I gave Top Ender some simple instructions. Don't choose anything that nobody will eat, make sure that we get at least one portion of fish in the week, see if we can use the same ingredients in more than one dish, and we like to have a Roast on Sundays. Top Ender spent half an hour looking through making notes in her little notebook and finally was ready to sit down with me to update our spreadsheet.
Her list was as follows;
Meatloaf with Ratatouille
Sausage and Lentil Casserole with boiled potatoes
Easy fish in foil with Broccoli and Cauliflower Cheese
Burgers with Wedges
Simple Roast Chicken with trimmings
I was impressed. She had chosen meals that she knew everyone would eat and more importantly that I could confidently cook! All of the dishes apart from Meatloaf were dishes that I cook and know how to cook, but I followed the recipes as stated and found that although the dishes didn't taste too different to how I cook them normally that Top Ender ate everything we gave her... traitor.
All of us (apart from Baby Boy) loved the Meatloaf recipe, so much so that everyone had seconds. I don't ever remember us all having seconds. Baby Boy was keen on the leftovers in a sandwich the next day, so it was a good job there was a lot leftover, as I had to make another sandwich for me! The Meatloaf recipe was such a success that I wrote to Little Dish and asked if I could share it with you and they agreed. So for your delight (and consumption) here it is;
1/2 Small Onion, peeled and diced
1 Large Carrot, peeled and diced
2 eggs, beaten
60ml (2 fl oz) whole milk
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
100g (3 1/2 oz) fresh breadcrumbs (2 1/2 slices of brown bread)
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard (optional)
500g (1lb) lean minced beef
500g (1lb) lean minced pork
Preheat the oven to 190oC/375oF/Gas 5
Line a baking tray with foil. Lightly oil the foil.
Combine all the ingredients, apart from the meat, in a large bowl and mix together thoroughly. Using your hands, add the minced beef and pork and make sure it is well mixed in and evenly distributed.
Shape your ingredients into a loaf and place on the baking tray. The loaf should not touch the sides of the tray but sit nicely in the middle. Bake for 45-50 minutes, then let it stand for 10 minutes before serving.
This should serve 8 children or a family of 6 with leftovers according to the book. It served us as a family of 4 with seconds and leftovers and I was generous with the portion sizes. I found that I had to cook mine for 70 minutes as after 50 minutes the centre was still pink, and I also think that next time I would cook the carrots a little before adding them as we found them a little hard and if they were softer I think that it would have just made it a little better. Mind you I probably should of diced it smaller!
The only problem that we have now is that Baby Boy wants to make a meal plan...
The Little Dish Favourites Cookbook is available from WH Smith, Waterstones, Tesco, and Sainsbury’s, or online at Amazon.co.uk (and other places if you Google it) and its RRP is £14.99.