British Mums in Dubai know that the cost of groceries can add up in the UAE. In fact, we’ve got used to steadying ourselves before the total runs up on the checkout in certain supermarkets in the city (and then swiftly needing to find somewhere to sit down afterwards). So why not cut the cost of your weekly shop by planning a series of British meals that the kids will enjoy as much as the adults? Whether you dine together as a family every evening – or re-warm the adult portions when you or your husband get home from work – it will save you a fortune on ingredients and provide a much-needed taste of home…
Toad in the hole
Once they’ve got over the fact there is nothing green and slimy in this dish (disappointingly perhaps), kids will love this traditional British dish just as much as the adults. In fact, they’ll be begging you to head into the kitchen and whip it up for their tea. It’s a pricier dish if you want to use pork sausages, but can be made more affordable with chicken or beef sausages – and just as lip-lickingly delicious.
This inexpensive meal will be a hit with the whole family. You can make it with lamb or beef mince, along with local potatoes, an onion, 2-3 carrots, tomato puree, butter, and beef stock. You can also freeze any leftovers in portions, making it ideal as a quick dinner when you get in late. A delicious reminder of home!
OK so we know that Dubai doesn’t often have the weather to make us crave warming casseroles, but it can easily be teamed with mashed potato and summer vegetables for a lighter feast. The beauty of this dish is that you can throw in whatever the kids like – whether that’s carrots, onions, celery, or other root veggies. And if you’ve got a slow cooker? Your job is done…
You can’t be officially British if you don’t eat this as a family at least once a month. OK so that’s not strictly true, but does seem to come hand-in-hand with holding a British Passport (if you eat meat, that is). The great thing about supermarket shopping in Dubai is that you can buy ready roasted chickens as easily as you can buy potatoes – but if you prefer cooking yourself, everything is available easily and fairly inexpensively to cook it up from scratch.
Chicken and Mushroom Pie
Buying ready-made pies just isn’t as easy as it is back home (it still makes us swoon to think of the convenience food in UK supermarkets, but we digress…) so why not head into the kitchen to whip up this traditional favourite yourself? You’ll need boneless chicken thighs, baby mushrooms, chicken stock, milk and flour (with the option of throwing in streaky bacon too) for the pie itself – and puff pastry to turn it into a pie (you’ll usually find this in the frozen section in Dubai). And the best news? Kids and adults will enjoy every bite!
It could be the cheesy sauce, or the yummy fish, or the mash potato topping – but there’s something about a good fish pie that reminds us of childhood holidays to the seaside back home. Children adore it too – and it’s easy to smuggle vegetables into the sauce for those that hate anything green (evil laugh).
Sausages and mash
It doesn’t get more British than sausages and mash! So British, in fact, that it has its own cockney rhyming slang translation (which is ‘cash’, in case you aren’t from those parts). And whether you choose pork, chicken or beef sausages, along with mashed local potatoes and either veggies or beans, the whole family are guaranteed to clear their plates.
Macaconi cheese seems to be one of those dishes that adults and children love in equal measure, making it a good bet for evenings when the nominated cook has little time to throw something together. Chuck in chopped onion and bacon lardons (if you eat pork), before sprinkling grated cheddar on top, and throwing into the oven. Serve with crusty bread for the ultimate comfort food. Delicious!
Fish and chips
Want to bring a smile to everyone’s faces at dinner time? Good old fish and chips is always a winner – and we aren’t talking about driving to the nearest chippy… For the home-cooked variety, coat your chosen white fish in egg and then dip in breadcrumbs (or blended corn flakes, which is surprisingly tasty) before frying in a little oil. And for the chips? Peel, chop, coat in your favourite oil (coconut oil wins for us), pop them in the oven – and hey presto, the ultimate British dinner is served!
“CURRY?!” we hear you cry! Well yes actually – as believe it or not, 43% of Brits recently polled named a good chicken curry as their ultimate comfort food. It’s easy and quick enough to knock up in the kitchen – but on the days when you’re really pushed for time (and let’s be honest, we all have those days), there’s nothing wrong with ordering a takeaway… After all, we are blessed with some of the best curry houses in the world here in Dubai and it would be rude not to test them out occasionally, right ladies?
Inspired? Find all recipes at www.bbcgoodfood.com