Popular chef, columnist, former Masterchef contestant, TV chef and father of three, Theo Michaels, is resident chef on Channel 4’s Steph’s Packed Lunch and has already published seven cookbooks.
His latest holds the answer to the challenges of feeding a family with easy, yet exciting, recipes and dishes that children can be involved in preparing.
There are tray-bakes, one-pots, fake-away ideas and special occasion treats. In Theo’s Family Kitchen, you’ll find ideas to suit the fussiest of eaters, veggies and carnivores alike. There are also things to satisfy a sweet tooth and make the most of forgotten foods lurking in the freezer or store-cupboard.
It’s harback, and published by Ryland, Peters & Small at £20. Photography by Mowie Kay © Ryland Peters & Small
To give you an idea of the book, here are a few recipes (and such an easy way to prepare burgers!):
TRAY-BAKED BURGERS IN BUNS SERVES 4
“I love game-changing recipes like this one. We love burgers in our house and my tray-baked version, where everything is cooked from scratch, makes pulling together an affordable burger dinner for the whole family a cinch! “
400 g minced beef
2 tablespoons dried oregano
1 white onion, grated
1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning or smoked paprika
1 teaspoon salt
4 brioche burger buns, split
4 slices of Cheddar cheese (not processed burger cheese slices, they will turn into a melted mess!)
4 slices of firm mozzarella cheese
a sticky condiment of your choice (caramelized onions, bbq sauce or tomato ketchup)
20 g butter, melted
a high-sided baking pan
Take the minced meat out of the fridge 15 minutes before you are ready to start cooking. Preheat the oven to 200∞C fan/220∞C/425∞F/gas 7.
Put the meat in a bowl with the oregano, onion, Cajun seasoning and salt. Use your hands to bring it all together but don’t overwork it – you want a fairly loose mixture. Divide the mixture into 4 portions of equal size and form into patties just under 1 cm/½ in. thick and the same diameter as your burger buns.
Place the bottom half of the buns into a tight-fitting baking pan, top with a slice of Cheddar cheese, then add the meat patty followed by a slice of mozzarella, then spread your sticky condiment on the top half of the bun and place on top of the burger. Brush the top of the bun with a little melted butter and add a sprinkle of salt.
Tightly cover the baking pan with foil and bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and let the burgers rest for 5 minutes with the foil on. Remove the foil, check the meat is cooked and serve!
NOTE Depending on your oven, how cold the ground meat is and how thick your patties are, cooking times may vary slightly. Always check the burgers are cooked through before serving.
CHILLI CRAB LINGUINE WITH CRISPY BREADCRUMBS
“A classic recipe of delicate crab meat with pockets of heat from the chilli flakes and topped with a crunchy pangritata for a crunchy texture. You can substitute fresh crab meat with canned lump crab meat (but make sure it’s ‘lump’ crab meat not the shredded variety).”
320 g dried linguine
60 ml olive oil
50 g fresh breadcrumbs
a few sprigs of flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
1 white onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, sliced
a pinch of dried chilli flakes
100 g brown crab meat
200 g white crab meat
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to season
Cook the pasta in a large saucepan of salted boiling water according to the packet instructions (usually about 8 minutes for al dente) – don’t over cook it!
Heat a little olive oil in a frying pan/skillet over a medium heat, fry the breadcrumbs until crisp, then remove from the pan. Season with salt, pepper and a pinch of the chopped parsley and set aside.
In the same pan, add enough olive oil to cover the base of the pan and fry the diced onion for a few minutes until softened. Add the garlic, chilli flakes, a few grates of lemon zest and cook for a minute before adding the brown crab meat and remaining parsley. Remove the pan from the heat.
Once the pasta is done, use a pair of tongs to pull the pasta out of the saucepan and into the frying pan and return to the heat, continue lifting the pasta in the pan until it is fully incorporated, then fold in the crab meats and combine.
Serve in bowls with a scattering of the fried breadcrumb mixture and a pinch of salt and freshly grated black pepper on top to finish.
GINGERED TREACLE TART SERVES 4
“My gingery treacle tart is a combination of spicy fresh ginger and sweet golden syrup. It’s utterly delicious and best served with a scoop of creamy vanilla ice cream on the side. This is a take on one of the recipes I cooked during my time taking part in the MasterChef competition.”
1 x Shortcrust Pastry Tart Case/Pie Shell, or use a store-bought one if you are short on time
a pinch of sea salt flakes, to garnish
vanilla ice cream, to serve
90 g butter
450 g golden/light corn syrup
90 g fresh white or brown breadcrumbs
1½ tablespoons finely grated fresh ginger
½ teaspoon lemon juice
25-cm/10-in. tart tin
* You can make the Shortcrust Pastry Case/Pie Shell up to 3 days in advance
Make the pastry case/pie shell.
After baking the pastry, reduce the oven temperature to 160°C fan/180°C/350°F/gas 4.
To make the filling, melt the butter in a medium saucepan set over a low heat. Whisk in the golden/corn syrup (keeping the filling slightly warm helps to incorporate the ingredients better). Once combined, remove the pan from the heat and add the breadcrumbs, followed by the beaten eggs and finally, the grated ginger and lemon juice. Mix until combined.
Pour the filling into the pastry case to fill it to the top and bake it in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes, there should still be a slight wobble in the middle (but don’t overcook it). Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin/pan for about 1 hour.
Sprinkle a small pinch of sea salt flakes over the top just before serving and serve sliced with scoops of vanilla ice cream on the side.