Andrea Mara

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A week in dinners & a week in bullet points

I’m a bit nosy, and have been enjoying the “week in dinners” series on Bumbles of Rice lovely food and parenting blog. This week it’s payback time – she’s asked the rest of us to confess our own “week in dinners”, warts and all (that’s not actually a nice image)

I’m going to cheat. Our childminder does the cooking when I’m at work, so I’ll blog last week’s dinners instead, as I was off. Firstly, last week in bullet points:

  • In spite of my protestations, the six-year-old tried to potty train the two-year-old
  • Shoe-shopping with three kids was one of our “activities”, and included comments like “they’re too loose and tight”, “they’re too slippery” and “no mum, those sandals make me feel a bit sick when I look at them”
  • Knitting classes were requested by Clara and Emmie, and mostly drove me demented
  • Bagels that were baked instead of grilled because I don’t know how to use my oven
  • We had five playground trips, and I still haven’t figured out the rules, but it made me feel like a good parent.

The dinners:

Monday: Spinach and Sausage Lasagne

Spinach and Sausage Lasagne is my kids’ favourite dinner ever, so by special request, I made it on Easter Monday. It’s from a BBC Saturday Kitchen episode from a few years back and is a serious crowd-pleaser. Possibly because it’s made from sausage meat so it’s full of salt, but it also has spinach and my kids normally eat no vegetables whatsoever, so I forgive the salt.

Tuesday: Beef Lasagne

Beef Lasagne was on the menu on Tuesday which caused much confusion as to why it looked different to Monday’s sausage lasagne. I do a makey-uppy hybrid recipe with hidden vegetables puréed into the tomato sauce (for the non-veg-eating kids) and a white sauce made with butter, flour and Philadelphia – I would love a better white sauce recipe that’s also quick and easy – anyone?

Wednesday: Chicken Taleggio

Chicken and Taleggio from an old newspaper clipping I’ve had forever – another major smile-inducer in our house. And yeah, probably not the healthiest dinner but seriously comforting. This is how I make it:


  • 1 small tub of plain Philadelphia
  • 75g to 100g Tallegio (or Gruyere or Fontina)
  • 2 tbsp pesto
  • Chicken breasts (I use five, one for each of them, or I’d be lynched)
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Olive Oil
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Cherry tomatoes


Put the chicken breasts in a shallow oven dish and preheat oven to 180’C

Mix the Philadelphia, Tallegio and and pesto, then coat chicken breasts with the cheese and pesto mix, and top with bread crumbs.

Put it in the oven for half an hour so, then add the cherry tomatoes, olive oil and Balsamic vinegar – put it back in the oven for another twenty minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.

We have it with mash potato in our house but if you’re fancier than me, you could serve with cous cous or a lovely green salad and some crusty bread.

Thursday: Vampire pasta

Vampire pasta – this is a brilliant one pot pasta dish adapted from a recipe in Rachel Allen’s Easy Meals. Rachel doesn’t call it Vampire pasta – it’s just called that in my house in an attempt to get people to eat it. To make it: you just fry some onion, garlic and chorizo, throw in some red peppers, add tinned tomatoes, stock, a little sugar, and uncooked pasta – I like the idea of cooking the pasta in the tomato sauce, and it saves on washing up too (maybe everyone does this but it was new to me).

office mum photo of Rachel Allen's Easy Meals Mediterranean Pasta
From Rachel Allen’s Easy Meals

Friday: Out-out!

Date night! So, the kids got pasta, and we had steak and cocktails in Whitefriar Grill  on Aungier Street. I didn’t photograph a single dinner all week (I didn’t know I’d be blogging them) but I did take a photo of my lovely starter on Friday night:

Office Mum photo of Calamari and Merguez sausage salad
Calamari and Merguez sausage salad

Saturday: Fajitas

We had Fajitas, thinking it would be a lovely treat for the kids and that they’d be excited about filling their own Tortilla wraps at the table. Emmie wouldn’t eat the sauce and Clara wouldn’t eat the chicken. Sam spent the entire meal under the table. None of them ate any salad. The guacamole was greeted with three suspicious upturned noses, and “eh, it’s green mum?” from Clara. Anyway, trial and error. Mostly error.

Sunday: Roast beef

Roast beef and peas and mashed potato (we’ve gone all traditional). The best bit: roast beef sandwiches with a glass of wine on Sunday night after the kids went to bed, watching House of Cards 2. No offence kids.


office mum photo of Clara
No photo of Roast-beef so ice cream instead






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