- Part 2
[VIDEO] Cheats “Pain au Chocolat” (chocolate croissants)

[VIDEO] Cheats “Pain au Chocolat” (chocolate croissants)

These are brilliant, if I say so myself! Joking apart, if you like your recipes to be quick, easy and more than a little cheaty, you will love these. They are the perfect treat to have up your sleeve when you find yourself with an unexpected play date and more children than you bargained for in your home after school. Proper pain au chocolat are, to say the least, tricky to make. These ones use a block of puff pastry and some chocloate to create a simple treat – lovely after school, in a lunch box or even as a cheeky part of breakfast. Plus, as with all my recipes, they are totally foolproof! Makes 9 pieces Preparation time: 10 minutes Total cooking time: 10-12 minutes 1 packet (320g) all butter puff pastry sheet (ready rolled) 100g good quality milk chocolate bar, broken into pieces 1 egg, beaten Pre-heat the oven to 220ºC/450ºF/Gas Mark 7 Unroll the pastry and lay the sheet out in front of you. Using a sharp knife, cut the pastry into 9 equally sized rectangles by dividing the pastry into 3 lengthways and then widthways. Divide the chocolate into 9 equally sized portions. On the narrow edge of one of the pastry rectangles, place a portion of the chocolate and roll the pastry up. Squash down a little on the edges of the pastry roll to seal it and crimp the edges lightly with a fork. Brush the top of the roll with some beaten egg and put it on a greased or non-stick baking tray. Repeat the process for the remaining pieces of pastry....

Back to basics – history repeating itself

It’s a bit of a crazy busy period at the moment. Writing the follow-up to my first book, all manner of other creative projects going on – plus I have become a part-time stay-at-home dad again! Work commitments mean I cannot do as much with Matilda as I did in the early days with Archie but I am still getting to spend loads of precious time with her at the moment since Jo has gone back to her part-time school counsellor job. And having Matilda at home, having to fill the time we spend together, has literally sent me back four years in time. Now that Archie is so confident in the kitchen, I have pretty well forgotten how and why we first got into the kitchen together. More than anything, it was a place to hang out together in, spend some quality time while I prepared lunch or supper. Somewhere he could be free and creative (code: make a mess). In the very early days, cooking was of course secondary. It was all about the fun of being together. And so history is repeating itself with Matilda. The FunPod has been dusted down and we now hang out in the kitchen together. She is a very different personality to Archie – a  little less chaotic, a little less prone to pick things up and throw them (no doubt that will come with age), but once again, she has shown what a wonderful place the kitchen can be to hang out in. I say it all the time when I talk about cooking with kids, that getting them in...

“Name a Day” to end world hunger with Save the Children

Today sees the launch of the next phase of Save the Children‘s “No Child Born to Die” campaign. It is the beginning of a year long push to fight childhood malnutrition. Save the Children today releases research which shows that 300 children die every hour of malnutrition. Take a moment to think what 300 children looks like. It’s the entire roll of your local infant and primary school. Dying. Every hour. Due to wholly avoidable malnutrition. And we’re not talking here necessarily of the highly visible distended stomachs of children you see in TV reports. We’re talking of a hidden crisis where kids are heavily malnourished but the external symptoms may not be obvious. However, the long term physical and emotional effects of malnutrition in the early years are wide ranging. 1 in 3 children in poor countries suffers from permanent damage due to malnutrition. Stunting – where kids never grow to their proper height – is one of the most common manifestations of this. So what can you/we do to make a difference? All being well, I’m hoping to be involved with this campaign later in the year. More details here as they become clearer nearer the time. But RIGHT NOW: The brilliant Ruth Clemens (from the Great British Bake Off) is in Rwanda. Follow her on twitter and head over to her blog to read about her journey. Plus she is asking for family recipes which will be collated into an e-book to raise funds for the campaign. Go to Save the Children’s Name a Day page where you can pledge your support for the campaign and...

Is there a Doctor in the house?

It’s fair to say my dad has led an unconventional life. It started out with pretty standard fare for a young Jewish man from the East End of London. An accountancy qualification, followed by a stint in the family firm in Northampton (they made football souvenirs) before taking it over when my granddad died. The unconventional bit started in 1984 when he started to look after the affairs of a Northampton based band called Love & Rockets, whose bass guitarist was married to his secretary. Aficionados of 80s indie rock will know L&R were born out of the embers of seminal Goth band Bauhaus. And so began a career managing some of the most influential indie bands of the 80s and 90s. The Cocteau Twins, the Smashing Pumpkins and The Sundays to name but a few. Often dressed in a full-length purple velvet coat with leopard-skin lapels, he looked like Daddy Warbucks who had just wandered on to the set of Spinal Tap. But this could not mask an amazing ear for music, an unrivaled eye for talent and a unique understanding of the mind of the artist. It certainly made for an interesting and eclectic life for me. I toured America with his bands, hung out with artists who were often heroes of mine too, spent my time at gigs – and was even allowed to pretend to be a guitarist on stage at a gig in front of twenty thousand people at the UCLA amphitheatre in Los Angeles. The music industry changed in the late 90s and the focus moved away from developing artists so he hung...

WIN 5 family meals at Fire & Stone to celebrate my new kids menu!

One of the more fun things I was invited to do this summer was create a new kids menu for the Fire & Stone pizza restaurants (Covent Garden, Spitalfields, Westfield, Oxford and Portsmouth). Fire & Stone serves very different pizzas indeed, using fresh and fun ingredients to make a “meal on a pizza” and my task was to transfer that fun to the kids menu and do something a little different to the usual tomato and ham pizza! Archie loves pizza so I used him as my inspiration for 3 brand new kids pizzas. They are going to be launched one-by-one and the first one was launched last week. It’s a fish finger pizza! Yes, fish fingers, on a pizza! Fish finger sandwiches are one of our favourite lunches here so I have created a version of this for a pizza. By all accounts, the adult sized version is proving just as popular as the kids version in the restaurants! For dessert, I created a version of my delicious chocolate tiffin cake. Chunks of chocolate tiffin, served with a big scoop of ice cream and lots of melted chocolate sauce – a tiffin-esque version of a brownie sundae… The kids menu costs £5.95 and that includes the pizza, dessert and a drink. For the less adventurous kids, simple pizzas and pastas are also available as part of the menu. So… to celebrate the launch of the first My Daddy Cooks kids menu, Fire & Stone have kindly offered to invite 5 families to eat at any one of their restaurants. I have 5 x £50 vouchers to give away...
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