top of page

Helpers' Classics

Chilli Con Carne
Easy family dinner. Just omit the chilli for the children and keep some in a separate pot. Serve with rice or a jacket potato along with grated cheese, chopped coriander leaves and a dollop of sour cream or creme fraiche.

What you need:


25g of unsalted butter or 25ml olive oil

1 large onion

2 cloves of garlic

300g of minced beef 

450g tin of kidney beans

450g tin of chopped tomatoes

1 tablespoon of tomato purée

1 teaspoon of sugar

1 fresh chilli (or dried) or 2-3 if you like it really hot!

1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce 

450g sweetcorn

1 red pepper, cored, seeded and chopped

Pinch of cayenne powder

Pinch of salt

100g grated cheese (Cheddar or Red Leicester)

100 ml soured cream

1 bunch of chopped coriander leaves





Mango Menus Helpers' Recipes Chilli Con Carne



Peel your onion and garlic cloves and finely chop them.

Melt your butter over a low heat in a large casserole dish on the hob. Once melted (do not let it bubble), add the onion and garlic. Let it soften for around 8 minutes on a low heat. Do not let it brown.


Add your beef mince and turn up the heat to medium high. Keep stirring and breaking up the meat until it is all just browned. Then add your tin of kidney beans, tomatoes, tomato purée, sugar, Bovril and a pinch of salt. (If you wish to serve the children a non-spicy version, now separate a quarter of the mixture into a small saucepan and cook them simultaneously.) Add the chopped chillis to the main pot.


Turn the heat up until it boils, then turn  down to a low/medium heat and let it simmer with the lid on for 25 minutes.

5 minute before the end of the cooking time, add the tinned sweetcorn and chopped red pepper.


Serve with white rice or a jacket potato and a handful of grated cheese (Red Leicester or Cheddar), a tablespoon of sour cream per person and scattering of chopped coriander leaves.


Serves 2-3 adults 


Mango Menus Helpers Recipes Beef Stew
Slow-Cooked Beef & Root Vegetable Stew with Gremolata
Here is a stew to make in the morning and serve in the evening or the next day for maximum flavour. The gremolata adds a touch of sophistication. Do not omit! Sprinkle it on top of the steaming stew and breathe in as the fragrances explode!

What you need:


1 large onion

1 clove of garlic

25g butter

25g plain or wholemeal flour

Pinch of salt

Black pepper to grind

400g of stewing steak (normally sold cut up in chunks as on the left)

Around 600g in root veg ( e.g. 1 carrot, 1 sweet potato

1 parsnip and 2 potato)

Dessertspoon of Bovril or 1 beef stock cube

Dessertspoon of tomato purée

Teaspoon of dried thyme

Teaspoon of dried rosemary

Pinch of cayenne pepper








Peel your onion and garlic clove and finely chop them.

Melt your butter over a low heat in a large casserole dish. Once melted (do not let it bubble), add the onion & garlic and let it soften for around 8 minutes on a low heat. Do not let it brown.


Place your flour in a bowl and season it with salt & pepper. Roll each chunk of beef in it, shake of the excess flour, then add the beef to the pot, and brown it for a couple of minutes.


In a measuring jug, place your beef cube (or Bovril), the tomato purée, herbs and 1 litre of boiling water. Stir until all is combined.


Peel the carrot, parsnip, sweet potato and potatoes and cut into large chunks, slightly bigger than the pieces of beef. Add the vegetables and contents of the measuring jug (beef stock, herbs, tomato purée and water) to the pan. Ensure everything is immersed in liquid; if not add a little more water (0r leftover red wine) to the pan, then bring to the boil. 


Once boiling, transfer to the oven and cook with the lid on at 160C for 3-4 hours, or until the meat is very tender. Check the pot every hour and taste a little meat to see how tender it is getting.  Stir gently. If things look like they are drying out at all, add a little more water.


During the cooking time, make the gremolata by zesting the whole of 1 lemon (see picture to the right), VERY finely chopping 1 clove of garlic and adding 1 tablespoon of finely chopped rosemary. Combine these 3 ingredients and place in a tiny dish, covered with clingfilm in the fridge until you serve the stew. Invite your diners to sprinkle a little on top of ther hot steaming stew and breathe in deeply as the fragrances explode!


Serve with warm crusty bread.


Serves 4 adults


Find easy, classic recipes for your helper to cook, this time with step by step instructions, shorter ingredient lists and more photos to illustrate cooking techniques and how to source ingredients.


Contact us for helper cookery lessons, in small groups or one-on-one!



Menus Helpers Recipes How to zest a lemon
Mango Menus Helpers Recipes Gremolata

How to zest a lemon. If you haven't got a lemon zester like in this picture, use the finest blade on your cheese grater.

Gremolata. You must chop the clove of garlic and rosemary incredibly finely then combine with the lemon zest.

Mango Menus Helpers Recipes Potato Gratin

Potato Gratin


Easy side dish to accompany meat or fish. Or add some chopped cooked bacon to the layers and serve it with a green salad as a meal in its self.


What you need:


400g large potatoes.

1 clove of garlic

Half a large onion

50g butter

150g strong cheddar

200 ml single cream

100 ml milk

Grating of fresh nutmeg





Preheat the oven to 150C.


Grease a shallow casserole or gratin dish with butter.


Finely slice your onion and gently fry it in a tablespoon of butter for around 8 minutes until it softens. Do not let it brown.

Peel your potatoes and finely slice your potatos into disc shapes, else use a mandoline or the blade on the food processor to do this.


Grate your cheese.


Start a layer of potato discs on the bottom of the dish, then scatter a little grated cheese on top and some of the onion and a little cream & millk and seasoning (good grind of salt & pepper). Then place another layer of potato discs on top, followed by a little cheese, onion and cream and milk. Continue your layers until you have used up everything and the dish is full. Finish the layers with some grated cheese, little lumps of butter on top and a grating of fresh nutmeg. 


Place in the oven for 90 minutes, or until the layers are all thoroughly cooked. Garnish with parsley if desired.


Serves 2-3 adults

Fabulous Family Frugal Fish Pie


Warming wintery supper for adults, serve it miniature style for kids, and puree it for babies. It's an all rounder!


What you need:


4 large potatoes, peeled

Salt to grind

600g white fish fillets 

1 bay leaf

600ml whole (full fat) milk

70g unsalted butter  (30g for the mash and 40g for the white sauce)

50g plain flour

1 tea of capers, mashed

Juice of half a lemon

Handful of fresh parsley, chopped

200g fresh broccoli florets

150g grated cheddar




Peel your potatoes and cut into 2 inch chunks. Fill a large saucepan with water and  grind a little salt into it. Place your potatoes in the water and then turn on the heat high until it boils. Boil the potatos for 10-15 minutes until very tender and you can mash them.


While the potatos are cooking, put another pan of water on to boil. Cut your broccoli into bite size pieces and add to the pan once boiling (or place in a steamer above the pan). Cook for 4 minutes until only just cooked. Place the broccoli into a casserole dish (or individual ramekins).


Once the potatos are cooked, strain them through a colander then return them to the (still hot) pan. Add 30g of butter and mash the potatoes. Set aside.


Have a look at your white fish and remove any bloody bits and bones. Cut into 2 inch chunks.


Pour 400ml of whole milk into a large, deep frying pan along with the bay leaf and the fish. Turn up the heat to medium high. Once the milk is bubbling gently, let the fish cook for around 4 minutes. Check that the fish is white inside, and no longer see through/translucent and that it breaks apart easily. Do not overcook it or it will be like rubber! 


Remove your fish from the pan and place in the casserole dish with the broccoli. KEEP THE MILK LIQUID THAT YOU COOKED IT IN. Throw away the bay leaf.


To make the white sauce, melt 40g of butter in pan over a low heat. Do not let it bubble! Sift your flour. TAKE THE PAN OFF THE HEAT and add the plain sifted flour. Stir it with a wooden spoon until it forms a paste, still off the heat. Now take your milk that was used to cook the fish and add more milk so that you have 1 pint of milk in total. Add this drop by drop to the paste, STIRRING ALL THE TIME OFF THE HEAT. Once you have added around half the milk, and all the lumps have gone, return to the heat and turn it up to the max, adding the rest of the milk. KEEP STIRRING! Once it boils, it should start to thicken. Do not stop stirring until it has thickened. When it starts to thickens, turn off the heat. Add your grated cheese, mashed capers, lemon juice and chopped parsley. 


Pour the sauce over the fish and broccoli in the dish. Then place your mashed potato on top and make a pretty pattern with a fork or write your initials perhaps! 


Allow to cool then refrigerate/freeze until you need it. To eat now, place in a preheated oven at 200C for 10-15 minutes until the potato turns slightly brown, like in the picture. 


Serves a family of 4 

Courgette (Zucchini) & Wheatgerm Fries


As an alternative to potato fries for kids, and to get them to eat more veggies, not to mention the highly nutritious wheatgerm, try this courgette (zucchini) version. Wheatgerm is the embryo of the wheat kernel and exceptionally high in nutrients, in particular vitamin E and folic acid. Coconut oil has fewer damaging effects on the health once heated up relative to other oils, so best to fry in it, plus its medium chain fatty acids contain lauric acid which is beneficial to our immune system and possibly weight loss (ok sod the rest, that's me sold...) 


What you need:

1 courgette

1 beaten egg

50g of wheatgerm

50 ml of coconut oil  (click here to buy cheaply on iherb and receive 10% off  your first order with the Mango Menus' discount code BZC151)




Slice the courgette into sticks, dip into beaten egg, roll in wheatgerm then fry in coconut oil, in batches. Dip into ketchup if they HAVE to; I guess they are healthy enough in other respects. Or make a tartar-esque sauce of with few spoonfuls of creme fraiche, teaspoon of mashed capers and squeeze of lemon juice. 


Serves a family of 4 as a side dish

Home Made Fish Fingers


Kids love fish fingers and it's very easy and far healthier to make your own with Mango Menus' simple recipe. You can use any white fish.




Look at your fish and remove any bloody bits and bones. Cut the fish into finger sized strips.


Prepare 3 bowls. 1. seasoned flour. 2. 1 beaten egg. 3. breadcrumbs  (mixed with dried thyme if you have it).


Dip each fish piece into first the flour, then the egg then the breadcrumbs.


Shake off any excess at each stage then shallow fry in olive/coconut oil for around 4 minutes each side, depending on the thickness of the fish. Serve with peas and mashed potato, or perhaps a more Asian alternative such as taro fries. Click here for that recipe.


What you need:


400g of white fish (cod, haddock, sole, orange roughy)

4 tablespoons of flour seasoned with salt and pepper

100g breadcrumbs mixed (with optional teaspoon of dried thyme , which in our opinion, MAKES it!)

1 egg

50ml of olive/coconut oil. Coconut oil is less toxic once heated up, relative to other oils, so best to fry in it. Buy it more cheaply on iherb by clicking here.


Serves 4 children

This is the kind of beef you need and you'll need 2-3 packs to serve 2 adults and 2 kids

Mango Menus Homemade Fish Fingers

Roast Chicken, Herby Stuffing, Roast Potatoes, Steamed Vegetables and White Wine Gravy.


This is a classic British roast dinner, traditionally served at lunchtime 0n Sunday.


What you need:


Roast Chicken

1 medium-large chicken weighing 1.5-2kg.

3 oz butter

6 rashers of streaky bacon 

Salt & pepper


Roast potatoes

4 large potatoes

Olive oil

Salt & pepper



1 onion, finely chopped

1 teaspoon of olive oil

1 teaspoon of fresh or dried sage or thyme 

80g fresh white breadcrumbs

1 egg, beaten

Salt & pepper


Vegetables to steam

Carrots and/or broccoli, green beans, cauliflower


White wine gravy

25g butter

25g white flour

1 pint of chicken stock (fresh or 1 chicken Oxo/Knorr cube or equivalent)

1 bay leaf

1 glass of dry white wine

Salt & pepper



Preheat the oven to 190c


First prepare your chicken, ensuring it is thoroughly defrosted. Rub butter all over its body and tuck a little more in where the thighs join the body. Season with salt & pepper then place the bacon strips in a row, slightly overlapping each other along the breast. Lay the chicken on its back in a roasting tray on a medium-high shelf in the oven and calculate the cooking time, which is: 20 minutes per pound (450g) and sometimes 20 minutes more. Every 20 minutes baste the chicken, which means take a spoon and get the juices from the pan and pour them back onto the chicken. This keeps it moist. Now prepare your roast potatoes and stuffing.


Roast Potatoes

Put a large pan of salted water onto boil. Peel your potatoes and cut into chunks about the size of a kiwi fruit. Place them into the water and bring to the boil. Boil for just 5 minutes then remove the water. Now place the lid on the potatoes and shake the pan about. This gives them rough edges which will crisp up when roasting. Take a large shallow baking tray and pour 1 tablespoon of olive oil onto it. Place in the hot oven with nothing on it. After 5 minutes, once the oil is hot, add your potatoes. Turn them every 30 minutes.They will take around an hour depending on the size of them. They are ready when the outsides are crispy. 


Stuffing Balls

Fry the onion gently in the oil until it is soft but not browned. This takes around 5 minutes. Mix the onion with the herbs (sage/thyme), breadcrumbs and season well. Add a little beaten egg to bind the mixture together and roll into balls. Bake at 190C for 30 minutes. 


Prepare your vegetables by washing and chopping them. After 1 hour of cooking the chicken, remove the bacon slices and put to one side. 20 minutes before the end of the cooking time, increase the temperature to 220c to crisp up the chicken skin.


How to tell the chicken is cooked – pierce the thigh with a skewer. If the juices are clear and golden it is ready. If they are pink, it is not. Once cooked, allow the chicken to rest for 10-15 minutes, during which time you can make the gravy from the juices and cook your veg. You can turn the oven off but leave the potatoes and stuffing balls and bacon slices inside to keep warm.


To make the gravy, extract the juices from the roasting tray and remove any excess fat with either a spoon or by laying a paper kitchen towel on top (use several) and absorbing it. Throw these away. Melt 25g of butter in a small saucepan, remove from the heat, then add 25g of plain flour and stir until it forms a paste. Add the chicken juices and keep stirring, still off the heat. If you stop stirring it will go lumpy! Ensure you have around 1 pint of liquid, so add the glass of wine and possibly more stock (chicken Oxo/Knorr dissolved in hot water) and your bay leaf then bring to the boil, stirring continuously. Once it has boiled, turn it down to a low heat, and it should start to thicken. Keep warm.


In the last 5 minutes, bring a pan of water to boil and steam your vegetable above it in a bamboo or metal steamer. They only need a few minutes, as should be cooked al dente, with a slight crunch/bite to them. Warm plates and serving plates in the oven, which although turned off should be still warm. Carve the chicken into slices of breast, 2 legs and 2 wings and arrange on a warmed serving plate. Place the roast potatoes and stuffing balls into another warmed serving dish. The vegetables should go into a separate one. Pour the gravy into a small jug and place on the table along with the salt & pepper. Serve.

bottom of page