Monday, July 23, 2012

Emergency Winter Food for Children

After last year, where I took 45 (officially noted) days of sick leave (which felt like double or triple that amount), it has been very busy at work. I have child care constraints at the moment (is everyone in Europe or is it just my imagination?) so I have had to be creative with the last minute pick up from after school care.  With complaining \ hungry \ tired children, getting them fed \ bathed all in time to go to bed at 7 pm is a bit of a challenge.

(How amazing is the colour of this camellia? Instagram and its Bad Photography Concealing Filters love my camellias!)

Fast food is a must.   I am a night before person, which means that I try to  have dinner ready to go in the fridge the day before if I am not going to be there to cook it slowly.  So so much easier that way. 
But last week disaster struck - my daughter had a friend coming for a sleepover and the food had been prescribed in advance (spaghetti bolognese, white bread only, Tic Tacs and icy poles because she doesn't like ice-cream) and at the last minute I had neglected to defrost the pasta sauce. So I turned to my emergency bolognese sauce. 

Emergency Bol Sauce for Screaming Children

2 - 4 high quality pork sausages or chipolatas (not with fennel or chilli)
some butter
Splash of milk
A cup of tomato passata
3/4 cup of stock


Squeeze the porky meat out of the sausage casings.   Gently melt the butter in a fry pan, add a splash of olive oil and some crushed garlic if you want.   Fry the sausage meat, breaking it up with a fork.   When the sausage meat is lightly browned and broken into even tiny bits, put in a splash of milk (sounds gross but Italians do it and it keeps the meat moist).  When the milk has bubbled down, add the passata and chicken stock. At first it will be runny, that is fine.  Cook it down until the sauce has the consistency you want. I like my bol sauce a bit runny and not dried out.

Serve proudly with spaghetti and Parmesan.

When I first went to Paris in 1992, my lovely friend Penny took me for hot chocolate at Angelina's Tearooms in the Rivoli.  The hot chocolate blew my mind, so much better than the watery cocoa I had previously had.   There are a number of different ways to recreate proper hot chocolate, but I like this the most.  It is quick and not messy.   I have forgotten where I got this from, possibly Orangette.   Only proviso is that you really do need a stick blender to get it smooth and frothy. 

Semi Authentic Super Quick Hot Chocolate

Ingredients (this serves two, can easily be doubled)
2 cups of milk
2 tablespoons of water
1 1/2 tablespoons of caster sugar
a handful of chocolate chips which is about 1/4 cup.  Or more to taste but these won't melt as well. 


Put the milk, water and sugar in a saucepan.  Heat gently.   Watch it, when milk boils over it is horrible and messy.  When it is just about to boil there will be little bubbles around the edge.   Take it off the heat and put in the chocolate chips.   Assuming your pot has high sides you can do the next step in the pot.  Get your stick blender and whizz away.  The movement and heat will melt the chocolate, and the mixture will become frothy and smooth and thick.

Drink and enjoy.  


Emma said...

Making last minute bolognese out of pork sausages is genius! Such a brilliant idea, I am definitely going to be wheeling this one out in the future!! The hot chocolate sounds absolutely delicious as well!! x

A Farmer's Wife said...

I am a working Mum and know that last minute dinner stress. Thank you for the sausage bolognaise - it will go on high rotation here I think!

Faux Fuchsia said...

You are a super mum! I always have to collect the LAST BABY at the daycare because I am bus dependant which sucks 11/10. Damn you to hell public transport.

For this reason I keep a stash of Rafferty's garden in the cupboard, yes that's right, shop bought baby food.

It just occurred to me that you might now own a (crosses self) microwave. Hope this is not the case. I use mine about 40 times a day.

Luff the camellia x

annie said...

I have just made this for the snarly, carb sucking thirteen year old before school and it brought great peace and calm to our land - for five minutes anyway. Thanks for the tip!

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