Magical Midweek Mince: Kid Friendly Keema

By midweek, my cooking mojo has begun to drain. It seems a long way til Saturday when we do our weekly food shop and the contents of the fridge is far from exciting. BUT THERE SHALL BE MINCE.

Despite being one of my least favourite sources of protein, it has earned a permanent place in my fridge due to the fact that children rarely turn their nose up at it. This means that I am only ever half an hour away from a meal that won’t get fed to the dog, which suits me just fine.

Having exhausted the traditional stalwarts of bolognese, chilli con carne and cottage pie (which I despise, but more on that in a minute), this spicy kid-friendly keema has become a regular fixture in our house.

It works best with lamb mince, but I have subbed in beef, turkey or even pork without really changing the outcome. It borrows heavily from Nigella Lawson’s hangover cure in Feast but I felt it was ripe for a family-friendly makeover. Add a few more veggies, tone down the spice and add important tips to make this as quick and painless as possible.

* Chop nothing. Whiz it all in the food processor. Except the pepper, which needs to be a little chunkier really. In fact, you can bung in stray courgettes, carrots and other lingering fridge veg. Wilting some spinach in at the last minute works well.

* The freezer is your friend. I keep chillis and root ginger in the bottom drawer and use them straight from the freezer, extending their life to infinity.

* Buy those vacuum packed naan breads and keep them in the cupboard for dinner emergencies. And don’t bother turning on the grill to cook them, as they fit in the toaster for a reason.

* Lime juice in a bottle works fine here.


Kid Friendly Keema

(serves 4 ish)


600g lamb mince
A large onion
A thumb of root ginger
3 cloves of garlic
1 bell pepper (you choose the colour), diced
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
300g of frozen peas (about 2 mugs full)
2 generous tablespoons of balti paste
A splash of lime juice

Naan breads, to serve (see above)

1) Whiz up the onion, ginger and garlic in the food processor.
2) Pop the mixture in a large frying pan with a splash of oil and allow to cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3) Meanwhile, dice the pepper and add in. When everything begins to soften, add the mince.
4) After 5 minutes, everything should be beginning to smell yummy, so add the balti paste and tinned tomatoes. Allow to bubble along cheerfully for about 15 minutes, until everything is cooked through. Add in the peas, giving them 5 minutes to heat through.
5) Just before serving, stir in a splash of lime juice. You can add a verdent covering of fresh coriander if you like as well.
6) Taste. If it’s not punchy enough, add some chilli, or if you’ve overdone it with the balti paste, add a dollop of yogurt or even just milk.

Leftovers are delicious eaten straight from the fridge, but if you want to be extra fancy, double the recipe, top the second half with mashed sweet potato and crisp the top in the oven for possibly the finest cottage pie ever.

In praise of the Smug Mummy.

My name is Kelly. I am 32 (or 28 if a handsome young fellow asks) and I am a Smug Mummy. And proud.

chloepuntingI wholeheartedly believe my child is wonderful and am happy to celebrate that. If people tell me she is great or gorgeous or funny or polite or anything good… I say thank you. I do not try to pull a face and say ‘oh well, you should see her when…’ because there is no need to. Live in the moment. Your kiddo is great – great enough for someone else to need to tell you in fact!

Last night was parent’s evening, and after a glittering review on her progress from her teacher, her father turned to me and asked…

‘Aren’t you tired of hearing how great she is?’

What a ridiculous question. Of course not. You’re not likely to put as much blood, sweat and tears – often literally – into anything compared to raising your kids, so why not celebrate that something has gone right? If that makes me a Smug Mummy, so be it.

Self depreciation seems to be ingrained in British culture. If someone compliments your outfit, you’re supposed to counter with how it was in the sale or how you’re just trying to hide your muffin top. Or detract from the bird’s nest on your head. I don’t advise you to morph yourself into Samantha Brick, but you’re allowed to love what you’re wearing, surely?

Someone loves the dinner you served? Obviously it’s ‘something you just through together’ or could have used more garlic/less salt/a bit more unicorn horn.Even if you’ve completed what feels like a five-hour Masterchef audition and your kitchen looks like an ample skirmish occurred there earlier that evening.

But why? Why not stand up and take the flattery? Goodness knows it’s hard to come by.

So next time someone tells you that your little one is great, thank them. And grin. And be that Smug Mummy. Because these are the comments you can cling to next time they’re using your Chanel lipstick as grease paint for the dog or refusing to eat the meal they loved 20 minutes ago ‘because it smells like nuts and poo’.