Swedish salmon and potato bake (10 mins prep/1 hour cooking)

swedish salmon and potato bake

I love this traditional Swedish recipe, which I picked up in ikea of all places!  The smoked salmon baked with sliced potatoes, eggs and cream make it really delicious and comforting.  It’s a great family meal or something for a special occasion.  My kids love it too as it’s salty!

I buy smoked salmon ‘trimmings’ from the supermarket as they are much cheaper than regular smoked salmon (£1.25 for 120g) but equally tasty.  If you have a mandolin or a food processor with a veg cutter it only takes 10 minutes to prepare the mixture (plus 60 mins baking), or if cutting the potatoes by hand allow longer.  If you don’t want to spend ages thinly cutting the potatoes and slowly losing the will to live then cut them thick then parboil on the hob before mixing the ingredients together.  Saves time and effort!  Also I don’t bother peeling the potatoes – I like them with the skin on.

swedish salmon and potato bake

We ate the bake alongside some kale (well, we adults did, the kids won’t give kale the time of day).

swedish salmon and potato bake

Swedish salmon and potato bake (serves 6)

350g smoked salmon trimmings

8 medium size potatoes

1 vegetable stock cube (I like OXO as it crumbles easily)

2 eggs

320ml single cream

A little butter

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees/gas mark 6.

Cut the potatoes in to thin slices (or, if you can’t be bothered or don’t have a mandolin/veg cutter machine, cut them in to thicker slices then boil them for around 8 mins until nearly cooked).  Butter a casserole dish and add the potatoes and smoked salmon.  Mix well with your hands.  Whisk the cream and eggs briefly and crumble the stock cube in.  Pour over the potato and salmon and make sure it evenly covers them (it will slowly trickle through the layers).

Dollop a few bits of butter on top of the dish.  Cook for around 60 minutes until cooked through, slightly golden and bubbling.  Eat!

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Pineapple upside down cake – retro cooking-with-kids fun!

upside-down pineapple cake

This is a classic Seventies cake that I fancied trying out.   It sounded tasty,  looks impressive (in a retro kind of way!) and I thought my kids would enjoy making an ‘upside down’ cake.  It’s really simple to make, even if you are new to cake making.  You make a classic sponge mixture (with added syrup from the tinned pineapple) then pour it over a butter and sugar glaze with pineapple rings and glacé cherries.  Once cooked turn the cake upside down et voila!  Allow about 15 mins to prepare the cake and at least 35 mins to cook.

upside-down pineapple cake

upside-down pineapple cake

The recipe is based on one from the BBC Good Food website, but I have reduced the sugar content as online reviews said that it was too sweet. The top of the cake is sticky and the centre is light and fluffy.  It is is gorgeous with cream or ice cream. Our grandparents would be proud!

upside-down pineapple cake

upside-down pineapple cake

Pineapple upside down cake (serves at least 8 people)

For the topping

40g softened butter
40g light soft brown sugar
7 pineapple rings in syrup, drained  (keep syrup aside for the cake mixture)
7 glacé cherries
For the cake
100g softened butter
80g caster sugar
120g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs

Heat oven to 180 degrees//gas mark 4. For the topping, beat the butter and sugar together briefly until creamy. Line a 20-21cm cake tin with greaseproof paper on the bottom.  Butter the sides.  Spread the butter and sugar mixture on to the greaseproof paper over the base. Arrange pineapple rings on top, then place cherries in the centres of the rings.
Place the cake ingredients in a bowl along with 2 tbsp of the pineapple syrup and beat to a soft consistency (about one min). Spoon into the tin on top of the pineapple and smooth it out so it’s level. Bake for 35-45 mins until deep golden on top and a knife inserted comes out clean. Leave to stand for 5 mins, then turn out onto a plate. Serve warm with a scoop of cream or ice cream.

Hearty lentil ragu – ready in 35 mins

hearty lentil ragu

This lentil ragu is hearty, low fat and packed with goodness!  It is made from veg (carrots, celery and onion), red lentils, tinned tomatoes, stock, dried herbs, and bay leaves for extra tastiness.  It’s ready in 35 mins and is great mixed with pasta or a jacket potato and topped with grated cheese.  I like my lentils with a tiny bit of bite but if you want them softer you might need to cook for longer.  Just be careful not to cook for so long they turn in to mush!  Alternatively, you could use canned lentils and halve the cooking time.

hearty lentil ragu

This ragu a great value meal, serving 4-6 people and costing about £5 in total (including the potatoes and cheese!).  Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for up to three days or frozen – just take them out of the freezer and pop in the fridge the night before eating.  And to save time you could microwave the jacket potatoes (just prick with a knife and microwave on full power for at least 7 minutes, turning over halfway through).

hearty lentil ragu

Hearty lentil ragu (serves 4-6 depending on appetite)

1 large carrot, finely chopped

1 large stick celery, finely chopped

1 small onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, crushed/chopped

Tin chopped tomatoes (I use value ones)

200g red lentils

1 Vegetable OXO cube

Generous shake dried mixed herbs

Optional – 2 bay leaves

tbsp tomato puree

Fry the carrot, celery and onion in some oil (olive/vegetable/sunflower oil is fine) together with the garlic, for about 8 minutes until tender.  Add the chopped tomatoes, lentils and crumble over the stock cube.  Stir well, and add some hot water so the lentils have enough liquid to cook in, but not too much (the liquid will reduce down as it cooks).

Add the dried herbs, bay leaves (if using) and tomato puree and stir well again.  Simmer on a moderate heat, stirring often, for around 20 minutes, until the lentils are cooked.  It might take a little longer but I find lentils take much less time that the packet states!  Eat with pasta or a jacket potato, with grated cheese on top.