Meal Plan 8th - 14th February 2016

Meal Plan
It's a busy foodie week with Chinese New Year, Shrove Tuesday and Valentines Day all happening within the next 7 days...oh and it's also Bramley Apple week too! You'll be pleased to know I've made some Apple Crumble Bars to celebrate!

Here's what's cooking....

Monday 8th February
Slow Cooker Chinese Chicken Curry for Chinese New Year

Tuesday 9th February
Cheesy Mushroom Pancake Bake for Shrove Tuesday

Wednesday 10th February
Creamy Smoked Salmon Pasta

Thursday 11th Februrary
Cheats Chicken Kiev's with Sweet Potato and Halloumi Bake

Friday 12th February
Eating out with friends. The kids are having pizza

Saturday 13th February
Beef Bourguignon

Sunday 14th February - Valentines Day!
Apparently my husband is cooking me a 3 course meal - should be interesting!

Roast Beef with Onion Gravy and Mustard Yorkies

Roast Beef with Mustard Yorkies


Did you know it's National Yorkshire Pudding Day on Sunday? No?... neither did I until a few days ago! I don't think there's anything better on a lazy Sunday afternoon than tucking into a lovely piece of Welsh Beef, yorkies and all the trimmings. I always cook double the quantity so we can have leftover roast on a Monday. The kids have swimming lessons at different times this term which means eating at different times too. I don't like it but there's no way my 10 month old and 6 year old could wait for their big sister, so it's ding cuisine all the way!

This recipe notches up the flavours a bit with a lovely caramelised onion gravy for the Welsh Beef and a good dollop of wholegrain mustard in the yorkshire pudding batter. These few little tweaks make a huge difference to the end taste. I hope you'll celebrate National Yorkshire Pudding Day with me this year by making a yummy roast beef dinner.


ROAST BEEF WITH ONION GRAVY AND MUSTARD YORKIES

| Serves: 6 | Prep Time: 45 Mins | Cook Time: 1 Hour 30 Mins | Total Time: 2 Hours 15 Mins |


INGREDIENTS:

  • For the Beef:
  • 1 TBSP Black peppercorns
  • 1 TBSP English Mustard Powder
  • 1 TBSP Dried Thyme
  • 1 TBSP Olive Oil
  • 2kg topside joint of Welsh Beef
  • For the Onion Gravy:
  • 4 TBSP Plain Flour
  • 2 Beef Stock Pots ( I use Knorr)
  • 3 TBSP Caramelised Onion Chutney
  • 2 TSP Marmite
  • For the Mustard Yorkies:
  • 175ml Full Fat Milk
  • 2 Large Eggs and 1 Egg White
  • 1 TBSP Wholegrain Mustard
  • 115g Plain Flour
  • Goose fat from a can

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Step 1:  Crush the peppercorns, mustard powder and thyme together with some salt, using a pestle and mortar. Stir in the oil, then rub it all over the beef.
  • Step 2: Heat oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5 and sit the joint in a roasting tin. Roast for 15 mins per 450g/1lb (about 1 hr 10 mins) for medium-well.
  • Step 3: Remove from the oven, lift onto a platter, cover with foil and rest for 30 mins. If you’re making the Yorkies increase oven to 220C/200C fan.
  • Step 4: For the gravy, pour any juices from the roasting tin into a jug. Let the juices separate, then spoon 2 tbsp of the fat back into the tin. Sit the roasting tin on the hob and stir in the flour, stock pots, onion chutney or marmalade and Marmite. Cook for 1 min, stirring well to scrape up any beefy bits stuck to the tin, then gradually stir in 750ml hot water from the kettle. Bubble to thicken to a nice consistency, then gently keep warm until ready to serve with the beef, carved into slices.
  • Step 4: For the Yorkies, make the milk up to 225ml/8fl oz with water. Beat the eggs, egg white, mustard and milk together, then gradually add the flour and ¼ tsp salt. Pour into a jug.
  • Step 5: Put 1 tbsp goose fat or oil in each of 8 large Yorkshire pudding tins and heat for 15 mins in the oven. Pour the batter into the tins, then cook for 15-20 mins, without opening the oven. 
  • Step 6: Serve the beef with the onion gravy and yorkshire puddings with your favourite side dishes e.g. Creamed Leeks, Maple Roast Carrots and Sweet Potato Mash.

| Author: Beth Sachs | Date: 5th February 2016 |


Creamed Leeks
Creamed Leeks

Disclaimer: I was sent a joint of Welsh Beef for this post.

Giveaway - Limited Edition Horlicks Memorabilia

Horlicks

I've teamed up with the lovely people at Horlicks to give away some fantastic limited edition Horlicks memorabilia. The prize includes a lovely vintage mug (pictured above), Horlicks tin, as well as a tub of Horlicks Light Chocolate, which has 55% less fat than Horlicks original - so no guilt for those of you still on the New Year diet!

I had a real craving for Horlicks during my third pregnancy and you would often find me curled up on the sofa, in the middle of the night with my hands wrapped around a hot steaming mug of it  - it was so comforting when I couldn't sleep. My Nana and Grandad, like many other Nana and Grandads around the county, would always have a mug of Horlicks before bed so I've got a real nostalgic affection for the stuff.

 I also love baking with it and my Malteser Cheesecake, which uses Horlicks in the mix, is one of the most popular recipes on the blog. Check it out if you haven't - it's a real showstopper of a dessert.

Malteser Cheesecake

For your chance to win this great prize, scroll down and fill in the Rafflecopter widget below. UK entrants only please.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Cheesy Mushroom Pancake Bake

Mushroom Pancake Bake

With Shrove Tuesday fast approaching most of us will be rushing out to buy lovely sweet fillings for our pancakes - my favourite being the simple lemon and sugar combo, with the kids preferring golden syrup or mars bar sauce on theirs. So when Aldi challenged me to develop a new tasty recipe for Pancake Day this year I immediately started thinking of indulgent sticky sweet sauces I could make such as salted caramel, dark chocolate and vanilla butter. But after a bit of thought, I decided I should be a little bit more daring and develop some scrummy savoury pancake recipes instead.

I remembered a lovely spinach, mushroom and feta filled pancake I enjoyed at a local food festival recently, so I set about recreating something similar. In fact what happened was the creation of two yummy savoury pancake recipes, one for the adults (and any kids who like mushrooms - mine call them slugs) and a more simple one that the kids really enjoyed with ham, cheese and asparagus.

The Mushroom and Cheese Pancake Bake is really filling and definitely hearty enough for a main meal, served with a side salad, steamed veggies or chips. You can also get ahead by making the mushroom filling the day before, as well as the pancakes if you really want to. So then when pancake day arrives, it's just a matter of  spreading on the filling, rolling them up, placing in a baking dish and pouring over the cheese sauce. These are oven baked for around 20 minutes or until golden on top.

Savoury Pancakes

Not being great lovers of mushrooms, the kids preferred the Asparagus and Ham Roll-ups. All you need to do for these is make your pancakes as usual (pancake batter recipe can be found below) then lay a slice of ham over each one, place a couple of blanched asparagus spears on top and roll up. Pour over some cheddar cheese sauce (recipe also below) and place under the grill for a few minutes to warm through! Super easy and very tasty.

What are your favourite pancake fillings? Have you ever made savoury pancakes?

Savoury Pancakes

CHEESY MUSHROOM PANCAKE BAKE

| Serves: 4-5 | Prep Time: 1 Hour | Cook Time: 45 Minutes | Total Time: 1 Hour 45 Minutes |


INGREDIENTS:


  • For the Pancakes: makes 12
  • 100g Plain Flour
  • 2 Egg
  • 300ml Milk
  • Oil for frying
  • For the Mushroom Filling:
  • 25g Butter
  • 1 Garlic Clove, chopped
  • 500g Mushrooms, sliced
  • 25g Breadcrumbs
  • 25g Parmesan, grated
  • 1 TBSP Parsely, chopped
  • 3 TBSP Single Cream
  • Salt and Pepper
  • For the Cheese Sauce:
  • 25g Butter
  • 25g Plain Flour
  • 300ml Milk
  • 150g Extra Mature Cheddar

INSTRUCTIONS:


  • Step 1: Make the pancake batter in a bowl by whisking the batter ingredients together in a jug. Leave to rest for 30 minutes.
  • Step 2: To make the mushroom filling (which can be done the day before and stored in the fridge if you prefer), melt the butter in a frying pan and gently fry the garlic and mushrooms until cooked through. Add the breadcrumbs, parmesan, parsley, single cream and salt and pepper and stir until combined. Set aside.
  • Step 3: To make the cheese sauce, melt the butter in a pan, whisk in the flour then gradually add the milk, whisking until it starts to thicken. Take off the heat and add the cheese. Set aside.
  • Step 4: To make the pancakes, wipe some oiled kitchen paper onto a large frying pan and put on a medium heat. Pour in the batter and swirl the mixture around the pan. Cook for 1 minute before flipping. Once cooked set aside on a plate and separate each cooked pancake with a piece of baking paper.
  • Step 2: Preheat the oven to 200c (180cFan). To assemble the bake, place spoonfuls of the mushroom mixture in the middle of each pancake, roll up then place in an oven proof dish. Continue until all pancakes are filled, rolled and placed in the dish. Pour over the cheese sauce and bake for 20 minutes.

| Author: Beth Sachs | Date: 2nd February 2016 |


Disclaimer: I was sent Aldi vouchers to pay for the ingredients.

I'm linking this up to Tea Time Treats hosted jointly by Lavender and Lovage and The Hedgecombers



Jammy Heart Biscuits for Valentines Day

Jammy Heart Biscuits
An email arrived from the Aldi press office recently asking if I would be interested in developing a Valentines recipe for them. A lovely request you might think, but there was one little problem. My husband and I are probably the least romantic couple you will ever meet. In fact I recall the last time we went out for Valentines Day was 9 years ago....just before baby number 1 arrived. These day's I live vicariously through my friends' 'date nights' with their other half's - whilst at the same time having a little giggle to myself - we aren't really date night people. Eating a curry on the sofa whilst watching the footie/rugby/cricket/tennis (we do love our sport) is about as good as it gets here.

Despite the serious lack of romance in these parts I thought it would be churlish to say no. One things for sure, the way to my man's heart is definitely through his stomach and he's rather partial to a biscuit or two with his cuppa. So, with the help of the kids I settled on these super simple jammy heart biscuits, which are so easy the kids did most of the work!




Jammy Heart Biscuits

If you've got a large heart biscuit cutter feel free to use that, but I settled on a fluted round shaped biscuit with a small jammy heart centre and they turned out great. The crumbly lemony shortbread contrasted so well with the sweet raspberry centre and hubby couldn't have been more complementary about them...hope he doesn't get any ideas, I want to watch the football later!


JAMMY HEART BISCUITS

| Serves: makes 12 biscuits | Prep Time: 10 mins | Cook Time: 12 minutes | Total Time: 22 Minutes |


INGREDIENTS:

  • 250g Butter, softened
  • 100g Caster Sugar
  • Zest of 1 Lemon
  • 350g Plain Flour
  • 2 TBSP Milk
  • 150g Seedless Raspberry Jam
  • Icing Sugar for dusting

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Step 1: Line two large baking sheets with baking paper.
  • Step 2: In a large bowl cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy then beat in the lemon zest and flour.
  • Step 3: Add the milk and form the mixture into a dough. Wrap in clingfilm and chill for 30 minutes in the fridge.
  • Step 4: Preheat the oven to 180C (160CFan) then roll out the dough (easier to do this in 2 batches) to 3mm thickness.
  • Step 5: Cut out 24 fluted round biscuits with a biscuit cutter and in half of the biscuits use a small heart cutter to cut out heart shapes in the centre of the biscuits.
  • Step 6: Place on the baking sheets and bake for 12 minutes.
  • Step 7: Lift onto a wire rack to cool. Once cool spread each whole biscuit with a small teaspoon of jam and then place the heart cut out biscuits on top.
  • Step 8; Dust with icing sugar.

| Author: Beth Sachs | Date: 1st February 2016 |


Disclosure: Aldi sent me vouchers to buy the ingredients used in this recipe. All thoughts are my own.

Meal Plan 1st - 7th February 2016

Meal Plan

It's only 2 weeks until half term apparently... so why does it feel like they've only just gone back to school? We're meant to be going to Disneyland Paris for a few days but the news of the arrest at one of the Disney hotels last week has put the wind up me a bit. I'm not going to cancel, unless we're told not to travel, but that inevitably means I'll be the lady looking uptight and on guard the whole time we're there, much like I was in Egypt a few years ago...and Tunisia too. I'm thinking Portugal for a summer holiday so if I were you I'd avoid it as trouble seems to follow me around....

Onto this weeks meal plan and I'm particularly looking forward to the creamy squash pasta on Monday and slow cooker curry at the end of the week. Tuesday is freezer food  - even food bloggers need a break sometimes.

Monday 1st February
Creamy Butternut Squash Pasta

Tuesday 2nd February
Fish and Chips

Wednesday 3rd February
Cheese, Bacon and Onion Lasagne

Thursday 4th February
Slow Cooker Chinese Chicken Curry

Friday 5th February
Leftover Curry with Naan Breads

Saturday 6th February
Beef Bourguignon, Sweet Potato Mash, Cauliflower and Maple Roast Carrots

Sunday 7th February
Cheesy Courgette and Bacon Pasta

Fruit and Nut Breakfast Cups with Degustabox

Fruit and Nut Breakfast Cups

Fruit and Nut Breakfast Cups

I make sure the kids and I ALWAYS eat Breakfast no matter how much of a rush we're in. Their absolute favourite is Maple and Raisin Slow Cooker Porridge, especially during the Winter months... with toast and marmite coming a close second. Hubby on the other hand rushes out of the door every morning without eating anything. Somewhat inevitably he ends up eating his packed lunch at 10am and spends the rest of the day sat at his desk starving hungry.  So, in an effort to encourage him to eat something in the mornings as he hops in his car, I made these yummy Fruit and Nut Breakfast Cups using a couple of products from this month's Degustabox. The cups are a little bit like flapjacks but only take 10 minutes to bake. You can try different types of dried fruit and nuts - I used raisins this time but dried apricots would be nice I think. These little cups are also handy for popping into lunchboxes for snack time at school.







A little bit on Degustabox:


Degustabox is a monthly subscription food box service, where every month you're sent a brand new box of between 9 and 14 goodies to try. I find it's a great way for discovering new brands and products and this month I was drawn to the Jordans Fruit and Nut Crisp and Clarks Carob Fruit Syrup, which I used to make these tasty breakfast treats.


Fruit and Nut Breakfast Cups




FRUIT AND NUT BREAKFAST CUPS

| Serves: makes 12 | Prep Time: 5 Minutes | Cook Time: 10 Minutes | Total Time: 15 Minutes |


INGREDIENTS:

  • 200g Jordans Fruit and Nut Crisp Cereal
  • 100g Porridge Oats
  • 100g Butter, melted
  • 50g Light Brown Sugar
  • 2 TBSP Carob Syrup (or ordinary syrup)
  • 100g Raisins
  • 1 Egg

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Step 1: Preheat the oven to 180C/160Cfan.  Place 12 paper cases in a bun tin.
  • Step 2: Melt the butter in a large pan then add all of the other ingredients.
  • Step 3: Mix together thoroughly then spoon into 12 cupcake cases, pressing down firmly so they are tightly packed. Bake for 10 minutes.
  • Step 4: Leave to cool for 1 hour before eating.

| Author: Beth Sachs | Date: 29th January 2016 |


If you fancy trying a box yourself, Degustabox are offering £6 off (RRP 12.99) if you enter the following code at the checkout 9X06ZS.

The full list of products in this months box were as follows:
  • Finn Crisp – Crispbread
  • Fentimans – Lemonade
  • Halewood International – Tsingtao
  • Coldpress – Apple juice
  • Conscious Chocolate – Chocolate bar
  • Jordans Ryvita – Fruit and Nut Country Crisp Cereal
  • Amoy – Taste of Asia Sauce 
  • Calbee – Yushoi Sticks
  • Clarks – Carob Syrop
  • Nah Foods- Slim Noodles
  • Fruitbowl – Blackcurrant
  • Gathr Foods – Crobar
  • AO Foods – Fit Fit bar
Disclosure: I was sent a Degustabox to review. All thoughts are my own.


Double Lemon Drizzle Loaf

Double Lemon Drizzle Loaf

I love the zesty sugary crust on this Double Lemon Drizzle Loaf Cake. Pouring the drizzle mixture onto the cake when it's just out of the oven ramps up it's zingy lemon flavour and ensures the cake stays lovely and moist. It's a forgiving cake in many ways and will happily sit in a cake tin for up to 5 days and it also freezes well too (just wrap it in clingfilm and then foil).

I think it has to be one of my all time favourites, especially when I serve it sliced and spread with homemade lemon curd and a dollop of clotted cream. I've even made french toast with the stale ends before for a little weekend breakfast treat. Make it today - I promise you wont be disappointed.

Double Lemon Drizzle Loaf

Double Lemon Drizzle Loaf


DOUBLE LEMON DRIZZLE LOAF

| Serves: 10 slices | Prep Time: 10 Minutes  | Cook Time: 50 Minutes | Total Time: 1 Hour |


INGREDIENTS:

  • 225g Butter, softened
  • 225g Golden Caster Sugar
  • 4 Eggs
  • 225g Self Raising Flour
  • Zest 2 Lemons
  • For the Drizzle:
  • 85g Caster Sugar
  • Juice of 2 Lemons
  • Zest of 1 Lemon

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Step 1: Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan and line a 2lb Loaf Tin with Baking Paper.
  • Step 2: In a large bowl cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy.
  • Step 3: Gradually beat in the eggs then fold through the flour and lemon zest.
  • Step 4: Pour into the prepared tin and bake for about 50 Minutes until skewer comes out clean.
  • Step 5: In a small bowl mix together the sugar, lemon juice and zest then pour over the still warm cake.
  • Step 6: Leave to cook completely before removing from the tin.

| Author: Beth Sachs | Date: 27th January 2016 |


Family Favourite Spaghetti Bolognese

Bolognese Sauce for Pasta

This Bolognese recipe, although not entirely authentic, is a real crowd pleaser for young and old alike. If you've got any leftovers it makes a lovely hearty topping to jacket potatoes the next day...or do what my Grandad used to and eat his leftover Bolognese on toast! Not tried that one I have to say but he seemed to really enjoy it.

The big Bolognese debate in this house though is not what you do with the leftovers but whether you serve it spooned on top of the spaghetti, which my kids prefer, or mix it through the spaghetti, which I prefer. I swear it tastes better my way.

Spaghetti Bolognese

SPAGHETTI BOLOGNESE

| Serves: 4-5 | Prep Time: 10 Minutes | Cook Time: 1 Hour | Total Time: 1 Hour 10 Minutes |


INGREDIENTS:

  • 500g Beef Mince
  • 6 Streaky Bacon rashers, chopped
  • 1 Onion, chopped
  • 1 Carrot, chopped
  • 1 Celery Stalk, chopped
  • 3 Garlic Cloves, chopped
  • 1 TBSP Fresh Thyme Leaves
  • 1 TBSP Fresh Basil, chopped
  • 1 TSP Dried Oregano
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 2 x 400g Tins Chopped Tomatoes with garlic and herbs
  • 1 Rich Beef Stock Pot (or beef stock cube)
  • 2 TBSP Tomato Puree
  • 100ml Whole Milk
  • 1 TSP Sugar
  • 75g Parmesan plus extra to serve

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Step 1: Heat 1 TBSP of oil in a large casserole. Fry the bacon until cooked then add the onion, celery, carrot, garlic and fresh thyme. Continue to cook for 5 minutes.
  • Step 2: Turn the heat up and brown the minced beef (it will take a couple of minutes).
  • Step 3: Add the chopped tomatoes, beef stock pot, tomato puree, whole milk and sugar and turn down the heat to a low simmer. Cook for about 50 minutes then stir through the grated Parmesan until melted in.
  • Step 4: Serve  the Bolognese with spaghetti and extra grated Parmesan on top.

 | Author: Beth Sachs | Date: 25th January 2016 |


Meal Plan 25th - 31st January 2016

Meal Plan


It almost felt like Spring this weekend - lovely and mild with a bit of sun thrown in too. The kids and I spent a good few hours having a tidy up of the garden - mainly raking up the tonnes of leaves that have fallen over the last few months as well as a bit of pruning. Roll on the lighter and (hopefully) warmer evenings!

In terms of cooking, I'm developing a couple of new recipes this week which I'll share on the blog if they work! Watch out for a Lemony Prawn Risotto and Smoked Sausage Pasta Bake coming soon.

Monday 25th January
Leftover Roast Chicken in a Creamy Tarragon Sauce with Pasta

Tuesday 26th January
Lemony Prawn Risotto

Wednesday 27th January
Smoked Sausage Pasta Bake with peas and sweetcorn

Thursday 28th January
Tangy Trout with Stir Fried Vegetables

Friday 29th January
Fish and Chips

Saturday 30th January
Cheese Toasties with Coleslaw and Salad

Sunday 31st January
Fridge Bottom Frittata
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