I’m sure my brother would agree with me when I say that our Mum and Dad never let us go hungry. And the same went for our grandparents too.
I probably took these times for granted, but when I look back, it amazes me that Mum almost always whipped up a home cooked meal each night. I hear many others didn’t get the same treatment, but we didn’t half moan on the rare days when she needed to raid the cupboard for a back up plan.
There’s certain terms that still repulse me today where she’d try (unsuccessfully) to put a positive spin on a bad situation, like tinned soup became “soup-de-loup”. Yuck. Or when our evening meal would have to be salad. Disappointed wasn’t the word and we didn’t hold back in saying so.
As far back as I remember, most nights would be a roast dinner. They weren’t just for Sundays and they never got boring. The choice of meats varied too, from beef, chicken, lamb or gammon joints to homemade meat and potato pies, often followed with apple pie and custard.
Our plates were mountainous with veg, meat and gravy, but Dad always ensured us that we could “leave what we didn’t at the side of the plate”. Although, there wasn’t much left behind!
I remember the surprise on friends’ faces when they’d eat at ours. The volume was very different at theirs and nothing beat my parents’ dinners. (I say parents as it was always a joint effort on a Sunday and to this day, I don’t know why I enjoyed helping peeling the sprouts).
I didn’t really learn cooking off my Mum though, although my ethos for our family food affair will never budge. I hate anything or anyone to go hungry. But I would often curiously ask questions when I saw friends’ Mums cooking things my parents didn’t do much. Particularly roast potatoes, at least that I can remember.
Usually in our house, it was mostly about the mash which I still love today. I have fond memories of trying to reach up to the kitchen counter asking Dad for a cheeky scraping from bottom of the pressure cooker pan.
But what’s strangely just dawned on me now is that most of my friend’s Mums had been dinner ladies or worked as a cook or baker elsewhere. And all of them used Aunt Bessie’s roast potatoes, so it came to no surprise that out of 250 Mumsnet bloggers testing them, over 75% said they’d use them again and that they’d recommend them to others.
What we love about Aunt Bessie’s roast potatoes though (and Yorkshire puddings) is that they’re always consistent and conveniently quick. I remember my Mum being grumpy for a while when the seal had gone on her oven and that her Yorkshire puddings wouldn’t rise.
But being a Yorkshire lass, I’ve seen many different family Sunday roast dinner traditions. It’s a mealtime that’s extremely personal to me, just as much as the next. Yet sometimes when you make absolutely every element of it from scratch, say homemade stuffing with breadcrumbs, then the time that’s put in starts to feel like too much effort for every day eating. And all of a sudden, you need to fill the dishwasher twice for one sitting.
Every day life is for living, not slaving in a kitchen, so these low fat quick roast potatoes is a happy compromise for us. They’re always crispy and fluffy and taste exactly like homemade roast potatoes. *They’re also gluten free and vegetarian, but that’s not a deal breaker in our house. (Aunt Bessie’s Homestyle Roast Potatoes are 2½ syns per 100g raw weight).
There are new traditions I’ve started for my family too. In our house, we love to wilt down cooked cabbage with frylight and a pinch of salt, or sometimes we serve Yorkshire pudding as a starter with gravy. And then there’s a good serving of cauliflower cheese (although there’s always a
debate argument of whether I should cook a Slimming World version or not).
But instead of a healthy cauliflower cheese, I thought I’d share with you my Syn Free kale and cauliflower gratin as an alternative.
In whatever form it comes, there’s very little that beats a roast dinner (and the bubble and squeak leftovers later that evening). And now whenever me and my brother meet up with our parents for birthdays or other occasions, you’ll usually find us celebrating over a carvery. That way, everyone’s happy.
Slimming World Syn Free Kale & Cauliflower Gratin
- 1 head Cauliflower separated in to florets
- 200 g Kale I used Cavolo Nero, roughly sliced
- 300 g Fat Free Natural Yoghurt
- 1 egg beaten
- 1 tsp mustard powder
- 10 g basic oats (1.75 syns) or Syn Free is using as part of your Healthy Extra B
- 10 g grated parmesan (2 syns) or Syn Free is using as part of your Healthy Extra A
- 3 sprigs thyme
- Preheat your oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/Gas 6
- Place the cauliflower florets in a pan of boiling water and cook for 5 minutes.
- Add the kale and cook for a final 5 minutes, then drain. NOTE: You may want to use this water for gravy later.
- Transfer the kale and cauliflower to a baking dish.
- Now in a bowl, mix the yogurt, egg, mustard powder and seasoning together and pour on top of the kale and cauliflower, then sprinkle on top the final oats, parmesan, thyme and spray with frylight.
- Bake for 20 minutes and serve as a side for a roast family dinner.
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Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Aunt Bessie’s in conjunction with the Mumsnet Bloggers Panel. All views are my own.