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Showing posts from November, 2015

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

Mini Ham and Cheddar Quiches

These are fantastic for popping into the kids lunchboxes and are tasty whether eaten straight out of the oven or at room temperature. I happen to prefer them when they have cooled right down but my husband gobbles them up straight out of the oven. The 7 month old has also taken a fancy to them so I make a couple without the ham and onion mixture.

Sweetcorn would be a lovely addition, but I have a fusspot (not the kids btw!) who doesn't like it...apparently it's too sweet.

MINI HAM AND CHEDDAR QUICHES| Serves: 24 | Prep Time: 10 Minutes | Cook Time: 15 Minutes | Total Time: 25 Minutes |
Ingredients:For the pastry280g Plain Flour140g Cold Butter, cubed8 TBSP WaterFor the filling2 small Onions, chopped4 Slices Ham, chopped1 TSP Dried Thyme4 Eggs, beaten100ml Double Cream200ml Milk200g Grated Cheddar Instructions:Step 1: Make the pastry by pulsing the flour and butter in a processor until breadcrumbs form. Add the water a tbsp at a time and pulse until the pastry just comes togeth…

Baby Led Weaning: Sweetcorn and Cheddar Fritters

Heidi is 7 months old now and very much enjoying her food! Up to now she's been having homemade vegetable and fruit puree's (I have a bit of a fear of choking!) but I thought it was about time I introduced some foods she could feed to herself. These fritters are super easy to make and also freeze well too, so make a batch and stash some in the freezer for when time is short.

You could add some grated carrot to the batter or finely chopped spring onions but I kept it nice and simple with sweetcorn and cheese.


SWEETCORN AND CHEDDAR FRITTERS| Serves: 6 | Prep Time: 5 Minutes | Cook Time: 10 Minutes | Total Time: 15 Minutes |
Ingredients:50g Plain Flour1 egg1/2 TSP Baking Powder50g Grated CheddarHalf a small tin of SweetcornEnough Milk to make a thick batter Instructions:Step 1: In a large bowl mix together the flour and egg then stir in the baking powder, cheddar and sweetcorn.Step 2: Slowly add enough milk to make a thick batter - I used about 100ml.Step 3: Heat some butter and…

Review: Dorset Cereals Bircher Muesli

I've always loved breakfast, it sets me up for the day and stops the dreaded tummy rumbles mid morning (particularly embarrassing if you are at work...in a meeting!). I was delighted when Dorset Cereals asked if I would like to try out their new Bircher Muesli in Raspberry and Blackcurrant and Almond and Honey.
Traditionally, Bircher Muesli is made by soaking oats overnight with apple juice and yoghurt. However the Dorset Cereal Bircher Muesli only needs 30 minutes soaking time - so you have just enough time to have a shower, get the kids dressed and do the lunchboxes (I can fit a lot into half an hour). Ideally I'd use the half an hour to do some yoga or pilates...but that's not going to happen any time soon with three young children. My favourite flavour was the Almond and Honey to which I added extra raisins and manuka honey for sweetness.
Thank-you Dorset Cereals for sending me the samples.










































The Bircher Muesli is available at Waitrose.

Broccoli and Pancetta Spaghetti

This is a lovely quick pasta recipe from the new Silver Spoon Quick and Easy Italian Recipes cook book (I'll be giving one away in a competition soon). The whole family enjoyed it and it was gobbled up without complaint in super quick time. It really is a perfect mid week meal.

The key (I think) is to cut the broccoli into really small florets so its nice and soft - the kids seem to prefer it like that. I might add some peas next time to up the vegetables but it's delicious as it is.



BROCCOLI AND PANCETTA SPAGHETTI| Serves: 4 | Prep Time: 10 Minutes | Cook Time: 20 Minutes | Total Time: 30 Minutes |
Ingredients:120g Diced Pancetta or Thick Cut Bacon1 Clove Garlic, chopped1 Head of Broccoli cut into small florets1 TBSP Tomato Paste150ml Vegetable Stock350g Spaghetti50g Parmesan, grated Instructions:Step 1:  Heat some olive oil in a large frying pan and cook the pancetta over a medium heat for 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and half the broccoli and cook for 5 minutes.Step 2; St…

Meal Plan 2nd - 8th November 2015

A bit late with the meal plan this week but we had a certain little boys 6th birthday yesterday. Do you like his Star Wars cake? My very talented Mother in Law made it.


I've got lots of blogging to catch up on this week - it kind of fell by the wayside at half term. We did have a lot of fun though  - the monkey enclosure at Longleat was a particular highlight (for all the wrong reasons). Anyway here's what we are eating this week.
Monday 2nd November Pasties
Tuesday 3rd November Slow Cooker Sausage, Mushroom and Red Onion Casserole with rice
Wednesday 4th November Leftover casserole on sweet potato jackets
Thursday 5th November Chicken Korma with Naans
Friday 6th November Pea Risotto
Saturday 7th November Baked Potatoes and Chilli at our Firework party
Sunday 8th November Frittata and salad