Tag: pasta

carbonara cake

Carbonara cake

Difficulty: Easy

Time: 15 minutes plus 35 minutes baking

Serves: 6


300g spaghetti, cooked
100g hard cheese, finely grated (eg parmesan, guyere, cheddar)
3 large eggs
250ml double cream
250g leftover ham (or we used bacon lardons)


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It’s not always so easy to get young children involved with making dinner for obvious reasons (knives, ovens, the cooker) but this dish is an exception. I based it on a dish from Jamie Oliver and so simple to make. It’s quick enough to be a mid week meal but a bit more special than plain pasta carbonara. You can cook the pasta and ham/bacon in advance to make it even quicker/easier. It was a first for us but we’ll certainly be making it again!


Before you start, if you don’t have left over pasta and ham, cooked the pasta and ham or bacon and add to a bowl. Allow to cool down. I did this part in advance as there wasn’t much the kids could help with.


Preheat the oven to 180C and prepare a cake tin.

Get your children to help grease a 20cm loose bottomed cake tin with oil (you can pour a little oil in and get them to brush it over all the sides.) Sprinkle a thin layer of cheese over the bottom and shake it up the sides a little.


Add everything to your bowl

Get your kids to help you add the cream and cheese to the bowl of pasta. Break the eggs into a separate bowl first to give them a quick whisk before adding to the pasta. I normally get Hannah to break the eggs and Lewis mix them so they both get a turn at doing something.

Give it a good mix so all the pasta is coated.


Bake the carbonara cake

Add the pasta to your prepared cake tin and pat down with the back of a spoon.


Pop it on a baking tray into the oven and bake for 35 minutes. It’s ready when it looks golden brown and has cooked through.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes before turning out of the tin.

 carbonara cake

Serve with a lovely fresh green salad and enjoy!

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Difficulty: Medium

Time: 20 minutes + 30 minutes cooking

Serves: 4img_1669-small






For the meatballs:
2 tbsp breadcrumbs
500g mince (beef, pork or a mixture of the two)
1 egg
a small onion (or 1/2 a large one)
1 tbsp basil
1 tbsp parsley

For the sauce:
Tin tomatoes
1 small onion (or half a large one)
2 cloves of garlic
1 tsp Caster sugar
2 tsp rosemary
1 tbsp parsley


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When Hannah was little and still mainly eating finger foods I used to turn loads of things into balls or sticks so she could feed herself. Now Lewis is at that age I’m rediscovering those old favourites. This recipe is for a fairly simple version of meatballs but you can mix it up a bit and use different meats in it or add some spices and serve with cous cous instead of pasta.


Put all the meatball ingredients into a bowl
Pop the mince and breadcrumbs (2 tbsp)in a bowl. We already had some breadcrumbs – we made way too much the other day when we made chicken nuggets so I put the extra in the freezer. If you don’t have any fresh, make some from one slice of bread.

Get your toddler to crack in the egg, or break it into a separate bowl first if you’re worried about rogue egg shell.


Get your toddler to help you peel the onion, then chop it up really finely (or grate it), then get your child to add it into the bowl.

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Add in the herbs. You can add any flavours you like, and you don’t have to be too accurate about quantities – Hannah just poured in the basil and parsley.

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Make the meatballs
Prepare a baking tray by lining it with grease proof paper. (You could, alternatively fry them in a little oil). I prefer to bake them as I find you don’t have to keep such a close eye on them and they don’t break apart at all, which can happen if you fry them.

Once everything is in the bowl, stick your hands in and give it a good mix. Hannah really enjoyed this part!

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When everything has come together, start taking small bits of the mixture and rolling them into balls. Put them on to your baking tray. If your little one helps you make balls, just watch that they are all roughly the same size as you need them to cook at the same rate.

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Drizzle them with a little oil then put them in the oven for 25-30 minutes.

Make the sauce
You could use a jar of sauce or make your own – we did ours from scratch this time.

First, chop your onion then heat in a frying pan with a little oil. Once they’ve softened and turned lightly golden (about 7 minutes) add the garlic and herbs. If you’re using a garlic crusher see if your little one can squeeze it in the pan for you.

Add the tomatoes and sugar then leave to simmer until it’s reduced and thickened a little.

Once the sauce is ready, add the meatballs and give it a stir. Serve with some pasta.


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