Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from 2015

Meal Plan 21st December - 27th December 2015

We're off to my parents for lunch on Christmas Day and at the in-laws on Boxing Day so it feels a bit strange this year not to be prepping and buying food for the 'main event' - I'm not complaining mind you and nor is my bank balance! Nevertheless there is still lots of cooking to be done as we are having family over after our village Crib Service on Christmas Eve. I'm doing a Cola glazed gammon that I'm hoping will see us good for sandwiches until New Year...and maybe a ham and leek pie. I'm serving the gammon with mashed potato and lots of veggies. Dessert is going to be a Baked Raspberry Cheesecake with Clotted Cream.

The rest of the week looks something like this....

Monday 21st December
Out with family

Tuesday 22nd December
Baked Meatballs with Pasta

Wednesday 23rd December
BBQ Pulled Pork in Rolls with Coleslaw and Salad

Thursday 24th December
Cola Glazed Gammon, Creamy Mash, Red Cabbage, Peas and Carrots. Baked Raspberry Cheesecake for dessert

Christmas …

Maple Roasted Carrots with Pecans

These Maple Roasted Carrots with Pecans are the perfect side dish to your Christmas lunch. Just pop them into the oven with your potatoes whilst your Turkey is resting - and don't forget you can prep them the night before and stash them in the fridge. I love how the maple syrup makes the carrots go sticky and caramelise.... and the nuts give the dish a lovely contrasting crunch!

I'll let you into a little secret - If you've got any leftover they are really good in a wrap with hummus!



MAPLE ROASTED CARROTS WITH PECANS| Serves: 6 | Prep Time: 10 Minutes | Cook Time: 25 Minutes | Total Time: 35 Minutes |
Ingredients:1kg Chantenay Carrots, quartered1 TBSP Olive Oil4 TBSP Maple Syrup - I used Amber Maple Syrup from We Love Maple25g Pecans, choppedInstructions:Step 1: Preheat oven to 220c.Step 2: On a baking tray lay the carrots in a single layer, drizzle with oil and cover with a sheet of foil. Bake for 10 minutes in the oven.Step 3: Take off the foil and bake for a further 10 m…

Parsley and Thyme Stuffing for Christmas

There are a few vegetarians and pescatarians in our wider family so I always try and make a vegetarian friendly stuffing on Christmas Day (along with my favourite sausagemeat one of course!). This Thyme and Parsley stuffing recipe has been developed by the chefs at Schwartz and uses mainly store cupboard ingredients you will have to hand. I've put my own twist on it with the addition of some fruity dried cranberries, which add colour and a sweet tang as well as some gently softened onion. These two ingredients work wonderfully with the herbs and ensures a tasty, robust stuffing that goes brilliantly with either turkey or whatever vegetarian option you are serving to your guests.

If you aren't making this recipe specifically for vegetarians you can use it to stuff the turkey itself, otherwise roll the mixture into balls or press into an oven proof dish and bake in the oven for 30 minutes.


THYME AND PARSLEY STUFFING| Serves: 6 | Prep Time: 15 Minutes | Cook Time: 30 Minutes | To…

Double Chocolate Cranberry Brownies

These happened by accident but my goodness I'm glad they did. I had a little bit of cranberry sauce leftover in a jar as well as half a packet of dried cranberries, so decided to develop this naughty chocolate brownie recipe full of festive flavour.

The brownies turned out moist and fudgy - helped by the cranberry sauce I'm sure - and were gobbled up by hubby's work colleagues in minutes. I'm going to be making some more for Boxing Day! They really were THAT GOOD.



DOUBLE CHOCOLATE CRANBERRY BROWNIES| Serves: makes 12 squares | Prep Time: 10 Minutes | Cook Time: 25 Minutes | Total Time: 35 Minutes |
Ingredients:150g Dark Chooclate200g Butter200g Soft Brown Sugar150g Self Raising Flour40g Cocoa Powder, sifted3 Large Eggs, beaten50g Dried Cranberries100g White Chocolate, broken into small pieces60g Cranberry SauceInstructions:Step 1: Preheat the oven to 180c and line a 20 x 20cm tin with baking paper.Step 2: In a large microwavable bowl melt the chocolate and butter  - I z…

Mincemeat Crumble Slices

I like Mince Pies but I don't love them - I've never been a massive fan of pastry if I'm honest. What I definitely do love however are these Mincemeat Crumble Slices. Moreish, buttery crumble sandwiching moist fruity mincemeat - yum!

You can make the crumble really quickly in a food processor but I prefer to rub in the butter and flour by hand. Once cooked and cooled I pop the whole tin in the fridge overnight to firm up, before cutting into large squares. A dollop of clotted cream on top is lovely, or you could reheat slices in the microwave and serve it as a warm pudding with custard.

TIPS FOR MAKING THE MINCEMEAT SLICE
Add some extra fruit into the mincemeat for added fruitiness - dried cranberries would be nice.Stir some chopped nuts into the crumble mixture for added texture and taste.Serve warm with custard for an easy dessert
OTHER MINCEMEAT RECIPES YOU MIGHT LIKEMincemeat and Marzipan Cake from Lucy LovesEasy Mince Pies for the freezer from me Jam and Clotted Cream

Meal Plan 14th - 20th December 2015

Last week of School - Hooray! We're counting down the days until Friday but before we get there we've got the School Christmas Concert, a birthday party, haircuts .... as well as lots of Christmas cooking to do. I've got more festive recipes on the blog this week starting with Mincemeat Crumble Slices tomorrow. Have a good week.

Monday 14th December
Leftover Roast

Tuesday 15th December
Chicken Stir Fry and Noodles

Wednesday 16th December
Macaroni Cheese

Thursday 17th December
Chicken Kievs, Sweet Potato Mash and Veg

Friday 18th December
Panini's, Coleslaw and Salad

Saturday 19th December
Slow Cooker Sweet and Sour Chicken with Rice

Sunday 20th December
Leftover Slow Cooker Sweet and Sour Chicken

Kitchen Design for Small Spaces

We  all covet a large and sociable kitchen diner but the reality is that sometimes it's a case of making the most of what we have. Since we moved house last year I'm now lucky enough to have a fairly big kitchen but for many people space is at a premium. I've recently been helping my Brother in Law design his new compact kitchen and I've learnt a lot in the process! If you are short of space and thinking about redesigning your small kitchen, here are my top tips to make sure diminutive doesn't mean dull.

Tip 1: Plan the layout and accessibility of your space first. U shape designs work particularly well in small kitchens and enables you to achieve the perfect working triangle with cooker, sink and fridge on opposite sides of the U. If your space is narrow and long, a double galley style kitchen will still enable that classic working triangle.

Tip 2: Use light and reflective materials where possible for your cabinets, worktops and shelves. White paint on the walls …

Bake Box Subscription

Bake Box is a brand new subscription gift which provides budding bakers with the tool kit and recipes to develop their baking talents. Bake Box is the first of its kind in the UK with each box containing 6 recipe cards and the tools needed to transform any cake into a show stopper.

Boxes are delivered bi-monthly (the first boxes are due for delivery in January 2016) and subscription gives you automatic access to the Bake Club Live website where you can check out Masterclass video's and bonus recipes. The Bake Box subscription is £14.99 every two months, with each box containing at least £40 of equipment.

I was sent a trial box recently which included a gingerbread mould and we'll be attempting to recreate a fantastic Gingerbread House this weekend. I'll let you know how we get on!

I was sent a trial Bake Box to review, all thoughts are my own.

Festive Chocolate Truffles

The kids and I made these truffles as Christmas presents for their school teachers the other day. We made a big batch of the truffle mixture then rolled them in a variety of different ingredients - cocoa, dessicated coconut and chopped nuts (thank you Whitworths for sending these to us to try) before packaging them up in festive boxes.

I wont lie, the kids will get very messy and this is from a person who absolutely cannot abide mess. In fact I got quite agitated watching the chaos unfold but I somehow managed to contain the urge to keep washing their hands and cleaning up behind them! They had a huge amount of fun though and that's what matters ...although I'm still finding dessicated coconut and chopped nuts in every crevice in my kitchen and probably will be for the next month.


FESTIVE CHOCOLATE TRUFFLES| Serves: makes 50 | Prep Time: 4 hours 10 Minutes (includes chilling) | 
Ingredients:300g Dark Chocolate300ml Double Cream50g Unsalted ButterTo decorate:25g Chopped Nuts25g …

Christmas Spiced Red Cabbage

The festive season is now well and truly upon us and throughout December Waitrose are asking their social followers what #MakesChristmas for them. Whether it be opening presents, seeing family, listening to Christmas songs or eating that first mince pie, they are asking people to post their favourite festive moment on Twitter and Instagram, with one lucky person winning a Christmas Dinner for 12 people.

What #MakesChristmas for me is smelling those lovely heady Christmassy aroma's for the first time. Think cinnamon, clementines, cloves and ginger... and this year Waitrose have rather handily incorporated them into their Signature Spice mix.

Now, you probably already know I love getting ahead with my Christmas food preparations!  My freezer is already stashed with lots of festive treats like homemade mince pies, cheese straws and decadent desserts, but did you know you can make and freeze some of the traditional Christmas side dishes too? Freezing this Christmas Spiced Red Cabbage…

Meal Plan 7th - 13th December 2015

The weeks are motoring along aren't they? Most of the kids after school clubs have either finished or are finishing this week, which makes things a little more relaxed at feeding time. I'm utilising my big slow cooker this week to batch cook a few meals for us. I can't believe there is just 2 more weeks left of term...and 3 weeks until Christmas Day!

Monday 7th December
Slow Cooker Butter Chicken with Rice and Poppadoms

Tuesday 8th December
Christmas Parties

Wednesday 9th December
Slow Cooker Chilli

Thursday 10th December
Leftover Chilli pasta Bake

Friday 11th December
Build a Burger Night

Saturday 12th December
Sweet Potato Tagine

Sunday 13th December
Roast Pork and all the trimmings.

10 Minute Mushroom Stroganoff

The rounds of Christmas disco's, parties and concerts have started this week. After school today we're off to a Christingle service at our local church and then a Brownies party later on for my eldest daughter! In busy times like this I love homecooked meals that can be made quickly and you wont find many meals as quick to make as this creamy mushroom stroganoff. It takes all of 10 minutes but is so tasty that people will genuinely think you've been slaving over a hot stove for hours.

If you wanted to make it more meaty, fry some thin strips of steak with the mushrooms and add another spoon of creme fraiche at the end. A sprinkling of chopped parsley would be a nice garnish but not for my kids!



10 MINUTE MUSHROOM STROGANOFF | Serves: 2 | Prep Time: 5 Minutes | Cook Time: 5 Minutes | Total Time: 10 Minutes |
Ingredients:1 Onion, chopped2 Garlic Cloves, chopped1 TBSP Smoked Paprika350g Chestnut Mushrooms, slicedRich Beef Stock Pot - I used Knorr4 TBSP Creme FraicheInstructions…

John Lewis Christmas Elegance Afternoon Tea Hamper

I'm a bit smug. I've wrapped all of the Christmas presents before December...every single last one of them.  This is usually a job I don't particularly enjoy and tend to leave until the last minute, but this year I had a helper. My hubby, who wouldn't normally be seen within a mile of a roll of sellotape was enticed to help with the promise of treats from this wonderful Christmas Elegance Afternoon Tea Hamper.

We waited until the kids were in bed then crept around the house pulling out the presents from their various hiding places - I hope I remembered everything! We opened a bottle of chilled Prosecco from the hamper and sat down in front of the fire, glass in hand, nibbling on lots of lovely edible treats - the Macarons were a particular favourite. It was a lovely evening and helped get us into the Christmas spirit - so much so that I agreed to put the Christmas decorations up today! Wrapping understandably took longer than usual and the last of the wrapping may hav…

Meal Plan 30th November - 6th December 2015

Ummmm, I've somehow been persuaded to put the Christmas decorations up today. Never before have they been up in November and I vowed I would never be one of 'those' people...but here I am. The kids and hubby wore me down. In my defence next weekend is busy...that's what I'm telling myself. And it is the start of Advent today.

This week also brings the first of the Christmas concerts, parties, School disco's and a Christingle service so I want easy but filling food. Here's what's cooking!

Monday 30th November
Spaghetti Bolognese with Garlic Bread

Tuesday 1st December
Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Pasta with a Creamy Pesto Sauce

Wednesday 2nd December
Slow Cooker Sausage Casserole

Thursday 3rd December
Leftover Sausage Casserole

Friday 4th December
Ham and Cheese Panini's

Saturday 5th December
Eating out with friends at a local pub - The Bay View at Widemouth Bay

Sunday 6th December
Spaghetti Carbonara

Baked Meatballs in a Rich Tomato and Basil Sauce

Comfort food at its best and a recipe the whole family will love. I cheated and used Lidls Italian style meatballs which were very tasty and beautifully seasoned - they will most definitely be going on the shopping list again!

I find meatballs tend to break up if I fry them so in this recipe I oven baked the meatballs separately before adding them to the tomato sauce just before serving. The kids enjoyed the baked meatballs with spaghetti but mashed potatoes or rice would be good as alternatives.


BAKED MEATBALLS IN A TOMATO AND BASIL SAUCE| Serves: 4 | Prep Time: 10 Minutes | Cook Time: 30 Minutes | Total Time: 40 Minutes |
Ingredients:24 ready made meatballs - I used Lidls Italian Meatballs which have a lovely flavour1 Onion, chopped2 Garlic Cloves, chopped2 x 400g Tins of Chopped Tomatoes2 TBSP Sugar1 TBSP Tomato Ketchup1 TBSP Balsamic VinegarSalt and PepperHandful of Basil, torn Instructions:Step 1: Preheat the oven to 200c. Place the meatballs in an ovenproof dish, drizzle with oi…

Microwave Jambalaya

Microwave meals are back and this is a fab bung it in the microwave recipe that's a real lifesaver when time is short...or when you don't have the use of an oven! People don't tend to use their microwaves for actually making meals but I've found I can do quite a lot in mine...veggie chilli, risotto's, as well as this really flavourful jambalaya with chorizo and red pepper.

I'll be posting more easy microwave meals in the coming weeks so keep an eye out on the blog.



MICROWAVE JAMBALAYA| Serves: 4 | Prep Time: 5 Minutes | Cook Time: 22 Minutes | Total Time: 27 Minutes |
Ingredients:400g Can of Chopped Tomatoes (with added chilli if you like it spicy)Canful (empty can of tomatoes) of Easy Cook Long Grain Rice1 Red Pepper, chopped120g Chorizo Sausage, cut into chunks2 TSP Cajun SeasoningHandful of grated cheddarInstructions:Step 1: Empty tin of tomatoes into a large microwaveable bowl. Fill the empty can with rice then add it to the bowl. Now fill the can with wate…

Meal Plan 23rd - 29th November 2015

Monday 23rd November
Leftover Roast Pork with Spiced Red Cabbage, Cauliflower cheese, Sweet Potato Mash and Carrots

Tuesday 24th November
Meatballs in a Tomato and Basil Sauce with Pasta

Wednesday 25th November
Leftover Meatballs on Jacket Potatoes

Thursday 26th November
Chicken Kievs, Rice and Veg

Friday 27th November
Panini's with Coleslaw and Salad

Saturday 28th November
Prawn Stir Fry

Sunday 29th November
Pulled Pork Rolls with Apple Slaw

Oven Baked Chorizo and Cheddar Risotto

There's a cold snap on the way this weekend and I can't think of anything more comforting than tucking into a bowl of this chorizo and cheddar risotto on a cold November evening. I love oven baked risotto's as they can take care of them self, leaving you chance to get on with other stuff like bathing the kids, tidying up the toys and enjoying a nice glass of wine (well it is Friday!).

Enjoy the weekend whatever you are up to! We've got a birthday party, shopping for new school boots and anther trip to the brand new Lidls in Bude on the agenda, as well as lots of Christmas cooking for the freezer.



OVEN BAKED CHORIZO AND CHEDDAR RISOTTO| Serves: 4 | Prep Time: 10 Minutes | Cook Time: 30 Minutes | Total Time: 40 Minutes |
Ingredients:1 Onion150g Chorizo, cut into chunks300g Risotto RiceSplash of White Wine700ml Chicken Stock100g Frozen Peas150g Cheddar, gratedInstructions:Step 1: Preheat the oven to 200c.Step 2: In an ovenproof lidded casserole gently fry the onion and cho…

Spicy Sweet Potato, Chickpea and Spinach Curry

There's nothing better than a warming curry on a wet and windy evening. This is a lovely robust veggie version that will keep you feeling full until breakfast - and I even convinced hubby, who usually isn't satisfied unless there is meat on his plate (although he's still unconvinced by chickpeas).

If you wanted a milder curry then use Korma curry paste instead of Rogan Josh. I served this with naan breads and mango chutney but if you wanted to stretch it a bit further then serve some pilau rice alongside.




SPICY SWEET POTATO, CHICKPEA AND SPINACH CURRY| Serves: 4 | Prep Time: 15 Minutes | Cook Time: 40 Minutes  | Total Time: 55 Minutes |
Ingredients:2 Red Onions, sliced3 heaped TBSP of Rogan Josh Curry Paste3cm Piece of Ginger, peeled and chopped1 Red chilliBunch of Coriander, leaves removed (to use as garnish later), stalks chopped finely2 Sweet Potatoes, chopped into 2cm dice400g Tin of Chickpeas, drained400g Tin of Chopped Tomatoes400g Tin Coconut MilkBag of Spinach Ins…

Meal Plan 16th - 22nd November 2015

Horrible horrible weekend, with lots of explaining to a confused 6 and 8 year old. My thoughts go out to all those affected by the tragic events in Paris.

This week I'm still running the cupboards and freezer down ready for Christmas and I'm also looking forward to the long awaited (for me anyway) opening of Lidls in Bude. I'll be there bright and early on Thursday morning as they open their doors for the very first time.

Monday 16th November
Cheesy Tomato Pasta

Tuesday 17th November
Mushroom Omelette's

Wednesday 18th November
Chicken Breasts with Sweet Potato Mash and Frozen Veggies (peas and broccoli)

Thursday 19th November
Panini's with Coleslaw and Salad

Friday 20th November
Oven baked Risotto but with bacon instead of chicken

Saturday 21st November
Pulled Pork (which is a Lidls weekend offer this week) served in rolls with coleslaw

Sunday 22nd November
Leftover Pulled Pork Macaroni Cheese

Chocolate Orange Biscuit Cake: An Alternative Christmas Cake

Every year I make a Christmas cake and every year I'm the one that ends up eating the thing. So in a concerted effort to maintain my waistline, this year, instead of a traditional Christmas cake I'll be making an alternative Chocolate Orange Biscuit Cake to enjoy. After all, who can resist the quintessentially festive chocolate orange combo?

The beauty of a biscuit cake is that it can be made 3 or 4 days ahead and left in the fridge until you want to serve it (or a cold garage if the fridge is bursting at the seams!). All you need is a dollop of clotted cream and you're sorted. If this is being made for an entirely adult audience I would use all dark chocolate in the topping.


TIPS FOR MAKING A FESTIVE BISCUIT CAKEAdd some fudge pieces or nuts if that's what your family likesDecorate with festive sprinklesIf you prefer make in a large square baking tin and cut into slices
OTHER BISCUIT RECIPES YOU MIGHT LIKENo Bake Malteser Cake from Lucy LovesChocolate Honeycomb Mince…

Giveaway: Vonshef 6.5l Digital Slow Cooker

I've recently been working with Domu, an online kitchen and home shop, developing seasonal warming recipes for their new slow cooker recipe hub. My Slow Cooker Sausage, Mushroom and Red Onion Casserole is currently being featured on their website and was made in a Vonshef 6.5l digital slow cooker like the one in the picture above. Domu have kindly given me a brand new Vonshef 6.5l Digital Slow Cooker from their range to giveaway to one Jam and Clotted Cream reader in a competition.

All you need to do to enter is fill in the Rafflecopter widget below. UK entrants only please.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blueberry and White Chocolate Muffins

These blueberry and white chocolate muffins take minutes to make...and minutes to eat - they are that good! In fact they are so quick to whip up you could easily make them for a special weekend breakfast or brunch. They are definitely best eaten fresh though so if you have any leftover, pop them into the freezer and reheat in the oven for a few minutes when you next need a mid morning pick me up.

You could substitute the blueberries for raspberries or blackberries, or even dried fruit if you preferred. The white chocolate gives them a wonderful sweet edge without turning them too sickly.

Why don't you give them a try this coming weekend - or let your kids have a go at making them by themselves? I'm pretty confident my 8 and 6 year old could manage these no problem.





BLUEBERRY AND WHITE CHOCOLATE MUFFINS| Serves: 12 Muffins | Prep Time: 10 Minutes | Cook Time: 15 Minutes | Total Time: 25 Minutes |
Ingredients:100g Butter, softened250g Self Raising Flour1 TSP Bicarbonate of Soda1…

Butternut Squash and Goats Cheese Pasta

There's nothing better on a cold and wet Autumnal evening than tucking into a bowl of this squash and goats cheese pasta. Simple cooking at its best. The squash is roasted in the oven with a whole bulb of garlic and the creamy goats cheese contrasts the sweetness of the squash and garlic brilliantly. Blue cheese would also work here if you preferred.



SQUASH AND GOATS CHEESE PASTA| Serves: 4 | Prep Time: 15 Minutes | Cook Time: 30 Minutes | Total Time: 45 Minutes |
Ingredients:1 Bulb of Garlic1 Butternut Squash, peeled, deseeded and cubed 350g Spaghetti150g Goats Cheese, crumbledA few sage leaves Instructions:Step 1: Preheat the oven to 200c. Cut the top third off the garlic bulb, drizzle with oil then wrap in foil. Place on a baking tray along with the cubed squash and roast of 30 minutes.Step 2: About 20 minutes in, cook the spaghetti according to instructions and drain. Step 3: Toss the roasted squash into the spaghetti then squeeze the roasted garlic cloves into the pasta too.S…

Meal Plan 9th - 15th November 2015

This week is all about running the cupboards and freezer down ready for Christmas treats. I'm also counting down the days until Lidls opens in Bude, which will be a lot closer than having to drive to Launceston. It opens in 10 days and I'm just a little bit excited. I get the majority of my shopping at Lidls these days and its saving us at least £20 a week on the grocery bill. With the Bude Lidls being closer, I'll be able to save on my diesel bill now too!

Here's what's cooking this week.

Monday 9th November
Macaroni Cheese with Vegetables

Tuesday 10th November
Pea Risotto

Wednesday 11th November
Pork Loin Medallions with Sage Butter and Sweet Potato Mash

Thursday 12th November
Omelette

Friday 13th November
Baguette Pizza's with Cheese Coleslaw and Salad

Saturday 14th November
Soup and Rolls

Sunday 15th November
Leftover Suprise

Giveaway: 5 Boxes of Corkers Crisps

I've got five boxes of award winning Corkers Crisps to giveaway in a crispy themed competition. Each Corkers box consists of the following flavours:
Sea Salt
Sea Salt and Cider Vinegar
Pork Sausage and English Mustard
Red Leicester and Caramelised Onion
Sweet Thai Chilli
Sea Salt and Black Pepper
Gressingham Duck and Hoisin Sauce
Vegetable Crisps

Some facts about Corkers Crisps
The crisps are made in the fenlands of Cambridgeshire with the potatoes grown on a family run farm.The crisps are made from Naturalo potatoes which have a unique flavour thanks to the rich peaty soils in which they are grown.The crisps are currently stocked at National Trust properties, Longleat, and in Waitrose stores nationwide. For your chance to win a box of Corkers Crisps just fill in the Rafflecopter widget below. UK entrants only please.
a Rafflecopter giveaway