First came internet cleaning sensation Mrs Hinch, and now it's all about The Batch Lady. If you haven't heard of the cookery vlogger, then let us fill you in. Suzanne Mulholland from a remote farm in Edinburgh is a mum-of-two and meal planning expert who has amassed a social media following of 120k fans, thanks to her super-organised cooking skills. Now we're all in lockdown, The Batch Lady is the person we need for advice on cooking in bulk so we can plan for coming weeks ahead at home – and getting the kids involved is a great idea too.
Here, Suzanne shares two simple recipes to cook with your children...
Suzanne Mulholland, The Batch Lady
Suzanne says: "One of my best top tips for home isolation is to get the kids cooking - one meal can be an afternoon's activity and an evening of actual heating up and eating. In order for this to work and not turn into chaos, you need to pick a very easy recipe. My freezer calzones work great for this - they are child friendly, easy to make, can use up lots of left-over vegetables and use a cheat pizza dough from the supermarket, so it’s a win-win. The kids will have fun making it and then enjoy the treat dinner." The calzones are freezable too.
Makes 2 large calzones, serves 4, preparation time 15 minutes, cooking time, 15-20 minutes
- 2 x shop-bought, ready- rolled pizza doughs
- 2 cups (180g) grated mozzarella or cheddar cheese
- 1 cup (70g) chopped fresh mushrooms
- 8–10 cherry tomatoes, halved
- 24 slices pepperoni
- 1 cup (240ml) Basic Tomato Sauce (p.200) or store-bought tomato sauce
- 1 egg, beaten
Unroll both pizza doughs and set on your worktop, side-by-side. If the dough has a paper backing, leave that in place as it will make it easier to move around. If the dough doesn’t have a paper backing, set on a lightly floured sheet of greaseproof paper.
Working on one half of each circle of dough, place ½ cup (45g) of the grated cheese on each pizza dough, followed by ½ cup (35g) mushrooms, half of the tomatoes, half of the pepperoni and then the remaining cheese. Finally, top each pile of ingredients with ½ cup (120ml) of the tomato sauce.
Brush a little of the egg wash around the edges, then bring the other half of the dough over the top of the filling to form a half-moon shape. Crimp the edges of the dough together to seal, then brush the top of each Calzone with a little beaten egg.
To cook, slide the greaseproof paper onto a baking sheet and transfer to an oven preheated to 180°C/350°F/ gas mark 4 for 15-20 minutes until the Calzones are golden brown and the filling is bubbling. Let the calzones cool for a few minutes before serving, as the filling will be very hot.
MORE: Lisa Faulkner and John Torode have the best cheat's apple pie recipe - with no pastry!
Chocolate Raisin Tray Bake
"When I wrote my cookbook, I had no idea how much myself and many of my followers would come to rely on the freezable tray bake section. If I'd known then what I know now, I would have made that section twice as big! "Making tray bakes are great fun for kids and can easily fill an afternoon. However, as a parent you want those homemade goodies to last a long time. The raisin tray bakes below are all freezable - simply cut the tray bake into equal individual pieces then freeze some for another week."
Makes 12 large or 24 small pieces, preparation time 20 minutes plus chilling
- 300g rich tea biscuits
- 125g butter, cut into small cubes
- 1 cup (240ml) sweetened condensed milk
- Scant 1½ cups (200g) raisins
- 180g milk chocolate, broken into pieces
Chocolate and raisin tray bake
Grease a 35 x 25cm (14 x 10in) baking tray and line with greaseproof paper.
Put the biscuits in a food processor and process to a fine rubble. Alternatively, put them in a freezer bag and seal, ensuring that you remove any air, then bash with a rolling pin to crush.
Place a large saucepan over a low heat, then add the butter and condensed milk and stir until melted and well combined.
Add the crushed biscuits to the pan along with the raisins, then stir together until well combined. Pour the mixture into your prepared tray, pressing it down to a flat, even layer. Set aside.
Place the chocolate in a heat-proof bowl over a pan of barely simmering water and stir until melted. Pour the chocolate over the mixture in the tin and use a palette knife to create a thin, even layer covering the top of the Raisin Slice. Transfer to the fridge for 2–3 hours, until the mixture has firmed up and the chocolate has fully set.
Remove from the fridge and set aside for 20 minutes or so to allow the chocolate to soften slightly, then slice into pieces of your desired size.
The slices are now ready to serve and can be kept in an airtight container for up to a week.
The Batch Lady by Suzanne Mulholland is out now, published by HQ, £20.
MORE: How to bake posh chocolate chip cookies that will make lockdown a whole lot better