The joy of British barbecue season

This is a collaborative post with Iceland Foods

Being the stay-at-home parent, cooking dinner is largely my responsibility, which is fine because I enjoy it. But I really enjoy it the most at this time of year. When the clocks go forward in April, and we enter British Summer Time, we also enter another auspicious time of the year – British BBQ Time.

However, this being Britain, you can never quite be sure when BBQ weather will strike – so we always have a supply of meats for the BBQ in the freezer.

Iceland’s #PowerOfFrozen is all about the convenience of having frozen food on hand as and when you need it – which is perfect for when that BBQ weather swoops in.

We tried out a trio of frozen meat products from Iceland on the BBQ. Any of these  would be great for a decent BBQ family supper by themselves – or you could have all of them for a super indulgent BBQ feast.

The Ultimate Steak Burger

The Ultimate Steak Burger: Lettuce, tomato, burger with melted cheese, red onion + beetroot slices, more lettuce – surrounded by a toasted brioche bun.

Burgers, specifically cheese burgers, are my BBQ staple, the ultimate BBQ food – so I chose these Ultimate Steak Burgers to have. They needed to be defrosted prior to cooking on the BBQ (packet instructions state to defrost at least 12hrs in a fridge on a plate).

The smoky flavour you get from a BBQ really suits burgers well, and after making and/or eating many burgers in my time I think I have finally nailed the ultimate order of garnishes and accompaniments.

So in honour of the Iceland Ultimate Steak Burger, here is my ultimate burger construction order (starting from the bottom – see photo):

  • Lettuce
  • Tomato
  • Burger (with melted cheese)
  • Red onion + beetroot slices
  • More lettuce

All surrounded by a toasted brioche bun, with ketchup served on the side.

Explanation: The lettuce stops the toasted bun getting soggy, the melted cheese should hold in place the red onion, as well as the beetroot – which is a Kiwi addition to the burger, and a delicious one at that. I couldn’t figure out where to put the ketchup in all this, so leave it on the side to dip you burger into before each bite.

So that’s my Ultimate Burger. What do you think?

Hot dogs (with Cumberland sausages)

Another BBQ favourite are hot dogs. While the Frankfurter might be traditional, I prefer an English classic like Cumberland Sausages.

These Iceland Cumberland Sausages can be cooked straight from the freezer, so are super convenient to slap on the BBQ.

I served these hot dogs with ketchup, and I really like fried onions with them too (my daughter doesn’t, hence the ones without). As with the burgers, if you feel like indulging yourself go for a brioche bun.

Belgian Blue Steak

Steak is not a meat I have cooked on the BBQ much, something I clearly need to rectify as it is delicious cooked this way!

Iceland’s Belgian Blue Steaks are super lean rump steaks, so they’re low in fat but still nicely flavoured. They come in packs of 2, but we love steak so had 2 steaks each! (Belgian Blue are a breed of cows from – you guessed it – Belgium).

They needed to be defrosted before cooking on the BBQ (packet instruction state to defrost at least 24hrs in a fridge).

Once defrosted, I got the BBQ as hot as possible. I oiled both sides of the steak, and seasoned with salt & pepper. We like steak super rare, so just cooked it for 1-2 mins each side. Make sure you rest the meat after cooking though, to get it nice and tender.

I serve it with a side of spinach fried with garlic and onion.

Now, I don’t like to admit to having ANYTHING in common with Donald Trump, but here is a confession – like the Donald, I too like having ketchup with my steak.

It’s delicious. Biggly 🙂

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Daddy’s little helper – Mixed Berry Whisky Cocktail

This  mixed berry whisky cocktail recipe is a sponsored post in collaboration with Iceland Foods.

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Parenting is hard. If you follow many mum bloggers you’ll know the part that a glass of wine can play in their wind down – and after a long day of dadding, I feel the same.

The thing that often represents my first moment of relaxation at the end of the day, after the kid has gone down to sleep, is my first sip of whatever drink I have decided to make for myself. Continue reading Daddy’s little helper – Mixed Berry Whisky Cocktail

How to make a fully operational Beef and Guinness Death Star Pie

This Death Star pie recipe is a sponsored post in collaboration with Iceland Foods.

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“The ability to destroy a planet is insignificant next to the power of a tasty meat pie” – Darth Vader

Ok, that’s possibly overstating it, but this dad went to Iceland with the challenge of creating a Star Wars pie. To be fair, it was a challenge I set myself, as a way to use some of Iceland’s frozen meat produce to make a pie for British Pie Week.

Continue reading How to make a fully operational Beef and Guinness Death Star Pie

Dad’s Night In: Iceland’s Chicken Nuggets with Homemade BBQ Sauce #PowerOfFrozen (ad)

Like other families, we have a routine to most nights. I make our daughter dinner before my wife gets home from work. She then does our daughter’s bath & bedtime while I get our own dinner ready. On those evenings when my wife is working late or is away, I tend to make a joint dinner for myself and our daughter.

But sometimes on these occasions, I prefer to give the kid her dinner as normal, and after packing her off to bed I indulge in a treat dinner for myself. A day of parenting can be tough, so unwinding with a dinner completely of my choice – that I don’t need to select with either my wife or daughter in mind – is all I want for an evening. Ok, that and wine. And a movie.

Iceland’s chicken nuggets served with homemade BBQ sauce would be a typical dad’s night in dinner for me. It’s a slightly grown up version of a childhood comfort food favourite – only this time consisting of Iceland’s chicken nuggets and my zingy BBQ dipping sauce.

Iceland’s frozen chicken nuggets are pretty tasty, which isn’t surprising as they’re made from 100% chicken breast. Having them in the freezer is not only really convenient, it also means I can cook only as many as I need (well, ok – want) while the rest can be stored for longer. That’s all part of the #PowerOfFrozen.

While the nuggets only took 15 minutes from freezer to plate via the oven, prepared earlier was my BBQ dipping sauce. It has real oomph, but if you’re less of a garlic & chilli fan than me, you can dial those back – especially if serving to kids (this would even be too much for my chilli eating daughter).

Homemade BBQ Sauce

Most of the ingredients are available from Iceland, and are easy to find & purchase either in store or online. This makes a big batch, but it can be frozen to use at a later date – perhaps with some frozen chicken nuggets for a last minute dad’s night in dinner?

Homemade BBQ Sauce

  • 1 small onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 red chillies (or equivalent of chilli flakes)
  • olive oil
  • 1tsp fennel seeds (crushed)
  • 1tsp english mustard
  • 1tsp ground ginger
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 50ml dark soy sauce
  • 300ml tomato ketchup
  • 250ml apple cider
  • 1tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 55g brown sugar (can be light, dark, or a mix)
  1. Finely chop or blitz onion, garlic, chillies
  2. In a medium pan, fry on a medium heat for five minutes
  3. Add fennel seeds and ginger – stir in
  4. Add ketchup, soy, Worcestershire sauce, and cider – stir in
  5. Add sugar, stir in
  6. Bring to the boil, and simmer for 10-15 mins
  7. When thickened, remove from heat
  8. Stir in mustard, and allow to cool before serving
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Iceland’s Chicken Nuggets with Homemade BBQ Sauce

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This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Iceland Foods. Their 100% Chicken Breast Nuggets are available to purchase either online or in store. 

Japanese Udon Noodles with Miso Carbonara recipe

This Japanese Udon Noodles with Miso Carbonara recipe has become the breakfast of choice for my daughter and I, and we’ll have it 2-3 times a week.

Before you go “ugh”, this is not a cheesy dish.

We kind of made it up ourselves, and it was born from solving a problem: Despite our daughter generally being a very unfussy eater, eggs were something she didn’t like – whether fried, scrambled, boiled or as an omelette.

This was annoying because I really liked eggs for breakfast, and is was also a really convenient joint breakfast. While I could still make them for myself, making separate breakfasts for you & your toddler is a real pain. So how to get her to eat eggs again?

I was probably inspired by this recipe for Miso Scrambled Eggs, but the eggs in this dish are not scrambled – like a traditional Italian Carbonara, they are a thickening agent for the sauce to bind it all together. Y’know, like the force.

This dish has been great for a) Enabling us to have a convenient and tasty joint breakfast of eggs, b) Getting her to eat chilli*, c) Getting her to eat with chopsticks**.

Japanese Udon Noodles with Miso Carbonara recipe

Serves: 1 adult and 1 toddler/preschooler 

Ingredients

  • Vegetable oil
  • 1 small red chilli/tsp chilli flakes
  • portion Udon noodles
  • sachet/portion of miso (approx 25g)
  • 3 eggs

Method

  1. Cook noodles as per packet instructions.
  2. In a large frying pan, fry the chilli on a low heat.
  3. In a bowl, mix miso with a little water. Add eggs, and lightly whisk.
  4. Pour egg & miso mixture into the pan, then add drained noodles.
  5. This is the crucial part. This needs to gradually thicken into a sauce, not cook into scrambled eggs. Start on a low heat, then whack it up for short blasts of high to get it going. Keep stirring all the time, to make sure the eggs cook evenly.
  6. Divide into bowls (we go 2/3 adult, 1/3 child) and serve immediately.
  7. Eat with lightsaber chopsticks (Pictured. Optional, but cool).

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*How to get your kid to eat chilli

As a kid – and even a young adult – I never ate chilli. I hated it. Didn’t see the point of it. But once I finally embraced it, I loved it and realised what I’d been missing. So when I had a kid, I knew I wanted to get this chilli indoctrination out of the way early.

So I started gradually at about 2. It clearly wasn’t pleasant for her, but I offered an incentive – a piece of chocolate afterwards. And eventually, she stopped asking for the chocolate and started to enjoy it. One time, I forget to put chilli in this, and she got very upset, crying “ButI want the tingle!”

I also championed the soothing power of eating chilli when you have a cold, and she agreed. Now she requests chilli in her food whenever she has a cold.

**How to get you kid to eat with chopsticks

This was also something I learned late in life, so I wanted to try and get my kid in the habit early. Easier said than done I though, but I had a great ally in the films of Studio Ghibli.

These Japanese animated movies have frequent scenes of people eating with chopsticks, so I merely encouraged her to eat with chopsticks like her favourite characters in My Neighbour Totoro, Whisper of the Heart, etc. and this was motivation enough. She is now completely at ease using them.

It also helps to have an awesome pair of Lightsaber chopsticks, that we picked up in Japan. My daughter and I take turns in who gets to use them. 🙂

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So that’s our Japanese Udon Noodles with Miso Carbonara recipe. For another child friendly noodle dish, also see my Teriyaki Udon Noodles with Chilli and Egg Recipe.

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