Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Antidote to overpriced & underwhelming restaurant food

It's half term! Cooking has taken second place to entertaining the children, and we have been eating on the hoof: Rubbish food, mean portions, and dirty, shabby premises yesterday; clean with a great view today but a big slimy slab of institutional lasagne served with naked lettuce... It all leaves a bad taste in the mouth as well as a hole in the pocket.

By contrast, I made a generous (and distinctly lo-effort) dinner for all four of us tonight for £6.75 - meatballs and pasta - comprising 250g wholemeal spaghetti (50p) and 24 meatballs (£4.00) which I cooked and drained of fat before adding one jar of Dolmio sauce £1.75). I let them simmer for about an hour, before serving with 50g grated Grana Padano (50p). Best of all, when I went to the loo afterwards there was no alien urine on the seat!

You can make it a bit healthier by adding chopped fresh tomatoes and a clove or two of crushed garlic.

In a desperate bid to use up some more apples, I also made a

Toffee Apple Ginger Pudding

Ginger sponge on a toffee apple base
Ginger sponge on a toffee-apple base

Base layer:
4 apples, peeled and sliced
A small knob of butter
A teaspoon or 2 of lemon zest (completely optional)
5 tablespoons Carnation caramel/Dulce de Leche

Sponge topping:
100g margarine or butter
100g light brown sugar
2 eggs
100g self raising flour
1 heaped teaspoon ground ginger

Pre-heat the oven to 190/gas 5. Place the apples, butter and a couple of tablespoons of water in a bowl and microwave for 2-5 minutes to soften. Add the lemon zest and caramel to them and spread in the base of an ovenproof dish. Beat sugar and margarine/butter together until light and fluffy, add the eggs one at a time, and fold in the flour and ginger. Spread over the apples and bake for about 40 minutes until the sponge is golden and well risen.

I didn't measure my apples as I already had a vat of cooked ones, but just spread them out in a generous layer on the bottom of the dish and stirred in the caramel. I usually use butter (favouring it as a more natural product), but used Stork today for speed and lightness of sponge.


  1. Enjoyed the cuisine and latrine combo today!

  2. And don't get me wrong, I didn't mean urine from green goggly-eyed aliens from outer space. I just meant urine-alien-to-me.