  8. Mash the potato with a knob of butter and a splash of milk and once seasoned to your taste add the finely chopped spring greens and stir in well.
  9. To Serve: Place a spoonful or two of mash in a bowl and add a ladle or two of the stew to the side
beef and guinness stew pressure cooker recipe